Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia (2009)

By Guest Writer Alan Trehern

Get the laughs out now, a$$holes. Yes, I went and saw Julie and Julia, a movie about Julia Child, food and strange love. And for those of you disregarding it for whatever reasons, you're passing up on a pretty good flick. This isn't one of your run of the mill boring movie, or chick flick, but a well delivered and feel-good film.

Julie and Julia
Starring: Amy Adams, Sir Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep
Director: Nora Ephron

The most interesting part of this movie is that is was based on two different books: My Life in France by Child (Streep) and Julie and Julia by Amy Powell (Adams). While one story takes place in 1949, the other takes place in 2002. The merging of the storylines is well done, and you never get that flashback effect because they flawlessly transition back and forth and you look forward to the change as the scene your watching starts to conclude. However, I did get pissed when Powell's sections ran too long and Julia's scenes too short.

Here's the story in a nut-shell: Julia and Paul (Tucci) Child move to Paris, France, but Julia has little to nothing productive to do, so she goes to the Cordon Blu school for cooking and starts a relationship with French cooks to write and publish a French cookbook in English. Meanwhile, or fifty years later, whichever way you look at it, Julie Powell is in a depressing job that motivates her to doing a year long task of preforming all of Julia Child's recipes in the famous chef's cookbook.

Over the course of the film, you becoming extremely attached to Child and mildly attached to Powell. The reason for this is a more personal look at the famed chef's life and times and less time focusing on her rise to fame. Powell, on the other hand, while cute as a button, is pretty crazy. She worships Julia and treats her like an imaginary friend in the kitchen but has multiple meltdowns when things go wrong.

You gotta keep your head in the game lady! When a stuffed chicken falls on the ground, pick that sh*t up and put it back in the oven. And if an editor doesn't come to dinner to eat your bland beef stew, don't take it out on your husband and withhold sex. What kind of manipulative witch are you? But because she learns from these mistakes, I absolved her character and enjoyed that side of the timeline.
As for Julia, I felt she worked alot harder to become the successful author she discovered herself to be. Like she says in the film, there's very few people who annoy her, so she's happy and funny for almost in the entire film. Streep gets the character down to the point where I was having trouble seeing the actress pass the character, which was quite impressive considering Streep is pretty low on my list of "Actresses Who I Want to See In Film".

The music was well placed, but it wasn't anything you needed to focus on; the characters were enough. The acting was well done, but then again, that's what they're paid to do. The 1940s sets were homey and quaint, while Queens looked like a dump. Maybe that's what it's really like, I don't know. I must agree that Powell's life is REALLY sh*tty, and I'm glad she starts this personal quest and calls into work. I also enjoyed the scenes where Julia and her co-authors interact with the publishers and their slack-ass co-writer.

What would I have done different is I was in charge? Well, very little. Time-wise it was perfect, although the ending came up rather abruptly. Maybe it was because the Carmike turned on the lights before the credits rolled (rookie mistake, f*ckers). Sir Tucci was pretty funny, and although Powell's husband was mistreated, he was pretty useless and kind of a pansy. Whatever.

I expected this movie to be sappy, emasculating and menstrual. It is not. It tells the story of human beings striving to be something. Whether you are trying to get a book published or trying to get readers for your blog (yes, please!), the movie boils down to human relationships and self-improvement. And whether you check this out because you like cooking shows or you're trying to nail a tight byrd on your first date, it proves itself as simple, cinematic entertainment.


Toni said...

"I expected this movie to be sappy, emasculating and menstrual."

WTF! Oh lord. I better not go back and read any more reviews for today or I will wind up leaving comments on every single one about the way women are addressed, and then no one will like me and I'll get banned from this blog. So I'll stop. For now.


(Sorry if I posted this twice, I can't tell).

Ben Pearson said...

Don't worry, Toni. I won't ban you - that's not what I'm all about. I dig (and encourage, and appreciate) the discussion.

Also, it must be noted that 1) I haven't seen Julie and Julia, and 2) I didn't write this post, nor do I reserve any editorial control over guest writers, so you can have it out with Branz over this one. I'll see you back in the (500) Days of Summer comments...

Toni said...

LOL yeah I know you didn't write this one, no worries. Tyler, on the other hand, should be very worried...

JK. Sort of.

Alan Trehern said...

**cough cough**

In no way was my comment made to address how women are portrayed in movies nor should it be taken as my views of women in cinema.

I simply used that phrasing (i.e "I expected this movie to be sappy, emasculating and menstrual.") to forward the movie out of "chick flick" territory to "good movie" land.

Further, if you read the whole review, I used the phrase in question in a negative aspect, agreeing that soemtimes movies do portray women in a helpless and dependant fashion. This movie breaks those generalizations and portrays the characters adamently (whether they be male or female).

But again, no one really reads my posts, so I guess I didn't censor my outrageous accustations as well as I should. Toni, because of you, I will now write WITHOUT the use of gender specific connotations.

My apologies.

Toni said...

Don't mind my comment, I was just PMSing when I wrote that. ;)

Really, I was sort of just teasing because I read that right after commenting on the 500 Days review. I don't mind making fun of chick flicks at all, or the way they portray women (often as helpless and dependent, and totally sappy, like you said). I felt like the word choice seemed a little bit more directed more at women than just chick what on earth does menstrual even thanks for your response.