In the last few days I basked in the glory that is laying on one's couch and watching a movie, or possibly four. Or possibly four a day for the past four days. Maybe not quite, but you get the picture. Before I married Greg, I was blind to the gaping chasm of a whole in my life: no projector. A few years ago (after a LOT of shopping and scouting and convincing on his part), we invested in a home theatre system. I was dragged to one speaker store after another, and stood, listening. Greg would say, grin on his face, "Can you hear THAT?" And I would smile bleakly and nod. Truthfully I could never really hear the difference from one to the next--my ears don't work like that, I think. Then we would watch one projector demonstration after another. I was supposed to notice the pixels, or the lack of them. The brightness, contrast, blahdy-blahdy-blah.
Here we are a few years later, and despite all of my eye-rolling at the time, I now love our movie set up. And guess what: Brad Pitt is actually saying real, identifiable words in Snatch. That's how fantabulous our speakers are. And last week I ever so snobbily told my parents I didn't really want to watch a movie at their house because their 30" television screen just wasn't going to cut it for me. Ridiculous, I know. Nonetheless, here I am, happy as a clam, watching one movie after the next. And Netflix Instantwatch hasn't encouraged me off my couch, either, in recent months.
Last night we had some friends over for an impromptu dinner (baked ziti and ratatouille) and movie night. We forced them to pick a movie without any imput from us, and the whole event turned into quite an ordeal. There were several rounds of individual selection, mutual weeding-out, and then finally, the choice was made via a blind ballot: Stranger Than Fiction.
I fall in love with this movie over again every time I watch it. My favorite love stories are those where the characters find that a person loves them for exactly who they are, and in turn, they are freed to become the best versions of themselves. (Other all-time favorties along these lines include Punch Drunk Love, Secretary, Amelie, and, of course, French Kiss.) I used to teach a long unit on tragedy in literature, and so I love how Stranger Than Fiction toys endlessly with the nature of comedy and tragedy, and how the two are so narrowly separated--a mere nudge and a comedy reveals itself to be a tragedy, as Harold Crick (played by Will Ferrell) sadly discovers in his tally book.
Professor Hilbert (played by Dustin Hoffman) so reminds me of my favorite lit profs in college: passionately invested, yet aloof to the point of valuing a good piece of writing over a person's life. In all seriousness, Prof. Hilbert asks Harold, "Aren't you relieved to know that you are not a gollum?" The movie seems to honor literature while soflty poking fun at its larger-than-life self importance. I love a good book, and so does this movie.
A final note on two other female characters worth mentioning for their unabashed love of a good snack: Liz Lemon and Ainsley Hayes. Ainsley, perky Republican that she is, knows it is always a good time to eat a muffin or abscond with the last pastry from the conference table. Yesterday I watched the "teamster sandwich" episode of 30 Rock for the first time and marveled at how Liz (and really Tina Fey herself) shoved an entire 6" sandwich into her mouth in one go. No cuts, no edits. Just a whole sandwich. And then a couple episodes later, Liz sits down to a dinner party and notices a bowl in front of her. She says,"I'm not sure if these are chips or potpourri," whereupon she quickly shoves some in her mouth. She then remarks, "These aren't chips," and puts some more in her mouth. That's my kind of girl! So here's to the women who like to eat, even when it would be more feminine or professional not to. Yum, yum!
Rao's Lemon Chicken
5 days ago