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5th January
2010
written by Steph
Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

I’m pretty sure Tony thought there had been some kind of terrible mistake with our Netflix when Julie & Julia showed up in our mailbox.  What Tony always fails to recognize is twofold: 1) I like watching crappy movies; 2) Just because I don’t make him see something in the theater doesn’t mean I’m not going to rent it when it comes out… in fact, I’m probably waiting for it to come out on dvd so I can do just that!  Given that I love food and cooking as much as I do, it really should have been a no brainer that this movie was going to make an appearance in our home sooner or later. And what can I say?  I actually liked this movie for the most part!  It’s not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, but based on most of the reviews that came out when it was first released, I expected it to be fairly horrific, especially the parts featuring Julie Powell.  Instead, I found this a pretty pleasant movie that was soothing and charming, if not challenging and provocative.  I enjoyed Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child (then again, I do have a bit of a girl crush on Ms. Streep) and loved when Jane Lynch popped up as Julia’s sister (again, another girl crush there), I liked seeing all of the kitchen antics that took place for both women, and I adored the little journey into the past and overseas to Paris that we got to take, even if now I’m trying to figure out when we can pack our bags and move to the city of lights. I do think the Julia storyline was more engaging and less herky-jerky than the Julie storyline, but I honestly didn’t think the modern day storyline was a cinematic travesty or anything like that.  Would I want to be BFFs with Julie Powell?  Not especially, but despite whatever flaws she may have as a person (some that I take huge issues with), I will say there were parts of her story that I understood and appreciated.  I know what it’s like to work at a job you don’t find particularly fulfilling and suspect may be gradually stealing your soul, and I know what it’s like to search for the thing that gets you up in the morning. And also like Powell, I’ve found my time blogging immensely rewarding, even if I tend to focus on books just a bit more than I do cooking.  Also, despite whatever I (or even Julia) might think of Julie Powell, you’ve got to give the woman her due for at least having some hand in this huge Julia Child renaissance we’ve been seeing the last year or so. And of course, what we see on screen is only a fraction of the real woman, just a part of her story, just as there was clearly more to Julia Child than could possibly be conveyed in 2 hours; this movie, though entertaining, doesn't make me an expert on either woman. [As an aside, though, I would like to say that I find it creepy that both Julie Powell's book as well as Julia Child's memoir are now being sold with movie tie-in covers.  I get that this is common marketing for most books that have been turned into films, but it really bothers me in this instance because the source material is non-fiction.  If I wrote a memoir that was turned into a movie, I think I would be fairly disconcerted if some actress's face was on the cover of MY story... Why not put a picture of Julia Child herself on her memoir cover?  Why a picture of Meryl Streep as Julia Child?  That's weird, right?] However, in the end, renting this dvd might just mean we have half a chance of finally poaching an egg successfully in the future.  We also learned that we had been making scrambled eggs wrong all this time; last night for dinner we followed the directions per Mark Peel in the video below and they were, bar none, the best scrambled eggs I've ever had (never mind made)!  If that’s not worth the price of a rental, I don’t know what is! Rating: 3.5 out of 5 YouTube Preview Image

18 Comments

  1. 01/05/2010

    Oh too funny — I never thought of this movie being a “how to” video 🙂 I rather enjoyed it, and I don’t go to the movies that often. I absolutely loved Meryl Streep as Julia and am considering purchasing the movie for that reason alone!

  2. 01/05/2010

    They do look great! But I could never make eggs without taking out the chalaza first!

  3. 01/05/2010

    I agree that this movie has it’s good points. I loved Julie Powell’s poor husband, for one! Movie tie-in covers are one of my pet peeves – I think they are usually in bad taste, and I like to keep my movies and my books a little farther appart than that – especially when the movie version isn’t even a good representation of the book!! Blah. 🙂

  4. 01/05/2010

    Great review! I loved your honest about what you liked and didn’t like about the movie. I have yet to see it, but it is on my list of movies to rent. Thanks for the idea of using the movie as a how-to! Cheers!!

  5. 01/05/2010

    I didn’t know about the memoir tie-in cover. I don’t like tie-in covers, but that just bad taste. They’re also selling Child’s cookbook with either a tie-in cover or a half cover that says this cookbook is covered in “Julie & Julia,” but at least you can remove that.

    I just watched this movie about a week ago and liked it. I wished there had been more scenes about Julia Child and less about Julie Powell.

  6. 01/05/2010

    @ Molly: I think parts of this movie could also be “how not to”! The parts of instruction that I found most helpful were really found in the special features section of the dvd rather than the movie proper, but still, there was inspiration to be found!
     
    @ rhapsody: I think you could still remove the chalaza, as I don’t think the critical part was cracking the eggs directly into the pan (which I admit I do all the time because I love runny yolks/sunnyside up), but rather that you don’t overmix the eggs. You just want to softly mix the whites and yolk together, still leaving bits that aren’t incorporated rather than vigorously beating them together. We also cooked ours a tad longer than Peel does because soupy eggs do not really appeal to me!
     
    @ Sarah: I especially felt bad for her husband knowing what I do now about Powell – namely that she has cheated on her husband MANY times (something she talks extensively about in her newest book).
    And I’m not a fan of movie tie-in covers either, but here it feels particularly egregious!
    &nsbp;
    @ Nadia: It’s rare that we rent a movie that is truly abysmal and has nothing worthwhile about it (in those cases we generally don’t make it the whole way through!). This movie doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t, which makes it easier to like, I think!
     
    @ Christina: I saw the cookbook movie tie-in thing too, which disturbed me as well, but then less so because it was removable as you point out. Still, I would hope that if someone saw the movie they would remember that they wanted to pick up Julia Child’s cookbook, since she’s only mentioned a gazillion times. If not, then I fear they won’t have much success with any of her recipes!

  7. 01/05/2010

    I actually checked this book our of the library when it was first released a few years ago. I thought it was pretty good, and back at that time, I knew next to nothing about blogging. I saw the movie with a friend when it came out, and thought that overall, it was pretty good. I think I also enjoyed Julia’s portions better than Julie’s, but both kept me entertained. Although I did feel a little bit sorry for Julie’s husband…she seemed to treat him a kind of badly. After reading about her new memoir I see I wasn’t wrong about her attitude towards her husband!

  8. 01/05/2010

    We really thought this was a fun movie. It made me laugh and roar at times, and that was what I needed….LOL

  9. 01/05/2010

    I found myself really hating Julie Powell. Although yes, as a blogger, I enjoy it. She was way to full of herself.

    But then, I just wanted to see more of Julia Child. She is so inspiring!!

  10. 01/06/2010

    @ zibilee: I’ve spent some time going through the archives of the original Julie/Julia blog project at Salon as they’re still up and I think they’re quite fun – though I admit I just skip to the parts about cooking and ignore the rest! I think that will be enough for me – no need to pick up the book after both the blog & the movie.
     
    @ diane: Sometimes a fun movie that makes you laugh is all you can ask for!
     
    @ Rebecca: Basing on the character in the movie, I didn’t really hate Julie. I agree that she was full of herself and was clearly pretty selfish, but perhaps I was more sympathetic because I felt at times like I knew what she was going through, what it feels like to be lost. It doesn’t excuse her behavior at times (and I think the movie probably gives a tamed down version of what really happened), but I felt I could understand her motivations and her craziness, at least.

  11. 01/06/2010

    I loved the parts of this movie about Julia Child. I tried to read Julie Powell’s book and just could not finish it, but I think it was smart of whoever did the casting to put Amy Adams in that part. She was…less unlikeable that way. I do agree with you that there were some things about Powell’s story I could identify with, like the unfulfilling day job. I also love the part where she gets her first comment on her blog. I remember that feeling completely: somebody hears me!

    I have to go make scrambled eggs now.

  12. 01/06/2010

    I share your girl crush, and loved the Julia parts of the film. I want to throw a Valentine’s Day party this year, and have everyone wear cutout hearts upon their chest.

    Won’t own and will only begrudgingly read books with movie tie-in covers. Such a snob!

    Love this post. And tell the husband that more than one can manage the cue if there are strong objections to the mail arrivals. 🙂

  13. 01/06/2010

    I’m not a foodie at all, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this one, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. Everyone I talked to so far says it was fun. I love Meryl Streep too, which would make it even more worthwhile!

  14. 01/07/2010

    @ Priscilla: I agree that it’s pretty impossible to hate Amy Adams, no matter who she’s playing!
    I hope the scrambled eggs work out for you! Yum! I’m craving them again now myself…
     
    @ Frances: That is a Valentine’s Day party I would like to attend – perhaps there will be an influx of similarly themed parties… perhaps one in this very apartment! 😉
    I do own a few movie tie-in covers, but that is because I do most of my book shopping at the used bookstore where the old “beggars can’t be choosers” comes into play. If I really love a book though, only a truly decadent edition will do!
    Oh, and Tony isn’t really a pain about our Netflix – he’s so easy going he’ll pretty much watch whatever I rent… which works for me! 😉
     
    @ Dorothy: I don’t think you have to be a hardcore foodie to enjoy this one – I have friends who don’t cook at all (and have no real interest in it) who still though this was a fun one. And really, with Meryl Streep, it’s hard to go wrong!

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie (as did my boyfriend) but mainly the Julia Child parts.

    I received a copy of My Life in France with the movie tie-in cover and I found it a bit … off but I can completely understand why the publisher is exploiting the success of the movie, whether I agree with the marketing or not it is sound business sense.

  16. 01/08/2010

    Since I couldn’t stand the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and actually enjoyed it. That was helped by several things:

    – I share your girl crushes
    – Julie Powell being played by cute Amy Adams and comes across as WAY more personable in the movie than she does in the book
    – half the movie is based on Julia Child’s memoir
    – even though I’m not a foodie, I read the book expecting there to be more discussion about the food, and the movie had that while the book was more about Julie’s personal issues and political rants

    🙂

  17. 01/08/2010

    @ Claire: I would be interested in reading Child’s memoir after having seen the movie, but if I were going to own a copy, I’d rather not have the movie tie-in version! Of course, for free, who’d complain? 😉
     
    @ Lesley: I heard that the book had a lot of Powell’s political ranting – I’ve checked out her blog and expected there would be bits of that on there but it really tended to focus more on the food, which I appreciated. After having perused her site and having seen the movie, that’s about all the Julie Powell I’d like in my life!

  18. 01/22/2010

    I loved Julia Child in this movie and thought Julia Powell was not someone I’d ever want to be friends with. Ugh. I thought her parts were cringe worth in how treated her husband, but I loved everything about Julia Child! Now THAT was fascinating!

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