Golden Globes 2010

I love quotes.  So instead of checking out who wore who, I was more interested in who said what as I watched the Golden Globes last night. Of course, I was curious to see who won what.  There was no major sweep, but Avatar took the two most coveted ones, Best Picture and Best Director.  And then there were the unexpected ones.  For a list of the winners, you can click here to go to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s official website.

But here are the quotes of the night that I find most interesting.  Among all of Ricky Gervais’ jokes, prepared and improvised, which can be dismissed the next minute, this one seems to have a stronger aftertaste. When introducing the Best Screenplay Award, referring to what’s more important, he quipped, “It’s not the words but how good you look when saying them.”

And for the winner of that writing award, I’m glad to see Up In The Air get to bring home the Globe, shared by both Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, in their adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel. Montreal born Reitman delivered an endearing speech, giving credits to the most important people in his life.  “… people like how I write women.  I can never write women who wasn’t for my wife. You are the fuel to my creative fire, Michelle.”

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And to his parents, director Ivan Reitman and actress Genevieve Robert, he left with these words: “… you taught me how to be the man I am… to be the storyteller that I am.  I love you.  I thank you for everything.”  I think his films show his parents had done a pretty good job.

Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Globe for a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, for her role as Julia Child in Julie and Julia.  She started off with this most interesting line: “I just want to say that in my long career, I’ve played so many extraordinary women, I’m being mistaken for one.”

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Remembering her mother, who was not unlike Julia Child, Streep noted her ‘joy in living’.  And if she ever needed a new image, she wished to be called ‘T-Bone Streep’.  Ah… the power of Julia Child.

And then there’s this line from Robert Downey Jr., who won the Best Actor Award, Comedy or Musical, for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, quoting Arthur Conan Doyle:

“Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.”

Of course he was just joking when he said: “I don’t have anybody to thank.” But besides the people he did mention, he forgot Sherlock himself.

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The most thought-provoking speech of the night comes from Martin Scorsese, who received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his contribution as an iconic filmmaker.  He quoted William Faulkner’s words:

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”

I like his perspective in acknowledging that they are all living history, continuing and in debt to the works of pioneers and pathfinders in filmmaking.  “We’re all walking in their footsteps everyday, all of us.” Herein lies humility, a most apt reminder for all in attendance at the glitzy Beverly Hilton ballroom.

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All photos from

Julie and Julia (2009): Movie Review


UPDATE Feb. 2, 2010: Meryl Streep is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in the coming 82nd Academy Awards.

UPDATE Jan. 17, 2010:  Meryl Streep has just won the Best Actress Award (Comedy or Musical) at the Golden Globes.

Update Dec. 16, 2009: Julie and Julia has been nominated for a Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Award (Musical or Comedy).

Meryl Streep has been nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Musical or Comedy).

For someone who would rather lie on the couch and watch the Food Channel than work in the kitchen, what better way to entertain herself than to watch a full feature movie on the legendary Julia Child and her modern day follower scrambling to keep pace.  But still, I had my doubt.

123 minutes of cooking, even though I don’t need to lift a finger, could still make me feel stuffed and exhausted. And, watching a novice attempt an almost impossible feat of cooking through Child’s 524 French recipes in 365 days in a cramped apartment could mean unlimited servings of predictable, clichéd kitchen mishaps.

So, it was with little expectation that I entered the theater.  But I was pleasantly surprised and much gratified.  For first of all,  the movie is not just about food and cooking.  Rather, it describes a journey of writing, publishing, and yes, blogging.  Now that really piqued my appetite.  As for the klutzy culinary mishaps, despite their banality, they are turned into laughable moments that we can all relate to, kudos to Amy Adams (Julie) and Meryl Streep (Julia).

Writer/director Nora Ephron has done a wonderful job weaving together two different books to create the screenplay:  Julia Child’s My Life in France (co-authored by Alex Prud’homme) and Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia:  My Year of Cooking Dangerously.  The two stories, which take place 50 years apart, are intertwined so seamlessly that the audience is given the impression that the two are acting side by side.  Now here’s a spoiler alert, skip to the next paragraph right now if you don’t want to know…  The parallel story lines remained so, Julie and Julia never met. And oh how much more the plot could have thickened if they did.  I was a bit let down by this, after being set up with the ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ cue.

The beginning of the movie sets the stage for some visually pleasing sequences.  The retro design of Julia’s 50’s France is a scrumptious delight.  A revelation: Julia Child was not born knowing how to cook.  After following her diplomat husband Paul (the ever reliable Stanley Tucci, The Devil Wears Prada, 2006; Shall We Dance, 2004) to France, she began exploring her interests.  She had to start from scratch by going to culinary school, the Cordon Bleu.  A late bloomer she was, and what an inspiration… never too late to follow your heart.  Streep has done a marvelous job delivering the personality, speech and nuances of the legendary Julia Child.  I must say though, her performance in this movie seems like a prolonged bed bouncing scene from Mamma Mia!


And fast forward to the present, the cinematic effect makes a run down, one-bedroom apartment in Queens look cozy and even inspiring, which is justly so.  Julie Powell (Amy Adams, Doubt, 2008; Enchanted, 2007) is a struggling writer, emotionally drained by her day job answering the phone at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp in the wake of 911.  Following Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking at home after work saves her sanity and invigorates her desire to write.  Through blogging daily about her culinary experiment, Julie ultimately realizes her dream.

It is Amy Adams that has won my heart.  She is such a natural.  Her performance is pleasingly understated, just a touch to bring out the taste.  It is after all a thankless role, a novice following the cooking guru to the dot in her cramped kitchen.  A tad bit more spicy would spoil her portrayal as merely slapstick and banal.  Her down-to-earth demeanor, like her attempt to explain to her mother what blogging is, makes it sound like a conversation taken out of our own home.  And above all, it’s her relationship with her husband Eric (Chris Messina, Made of Honor 2008) that makes the story grounded and realistic.

And finally, bravo to the two husbands who are always supportive, encouraging, eat and praise whatever their wives cook.  And all the more for Julie’s Eric, who has to silently pop Tums before bed, and, even after running away to escape the nightly ordeal, would faithfully come back ready to reconcile.  Can these men be real?  Like Ephron’s other works, let’s just treat this one as another fantasy.  For it is she who created the screenplays for Sleepless in Seattle (1993), You’ve Got Mail (1998), and yes, When Harry Met Sally (1989).  But wait, Julia Child’s My Life In France is autobiographical.  And so’s Julie Powell’s account.  The tag line does not fail to inform us so: Based on two true stories. It’s good to know.

~ ~ ~ Ripples

2009 Golden Globe Nominations

Update January 12:  CLICK HERE for the Golden Globe Winners.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association has just announced the 2009 Golden Globe Awards nominations.  Click here for the full list.

If, as they say, the Golden Globes usually is a good prediction of the Oscars, then I am hopeful that some of those who truly deserve the recognition might just get a nod for next year’s Academy Awards.

I’m thinking in particular of Kristin Scott Thomas for her role in I’ve Loved You So Long (France), nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Drama), and the film getting a nod in the Best Foreign Film category.

Anne Hathaway is also a contender in the same category as Scott Thomas, for Rachel Getting Married.  Her performance is a good sign of her versatility.  But my choice is Kristin Scott Thomas, hands down.  She has delivered a superb performance in I’ve Loved You So Long as the deep and tormented Juliette Fontaine.   I wish her all the best all the way to the Oscars.

As to the two nominations Mamma Mia! receives for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), and Meryl Streep for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical), I admit I am a bit surprised.  But then again, as a musical goes, especially one made up of amateur singers, maybe it does deserve a nomination for its entertainment value.

To read my reviews of the movies mentioned here, just click on their names.  My reviews are also linked by IMDB’s ‘external reviews’.



Mamma Mia! (2008) Movie Reivew

If beach reads is to superficial page-turners, then summer movies is to mindless, senseless, jovial entertainment.  If you allow yourself to devour less than literature under the summer sun, you can have your fill by indulging in Mamma Mia!  Why not, what other times of the year can we immerse ourselves in superficiality, if not in the name of summer fun.

Like the recent re-emergence of past heroes such as Indiana Jones, Rocky Balboa, and the like, I suspect making Mamma Mia! is the mid-life fix for its actors and actresses.  And for stars like Meryl Streep, where else can you, as a 59 year-old, sing and dance like a rock diva, jump up and down on your mattress like it’s a trampoline, dance to you heart’s content on a Greek Island with the whole village backing you, and make a splash, literally, to end a wild number.  Looks like Streep has the time of her life making this movie.  What more, she’s got Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard swinging and jiving with her.

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, Donna (Streep) finds herself faced with three of her past lovers who have shown up upon receiving invitation from the bride to be, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried).  Before getting married to her sweetheart Sky (Dominic Cooper), Sophie feels the urgency to find her real father and have him walk her down the isle. Director Phyllida Lloyd did a passable job churning out a simplistic but fun-filled movie adaptation of her Tony Award winning musical.  What captures the audience is not so much the story but the popular songs written by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.  Titles like “Mamma Mia”, “Take A Chance On Me”, “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “SOS”, and “I Have A Dream”… supply the bulk of the movie goers their mid-life fix.

So who cares if it’s a silly, senseless, mindless escape.  At least, it works… well, more or less.  As I sat in the packed theatre, where families had to sit separately to find seats, where teenage boys came with their mothers, where I heard middle-age men laughing out loud, and where I caught myself watching the movie with a smile on my face and tapping my toes to the tunes, it sure worked as a great escape.  Don’t expect in-depth characterization, complexity in plot structures, insightful dialogues, and please don’t mind the miscast (Bond in song?)… it’s summer after all.

Adapted from the successful musical showcasing the songs of the sensational Swedish group ABBA, Mamma Mia! the movie features authentic singing from the movie stars themselves.  Yes, there are LOL moments listening to them singing in their amateurish voices.  Don’t expect professional vocal performance… from Pierce Brosnan?  The fun is hearing him seriously belt out “SOS”, now that’s entertainment.  And all ye fans of Colin Firth, he has definitely smashed the Darcy image, if it still lingers in your Janenite mind.  Here you can see him play the guitar, sing, hang loose, and dance like a rock star.

There seems to be no middle ground in our summer movies this year:  Mamma Mia! is as light and giggly as The Dark Knight is dark and gloomy.  If you can overlook the subliminal implications seeping through Mamma Mia:  The celebration of promiscuity and the appeal of the stereotypical senseless female, then this movie adaptation is a sure escape.  But if you’re expecting more, I’m sure there are other offerings under the lazy summer sun.

Photo Source:  Seattle Times and Universal Pictures

~ ~ ½ Ripples

Update December 11:  Mamma Mia! has just been nominated for a Best Picture Award (Comedy or Musical) at the 2009 Golden Globes, and Meryl Streep nominated for the Best Actress (Comedy 0r Musical) category.