On the Friday before the Saturday that the world was scheduled to end, my sidekick Greg and I saw Bridesmaids. Although I am a lifelong Woody Allen devotee, and I was equally dying to see his latest film, Midnight in Paris, I was also eager to see Kristen Wiig’s silver screenwriting star turn. Therefore, I decided that a hilarious film about sisterhood written by two women should be the last film I see before the world falls off its axis. Plus, I had the added pleasure of attending this yuck-fest with someone that shares my loathing of insipid, vapid, predictable, I-want-to-gouge-out-my-eyes-and-make-this-torture-end, chick flicks.
Greg and I both had a very positive feeling about Bridesmaids and Bridesmaids was indeed very positive. It was wonderful. We both liked it so much that Greg almost forgot about his sinusitis that had transformed him into a mucous factory.
The laughs were plentiful; the site gags memorable (my two favorites involve a bag of frozen peas and a defaced storefront). The script was excellent. At its core the narrative is very honest about women. It’s both a hilarious and intelligent story that’s essentially about friendship. It also has a nice balance of humor and heart with the added bonus of depth. It’s refreshing to see women being genuinely funny and likeable instead of being ball-busting obstacles to the glut of idiot guys that are having lame brained fun behind their bitchy backs. I look forward to seeing whatever Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo write next.
Fast forward to Monday. After surviving the non-Rapture Coco and I bolt the grind, hop on a 1 local heading uptown to Lincoln Plaza Cinema where we finally see Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris. Coco has an affection for Woody that she inherited from Grand-pappy Coco who was Woody’s transportation captain until he bought his rainbow in 1983.
We arrive early to score good seats, but shortly before the trailers start, a man the size of a Douglas Fir sits in front of me. His massive bulk completely obscures my view.
Coco (whispering for she does not have a death wish): Is that the Brawny paper towel guy?
The seat to her right is empty. I move. I notice the next day at work that she is towering over me. I feel reduced to the size of a lawn gnome.
Me: How high are those heels you’re wearing?
Coco: Five inches. Sitting behind the Brawny man last night gave me the urge to be a giant.
Woody’s film is an exquisitely directed, shot, and art directed fantasy about Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson. Gil is a successful screenwriter of formulaic Hollywood fare who is miserable in the present and struggling to write literature about a nostalgia shop. After a dinner engagement, Gil passes on going dancing with his shallow fiancé and her blowhard friends in favor of wandering the streets of the city of lights solo. At midnight a vintage limousine picks him up and transports him back in time to the Paris of his dreams, Paris during the Jazz Age. Then, the film soars. Gil encounters a host of legendary artists and writers and also discovers a kindred spirit in Adriana, an artist’s muse. During his time travels, Gil has the time of his life. The audience shares his thrills every time he runs into a legend. I particularly liked Corey Stoll’s deadpan Hemingway. Coco thought the one slight misfire was Owen Wilson, but overall we were both delighted that Woody made another gem.
Upon leaving, there was a crush of people crowding the exit. We noticed a side door that no one entered. Coco shoved the door open and I followed her into the night. We realized that we were the only ones dashing up this hidden staircase.
Coco (elated): We’re time traveling!
Me: I hope we enter the era where the rent’s cheap!
We reached the top of the staircase where the world looked exactly like May 2011. To drown our disappointment, we visit our favorite hole-in-the-wall underground Moroccan watering hole, where we order a bottle of a $44 French red, specifically the 2009 La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rouge. The label is decorated with a hen and a rooster.
Our server confides:
Server: This wine is from the lower regions of barrels where the wine at the top sells for $300 a bottle.
Coco: You’re telling us that we’re ordering the bottom of the barrel.
Upon trying the wine Coco delivers the verdict:
Coco: It tastes okay … it tastes better than okay.
We also order food, a number of appetizers. Coco states:
Coco: Let’s avoid the Lamb Cigars. I don’t want to repeat the Snausages incident.
A few months earlier, at a downtown establishment, we ordered a disappointing tube-shaped meat appetizer that Coco forever refers to as Snausages. At our Moroccan watering hole, we order the Lamb Meatballs. Our server showers them with praise and then we’re served … the Lamb Cigars. But … We didn’t realize this until the next day, when we are both at work and I share my epiphany about why our Lamb Meatballs were torpedo-shaped. Coco beats her head on her desk.
Coco: Why did I not think twice about the lamb balls being shaped like lamb turds? We weren’t even drunk! There’s no excuse!
Me: And another thing … About our $44 $300 bottle of wine … I found a place online in Staten Island where we can buy it for $6.99 a bottle or $83 a case. That’s less than the cost of two bottles at our Moroccan watering hole!
Coco (fashion on the brain logic): If the waiter didn’t know the difference between balls and cigars can we trust his statement that old cock wine is the leftover crap of Chateauneuf de Pape? That’s like saying the fabric that’s leftover from a Valentino dress becomes an Old Navy dress!
Me (water on the brain logic): Do you realize that’s more than a 650% markup? Have you ever been to Staten Island?
Coco: Time to go for a ferry ride!