On The Couch #5: Julie & Julia

I need to apologize to anyone who ever watches a movie with me that has location shoots in any places that mean anything to me. There we’ll be, quietly watching a movie together, like say Julie & Julia, and a character gets off the subway at 45 Road/Courthouse Square in Queens and I yell out “Hey! That’s Long Island City!” This is followed by confused silence from my movie-watching companions. “That’s grandma’s old building in the background; the red brick one! And there’s the diner!” Which is usually given the sarcastic response of “Great…” or the non-sarcastic response of “Uh huh, so?” Amy Adams’ Julie Powell gets on and off that subway stop a few times in Julie & Julia, so…sorry.

-“Look! It’s Long Island City!”
-“Um, great.”

I thought Julie & Julia was quite good. Amy Adams plays Julie Powell, who starts a blog about going through every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There are 524 recipes in the book and she gives herself a deadline of 1 year, so she has her work cut out for her. She’s motivated by her dissatisfaction with her job and and of her apartment in Queens. I get the job bit; that job looked torturous. But Queens? Come on. She acts like it’s Staten Island.

Meryl Streep was excellent as Julia Child. This performance has me circling her name in any Oscar pool I’m in this year. The two storylines dovetail well together, often playing off the same themes, and, as this is a movie about one person writing the same cookbook the other is reading, the same recipes.

The book that started it all.
But even more so than Streep, how awesome in Stanley Tucci? In this movie, he plays Julia Child’s husband Paul. He’s great here, but what I really mean is how awesome is her in every movie? He wins the Tuesday Night Movies J.K. Simmons Award for Making Whatever Movie He’s in Better. So congratulations, Stanley. You deserve it.

A toast…to Tucci.

Worst part of the movie? Amy Adams’s haircut. I get it. The filmmakers don’t want her to be glamorous Amy Adams, they want her to be everyday woman Julie Powell. But man, that was one unflattering haircut. Then I think about it some more and remember how bad my hair looked in 2002 and 2003 and I really get it. They weren’t trying to make Amy Adams look dumpy. They were commenting on how ugly hairstyles were in the early part of the last decade. Well played Nora Ephron.

The blu-ray for Julie & Julia is packed with content, maybe too much content. The cooking videos with Julia Child were very cool, spotlighting Julia’s take on recipes that were used in the movie, but the behind-the-scenes featurette on the movie was way too long. I say this mainly because I couldn’t sit through the whole thing. I don’t know how much more I had left to go with it, but I think I was about 20 minutes in and the end looked far off.

Someone once asked if this blog was inspired by watching Julie & Julia and my answer was “Huh?” At the time, the only things I knew about the movie was that Meryl Streep was receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Julia Child, and that Amy Adams played a woman who was going through all the recipes in Julia Childs’ cookbook. “And she blogs about it,” I was told. Oh. Right. No, this blog wasn’t inspired by Julie & Julia. But it did inspire an idea I had for a continuation of this blog in 2011. It would be much more challenging than my 52 movies in the theater and 52 movies at home challenge, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a good idea. Before I reveal on how I want to make this harder for myself, maybe I get through this current challenge first. So, more to come on that on a later date…maybe.