Monday, January 18, 2010


On the night that Meryl Streep was winning a Golden Globe for her performance as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” I happened to be watching it at last on DVD. It was every bit as clever and dumb as you expect a Nora Ephron movie to be.

Apart from Streep’s performance, which really is a wonder, two things stood out for me.

First, that when Julie cooks lobsters the music on the soundtrack is Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” You can see how that might please a man who writes a blog called Psycho-Gourmet.

In fact that story of Julie Powell and her blog is the ultimate blogger’s fantasy. You sit there pounding away, thinking nobody’s reading, nobody cares, but they do, they do! They care so much they’re going to send your money and turn your work into a movie. Of course this is pretty much the same as every writer’s fantasy.

Secondly, in the movie, Julie, or at least the actress playing her (Amy Adams) insisted on pronouncing “boeuf” (as in boeuf bourguignon) as “boof.” I did briefly wonder whether this was some oblique reference to the movie “La Grand Bouffe” in which 4 Parisians move to the country to kill themselves with food and sex. Food, which is supposedly a touchstone of civilization becomes an agent of degradation. Not obvious Nora Ephron territory.

It seemed unlikely until I found an interview Julie Powell did with Salon, to promote her new book “Cleaving” which is about butchery and masochistic sex.

“Why this kind of sex?” she asks aloud. “Why this kind of sex? Everybody thinks about getting tied up and tickled with a feather every now and then—but in terms of that real craving, where was that coming from? … I think that the butchering has the same kind of uncomfortable dynamic. There are knives; the men are very strong; the meat is dead.”

I know this book is getting an absolute kicking, even from the people who liked Julie and Julia, perhaps especially from them, but frankly it makes me like Julie Powell a whole lot more. Hard to imagine Amy Adams being cast in the movie of that one, but I hear Sasha Gray is always up for a challenge. She’s an existentialist too, you know.


  1. Sasha Grey in the sequel! We should suggest that to her management. I loathed Amy Adams purely because of her sexless Mom haircut and her thinly veiled contempt for her husband. She seemed like an awful person in the movie, unlike in the book.

  2. I have been trying to confirm the existence of "La Grand Bouffe" for a while, having recently and vaguely remembered it from my college days. Could only remember the premise until just now!

    Thank you!