September 11, 2012

"What do you think it means if you don't like your friends?"

"It's completely normal."

"Men like their friends."

"We're not talking about men."

Dialogue in the movie "Julie and Julia," which is playing on E! tonight. Nora Ephron's last screenplay (unless there will be posthumous works). The question in the headline is asked by the character who is a blogger by night. By day she works in a call center dealing with 9/11 victims, which is presumably why the movie is playing today.


edutcher said...

As my mother always said, "Men like other men better than women like other women".

sydney said...

So true! I've never been comfortable in the company of women.

Tim said...

As a matter of company, women are best alone.

Once a second or third arrives, the entire dynamic shifts, and things go weird.

I'd rather they go off by themselves and worship their mystical vaginas or something.

Just leave the remote, please.

Shouting Thomas said...

Porn provides the answer here.

Sick two men on one woman, and the two men compete like SOBs to see who can do a better job of getting the woman off.

Sick two women on one man, and the two women look at one another and say... "You go ahead and do something first."

Titus said...

I was in New Hope PA this weekend which is delectable. BUT, I caught my hubby jerking off to a porno on the computer at the room attached to our very expensive room on The Delaware River.

I was livid. How dare he jerk of when I am in the room next door. He was jerking to some muscle men work out videos. I was say the least.

The computer is evil. Even Indians succomb to it's temptations.

I called him jerky jerky the rest of the weekend and he felt so guilty he wrote we a check for 1000.00 so I could buy things to make me shut up. So it was a winwin.

And Bucks County, BTW, not so fab. I was expecting more. I was expecting suburban fabulousness instead I saw housing developments-very moderate wishy washy politics. And no great enormous bouncing tits in the wind surrounding the Delaware River.

I want fucking large bouncing exposed tits. Is that so much to ask?


Shouting Thomas said...

You're talking Pennsylvania, and you expect big, bouncing exposed tits?

Yes, that is too much to ask by a long shot.

kentuckyliz said...

Certain PA cities, I'm sure have no lack of willing bouncy moobs.

Tyson K said...

Actually, the movie playing tonight probably has little to nothing to do with the date, because I saw it on E! last week, and cable channels tend to replay the same movies multiple nights in a row. "Julie and Julia" is simply this month's movie of the week. I think it's giving E! too much credit to suggest they'd come up with this connection.

Lem said...

I recall Palladian hated Meryl Streep's portrayal of his idol Julia Child.

I believe he even went and made a verbal comment.. not sure about that part.

Freeman Hunt said...

It means you need new friends. It may also mean that you need to be a better friend so that you will have better friends.

It may, indeed, be normal, but it is no good. (That's the case with many normal things.)

Lem said...

Now I recall..

Palladian put a video of the real Julia Child and the scene that the movie purported to copy side by side... It convinced me that Streep made an over the top parody of Julia.

t-man said...

Spurred on by Freeman, perhaps the better question to ask someone in that situation is "What do you think it means if your friends don't like you?"

ricpic said...

The question you always have to ask yourself is "Self, do the good times spent with my friend cancel out the mooch dragging me down to his/her level?"

t-man said...

Yeah, it was like Streep was basing her portrayal on the Dan Ackroyd sketch from SNL.

ricpic said...

Titus never fails to bring the inspiration.

AaronS said...

Everyone's looking for meaning nowadays.

Bad news - liking doesn't mean anything.
Good news - friends don't care if you like them.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LakeLevel said...

Most of the intelligent women that I have known prefer the company of men. Just making an observation, not a judgment.

Pogo said...

I think it means they're not your friends.

Something else, maybe: ...stepping stones, dealers, contacts, networking, workmates, hangers on, leeches, customers, grifters, fans, stalkers, classmates, accomplices. ...But not your friends.

bagoh20 said...

I can't relate - all my friends are transsexuals at various stages.

AllieOop said...

No better friend to a woman than a woman, men are great but as best friends? OK, only when you're married to them.

Pogo said...

"at", or "on"?

wyo sis said...

This doesn't reflect my experience, but I only have a few friends and the women are all wonderful and I love them. They've been my friends for many many years and there is no competition, which is what drives the nastiness I think.

Ann Althouse said...

I must say I enjoyed the movie.

It was a comedy, and Streep was effective, creating pathos. Why should she need to be realistically exact? The only question is whether it was good.

As for Dan Aykroyd, that SNL skit is shown in the movie. We see the blogger character watching it.

There are many layers of portrayal and imitation... and isn't that what happens when you follow a recipe? Thus, there was metaphor.

kcom said...

That movie has been on E! a lot lately. I have seen it listed at least three or four times just in the last few weeks. I almost even watched it once, when I couldn't find anything else on that appealed. So today might or might not be a coincidence. It's on again tomorrow, for instance.

Erika said...

I have a lot of acquaintances with whom I can easily share an hour's pleasant conversation and whom I'm glad to know, but only a handful of women I consider truly my friends. Most of them I've known for many years, since grade school; we've seen each other through school, college, marriages, family drama, babies, international moves, financial ruin, divorces, husbands' deployments--bonds that form through those experiences are like iron and I can say with reasonable certainty that I would kill for them if necessary. Of course I "like" them, but they know me, and I them, so well that our relationship is on such a deeper level than that. They really are a part of me. Having shallow friendships where you could just wake up one day and realize that you've outgrown your friends and that they're all jerks is not in my personality at all.

Erika said...

About the movie: I think Meryl Streep's performance was a bit over the top, but I give her goodwill points because she's so great at what she does.

I haven't read the book, but it's my understanding that the Julie character is much, much more likeable in the movie than in the book. I thought she was cute and sweet in the movie.

Jo said...

I think the movie is lame. Especially annoying (even more than Streep’s bad Julia impersonation) was the gratuitous line by Julie’s boss who said that if he’d been a Republican, he’d have fired her when she called in fake-sick one day.

Paddy O said...

I suspect that if you don't like your friends, that you have an ulterior motive for their company. Status, access, something for which their company is the price to pay for the perceived benefit.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Women are the worst misogynists.

Men have friends; women have enemies whom they keep close.

Women view friendships as countries view alliances: mutable at any time, for any reason; a great way to gather inte on weaknesses; and none usually lasting more than 5 years.

Women like hugging; it gives them a good chance to stab you in the back.

A man will have a friend for life; a woman, an enemy.

Women are social ninjas, and ninjas, remember, were dishonorable assassins.

Paddy O said...

Which is, I guess, me repeating what Pogo already said. Ah well, if you're going to repeat someone Pogo is a great one to echo.

rcommal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcommal said...

That's so two years ago, that whole movie + dialogue-excerpt thing.

Also, I LIKE my friends. I even love them. This goes for the females and males alike.

What a load.

And I even know firsthand how much of value that is, getting ready to settle on a house back in Delaware, with a house we're getting ready to put on the market in Iowa. There is much and many for which and for whom I'm grateful here. There is much and many for which and for whom I'm grateful there.

It's not my responsibility if people have lost their g-d'd minds. It is my responsibility to be so very appreciative of and grateful for, alike, ...

long-time and long-ago friends, as well as more recent ones, who step up.

That's it, and that's all. So it goes.

rcommal said...

How the hell can such as this be controversial?

robinintn said...

Good Lord. That whiny, selfish, spoiled, childish character was MORE attractive than the one in the book? How is that possible?

Steven said...

What are these "friends" I keep hearing about? I thought I kind of had the concept, but if it's possible to "not like your friends," I've clearly missed something.

My wife, who has otherwise excellent judgment, thinks that I'm wonderful. That said, she would wither without her best (female) friend from high school (much like that U2 song, "Wither Without You"). She can only get so much of what she needs from me; she still needs "girl time."

When she recently traveled to visit said friend, I spent three consecutive days without pants on, not interacting with anyone except for the people who live in my computer and the brief daily phone conversations with my wife. It was a magical experience.

If I had had some reason to meet up with a guy, I would have done so. But I don't need "guy time" for the sake of "guy time."

I have no idea how typical we are are specimens of our genders. In most ways, though, I would not assume that we are, and I don't see why this way should be any different.

Joan said...

I agree with Pogo.

It took me a while to figure this out, but I did eventually. I won't ever forget the circumstances -- I had fortuitous tickets to a Red Sox game, and ended up going with my then-best friend's boyfriend. He was a very good friend of my boyfriend (now husband), and everyone else was busy, it was a last minute thing, etc. No big deal.

ANYWAY, he said to me, "I like you one-on-one like this." That comment hit me like, what? A Mack truck. This happened almost 20 years ago and I still remember the impact -- I thought about what he meant and saw it immediately. Around my "friend" I turned into a shrill, competitive, sarcastic, bitchy woman. Without her around, I had no reason to go into "performance" mode and could be my much more pleasant self.

Things changed drastically after that. I choose to spend time with people who don't make me dislike myself.

As for the movie, Julie was really irritating, and Streep was fun. Julia Child's book "My Life in France" is delightful. I didn't bother to read "Julie & Julia". I had already heard that the movie had softened Julie considerably, and didn't see the point in pursuing such an unpleasant character.

rcommal said...

OK. So shoot me. Forget what I said. Notice not, much less consider, what I said. I must be crazy. Carry on.

Purely lucky I must be be: It's all about chance.

Still: grateful_iam .

Go figure.

Titus said...

Hello? My husband was jerky jerkying while I was in the next room.

How would you feel?

Fuck Julie and Julia.

What about me and my feelings?

I made him pull up the video he was jerky jerkying to so I could ask what got him hard.

It was some fucking guy from Romania doing pull ups.

I feel so abused.


Titus said...

His excuse was I was sleeping.

I was like you can chiz on me while I am sleeping to no avail.

Titus said...

I wondered how many relationships that Romanian doing pull ups ruined.

Titus said...

What would Althouse do if she found Needy jerking off to video of the Madison protests he videotaped?

My sense is she would not feel so great.

MayBee said...

I can't stand the Julie character in that movie. She keeps whining about how hard the cooking and blogging is, when it is a completely optional exercise. The comparison between her circumstances and her whining vs Julia's circumstances and work ethic and lack of whining is amazing.

IRL, Julie ended up having an affair and divorcing that nice husband.

Here's a great biography of Julia Child, who really did seem to like her friends.

Palladian said...

I recall Palladian hated Meryl Streep's portrayal of his idol Julia Child.

I believe he even went and made a verbal comment.. not sure about that part.

I did hate Streep's performance as Julia Child, but mostly because I hate the entire premise of the film and Julie Powell's silly blog stunt and book. I hate it because it demeans and trivializes Julia Child's legacy as a consumate educator and serious student of French classical cuisine. Julia Child was able, without "dumbing it down", to synthesize and translate the complexity of Escoffier and his antecedents in a uniquely American manner. She spent her professional life helping the "average" American cook respect and simultaneously make sense of a legacy that was essentially out of reach until she and her collaborators (especially Simone Beck) came along.

Julie Powell took advantage of that legacy and of Child's life work to make a quick buck and to attach herself and her tiresomely pedestrian biographical concerns to something that she didn't really care about and didn't honestly earn. Her "project" cheapened the magnitude of Julia Child's accomplishments and Streep's performance made a caricature of her mannerisms as if that was the entirety of her appeal. Julia Child was used a vehicle for and a footnote to Powell's inconsequential personal narrative.

The only redeeming aspect of Powell's fame and the film's success are the viewers who think "Gee, this is stupid... but I'm interested in Julia Child's work, apart from this nonsense!"

Judith Jones, Child's friend and her brilliant editor for most of Child's career, commented in Publisher's Weekly:

"Julia said, 'I don't think [Powell is] a serious cook.' ... Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn't attractive, to me or Julia," "[Julia] didn't want to endorse it. What came through on [Powell's] blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt."

Here's the video comparison I made, of Streep's performance versus the real Julia Child. Compare the difference between Streep's reaction to the potato pancake flopping on the stove to Child's reaction. Streep plays it as a mistake; Julia plays it with a smile and turns it into a lesson. The problem with Streep's performance, and with Powell's book, is summarized by this contrast between the fiction of Streep and Powell, and the wonderful reality of Julia Child.

MayBee said...

Palladian- perfectly written.

Anybody familiar with Julia Child's work would see what Julie did was an insult, not a tribute.

rcommal said...

Palladian: Outstanding.

MayBee: Exceptional.

Thanks, both of you.

Chip Ahoy said...

That video you made was not clear to me at first but now I see, you mean the difference between bobbling your head around and acting like an airhead ditz, and being a six foot plus two inches tall solid woman. That comparison showed it seems more like Streep doing Aykroyd doing Child.

Chip Ahoy said...

If you did a movie like that centering on Rachael Ray you'd have to chatter incessantly for twenty minutes straight.

"... and now I'm walking to the refrigerator and now I'm opening it up and I'm lookinginsideand thelightcameon andIreachedinand gotsomebasilandsomemint andthenigothechickenthat wasthawing andthenIturnedon thestove and theniwalkedover tothecabinetandgot somespice andnow I'mchoppinguptheonion andsettingitaside andnowI'mturningonthe stovetomediumhigh. Mygrandpahated basilbutheloved mintsoinhisgarden hegrewabundh of mintbutnevergrewany basilsothisoneyear wetooksomebasil seedsandsprinkled theminhismitpatch and hewasall wtf? Whoputbasilinmymint?"

Matthew Sablan said...

Men are much more selective in using the word friend, I've realized. When I talk with women and a story comes up, any person who doesn't get a name is "My friend from X." A guy will say: "This guy/girl from work." Even when the point of the story is "this person I'm talking about is a jerk," expect to hear the woman refer to someone as their friend, while a guy will be able to say someone I kind of know.

I don't know if that is just something I've noticed or if it is true across the board.

But hey, those differences between men and women.

Bob_R said...

I rather enjoyed Streep's portrayal. I fully agree with Pallidan that she played it for laughs most of the time, but she did get some of Child's strength of character on the screen, and she did not have the time to be as subtle as Child. Humor was a great teaching tool of Julia's and an important part of her screen presence. (Remember, we got to watch her for, what, a couple of hundred hours.)

I did not like the movie overall, because I found the Julie character shallow and unsympathetic. I never read the book or blog, so I won't transfer the judgement to the actual person being portrayed. But if that was supposed to be a sympathetic portrait....

Dante said...

The key word here is "friends," which to me implies the "group of friends."

If you have ever seen a group of women come together, or at the point of the group dissipation, there is a lot of non-verbal communication going on. Overly dramatic hugs, and from ten feet away you can't make out a single word. Because it isn't words that are being used, but bubbly cooing sounds, similar to the babble one might say to a baby.

With expectations that high, how is it possible that actuality could measure up? Perhaps you are hugging the bitch who complained too much about the difficulty of finding the right color blouse to match her fashion. Or the mean backstabbing of someone not present, in which fake sympathy is used to enjoy the demise of some other woman:

"W1: Oh, poor Urna, she gained so much weight after the baby.

W2:I know, and she used to be so skinny (not so thin, but skinny, see).

W3: You know, I heard her husband can't stand the sight of her anymore.

All: Aww."

Meanwhile, secretly delighting that their husbands no longer glance at her.

Compare that with a female friend, in which the real issues, not the fake superficial ones are discussed, and I think you will find a whole different level of friendship.

Pogo said...

The Julie character reminded me of Chloe in The Big Chill (Meg Tilly). She was the too-young girlfriend of the boomer friend that died, whose funeral centered the movie.

She was supposed to be my age (at the time) and was, compared to the rest of the cast, a moron, an airhead, a self-centered ditz.

I found it infuriating. Same with Julie, who cannot compete with the seriousness and life's work of Julia Child.

I thought it was an unintentionally derisive comment on our age, a pale imitation or even a parody of Child's, and so appreciated the film for that alone.

Dan in Philly said...

Julie is a great example of everything wrong with modern women. Selfish, self-absorbed, vulgar, unfaithful, unsupportive, whiny, entitled... The list goes on and on.

I don't know anything about Child, but I am not suprised she did not approve of Julie.

prairie wind said...

the gratuitous line by Julie’s boss who said that if he’d been a Republican, he’d have fired her when she called in fake-sick one day.

I read My Life in France and loved so much of it--Julia's willingness to try new food, new experiences. And then there was the part when her parents come to visit and her father refuses to try the food Julia loves. (It's been awhile since I read it; going on memory.) Julia hates her father because he is not like her. She's a Democrat; he's a Republican. She's adventurous; he likes what he likes. He lives in the suburbs; she loves city life. Julia is so cruel about her father that I stopped reading the book. I admire what she did for cooking and I still enjoy watching her shows...but I can't forget her total lack of compassion for her father and her willingness to "out" him as an idiot in her book.

prairie wind said...

Pogo, I watched The Big Chill again a couple of years ago and was shocked at the way the boomers treated Chloe. They refused to see her as someone also grieving for their dead friend (Kevin Costner, whose role was cut our except for the corpse scenes). I don't remember if I noticed it when the movie was first released...but you'd think I would have since I was a Chloe-dating-a-boomer myself at the time.

Fen said...

Interesting thread concerning group dynamics.

Now pause and consider how this would affect combat operations in an infantry platoon.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Where's the Libya thread? I need to post "I blame Bush".

AprilApple said...

While Obama is trying to makes friends with Glamour magazine and David Letterman, the adults in the room are attempting to fix this mess with real tax reform. Tax reform that is not only fair, but brings in revenue to the treasury without destroying the private sector.
Obama's promise to you: Sky high tax rates for job providers, killing more jobs. From your pal, Obama.

KJE said...

I just got done dating a woman whom; for the life of me, I can't figure out *how* she maintains female friends.

It might be that they tolerate *her* for the constant train wreck amusement she provides them.

Strelnikov said...

It's been playing for about two weeks. This is really two movies and would have benefited from being divided that way. That way we would have had a fantastic movie on the life of Julia Child, played to perfection by Streep, and a flop starring Adams as an annoying, self-possessed urban whiner.

Saint Croix said...

Good Lord. That whiny, selfish, spoiled, childish character was MORE attractive than the one in the book? How is that possible?

I'll put it this way: she's so awful in her second book, Hollywood won't be able to make a perky movie about it.

Will said...

I agree with Strelnikov and Saint Croix. The Amy Adams version of Julie Powell is a much less unpleasant person than the actual Powell. It certainly didn't hurt that Amy Adams is cute as a button, she softened the rough edges even more than the script did.

The film drags every time it switches to the Julie story, because she's just not anything like as interesting as Julia Child.

About the only complimentary thing I can say about Powell is that she's a fearless writer. She makes herself look moderately awful in her first book, but she comes off even worse in the second book. Cruel, stupid, coarse, shallow and self-centered. It is a rare writer who could sell two memoirs about herself without making any attempt to burnish her own image.

Rachel said...

I hated Meryl Streep as Julia Child and I don't particularly care for Meryl Streep's work as an actor in general. She has a gift for mimicry and accents.

I love Julia Child and learned to cook largely by working my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So I rather enjoyed the bits of the blog that I read though I didn't read the book.