Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 125 - Book vs. Movie (pt. 1)

Day 125.

So today, I decided to flip to a random page of the book Julie & Julia while I was watching the movie Julie & Julia. Crazy, I know. And it just so happened that the page I opened to contained the epic aspic-related duck boning fight between Julie and her husband. You know the one.

I never understood what this gesture meant. Just chalked it up to cultural differences.
(her culture being "insane bitch")

It's pretty much Julie at her worst. And that's really saying something, considering that she isn't the most likable gal even at her best. The scene in the film progresses as follows:
Julie: What if I don't make it to my deadline, Eric? I'll have wasted a whole year of my life. I used to be thin and now I'm getting fat.
Eric: Fat?
Julie: On top of which, I have to bone a duck.
Eric: When?
Julie: At some point. Can you even conceive of boning a duck?
Eric: No, I can't.
Julie: Of course you can't.
Unbearable, right? Amy Adams, one of the most charismatic actresses in the biz, manages to make the character of Julie Powell one of the most detestable figures in cinematic history, right up there with Shooter McGavin of Happy Gilmore fame and Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile.

This guy is the fucking pope compared to Julie Powell.

But hey, maybe Julie's perceived irritability and obnoxious qualities are just shortcomings on Nora Ephron's part. Perhaps she took liberties with how the actual Julie Powell wrote the interaction and embellished her movie script with ridiculous over-the-top dialogue that no actual person would ever say. Or maybe she just lifted it straight from Julie Powell's book...
Julie: "I'll have turned myself into a whale for nothing. I'll have wasted a year of my life! Dammit. Goddammit! GOD. DAMN. IT!"
Over the years, Eric has developed the defensive tactic of selective hearing. I've seen this kind of evolution before--my father has the same skill. The benefits of this are obvious--much less time wasted in attending to every fleeting hysterical fit his wife indulges in. I, however, have in response mastered a technique of incremental amplification that has proven most effective in breaking down his defenses. And once he is roused to a reaction, he is at a distinct disadvantage, as he has not heard much of my rant and therefore cannot accurately judge what piece of it he should best respond to in order to defuse it. Plus, because he was the one not listening to me, I gain the moral high ground. Darwinism at work, my friends.
Eric: "You won't waste it. I won't let you."
Julie: "So you do think I'm fat, then. Is it that bad?" (See?)

Eric: "What? No! You're going to make it. How many recipes have you made?"

Julie: "One hundred and thirty-six. One thirty-eight after tonight."

Eric: "See? You're more than a quarter of the way done. You're golden!"

Julie: "No, no no. I have aspics. I have to bone a whole duck. Can you even conceive of boning a duck? Of course you can't. Your brain's too consumed with the NewsHour and FreeCell to waste time on something just because it's of all-consuming importance to your wife."
From Julie Powell's Julie and Julia, pgs. 151-152

Yes, that's actually how it appears in the book. And judging from this one page, Julie Powell really does seem like an awful, calculating self-absorbed bitch. I mean, don't get me wrong--there are definitely moments of self-deprecation and the author being aware of her bitchy tendencies, but even though we're supposed to be rooting for Julie here, I can't help but despise her.

I mean, I never thought I'd say this, but Nora Ephron did the actual Julie a huge favor by cutting all of that awful dialogue down to the short exchange that occurs in the film. And Amy Adams played it well enough, as some kind of loopy crazy person, as opposed to a straight-faced sociopath.

Gahhh, I don't even know what to think anymore. Is it possible that I hate Julie Powell more than I had previously thought? Is it inevitable that the Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project is just going to slowly turn into an all-out Julie Powell hate blog? Greheawew;lkjv;jklrf. No words can contain my rage. In fact, my current emotional state is probably best illustrated in the photo below.

I think I finally get you, NMR.

Remember, tomorrow's the last day you can vote for your March Madness Champion of Best Supporting Characters in Julie & Julia! Email your choice to!


Julie & Julia Quote of the Day: "Did you put something down the sink?"


  1. Wowie wow wow wotta catch!

  2. well ...
    Big huff.
    and I'd just like to point out that you can't just pick up a random section of a book and judge.
    You really need to read the book cover to cover. Maybe get the audio book so that you could listen to the book and watch the movie at the same time??

  3. I like the 'compare the book to the movie' idea. You should do this more often :)

  4. Aspic! Aspic! The onions were only the beginning...

  5. I think it's only right to admit here, of all places, that I'm rewarding myself for doing my dreary reading for class tomorrow by (finally) watching Julie and Julia in ten minute increments. I've been reading this blog since the early days and haven't seen the movie until now. It's time.

  6. I've watched this movie maybe 5 times and I want to kill myself each time Julie Powell is on the screen. How you've done this 125 times defies physics.

    Well done Lawrence. Well done.

  7. I don't know that I'd take excerpts directly from her book...that's like poking the lawsuit bear, isn't it?

  8. That's preposterous Meghan, everyone knows Bears can't be lawyers

  9. don't you oppress me!

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