The temp dropped dozens of degrees in literally less than an hour. All day it's been gloomy and windy, with hard bits of snow crashing against my piano students' cheeks. (The little dears.) A fire in the fireplace tonight when Husband gets home, with a hot spicy bowl of beans and rice alongside to warm up his innards.
We finally watched Julie and Julia last night... and I was so disappointed. It's all about a girl who vows to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking -- in a year. And blog about it.
The movie is actually a combination of Julie Powell's blog (or book Julie and Julia) and Julia Child's memoir, My Life In France. And where there's Child, it's interesting -- Julia's husband Paul had his reputation savaged by Senator McCarthy's hearings, but there is much about his career and work, as well as the years of effort Julia put into teaching and learning about cooking, as well as a cookbook co-written with two Frenchwomen -- one whose convenient headaches and stomaches made sure she didn't do much of the work.
But when the movie turns to Julie (the blogger), when it's not focusing on her cooking skills, it makes her into a whiny, demanding brat. She actually seems proud of the "meltdowns" she has when things don't go right. And when the real Julia Child doesn't approve of her blog, and refuses to have anything to do with her (more on this in a bit), she has yet another temper tantrum. One of the silliest bits of the movie ensues here, when her husband says soothingly, 'Ah, don't worry about it -- you know the 'real' Julia.' (I.e., the one she's been talking to in her head.)
After the final stomach-gagging scene, wherein Our Heroine gushes, 'Oh Julia, you pulled me out of the mire...you saved me!' I thought hopefully that perhaps the real blogger wasn't like this. She would never be such a narcissistic twit.
Au contraire. The real Julie Powell did indeed do a blog on cooking Julia Child's dishes. She also prided herself on preening, posturing and her glorious potty mouth. Powell's sequel, Cleaving, which just came out this year, is a crowing, back-patting account of an affair she had (no excuses -- hey, a good time is worth it!), while learning how to butcher meat. (I am not making this up. I wish I were.)
Oh by the way, she's still married. The poor guy.
Here's what Julia Child's editor said:
"Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn’t attractive, to me or Julia. She didn’t want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn’t like what she called ‘the flimsies.’ She didn’t suffer fools, if you know what I mean."
I have no idea -- except for the Julia part, and Meryl Streep's fine acting -- why this movie became so popular. It's gotta be the food, which admittedly sounds glorious -- even the boned duck.
Do yourself a favor. Skip the movie. Skip the books. (Julie Powell's, that is.) Find a copy of My Life in France -- it's fascinating, especially for cooks and beginning authors, but makes the post-WWII period much more understandable.
And take a minute to watch Julia Child in action on one of her many cooking tv show reruns, or find a copy of one of her cookbooks. She would be pleased -- and so will you.
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