Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 275 - Julie & Julia Haikus

Day 275.

Wasn't feeling too loquacious today. Thought I'd try my hand at some Julie & Julia haikus. Leave your own in the comments if you think you have a good one.


Woke up this morning,
Watched Julie & Julia.
I wish I were dead.

Is there anything
better than butter? Oh wait,
yeah--lots o' butter.

Started the movie,
Saw Amy Adams' dumb face,
Cried for awhile.
 

That guy bothers me,
'Cuz he is definitely
Not Mark Ruffalo

Meryl Streep is great,
Someone give her an Oscar.
How did she not win?

Infertility
is the saddest thing ever.
Julia Childless.
 

I feel like I am
just reliving the same day
over and over.

Why are you still here?
Reading this cannot be fun.
Don't these jokes get old?

Fuck this shit movie
Fuck fuck fuck fuck ass fuck fuck
Fuck Julie Powell.

Forgive my language,
My mind is slowly going.
Fat check for my shrink.

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "The hen!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 274 - Random Actor Tuesday: Evalyn B. Taucher

Day 274.

Today's Random Actor Tuesday is Evalyn B. Taucher, who plays the Hat-Making Teacher in Julie & Julia.


As we've previously discussed on the L/J&J Project, Julia Child's brief foray into the world of hat-making could have had a disastrous impact on the culinary landscape as we know it today. If mastering the art of French hat-making had even the slightest appeal, Julia never would have taken up cooking, which ultimately would have been a tragedy of epic wasted talent.

But that hypothetical disaster scenario never did happen--and we have Evalyn B. Taucher and her horrible teaching skills to thank for that.


I mean, look at the way this hat-making classroom is set up! Ms. Taucher's in the back, seemingly focused on making her own hat, while Julia is relegated to sitting by herself at what is presumably the dunce's hat-making table. That is no way to run a hat-making class!


Oh yeahhh, Evalyn... teaching a class to your students' backs is really the best way to show people how to make hats. Where did you get your hat-making teacher's license from? University of Colorado - Bowler??

She majored in bonnets with a minor in top hats.

Also, I'd be curious to know if Evalyn Taucher actually made all those hats in the scene. I mean, she is not that accomplished of an actress and it wouldn't be that surprising if she was a real hat-maker (I say this because she is an old lady and I assume that is what old ladies do when they get old). It's more likely that a prop-master/costumer slaved over those hats for months and months, only to have this old hag sweep in at the last second and take all the credit for it. Even more likely that they just bought these hats at a dollar store.


Evalyn Taucher, the actress, does not have many credits on her imdb page. She played the hat-making teacher in Julie & Julia, the "Old Lady" in something called The Perfect Holiday and also various roles in the NWP Sketch Comedy Show. Now, I have no idea what she plays in this sketch show, but I have screen-capped the unembeddable video below for your viewing pleasure.


Now if only she'd wore that costume on the set of Julie & Julia. Then we'd have a real movie.

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "You like hats."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 273 - The Food in Julie & Julia vs. The Food I Eat (pt. 2)

Day 273.

Back on Day 20 of the L/J&J Project, I talked about how torturous it was for me to watch all of the characters in Julie & Julia constantly feast on gourmet cooking, while I was forced to eat the junkiest of junk food.

I would kill to lick Amy Adams' fingers...
Oh, and that raspberry Bavarian cream looks pretty good too.

Well it's been 253 days, and though the food in Julie & Julia hasn't changed at all, I've watched this movie enough times to pick up a thing or two about cooking to make myself a substantial meal. Yes, that's right--I've actually learned how to cook (If it wasn't evident from my chocolate creme pie, aspic and poached egg posts). But now that I have the guidance of both the film itself and Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, how could I possibly go wrong?

Reference materials.

Okay, so I flipped through all the recipes in Mastering and I realized I didn't have any of the fancy schmancy ingredients that Julie and/or Julia might have had in the film. After all, I'm working on a college intern budget here.


After consulting the cookbook's index, I realized I could only make one dish--Julia's famous Hot Dogs & Angel Hair Pasta!


Okay... so I realize that Julia's famous Hot Dogs & Angel Hair Pasta is not a real dish. But I am really, really quite poor and have very, very limited cooking skills. Besides, that was a hearty fucking meal right there. Much better than, say... this...


Oh, fuck you Julie & Julia. I'm doing fine on my own, thank you very much.

The ketchup from the hot dogs lent the pasta an almost spaghetti-sauce-like taste!
Molto Bene!
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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "And went back to bed for several hours."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 272 - Julie & Julia on TV

Day 272.

I can't remember the last time I actually watched Julie & Julia on a television set. Back in the early days of the L/J&J Project, I used to watch it on Netflix Instant and now I usually just play the DVD on my laptop. And I guess I'll occasionally play that shit on my iPhone on a busy day. But when I saw that J&J was airing on Lifetime this evening, I thought I'd try it out and see if a change in scenery would improve the viewing.


Well, for starters, the 2 hour and 3 minute movie was a whopping three hours long now, thanks to commercials, but surprisingly enough, I didn't mind the extra hour. It was actually kind of nice to have some commercial breaks in there to cut up that piece-of-shit movie into somewhat more palatable smaller portions of shit.

This was the first time watching TV that I was actually looking forward to watching commercials. In fact, I audibly groaned whenever Julie & Julia came back on. That Prilosec ad was just getting good!


I also had the privilege of being able to see the cable company-written synopsis of the movie for the first time, which read:
This witty adaptation of Julie Powell's autobiographical book stars Amy Adams as an amateur chef who decides to try out every recipe in a cookbook by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and writes about it in a blog over the course of a year. (Comedy, 123 Mins.)

That's a serviceable synopsis, I suppose. But if it were up to me, I might change a thing or two about it: 
This SHITTY adaptation of SATAN'S BIBLE stars Amy Adams as a PROFESSIONAL BITCH who decides to try out every recipe in a cookbook by Julia Child (THE GODDESS MERYL STREEP) and WIPES HER ASS ON YOUR EYES over the course of a year. (HORROR/TRAGEDY, LIKE, A BILLION Mins.)

 
At least there was an all new episode of Drop Dead Diva to look forward to afterwards. It's the little things that get me through each day.

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "You can teach on television."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 271 - Bloomingdale's

Day 271.

There are a lot of things that bother me about the Cobb Salad Lunch Scene. At the top of that list is the fact that it exists. Julie's friends are pretty much the most insufferable human beings (if you can even call them human beings) in the world, so having to spend 5 minutes with them every day is pretty much the worst torture imaginable.


There's one bit that particularly annoys me, though--when Julie's friend Regina (Casey Wilson) goes on her rant about assistants and pantyhose and Cassie (Vanessa Ferlito) suggests Bloomingdale's:
Regina: I know. Yesterday I said to Allison, "Go to the pharmacy, get me a pair of black pantyhose." She came back and said, "They didn't have any." I said, "Did you try another pharmacy?" I mean, really.
Cassie: Or Bloomingdale's. What's wrong with trying Bloomingdale's?

Hmmm, I guess that's a valid question, Cassie. What is wrong with trying Bloomingdale's?


YOU JUST GOT HURRICANE IRENE'D!!!

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "Oh, wow. Oh, oh, that is so great, Cassie."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 270 - Guide to Meeting Celebrity Athletes

Day 270.

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project's Official 
Guide to Meeting Celebrity Athletes

Step 1: Come up with a stupid idea/stunt for a blog. Use the gimmicky-est premise you can think of... say like... you will watch the same movie every day for a year. Something really dumb like that--I'm just spitballin' here.

Step 2: Execute stupid idea blog. This is huge. Anyone can have a stupid idea, but only the truly insane will follow through. Stick with it, no matter what a panel of psychological experts tell you.

Step 3: Wait until someone hires you based solely off reading your stupid idea blog. If you're lucky, that someone will be Heat Advertising.

Step 4: Volunteer your services for a commercial shoot. Do whatever you can to help out. Pretend to be as sane as possible.

Step 5: Meet the highest scoring American soccer player in World Cup history, Landon Donovan, and the 2008 and 2009 Cy Young award-winning pitcher, Tim Linceum.

From left to right: Stunt blogger Lawrence Dai, L.A. Galaxy forward Landon Donovan,
Meryl Streep/Julia Child's head crudely photoshopped over the other intern,
San Francisco Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

Step 6: Marvel at your good fortune.

Step 7: Watch Julie & Julia for the 270th time.

Step 8: Ask yourself if it was worth it.

Step 9: ???

Step 10: Profit.

The Set.
The Crew.
The Talent.
The Slate.

I asked both Landon and Tim if either of them had ever seen the movie Julie & Julia, to which they responded "Uhhhh, will somebody get this guy out of here? His eye keeps twitching and it smells like he's soiled himself."

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "Soon, Simca and I will be famous."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 269 - Gloves

Day 269.

You may not believe me, but there are a lot of hidden symbols and allusions in the film Julie & Julia (see figs. below).


Fig. 1 - J&J


Fig. 2 - MJ


Fig. 3 - O. J. 

What does it all mean? Is Julia Child a child molester? Or maybe she was acquitted of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. What is the significance of this single glove motif? We may never know for sure.

But I bet you anything that this fucker has something to do with it.
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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "The hand, the other hand, you must protect it."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 268 - Director's Commentary Commentary (pt 4.)

Day 268.

It's been awhile since the last segment of my Director's Commentary Commentary for Julie & Julia (Parts 1 and 2 found here and here, respectively), so I figured that today I'd rev up the 'ol DVD special features once again and see how much Nora Ephron had to say from minutes 30:00 to 40:00. Spoiler alert: not much.


***

Nora Ephron's Director's Commentary in bold.  
My Director's Commentary Commentary in italics.
 

I do think that you have a… amazing imaginary relationship with people whose books you cook from, if you’re a cook like me and you, kind of get into the serial monogamy of cooking, where you fall in love with one cookbook and stay with it for a few months and then move on to another. You always kind of wonder what the person who wrote it is like and whether they’d like to come to dinner and what you would be cooking them and… its very easy to be imagining all that for Julia… Julie.

More fodder for the those in the "The-real-Julie Powell-isn't-actually-a-sad-crazy-woman-it's-actually-Nora-Ephron-channeling-her-thoughts-through-the-character-of-'Julie-Powell'" camp. A word of advice to those people: your camp name is too wordy. Rename your camp. I do sympathize with Nora when she misspeaks and says "Julia" instead of "Julie." I do it all the time.


Once again, this is Paris and then… this is our rendition of the Cordon Bleu cooking school that Julia went to which we had many, many pictures of and Mark Ricker, our production designer, did an amazing job of… recreating. 

Took her a while to come up with that last word, "recreating." I think she may have had a stroke in the interim.


These are… this is one of my favorite costumes, the costume that Madame Brassart is wearing that Ann Roth, of course, designed. 

Trivia on Ann Roth's IMDB? "Noted for the innovative ways she costumes hookers and conartist characters." Fuck you, Madame Brassart, you goddamn hooker conartist!

The woman playing Madame Brassart is Joan Juliet Buck, who’s an editor at Vogue, and whom I’ve known for years and who lived—grew up in Paris and I just emailed her one day and I asked her if she could act and she emailed back yes. And she came in and read for three parts, one bigger than the next, and we gave her the biggest one. I think she’s an amazing actor.

1. Just name-drop more, Nora Ephron. Oh, she's an editor at Vogue? Oh, you've known her for years? Oh, I don't give a shit? 2. This is apparently how a major director casts her films--she emails people and asks them if they can act. When they reply, she takes their word for it. "Hey Chris Messina, can you act?" "No." "Well, do you think you could do a really shitty Mark Ruffalo impression?" "Yes." "You're hired!"


George Bartenieff is the actor who plays Chef Max Bugnard, who was a very well-known chef and cooking teacher who… took a real interest in Julia. They became very involved in each others' liveshe was really her mentor—he really believed in her. And George, who’s a wonderful New York actor… in these scenes looked exactly like the original teacher, who is in fact on the back of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia’s masterpiece.

Am I picking up on some weird sexual overtones in your speech, Nora? Sounds to me like it sounds to you that Julia and Chef Max Bugnard did the dirty. Stuffed a few chickens, if ya know what I mean. Someone (not me) should look into this. Oh and Nora's wrong--that guy looks exactly like Colonel Sanders.



This scene, you truly believe that Meryl is… 6’2”. She’s so Julia in this.

So, according to Ephron, being "so Julia" means that you really look like you are 6'2". I guess by her standards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey and Will Smith are also very "Julia."


This was one of those scenes that… I’m sure the equivalent for… for male directors is an automobile race or something. This is what this felt like for me—14 people making omelets simultaneously… with, on real… on a real stove. 

This actually cracked me up. Nora Ephron is a sexist. "Oh, I'm so feminine and feeble--I could never direct a big car chase sequence." Also, she doesn't say car chase. She says "automobile race." Haha, automobile. What is she, 70 years old?


And Meryl just completely nailing the flipping of that omelet.

Nailed it!


This is almost word for word, a letter that Julia Child wrote when she had, when she just began… her… time at Cordon Bleu, it’s—she just fell so deeply in love with this. It was a person who had never known her entire life what she wanted to do and suddenly, there it was.

That's actually kind of nice. I have nothing snarky to say about that.


Julia and Paul very often had no heat and they used to wear their little Chinese quilted jackets.

That's fucking racist. As a Chinese American, I take great offense to that. *takes off quilted jacket, throws it on the ground in fit of rage*


And this is the famous mortar and pestle that Julia and Paul actually found in the flea market and moved with them to Cambridge and… is one of the only things that isn’t in the Julia Child kitchen in the Smithsonian. But its in our Julia Child kitchen in the Smithsonian as you will see.

Do you know what else isn't in your Julia Child kitchen in the Smithsonian? Me, giving a shit (on the other hand, me, taking a shit on your Julia Child kitchen in the Smithsonian is still a viable option).


Valentine’s Day was a huge holiday for the Childs and these little hearts are taken from one of their Valentine’s Day postcards that they sent out, pictures of themselves with little red hearts pinned to themselves. They sent these out almost every year and we replicate a couple of them later in the movie.

Thanks for telling us what's going to happen later in the movie. It's not like we're going to watch this whole fucking movie with your awful director's commentary. OH WAIT.

It’s very well known that Julia and Paul were in the OSS and they are often described as spies, but it seems to me that… that they were not really spies. That they had access to… that they worked in intelligence and they had access to classified material, but really I think Julia was a clerk, and its where she learned her fantastic organizational skills that came in so handy when… when she became… obsessed with food.

So the sole reason Julie & Julia isn't a badass James Bond-style spy thriller is because Nora Ephron didn't think Julia and Paul were really spies. Someone get a real (read: male) director on the phone. Julia Child: Ghost Protocol is just begging to be made (also, please don't misconstrue that as a sexist statement--I'm only following the rules Nora had established previously in her barely coherent director's commentary).


And once again, this is a toast that Paul Child gave to Julia.

Nice.



And this, is word for word, a letter that Paul Child wrote to his brother about… his remarkable wife.

So much letter-writing in this movie. I guess if I was married to Julia Child, I'd probably write a lot of letters too. "Dear brother, my wife is a giant who crushes me in bed
. At least she can cook."


I would never have dared to write the end of this scene.

Ms. Ephron is, of course, referring to the "These things are as hot as a stiff cock" line. If she had written it, I probably would have called her out awkwardly inserting another crazy Ephronism into the script, but apparently this was a legit J.C. quote. That makes it 20x better.


That line [the stiff cock line] is quoted… in the biography of Julia that… Julie Powell is reading in that scene, Appetite for Life. And interestingly, when Julia put it into her own book, My Life in France, when she was much older, she left that last line out. I think she’d gotten kind of—a little more puritanical in her old age and she just didn’t want to cop to the fact that that line had come out of her mouth.

What Nora meant to say: "I think she'd gotten kind of--a little more puritanical in her old age and she just didn't want to cop to the fact that that stiff cock had came into her mouth."

Wait, what? Did he really just say that?

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Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "Ta-da!"