julie & julia + up in the air

Last night I dreamt that I was dreaming.  Not sure where we are, but there’s an open quad area, perhaps a fountain somewhere.  And there are church people around, it almost reminds me of going to Balboa Park.  Then I tell them about the dream I had.  It’s pretty much the end scene of Saving Private Ryan, but I’m in it.  So we’re sniping attacking German soldiers from the church bell tower, and Tom Hanks is running around shooting on the ground.  This may have been the first time that this has happened, I was dreaming in a dream and remembering it.  Then we’re in this comic book/collectible store.  It’s very much like the old Sunshine Comics in National City.  But we’re there passing through and I owe them money for stuff I got on credit, and not credit plastic.  So I pay that, and Damielle’s with me, the guy behind the cash register mentions something about an internet usage fee, that’s news to me.  I leave without paying for that.  Then we’re in a boom town, it’s deserted and we’re ready to go on some old west tour.  But this town wasn’t filled with cowboys or prospectors, it’s one of the town in Robotech’s The New Generation.  So in the blacksmith shop is a broken down Cyclone motorcycle and the remains of an Alpha Fighter.

This weekend was nice, despite, or in spite, of the rain.  I sang for praise, haven’t done that in a while.  And I got Daniel to finally come out to Hollywood.  Then the ever fulfilling potluck at the first of the month.  The usual socializing.  Afterwards we went to Julia’s and watching Young at Heart, after several attempts to get people to watch this movie it finally happened.  Glad everyone was in to it.  Emily came as the movie’s tone shifted so her opinion of the movie may not be what we share collectively.  When the movie finished we played some new game… Quel?  It’s an amped up version of Cranium, the “stunts” are more ridiculous.  Finishing the game it was then dinner time, so we met up with Jeremy, Amanda, Susan and Sal at Alcove.  Next was another movie at Sal’s, but for me I went home.

This weekend I managed to watch Julie & Julia.  Not a bad movie.  Not sure I know why Meryl Streep is nominated for best Actress?  When Amy Adams was more central to the movie as a whole.  The movie is basically a summation of two books, one being about how Julia Child got in to cooking while living in Europe post WWII, which in and of itself is a very heart warming story.  She’s new to France and while her husband is working she wants to keep occupied, after trying several things she ends up cooking at the famous Le Cordon Bleu and graduating then goes on after several tries to publish a cook book.
This is intertwined with Julie Powell’s similar struggles in the present day America.  Cooking is her escape and one day she decides to blog about going through Child’s book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, by cooking each recipe in one year.  By taking the leaps in time and space the similarities between the two women are shown.  Both struggle, both persevere and both accomplish their goals.  What impresses me most about this movie is that there’s no real bad guy, there’s no “shadow” that can be mounted on a poster of good vs evil.  The bad guy is self doubt and to an extent life.  Both women are in a state of uncertainty and flux, but through that situation they make the best of it and it’s not easy, but they keep at it for year(s) and then their hard work is rewarded.  That to me is a wonderful message.  Also what’s endearing about this movie is Child’s story, she stays the same upbeat quirky person throughout, and she was living before the sexual revolution.  Powell’s story is more relate-able since it’s about a modern woman.  And the way you think the movie will end, is not how it ends, because that’s how life is.  This movie should’ve gotten more nominations.

Now on to Up In The Air.  This is billed as the oscar contender movie.  I don’t see it.  The movie is about George Clooney in a suit, yes we all know that he wears suits quite awesomely (Micheal Clayton).  Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a guy who’s job it is to fly around the country and fire people, because apparently bosses can’t fire their own peoples.  His goal is to accumulate the record number of flyer miles to earn some gold card.  Bingham’s life doesn’t leave much room for meaningful relationships or interactions, but it has made him very good at reading people and grabbing their attention right away.  In walks the “love interest” Vera Farmiga.  They strike it up in an airport bar and get a room together, and they keep their relationship casual.  Bingham returns to work headquarters to find a new comer Natalie, and she’s come up with a way that makes Bingham’s life defunct.  Web conferencing to fire people, not more flying.  So in the spirit of the Odd Couple, Bingham and Natalie are forced to work together.  She has no experience firing people, and Bingham has to get used to embracing technology and changing times.  There are some tense and emotional scenes and the two of them fly around and fire people.
On one hand you have Bingham who’s rather given up on life, and then you have Natalie who wants to take the bull by the horns, can they learn from eachother?
The movie is a good movie, again no real bad guy, the antagonist of the movie is probably self-isolation and stubborn-ness, to an extent it’s also naivety.  All the main characters in this movie are very self centered.  Oh, the movie also have a very indie feel to it.  I have to give it up for Jason Reitman though, he didn’t do another comedy, loved Thank You For Smoking and enjoyed Juno.  So with Up In The Air he decided to try something new.  I can’t blame him for that, but I think I can blame all the publicity and marketing promoting the crap out of this movie and building it up so much that nothing I could’ve seen would’ve lived up to the expectations.

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