Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Witz Flix: Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia: A simple tale of one woman's hard-fought success that brought French cooking into the average American's home; coupled with the simple tale of an average American cooking from this book as intended and somehow writing another book about it.

So, here's what I propose. Set your laptops up in the kitchen, take out your cooking utensils and get ready, because this is what we're gonna do: first, we'll watch Julie copy Julia and then WE will copy Julie, allowing us to write the much-wanted sequel "Julie & Julia & Us." It's the Human Centipede of the literary world.

2 min: I'm not gonna lie to you. We're only two minutes in and I'm kind of excited to watch this movie. It's France in 1949, super-affable (I have to keep finding ways to not use the word "delightful") Meryl Streep is Julia Child, and the credits just told me that both Mary Lynn Rajskub (aka Chloe from 24) and Jane Lynch are in the movie. A nagging voice in the back of my head is saying, "Yeah, but what about that whole 'based on two true stories' business? That's too cutesy to be a good sign, right?" We'll wait and see...

3 min: Ok, one question: Why does Julia Child talk like Snuggles the Bear after intensive oral surgery? Or The Pillsbury Dough Boy after a few bottles of whiskey.

4 min: Ugh. I just felt physical repulsion when Amy Adams showed up. Too soon, Amy Adams. Too soon since Leap Year for me to see your stupid face again. I thought we agreed, "Not to make plans," with each other? Queens, NY 2002. Delightful.

5 min: Amy Adams and her man are moving in and she's horrible at everything. To calm her down, her man says, "Repeat after me: 900 square feet." She repeats, "900 squeare feet." I just realized-- that little interaction is the dynamic of this entire movie.

7 min: They just showed Julia in gorgeous Paris in a great apartment. Then they showed a shitty Queens street, with Julie walking outside past a dingy looking pizza place. My only reaction to any of this was, "ooOOoo pizza!" Somebody count my chromosomes.

Oh, Christ-- they're bringing 9/11 into this...or at least showing Julie walking past the rubble. Is this supposed to be a metaphor for how her life is in ruins? I'm not sure you're allowed to use 9/11 as a metaphor. It's kinda like why I don't say, "Ugh, what a Holocaust of a day-- it was 95 degrees and humid outside and I caught the train at rush hour-- I thought it was gonna drop me off at Auschwitz!"*

8 min: Apparently, Julie works for a government hotline that you call regarding 9/11. Obviously, there aren't any happy callers, and I felt bad for her until she said, "Please stop yelling, sir!" when the guy was clearly not yelling, just upset. I hate that. You'll know yelling when you hear it-- it's louder.

(Julie or Miranda?)

10 min: It's like I'm watching a spinoff of Sex and the City called "Miranda: The Early Years." Amy Adams looks just like Miranda (or as Steve would say, "Miraaaaaanda." Yikes-- I've revealed too much) and then there are these three other women on their cell phones doing business, and everyone's ordering cobb salads. You can actually see the moment "Miranda" thinks, "In the future, I'm going to get dumber, less independent friends with more limited interests and a sense of humor that makes Weird Al Yankovic seem like vintage Steve Martin.

14 min: Julie and her guy are talking about writing a blog. Eeee, this is very meta.

17 min: "Ok, here's a problem-- I've never eaten an egg." Uhh, what? Really, no elaboration? "This is crazy. Is this crazy?" she asks and her husband says, "Yes." Lady, you're starting a free blog about cooking meals for you and your husband which you already do daily. There's absolutely no risk. What's crazy is that your husband hasn't left you yet.

20 min: Ahh, we're finally back to the charismatic and gregarious Julia Child!

25 min: I don't know why, but there's something very unsettling about Julia Child having sex-- especially with Stanley Tucci, who looks quite a bit like the bad guy, Fat Cat, from Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers.**

26 min: Ah, fuck, we're back to Julie. Lesson one is basically, "Cook with an assload of butter." Julie's gonna end up with an assload of ass, and not the good kind.

28 min: Hey, alright, Mary Lynn Robzombie just asked how Julie's never eaten an egg. This movie's like The Wire, no string left untied. She tells Mary Lynn Rolliefingers that she just hasn't. What a compelling sub-plot.

30 min: You know who would have made this movie better? Jenna Fischer. Hmm...

33 min: The ambrosial Julia Child is going to cooking school with all professional male cooks! This is like "Back to School", "Norma Rae," and "G.I. Jane" all rolled into one!

38 min: I refuse to make a negative joke about the ineffable*** Julia Child portion of this movie. It's legitimately good and it's hard not to like the characters. And that's the problem with the movie; you really like Julia and her husband after watching them, and then it cuts to pain in the ass copycat Julie and her husband talking about them and making jokes, which actually made me DEFENSIVE of Julia, like she's my great aunt or something. I keep wanting to tell them to shut up-- what's happening to me??

Also Julia said, "These damn things are hot as a stiff cock!" which is kinda awesome. She sounds exactly like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when she says it, which makes sense, because I'm pretty sure he's said the same thing about his biscuits.

46 min: Oh good, now her blog is super popular and she's cocky about it. THE WHOLE POINT OF THE COOKBOOK IS THAT IT'S ACCESSIBLE!

52 min: Fine. I'll tell you. I giggled like a third grader a little bit when Julie said, "I have to bone a whole duck! Can you even conceive of boning a whole duck?" It's important that you know this wasn't intended to be funny.

54 min: Julie is crying on the kitchen floor because she dropped the chicken. She has hundreds of readers and she "doesn't see what the point is." I mean this in the nicest, most compassionate, heartfelt way: Julie needs to kill herself.

57 min: Jane Lynch is DOROTHY Child! (Which for some reason reminds me of James Bond, Jr.-- like she should have her own movie later). I kinda get the feeling they didn't give her any lines and just told her to improvise with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, but she's Jane Lynch, so she's awesome.

61 min: Dorothy's getting married! More like "based on THREE true stories" MOVIE.

70 min: Julie has the empyrian Julia Child's first editor coming to dinner. She cooks boeuf bourguignon the night before and falls asleep, so it burns. I'd feel bad for her, but you know the old saying..."Don't fall asleep while you're cooking boeuf bourguignon."

79 min: The editor bails at the last minute because it's raining, which is probably for the best, because (and again, I'm not trying to be mean, but...) with her hair and clothes, Julie is starting to look a lot like Chaka from the Land of the Lost movie:

82 min: Huh? Inexplicable fight between Julie and her husband who calls her narcissistic and says that he can't wait until the year with her blog is over. I mean...he's right to be upset, but they had absolutely no set up for it. Julie talks with Mary Lynn Razor-ramon about it and they agree that she's a bitch. So that's somethin'...

103 min: "I have 15 days and 24 recipes and...I still have to bone a duck..." Hehehehe.

105 min: The New York Times writer came and loved Julie's story. She gets tons of phone calls from literary agents and editors and producers for tv shows. "I'm gonna be a writer!" she exclaims. "Christ," I reply. Is that the type of thing you have to do to be successful? I guess so. Do you know there's a blog out there called Gum Alert? It's My-Friend-Formerly-With-A-Pool said it best, "There's a site called People are going there to get gum alerts."

106 min: Yes! A newspaper writer spoke with the emphatically uplifting Julia Child and asked about Julie's blog. Julie gets off the phone and tells her husband, "She HATES me!" I'm honestly not saying this is a bad movie, because I like the Julia part, and I'm honestly not a bad person, because I pay my overdue fines at the library even though they have absolutely no military branch with which to threaten me, BUT-- this was the only moment I've laughed out loud in the entire movie.

115 min: Big finale-- she bones a duck. It's...fairly anti-climactic.

120 min: Julia's book is published, everybody is ecstatic, my eyes are only watering a little because I yawned (I swear), and they fade to black. Text appears telling us that her husband lived to be 92 and Julia died in 2004 at the age of 91. They then say something confusing:

"Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia was published in 2005. She and Eric still live in Queens, although they no longer live above a pizzeria. She is a writer."

So...mixed news, then? I'd hope my ending goes something like this:

"Witz's book, These Things Happen: True Stories of Shame and Embarassment, was published in 2011. He still lives in Brooklyn, but now lives above Grimaldi's Pizzeria. He is a writer...and also plays center field for the Boston Red Sox...and is an astronaut...and a pirate...he's an astronaut-pirate."

Julia Child Was So Butter (Remember That Year Kids Said, "Butter?" As Slang?),

*Funny Auschwitz related note (I know what you're thinking: "Just one??"): I was signing up for a website and when the username "Witz" was taken, they suggested I use "awes_witz." AUSCHWITZ?? Really??

**Alright, which came first: Chip n' Dale cartoons or Chippendales strip club? If it's the latter, why the hell were two chipmunks given the same name as a male strip club? And just so you don't have to google it, the female chipmunk's name was Gadget, and yes, she WAS hot.

***Which doesn't mean: "One who you are not able to have sex with" despite how it sounds.

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