Sunday, March 14, 2010

Julie & Julia: A Review

So, you know that scene toward the beginning of the movie, when Amy Adams, as Julie Powell, is having "Cobb Salad Luncheon" with three of her alleged friends? And one friend keeps taking phone calls about the $190 million real estate package she's trying to put together, and another one is bragging about her new position as Vice President of Blahblahblah, and the third wants to interview Julie, but can't find a time to "fit her in," and there sits Julie, with her barely above entry level job and living in a walk-up in Queens over a pizza parlor?

Yes. That. Exactly that.

And okay--Julie Powell decides to cook her way through Julia Child and blog about it, and before the end of the year of her project she gets interviewed for the New York Times and literary agents and publishing houses are calling. So she gets a happy ending. But she's a totally narcissistic and self-absorbed jerk and she's mean to her husband and is in no way a role model.


And of course I'm not jealous or second guessing my own life or anything, just because this blog will be five frickin' years old by the end of the month, and I'm waaaay past 30 and of course I'm not wondering what the hell I am doing with my life, and whether I matter to anybody outside the tiny bounds of my own little life.

Of course not.

So--Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep is a National Treasure, and if Nicolas Cage makes another movie in that franchise he better bloody well find HER at the end of the trail of clues left behind by Woodrow Wilson and the Trilateral Commission or something. We watched the movie with both of the girls, and they literally cheered, cheered, when she came on the screen. Capt. Sweetie and I used the movie as parental propaganda, encouraging them to only date and marry guys who were as good to them as the husbands in the movie.

What is there to say about this movie that hasn't already been said a hundred million ways? Meryl Streep was fabulous, and it's hard to imagine a time when Julia Child was just a diplomatic spouse, and not Julia Child! If I got the time line right, she spent the better part of a decade on that first cookbook, retyping it with carbon paper and onion skins, and all those years she was just Paul Child's wife, moving from post to post across Europe. Only after he retired and they moved back to the US did she find a publisher for that first book. Only then did she become the icon of French cooking we know her to be.

Stanley Tucci--what a wonderful husband he made. He can marry my daughters if he wants to, as long as he remains in character as Paul Child. Amy Adams--is still darling and winsome and even as a self-involved and whiney proto-author, I'll still watch her. Nora Ephron directed this movie, which wasn't "The Hurt Locker," but also wasn't a "typical female rom-com" and she deserves some real credit for this movie.

Because I knew this was going to be what we did this evening as a family, I made more of an effort than I usually do, and I cooked. I mean, I cooked. We had a thyme chicken stew that took two hours to cook on the stove, and I made creme brulee, and since Sursels doesn't really like creme brulee I made two different flavors--white chocolate and dark chocolate, with fresh raspberries and whipped cream and I started researching recipes this morning and I went to the grocery at 4:30 and I COOKED until 8 this evening, when we had the stew and started the movie.

And the food was delicious and my family was wonderful and we all loved it. And when the movie was over we all went into the kitchen to torch the creme brulee, and Capt. Sweetie turned on "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads and we all danced around the kitchen and turned on the butane torch and melted the sugar and plopped fresh raspberries and squirted the Reddi-Whip and we all said "Oh man! This is delicious!"

For that kind of response, I would even cook more often, I think. But I will not do so with Julia Child's recipes, because they are still too hard. But I love her anyway.

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