Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Julie & Julia

Can enough ever be said about Meryl Streep? I don’t know what it is about her, but she so perfectly embodies every character she plays without going completely overboard or overdone. She is, simply, awesome.

In “Julie & Julia,” Meryl Streep is predictably amazing as the bigger-than-life Julia Child. The entire time I watched the movie, I marveled at how essentially Julia she seemed to be. I don't understand how anyone can play someone so famous (Julia Child was, after all, very well documented- lots of footage exists of her!) without making it a caricature.

Amy Adams was fine. Her hair was terrible.

I'm sorry if Julie Powell actually had that haircut during 2002 - 2003, when she under the Julie/Julia Project, but it made Amy Adams look like she had come to blows with a lawnmower that was trying to give her a mullet. That's all I'll say about that (except- isn't Julie Powell a brunette??).

I don't know Julie Powell, of course, but her character came off quite whiny. I felt sorry for her sainted husband and even sorrier for her battered kitchen. I never felt sympathy for her, though I immediately fell in love with Julia Child.

I watched the movie with my sister, and it was a perfect chick-flick. Also, both my sister and I cook quite a bit (mostly Korean food- shocker), and it was nice to have the post-theater dissection with someone who knows what a bain-marie is.

Since I've seen the movie, I've been thinking about projects. The Julie/Julia Project was, after all, a self-inflicted (sorry, that sounds cruel- maybe self-motivated?) undertaking that Julie did for herself. (Read the archives of Julie Powell's blog here.)

(I won't say any more about the movie- it's not plot-driven, it's fueled by butter and sometimes jarring cuts between scenes- just watch it, but on a full stomach.)

I've been reading Julie Powell's Julie/Julia Project blog entries for the past two days. Made it from August, inception and plunge into the water, to December of 2002. The first five months, pretty much as full of turmoil and tumult as I would think it should be.

Julie Powell's a funny writer, and I appreciate her take on the making of those French recipes, because I'm sure I would be the same way (urged along by vodka tonics and stress-induced tears, I mean). It almost makes me want to try getting through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." (Well ... if I wasn't such a picky eater, I would do it. But there really is no appropriate substitute for mushrooms, is there? And I do so hate mushrooms. I also dislike lobster and scallops, which Julie Powell's already gotten to multiple times between August and December of 2002!)

I think the blog, more so than the movie, reflects Julie Powell in a better light- perhaps still not a flattering light, but I do like her, unlike her proxy in the film. I'm not blaming Amy Adams ... mostly, I'm blaming the hairstylist and the writers.

Julie Powell mentions this a couple times in passing (well, maybe she mentions it more in her 2003 entries, having gotten there yet), but she attempted to cook a meal entirely from recipes that Laura Esquivel writes about in "Like Water for Chocolate," a lovely book that I happen to own.

I remember those recipes being a bit difficult, involving what seemed like hours and hours of prep work and tons of obscure ingredients, but the fact that Mrs. Powell tried to cook those dishes made me immediately love her. Bless her for trying what I would have taken as a task in futility!

Of course, now I want to try it. Quail with rose petal sauce? Why not? (I also need to watch the movie. I don't know why I haven't.)

I will certainly be picking up a copy of Mrs. Child's book, for a bit of light nighttime reading- hopefully on a stomach full of quail and rose petals.

In the meantime, my right eye has been tormenting me. I'm very Korean in this respect- I avoid doctors, assuming things will clear up if given time and copious amounts of green tea. Well, the eye has been flushed with water, then with saline, then had a hot compress applied to it-- nothing. Remains red and itchy. Optometrist appointment this afternoon, which I'm a bit frightened of. If I'm offline for a while, it's probably because I'm lazy. Or because I only have one eye.


william August 19, 2009 at 7:31 PM  

saw the movie last night. liked it a lot, didn't love it. thought the julia portion was stronger than the julie section. didn't think amy adams was bitchy enough...didn't believe that big fight they had. loved her husband though, because he's hot. and stanley tucci is hot too.

good movie. not great. will have it on in the background often, i think.

jeanny August 20, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

I'm with you. It's like "Prime" or "The Devil Wears Prada"- white noise that I can keep on while cleaning, getting ready, whatever.

The boys were quite good in the movie. I love Stanley Tucci!