Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

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mfunk9786
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#26 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:57 pm

And of all films to pick on for being "low-brow," why Julie & Julia? Even if you don't care for it, it's rather harmless and literate compared to a lot of films that are released each year. Why pick on this film in particular for being some sort of pile of garbage that only id-driven scum could possibly enjoy?

Zot!
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#27 Post by Zot! » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:48 pm

I don't think anybody is scum. I attack the film for a couple of reasons. One, this being a CC message board, there is a certain caliber of film that I expect would not be popular here. I may well be proven wrong in 2030 when Pootie Tang, Jackass 3-D and Julie & Julia all get their spine numbers and take their rightful place with the classics of world cinema. Two, I was forced to endure "Leap Year" last night, and I can't be held accountable for my actions. Three, the film represents exactly the kind of cloying mainstream pap that actually takes itself seriously. I was stuck on a long bus ride once and they played Mr. Hollands Opus followed by Duece Bigelow, Male Gigelow. After all the contrived emotions and histrionics of the Richard Dreyfus opus, even Rob Schneider's clowning came as a welcome relief. So no, I am not above even the most base entertainment, but somehow when it takes itself seriously I find it especially infuriating. I'm sure the problem is with me. Thanks for listening.

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swo17
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#28 Post by swo17 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:02 pm

Don't even bring Pootie Tang into this.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#29 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:19 pm

Actually, I can see both Pootie Tang and Jackass being Criterionworthy- they're both movies that accomplish exactly what they set out to do and mark off a very specifically defined cinematic space. Plus: dudes getting hit in the balls.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#30 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:48 pm

Again, I just feel like it's a huge prank that you group this film in with stuff like Jackass 3D and Pootie Tang. This strikes me as a classy film! The sort of thing that, even if you don't enjoy it, is well-written with high production values and strong acting. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I still just. don't. understand. why Zot! finds it to be such bottom-of-the-barrel cinematic tripe. I want to know. I'm not trying to egg you into an eventual freakout and ban like I tend to do sometimes (guilty as charged!) - I just genuinely want to know what the fuck you're talking about.

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jbeall
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#31 Post by jbeall » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:45 pm

Wow, I'm surprised this film needed defending. It's mainstream fare, no doubt (as were many films that have since made it into the CC), but it's excellently done mainstream fare, and I totally identify with Julia's character in the way a fun but demanding hobby can suddenly become an obsession that creates friction in one's relationship.

(My own goal is to see every CC film--yes, even Koko, Border Radio and Solo con to pareja), and while I don't think it's particularly important that I do this, my zeal in dominating the netflix queue led to... not a full-blown fight, but a serious discussion with my wife about letting her pick her share of the movies.)

One thing I especially liked about the film was that it didn't try to create excess tension in the Childs part of the story. Julia Childs wrote in a time when serious confessional wasn't done among people of her class, while Julia Powell does, and so if the former's life appears somewhat idealized, that's entirely appropriate for the autobiographical information someone like Childs would've been willing to share, while Powell's is much more personal and occasionally gives just a little bit more information than would've been appropriate to someone of an older generation.

And Zot!, if you're shocked that this film got two pages (so far) of discussion, lemme let you in on this forum's dirty little secret: we've talked about some serious trash here. The Watchmen thread runs on for pages and pages, Doomsday has its own thread, and so on. Hell, it's been dormant for awhile, but we've even got a Criterion porno thread.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#32 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:48 pm


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Murdoch
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#33 Post by Murdoch » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:58 pm

For some reason I'm reminded of that Clara Bow photo floating around.

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colinr0380
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#34 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:28 pm

Really late to the party on this one, but I agree with domino's take from earlier in the thread. I liked the way that this is a film about finding a purpose and a drive from within yourself more than looking to others to provide a meaning for you. While Julie seems kind of needy and possessive in her blogs (and the film does seem to imply talking about other media on the internet is a bit silly, and done by neurotics unhappy in their own offline lives! Though I'm sure that it could have been much harsher in its comments about 'appropriation' of other people's work if it was truly upset about that aspect) at least the film doesn't suggest that her approach is entirely wrong, more that it provides a self-directed structure and meaning in a life where everything is done for others, and that the project to cook all of the meals is less important in itself than for the way it provides a framework for the meals with family and friends over the year (the personal moments from the year of blogging that likely will be remembered in the future on looking back) and the way it could provide a path towards finding more fulfilling work.

Plus the nice suggestion that the Julia Child in Julie's imagination is more important than the Julia Child in real life (which is presumably the reason for the heightened, rather one dimensional (in a good way) portrayal of Julia Child in the flashbacks, overcoming obstacles with grace and style in a beautifully heightened period world full of international travel, gorgeous fashions and perfectly sized kitchens! There could be an interesting comparison to make with Streep's other 'fact versus fiction' or 'reality versus expectation' roles in The Hours or The French Lieutenant's Woman here! Even Florence Foster Jenkins), who may or may not approve of the whole blogging project. Never meet your idols in real life, folks, and keep your illusions intact! Especially if those illusions (even if there is a suspicion that they might purely be delusions) provide the impetus for your own creative spark! And of course always use your hero worship for practical goals as shown in Julie here, rather than becoming a stalker of the real person and getting upset that they're not everything that you imagined them to be. One of the best aspects of the film is that it implicitly suggests how easy it might be to tip over into that potentially more disturbing behaviour, through a desperate human need for connection and finding a purpose to life, whilst still earnestly celebrating the idea that you can 'connect' with a person, or at least their thought processes, through their work. That they can speak through the years and enrich your life, and with the benefit of modern technology you can maybe now speak back too (though the whole pen friend correspondence between Julia Child and Avis De Voto is another parallel element, a pre-internet version of that kind of parasocial relationship and one which in the more idealistic world, fully pays off in career terms too). Just don't expect for definite that you'll end up becoming best cooking buddies! And its probably best not to cosplay as them either!

I also like the generous paired portrayal of the enabling husbands (who similarly are shown as one weighted towards being idealised and blithely accommodating and the other 'real', and a little more forthright at the toll the project is taking on their relationship), watching on with a kind of concern at their loved one putting themselves out there, but also with a sense of pride at their loved one's drive and achievement too.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#35 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:14 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:28 pm
I also like the generous paired portrayal of the enabling husbands (who similarly are shown as one weighted towards being idealised and blithely accommodating and the other 'real', and a little more forthright at the toll the project is taking on their relationship), watching on with a kind of concern at their loved one putting themselves out there, but also with a sense of pride at their loved one's drive and achievement too.
I had the same thought, and even when there's challenging from Messina, it's composed of love that works in prompting Julie to reflect towards self-betterment in the same way the worshipping of Julia does for her. Above all else, the film seemed to be about inspiration, and posits the hypothesis that nobody achieves anything independently. Julia's initiation of her self-esteem-boosting career is due to worshipping her own idol, as well as supported by her colleagues and husband. The message that our strengths and abilities stemming from within are what will provide us with meaning is true, but it's held hand-in-hand with the truth that others- in our personal milieus and via unreciprocated idolization, as well as the variables in the fluid culture around us- provide us with the stimulation to unlock those parts of ourselves. It's both a liberally individualistic and conservatively collectivistic framework for viewing identity-formation through internal and external influences for accomplishment. The reveal of Julia Child's feelings about the blog also reinforces the separation between artist and inspiration, where there doesn't need to be symbiosis for one person to find meaning from another; because like any art or idol, our conceptualizations are sourced from the unique meaning we bring to them, that they have brought to us via a relationship with the idea, which we "know" rather than the person or artwork in any objective sense.

At roughly the halfway mark, I realized that Adams and Messina played a much grimmer pair a decade later in Sharp Objects, which is night-and-day different from here and a bit of a disturbing revelation!

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aox
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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#36 Post by aox » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:06 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:14 pm
I had the same thought, and even when there's challenging from Messina, it's composed of love that works in prompting Julie to reflect towards self-betterment in the same way the worshipping of Julia does for her.
Which makes the second act fight all the more ludicrous and lazily invented. It just seemed like the stakes were low and while it may have been believable that the months of the project began to weigh heavily on him, the film doesn't establish that complexity and the viewer is left asking, "you walked out over that fight? Aren't you overreacting?". But the film is bound by the limitations of its own economy and scenes with her husband do well to show how supportive he is of Julie, so it would be a tough balance.

I had put off seeing this movie for over a decade but threw it on this morning. I knew Streep would be amazing, but I didn't want schmaltzy rom-com (given Ephron's previous work that I am largely indifferent towards) combined with a boring biopic angle. This was so much more complex and really refreshing. Besides the aforementioned misstep of forced melodrama, it didn't really falter for me. Especially when you finally get the realization that the Julia subplot is a fantasy or fictional recreation in Julie's head. It's not exactly Fight Club or The Sixth Sense, but it plays with that dynamic or device in a very fresh way. It's a fascinating screenplay, as others have pointed out, examining hero-worship and done in such a clever way without becoming a tedious film screed.

So, why didn't this do better? Streep's nomination aside, why wasn't this better recognized that year? I think the answer has been touched on and it is the fact that Julie just isn't that likeable. The film smartly plays on this in the scene when Julie is at the bar after the fight and forces her friend to confess that yes, in fact, most everyone agrees you're a "bitch". Adams already doesn't have a lot to work with here, but I am not so sure there couldn't have been more of a fleshing out of this character. Her husband loves her and wishes to remain with her, but why?

I expected to just have this on while I worked, but within 20 minutes it had my full attention. What a nice surprise.

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Re: Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)

#37 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:00 pm

Well I think the criticisms are fair but aimed at a different film, while this film works precisely because it mimics our procedure of escaping into fantasy- so much so that it leaves the audience in a position twice removed from the action. Colorizing Julie's life with realism, fleshed out relationship dynamics, and invested details into the trials and tribulations of this marriage and woman's struggle, would all dilute the impressionistic departures from a taxing, banal life into hero worship and inspiration. There are certainly challenges, failures, self-doubt, etc. but only as connective tissue between bouts of artistry and ingenuity. I think that's why it didn't do well, because we're asked to align with Adams who is off aligning with Streep. We are tasked with accessing a character who is removed from being fully 'present' for us because we're watching her engage in her creative process, attention elsewhere. It's an admirable performance because Adams doesn't try to be a likable character to please us as her primary mission, but that doesn't make her unlikable. I loved her all the more for reflecting a person that I can relate to, half-present, half-absent, in a greatest hits montage of finding brushstrokes of elation within the mundane. She presents to us as a fraction of a person, which I think most of us do at times around the ones we love when we're invested in ourselves. I know I do- it's caused me problems and it's given me gifts, but it's an authentic presentation of this existential compromise, which is confusing for audiences who don't like to share when they want a surrogate and mastery, and is even more dense to process when wrapped up into a digestible, smoothed-out narrative, that dishes out all the normal signifiers expected to grant the audience's default demands.

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