Marshall & Julie: Day 11

7 08 2010

Only three entries left in “The Marshall & Julie Project,” so give it a shot and catch the fad while it’s still going on.  I know it looks long, but prove everyone who says Americans have no attention spans wrong!

As always, comments appreciated.

Day 11: “Flaming Crepes!” / “Flaming Crap!”

Fatigue is natural … at least I think. It is for the Powells and I. Julie’s husband institutes “Eric’s Spicy Thursdays,” a respite from Julia Child’s very sophisticated cooking. They are both Texans (heck yes!) and crave a little more spice in their diet than the French palette favors.

The Spicy Thursday reminds me of a gloomy, rainy day this January. I had been cramming in Oscar movie after Oscar movie for months, and there was still so much more to see. I was leaving for Argentina for three weeks in three days, so there was little time to see whatever major players were left.

But fatigue set in, and when I was headed to the movies that dreary day with my friend Laura, I suddenly didn’t want to see anything that I was meant to take seriously. My thoughts drifted away from the art house theater and towards AMC Studio 30, the theater in town that always seems to have everything. I said, “I don’t want to see anything good today; let’s see something that’s total crap.” She went along with it, and we plopped down for “Did You Hear About The Morgans?”

We often can’t tell flaming crap from flaming crap, but I’ve found, at least speaking cinematically, that there are two types of flaming crap. There’s flaming crap that knows that it’s flaming crap and tries to make the sparks fly a little higher. Then there’s the flaming crap that doesn’t know that it’s flaming crap, taking itself for the three-course meal that would later become the flaming crap.

Guess what kind of flaming crap this movie was.

In my review I wrote, “You don’t even have to see a movie to be more entertained than this at your theater. I’d recommend watching the ICEEs mix.” OK, I was feeling a little hostile then, but I still can’t believe that when I go see a movie that I know is going to be flaming crap, I’m surprised when it turns out to be flaming crap. So while it turned out to be a drastic change of pace, it was hardly refreshing or welcome.

Julie enters the world of crepes, which she has under control at first yet falls into some frustration later. She nails them in one word: unpredictable. Some are easy; others, hard. Boy, crepes sure are a whole lot like movies! Unless you are dealing with an incredibly accomplished director nowadays, and I’m talking Spielberg, Scorsese, Tarantino, and Nolan, it’s impossible to really KNOW that a movie is going to be good. You could have seen everything in the trailer. Or maybe the script is awful. Maybe you’ve seen something just like it. Maybe the direction is whack. There’s so much that can go wrong, and it’s become increasingly rare to simply sit down and know that you are in for something good.

We also see the root of Julie’s obsession with David Strathairn, something that you are bound to notice if you read her for over ten minutes. As a college-aged student working in a theater, she fell prey to his dashing good looks and began plans to win him over with her cooking. She makes a Spiced Pecan Cake that he tries at a party and loves, but he doesn’t think twice about its maker. So as a thirtieth birthday present, Eric takes her to see the star in a Broadway show, for which Julie cooks a Martha Stewart recipe to impress her secret crush. Yet when she runs into him later on the street, she doesn’t attempt to reintroduce herself because she’s reminded of the happiness she and her husband can have. Can I cue a big “awwww” from the audience?

I know I said I have very little stories to share about cooking, but Julie’s David Strathairn-motivated cooking reminded me of a story from the Dark Ages … middle school. It was Valentine’s Day, better known to me as Singles Awareness Day, and I did have a bit of a crush. On some perhaps misguided advice, I decided to make a gesture to show my interest. Since I unload the dishwasher at my house, I happened to know that we had a heart-shaped pan. So my plan was to make a giant cookie cake in that pan and leave it in her locker. With a little help from my dad, I baked the cookie the night before and made sure to get to school early to beat her.

Here’s how it went down: she got to school, saw the cookie, thanked me briefly, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day giving away the entire giant cookie to everyone else in the grade. I’d get compliments from friends all day about how tasty it was. A lot of the other girls told me how sweet it was, which didn’t mean anything unless it came from her. At the end of the day, she sent two of her friends to remind me that we weren’t dating and to inform me that she wasn’t interested in me at all. And to add insult to injury, she didn’t even give me the pan back.

(This person probably wouldn’t even remember me without the glorious invention of Facebook, so I don’t think she will be mad that I’m telling this story. As Henry Miller said, “The best way to get over a girl is to turn her into literature.”)

And finally, Julie cooks livers, which she considers to be sexy. She also claims that cooking is sexy. So that got me wondering, is watching movies sexy? Moreover, is blogging sexy?

I’m going to answer both of those with a resounding “no.” Sorry, but I don’t think anyone is going to argue with me that sitting in a dimly-lit room, disengaging from reality, and staring at a screen is sexy. Nor is eating popcorn and getting those nasty residues of kernels stuck in your teeth. Same goes for blogging. I generally don’t consider banging out my thoughts on a keyboard, usually not looking my best or at my calmest mental state, anything glamorous.



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