Charades

Can you imagine?

In the meantime, their friendship grew through one of Sondheim’s favorite mediums, games. Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson hosted holiday parties that included charades, in which Streep participated. Mia Farrow brought Sondheim to one.

“I play a different kind of charades than Meryl does,” he said. “I play running charades, in which there are two teams in relay. She likes to play the kind of charades where her team makes up all the things and our team acts them out and they giggle at what assholes we are as we’re doing it.”

Streep replied, “His version is too complicated to do when you’re drunk.”

What’s it all about, Alfie

What an amazing name for a song! Kudos on your international smash hit, Burt Bacharach and Hal David (cf).

I've never seen the movie Alfie starring Michael Caine, which is supposedly a classic, although I did once walk out of the remake Alfie starring Jude Law, who I typically adore but who really screwed the pooch on this one. I sat through about as much "handsome lad balling lots of babes" as a person can handle before they got to this scene where he's romancing Sienna Miller in a cab—I think—and at that point the dialogue and acting reached such a crescendo of atrocity that I had no choice but to storm out of the theater in a huff. There are some things that offend me on a very basic, personal level and the toxic mixture of tedious storytelling and bad acting is one of them. Then I was in such a foul mood that I drove straight to Marshall Field's (RIP) at the Fox Valley Mall and bought myself a Swiss Army watch that looked similar to the one Jude Law had been wearing in the film I'd stormed out of only fifteen minutes earlier. I felt strongly that somebody owed me something, even if it was just me dropping clams on myself as a form of stupidly expensive cinematic recovery shock therapy. Obviously I'm a poor decision maker in more ways than one, except I do still own this watch 11 whole years later and wear it all the time, so joke's on you, people behind Alfie! Your movie remains crap while my elegant timepiece lives on and on and on.

Sadly, Alfie has nothing to do with the actual subject of this entry, which was supposed to be how much I loved the movie Ricki and the Flash, which I saw on Friday. But I recently decided to start using arbitrary song lyrics for post titles, which led to remembering this great story about acquiring my favorite watch, which then morphed into a kind of parable about mining shit for diamonds. So factor all that into the cost of my lazy creative brainstorming, and thanks for sticking with it; tenacity and patience will pay dividends in your future lives, it is certain.

Anyway, Ricki and the Flash. I went into it a little skeptical, per the usual when Meryl Streep plays a normal, but ended up loving it pretty intensely and voluminously, which I'm using here to mean both largely and loudly. As I texted to CV immediately upon exiting the theater, it's the only movie I've seen this summer that got applause from Us, the Audience, at the end, which is always the mark of a special experience in a city as blasé as this one. If like me you enjoy small character dramas where adults make the kind of impulsive but human decisions that damage but don't destroy the lives around them, and where just enough forgiveness is what it takes for them all to move forward, perhaps you too will enjoy this movie. And while—spoiler alert—Meryl Streep does indeed sport that aggressively "rock 'n roll" hairstyle throughout the entire picture, it makes sense that a person who cared enough to chuck her family in the service of a dream that ultimately failed would need to cloak themselves in armor to pretend otherwise, in order to simply get through another random disappointing day. Perhaps you can relate.

p.s. Time to start measuring things in an exponent of "love to the power of Audra McDonald." Is she ever less than amazing?

p.p.s. Lyle Lovett is playing at Damrosch Park tonight (Sunday) for free! I'll have to stand in line for a million hours with friends and crabbily entitled Upper West Siders, but still. What a world!

Watching: Julie & Julia

Who am I kidding? I can't take a blog holiday! How ridiculous! (Except for that week later this month, when I'm being summoned home to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary in a rented house in Door County with 10 other people and no Internet connection.)

Anyway, we interrupt this blog holiday to say Meryl Streep, here's an Oscar, or whatever it is that's bigger than an Oscar—I don't know, here's a MERYL, maybe—for the roundness and great generous spirit that bubbles and bursts and pours out of this portrayal, which is some combination of artistry and alchemy that is very close to perfection, and the purest definition of joy. Baby, she breathes Julia Child, and it's a wonder to behold in a film that's deep with heart and the simple, miraculous pleasure of taking the time and the effort to enjoy oneself—and learn about oneself—by whatever means necessary.

Stanley Tucci, I salute you, as well, because without you I would never be able to confess my deepest, darkest secret, which is that one day I should very much like for a man I love to raise a glass to me across a crowded table—be it a dining room in Paris or the basement of a Shake Shack—and, with a gentle smile on his face, call me his darling girl.