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!