Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Blame Oprah. Again.

My goal for last week was to clean out and paint the guest room. I did not get this done. The room is cleaned emptied, but not painted. The hang up was that Mr Wrath and I took the opportunity to further purge our possessions. He very bravely weeded his collection of erudite books, including Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and Mordecai Richler. We're down to a mere 30 cds, from the 350 we owned until last December. I sent some sewing and craft supplies and furniture to the thrift store.

The only thing I truly accomplished was watching Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love




SPOILER ALERT!

YOU MIGHT WANT TO LOOK AWAY BECAUSE I'M GOING TO MENTION DETAILS THAT COULD RUIN YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THIS MOVIE.

FOR EXAMPLE, I'M GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THE HEROINE FINDING LOVE AT THE END OF THE FILM. 

BUT BEFORE THAT SHE GOES TO ITALY AND EATS ITALIAN FOOD NECESSITATING THE PURCHASE OF SOME FAT LADY PANTS. 

ITALIAN FAT LADY PANTS!!! 

ALSO SHE DOES SOME PRAYING. 

THIS OCCURS IN INDIA AND ALL THE CLOTHES THERE ARE VERY LOOSE FITTING AND FAT LADY PANTS ARE NOT PURCHASED IN THAT COUNTRY.

For those of you still with me...

This film is awful. The only reason I watched it was because netflix reassured me that based upon my viewing history, I would enjoy it. Stupid algorithm LIED to me.

Granted not everything about the movie is bad. For one thing it's really beautiful to look at. The scenery is amazing. Unfortunately too often the vistas are blighted by insufferable, emotionally stunted, self-indulgent people saying stupid stuff that supposedly moves the "plot" along. Thanks be to heaven for the mute button.

When Julia/Liz is in India she meets a guy named Not James Taylor. Well, that's not the character's actual name, but I can't remember the guys name and I'm too lazy to look it up. Steve? Peter? Raul? Anyway -- Julia/Liz does mention that he looks like James Taylor so let's go with that pseudonym. There's a very moving scene where Not James Taylor talks about his personal demons. The most amazing part is that the director focuses upon N.J.T for several long minutes in a tight single shot with no edits AND Julia is not facing the camera. You only see the back of her head and you get to focus entirely on Not James Taylor. Oooh. I bet Julia was pissed at the director when she saw that all her emoting was for naught.

This scene however did not make me like Not James Taylor, who refers to Julia/Liz by the nickname Groceries and is an all around blowhard.

Another good thing: there's a very brief appearance by Sophie Thompson, aka Emma Thompson's sister, aka the second Bride from Four Weddings and A Funeral. That, by the way, is a much better movie than this one.

Now on to things that I did not like about Eat Pray Love.


I was shocked to see that Billy Crudup (aka The Very Dull Husband Who Won't Give Julia/Liz A Divorce Because He Believes in Commitment) has stolen the hair off a Lego Mini Figure:


I also fear that Billy is suffering from chapped lips. Obviously he needs some lip balm, or some gloss:



Furthermore, this film is completely devoid of cynicism or irony. It's so freakin' earnest I wanted to scream.  But I did not. Instead I brewed some tea:


Not this tea, which is one of over 400 Eat Pray Love branded items sold upon the movie's release. I just had normal tea and that made me feel better. But not nearly as good as I would feel if I'd made a few million smackers selling merchandise to Eat Pray Love fangirls.

I assume writers and directors of movies starring Julia Roberts actually write "Here Julia will throw back her head and laugh in the manner of a titian-haired donkey like she has done in every single movie since Pretty Woman" into the scripts.


Fear not, she does it several times. Julia/Liz also does yoga. And James Franco.

But in the last 30 minutes of the move she finds "true" "love" with Javier Bardem's emotionally needy and clingy businessman. Like Liz/Julia, he is damaged by divorce and shares her high tolerance for pseudo-spiritual platitudes. I was pissed off that this year long journey of self-discovering ended with the heroine falling back into the same trap that she was supposedly trying to escape. What was the point?

I'm still mad at the Netflix algorithm. And Julia/Liz. I wish there was Eat Pray Love vodka.

15 comments:

  1. I quite enjoyed the film when I watched it donkey's years ago (I'm a big fan of Julia Roberts, whether or not she is acting anything new and interesting, which admittedly she rarely is) but I definitely agree about the ending. Totally stupid. Where is the empowerment? The restatement of the fact that you don't need to be in an emotionally-needy dependency to be a whole person? I realise it was based on someone's memoirs but Hollywood changes endings all the time.

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    1. That's what I thought, too! If Hollywood can change the ending to the Scarlet Letter, they can change the ending to this book! The ending undermines everything she learned. Also: Javier Bardem is NOT hot enough for me to overlook this fact.

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  2. I haven't seen it and your review pretty much confirms why. I figured it wouldn't have any deep insights for me.

    Eat? GOT IT COVERED, THANKS.
    Pray? Meh.
    Love? Also taken care of.

    MOVING ON, OPRAH. I just feel like if she was a happy woman, she wouldn't constantly be on the lookout for the next Most Wonderful Thing to make a complete soul, yanno?

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    1. I took one for the team. Just like Beck did when she live blogged about Goopy's Country Strong. THough I definitely got off easier than Beck.

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    2. SHE WAS COUNTRY STRONG, NAN. COUNTRY STRONG.
      Also, she carried around a baby bird, just like all Emotionally Well People.
      That movie damaged me.
      I'm considering watching Eat Pray Love to see if it can restore my inner fury balance.

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  3. I have not seen the movie, but I have read the book. I thought it was terrible. I had to really search inside myself to see if it was sour grapes, that I hadn't become fabulously rich and famous by travelling around the world and eating, yoga-ing, and having sex in Indonesia. But no. The book was actually - I thought - very poorly written. I enjoyed the food porn of Italy but the rest of it I found tedious and dull. It left me cold and I really did think I would enjoy it. I won't be watching the movie. Who am I kidding - I never get around to watching movies because I fall asleep on the couch early.

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    1. My husband watched the Italy section, just for the food. I wonder if I'd appreciate the movie more if I felt that she had a legitimate reason to leave her husband. Maybe people who are happily married (*cough**NotOprahOrSteadman**cough*) miss out a vital part of the magic.

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  4. This movie is so far out of my wheelhouse, I probably shouldn't even comment, but that's never stopped me before! I'm pretty sure that if the camera was focused on the back of JR's head for minutes at a time while some other character spoke, a stunt double was used so JR didn't have to bother and could instead relax somewhere and have a latte or whatever while that scene was shot. Too cynical? Maybe, but that's probably why I don't have any interest in watching movies like Eat, Pray, Love...

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    1. Wait. Are you implying 'cynical' is bad? PSHAW!

      That might have happened. Or they could've done several takes of his speech from several different camera positions intending to make it more Liz/Julia centered. But changed their mind in the editing suite.

      Third option: Julia's a nice person and didn't mind having someone else getting the glory.

      HAHAHAHA. I was just yanking your change with that one. It's totally your theory.

      But it really was an excellent, raw scene and one of the few parts I found emotionally taxing.

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  5. I watched that movie before reading the book and felt almost nothing about it. I believe the word is indifferent. I disliked her character and was disappointed in Julia for playing her. Like you, I LOVED the scenery. But was mostly annoyed.

    Then I read the book. It didn't help a lot, but it helped a little. My sister assured me that it would help me feel a bit more sympathetic for the Liz character. It did help a little. But mostly, I was still annoyed.

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    1. I wonder if I'd have been more sympathetic to the character if she'd been diagnosed with depression? What if she was taking this journey inconjunction with taking anti-depressants or seeking professional help? Probably.

      But the way the movie was framed, she was just a selfish, rich woman who was bored by her (admittedly flighty) husband and safe lifestyle and wanted an escape.

      Also: James Franco is such a skeevy guy I couldn't see the appeal.

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  6. I read the book some time last year but don't really remember much of it, which I think speaks to the impact it had on me. Won't be watching the movie but must admit that since "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" (oh my God how long ago is that!!!) I haven't really been much of a movie goer or watcher. Except for "The Wizard of Oz", which I watch every year.

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    1. Are you referring to the 1967 Sidney Poiter movie? Or to the Ashton Kutcher remake?

      I like movies, and with netflix it's easy to get suckered into some not very great ones because they're just THERE for the snarking.

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    2. ASHTON KUTCHER???? No,no, no! In the role that made me fall in love with Sidney Poitier? Think I may have to be a little bit sick now. That's as ridiculous as Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher. Please Nan, say it isn't so!

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  7. Have avoided both the book and the movie, because I know I will hate them both. So earnest and asinine at the same time, I'm pretty sure. BUT I did just read a book that everyone said was LIKE "eat pray love." I kind of hated it, but it was part of a book tour so I was totally neutral and hid my hate in a bland review and it got comments like, "Namaste, beautiful soul!" which made me snort coffee through my nose in an unladylike manner. I am not a beautiful soul.
    The book I read was about this woman who had lyme disease until she figured out that, although she had a supportive family and happy childhood, she blocked her emotions and tried to control people. The disease taught her that. Then she stopped doing those negative things and voila! got alllll better :) So, if you're dying of cancer, or bedridden with lyme disease, it's pretty much your own fault because you didn't learn to know your own body and cure yourself. Bad, you. Good, her. Cynical, me. I'm not sure if colds are your fault or not, but prob if you were truly in touch with your inner self you'd manage to avoid them.

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