Sunday, April 27, 2008
Butt-pickin' Barbeque, NO RESERVATIONS review, more!
Great week! My supervisor (Tommy) and his wife held a good old fashioned "Butt-pickin' barbeque" at their place this week for faculty, therapists, students, and friends. I'm with you: I didn't want the words "Butt-pickin'" in the title of any food event I would be attending! Turns out it had nothing to do with wedgies. "Butt" is because we were eating rump meat, "pickin" is because everyone picked and ate the tender, shredded meat straight off of the grill (we washed our hands first!) It was fantastic, actually, and they had a lot of other sumptuous stuff to round out the meal. It was great to relax with friends.
In other news, I am now a therapist...with training wheels. I'm always supervised, but I meet with my own clients and handle my own cases, both here at our clinic and also at a juvenile detention center. I really love it, its the highlight of my week. We had a statewide conference for the Alabama Association of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists this week. I am at the bottom of the ladder, but I did feel like part of a larger community. I even met a therapist who was involved in film-making before he switched over (sound familiar?) The man did a low-budget Civil War bodice-ripper in the 80's about a Southern widow who falls for a wounded Union soldier in a movie called Rebel Love. Though he didn't seem particularly proud of the finished product, we had a good laugh together. What a genuine and friendly bunch of people.
In other news, we had a powerful Young Single Adult sacrament meeting about the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost was absolutely poured out, and I felt my spirits renewed.
Finally, in a week I will officially have a year of graduate school under my belt. We're having an open-air cinema premiere of CTU:PROVO here! Best of all, my BFF Tim will be here visiting his parents in Georgia, and we're gonna party here in Auburn!
Favorite "Office" quote of the week:
PAM: "We only have one master key and one spare key to the office. Dwight has both of them. When I said 'Dwight, if you die, how will we get into the office?' he said: 'If I die the rest of you have been dead for weeks.'"
DVD REVIEW: No Reservations
The Gist: Charming little romantic comedy breaks no new ground, but wins major points for not pandering to melodrama, but instead giving its audience an honest, touching, and yes, uplifting little story. **** (out of five) Rated PG (mild language and innuendo).
The Full Scoop: I am convinced that professional movie critics often will not like something if it is simple, straightforward, and has an uplifting message. Many appear to only like something "edgy," "new," or envelope-pushing. How else can one explain the lukewarm critical reception for the charming little film No Reservations, a romantic dramedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, BYU-grad Aaron Eackhart, and Signs' wonderkid Abigail Breslin (who, BTW, looks startlingly like my niece Abby)?
Overlooked in theatres, this is a good "date night, couch cuddle" movie. I will stay away from spoilers, but suffice to say that I very much enjoyed this movie for its realistic and thorough approach to grieving, family, healing, and falling in love. On paper, the plot seems formulaic and typical Hollywood, but it works because the three main characters, who admittedly seem like one-dimensional caricatures initially, are all fleshed out subtly and believably as the film goes on. Zeta-Jones (often far too glamorous for me to see her as anything but a sex symbol) gives a solid, very grounded performance in this film: she's selfish and selfless, she's confident yet vulnerable, she's bright but can be ditzy...in short, she's human. Abigail Breslin continues to be the best child actor working today (sorry, Dakota Fanning) with a performance that is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and very real. Aaron Eckhart (to be seen in The Dark Knight this summer), is extremely likable, charming, and, as is often the case in chick flicks, an obvious blue-print for what women want men to be, act like, say, and feel. That's okay; we're men, we work well with blueprints.
His romance with Zeta-Jones plays out without a lot of fanfare, which is why I liked it. It feels like the type of unforced process that happens in the real world. Of course it starts with the standard "love-hate" scenario and near the end there's a crisis that threatens to drive them apart, but to the film's credit, neither cliched plot device occupies a lot of screen time. Instead, the bulk of the drama comes from the more realistic tragedy that brings these three people together. The comedy, as well, plays out more like the comedy that occurs in real life. This is not a knee-slapping, hilarious romantic comedy a la While You Were Sleeping, but it's not meant to be. No Reservations doesn't break any new ground, but it does display the beautiful aspects of our humanity without forcing it. Most romantic comedies are fairly predictable; you know exactly what you're going to get, and if you like the genre (and I do), you are rarely disappointed. No Reservations, however, has the distinction of being a bit more subtle, more straightforward, more real, and carries a bit more depth than most. Like the food of the film's plot, it's very much the same as similar dishes you've enjoyed; this one is just particularly good.
NEXT WEEK: CTU PROVO's Southern premiere, Iron Man review, more!