March 22, 2003
Pressing the Flesh
After protracted negotiations and then the weather conspiring against us, fellow blogger Mike and I finally met up last night, after first becoming acquainted at BABB well over a month ago. Our common interests - blogging, obviously, as well as film, music and some maddening Anglophilia. We are also terribly indecisive and have trouble sorting out restaurant bills. We determined that we must have been standing within several feet of each other at a Neil Finn show at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta in 1998. How funny is that? I think, in spite of the connections one makes online, there's nothing like meeting up in person and hanging out, chatting away and sitting together over dinner and drinks. We're still carbon-based lifeforms and the exchange of information that takes place when you hug someone hello just can't be conveyed through mere text on the screen.
We caught a screening of Laurel Canyon at a certain megaplex near Times Square - but only because the rain was still falling a bit and the showtime was soon. Note: Lots of non-pc language ahead. Frances McDormand is amazing as Jane, the tough and sexy hippy chick music producer who has a rocky relationship with her straight-laced psychiatrist son Sam, played by Christian Bale. Alessandro Nivola was just sex on legs as the singer Ian, who fronts a band including real members from the group Folk Implosion - oh, and his vocals were quite lovely too - both Mike and I observed that the big song in the film sounded like a Coldplay track. His performance lends authenticity to a movie in which music isn't merely some absent-minded consideration. I'm definitely picking up the soundtrack, sucker that I am. Nivola also has a hilarious moment in the pool, passed out and naked on a floating cushion. I'm not in the habit of noticing guys and their asses, but hey, there he was in the altogether, floating by all taut and golden on a gigantic movie screen. Kinda hard to miss, even for me. (Er...is it getting hot in here?)
Kate Beckinsale did strike me as a bit weak - I'm not convinced how her character went from being disciplined doctoral candidate to lost girl seduced by the California rocker lifestyle. I'd heard she'd gotten implants in order to boost her career, so to speak. So I was also distracted by trying to figure out if that was the case, or if she just had the benefit of well-fitted foundations. Yes, ladies and gents, I'm an equal-opportunity gawker, fascinated by the sight of ridiculously gorgeous people and the things they do to make themselves more so. The movie doesn't end the way you think it might, were it totally a Hollywood kind of flick. An excellent viewing.
Afterwards, we headed to Zen Palate for some vegetarian dining and post-viewing critiquing and further nattering away. I had a dish called Dreamland - some sort of pasta with shredded, chewy bits of sweet and sour sauteed mushroom. Mmmmm. Such a healthy place didn't offer alcoholic beverages, so we wandered over to Jack's for some potent vodka tonics and yes, even more conversation, this time accompanied by raucous drunks singing enthusiastically, though unintelligibly. We also pulled out our gadgets - PDAs, digital cams, and the requisite admiration of the portable digital jukebox - it looks like a CD player, but holds music like an IPod. Yes, we totally geeked out and enjoyed ourselves immensely. But all good things.... Late night commuting trains beckoned, so two new friends parted ways on the sidewalk and headed home.