LISTFUL THINKING: The Top 10 Movies of 2009

31 12 2009

As strange as it is to say, 2009 is over.

As the bookend of the first decade of the new millennium, this year has come to represent the changing scope of the 2000s.  Technology, as it always seems to, has reached soaring heights.  But as the man who created the most revolutionary of these advancements this year, James Cameron, said in an interview with Newsweek, “Filmmaking is not going to ever fundamentally change. It’s about storytelling. It’s about humans playing humans. It’s about close-ups of actors. It’s about those actors somehow saying the words and playing the moment in a way that gets in contact with the audience’s hearts. I don’t think that changes.”

With that in mind, I celebrate 2009 for all the incredible stories that enchanted me as only cinema can with my top 10 list.

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Random Factoid #97

2 11 2009

You might not be reading this blog if it weren’t from the surge of euphoria and a somewhat bloated ego I had on July 27, 2009.  I attended an advanced screening of “Julie & Julia,” and at promotional screenings, they usually have contests to give away free goods.  At this particular one, they were giving away prize packs to people that could do an impression of Julia Child.  I was being spurred on by family and friends to go, even though my only knowledge of Julia Child’s voice and mannerisms came from watching Meryl Streep in the trailer.

I ended up getting selected to be one of three people competing for a $30 gift card to Whole Foods Markets and a cooking class.  They gave me a whisk and a giant bowl, put a microphone up to my mouth, and told me to be Julia Child for 20 seconds.  All I could muster up with confidence was, “I’m Julia Child, don’t be afraid!”  From then on, my acting skills kicked in and I improvised for 15 seconds.  All the while, I could faintly make out my group cackling with laughter in the dim theater lighting.  I ended up getting second place in a voting system decided by applause, mainly because the other woman remembered Child’s most famous line, “Bon appetit!”  I still got an apron, a tote bag, some mini kitchen tools, and a $20 gift card though, so it was all good.  I rushed back up to my seat with the prizes and became an instant celebrity in my section, asked to reprise my impression multiple times by people I didn’t even know.  Perhaps this momentary renown was indirectly responsible for the creation of the blog, but I’ll never be able to sort out the processes of my mind to give you a black and white answer to that.

REVIEW: Julie & Julia

29 07 2009


According to Julie Powell, that word shouldn’t be used while eating.  But as America begins to devour “Julie & Julia,” I can’t help but think that audiences will use that word.  The movie is a delectable treat, serving a luxurious two-course meal: the story of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) before she became the published and televised chef that we know, and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) as she battles the boring world of bureaucracy by baking all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook.

I do have to give the movie (and Julie Powell, more specifically) a great deal of credit – her blog, “The Julie and Julia Project,” is the inspiration for this blog.  At the beginning, Julie is struggling to find some purpose holed up inside her cubicle, forced to drone on and on about the company’s policies.  She envies her rich “friends,” who are writing cover stories for top New York newspapers and blogs because they seem to have found merit in their lives.  Much like movies are a constant source of comfort to me, Julie found solace in cooking.  And one day, she proclaims to her husband, “I can write a blog.  I have thoughts.”  As I have quickly discovered, it really only takes that little spark of inspiration to start something great (at least in Julie’s case … the verdict is still out on me).

It is really Julie’s story that captivated me the most.  As she works her way through 524 recipes in 365 days (some simple, others quite daunting), anyone who has ever stepped into the kitchen for therapeutic reasons can instantly relate to her struggles and successes.  Adams really is the heart and soul of the movie; she brings a pleasant charm to the role, but she also shows a more raw and emotional side than we are used to seeing from her. Read the rest of this entry »