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28 December 2004
Throughout the life of a family, there periods of time--or sometimes just small moments--which serve to bond the family together in a special way.
Traveling together to a foreign country and drinking beer in various pubs with your adult children is a bonding experience.
Gathering together in various musical venues to watch some of the family cavort on stage, some of them dance in the pit and some just stand around and enjoy the ambience can be a bonding experience.
Surviving family tragedies can be a bonding experience.
Holidays full of good food, good laughter and camaraderie can be a bonding experience.........
...........Seeing "Closer" together is a bonding experience.
We didn't set out to see "Closer" (the Julia Roberts/Jude Law movie movie currently being touted on all the talk shows). We set out to see "Meet the Fockers." We were in the mood to laugh.
We usually see movies when Jeri comes home. It's a good Mom and Dad activity that everyone enjoys and it fills the gap between "what's new" and "goodbye--see you next time around" very nicely.
I'm not sure who chose "Meet the Fockers" as the movie we needed to see, but it sounded like fun. According to the news reports I've seen today, apparently everyone else had the same thought. The opportunity to see Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman cavorting with Robert DeNiro was apparently irresistible, and it was #1 at the box office over the holiday weekend.
The kids had been out playing poker until 3 a.m. on Christmas night, but they still got up relatively early in the morning and without really planning it, we ended up having our Christmas morning breakfast a day late. We had eggs and bacon and challah bread which Marta's stepmother had given us and which Walt rescued from the ants, and we had mimosas with some more of the freshly squeezed orange juice.
Then half of the group went to take a nap so they would be more alert and more fully able to enjoy "Meet the Fockers."
The movie started at 1:45 and we left home about 1:25. We had to drive downtown and find a place to park and buy a ticket which would get us in the theatre at just about the time the movie started.
Tom dropped Laurel off to buy the tickets (their treat) while he and Jeri went to the parking lot. Walt and I found on-street parking. Phil, who has been a friend of the family since before his voice changed, was already there to meet us.
As Walt and I walked up, he and Laurel broke the news: the movie was sold out. I was kind of afraid that would happen, since--what else are you going to do on the day after Christmas when it falls on a Sunday?
There wasn't any other movie at this theatre complex which was starting at around the same time that we might be able to catch, so someone suggested going to see what was available at the other complex, which is about 4-5 blocks away. I suggested Walt walk on ahead with the kids, since I was hobbling along on this bum leg, and if there was a chance of getting into a movie, he could get the tickets.
They were, of course, all at the ticket counter when I limped up and they asked if I was up for seeing "Closer." I'd read mixed reviews, but it's a quadruple Golden Globe nominee, so I decided it would be good to see. I mean--I like Julia Roberts. She's a top name actress. Surely there was something to like. I often disagree with reviewers and not all reviewers had disliked the movie. I would make up my own mind.
It was about 10 minutes into the movie when we got into the theatre and found our way to a seat pretty close to the front. In the pitch black, it's hard to find six seats together.
We should have had a clue about what we were in for when the people near us decided to leave the theatre not too long into the movie.
I read the Davis Enterprise reviewer's review of the movie when I got home. I loved this part... "about midway through "Closer," ennui sets in as it becomes obvious they're going to betray each other again ... and again ... and again."
"Closer" is kind of the deviant sexual equivalent of "Groundhog Day." These four people that you end up not caring about one whit, spend the entire movie betraying each other and then giving graphic detailed--and I mean graphic detailed--verbal accounts of everything that happened in the sexual encounter that comprised the current betrayal. Just when you think that just maybe there will be a happily, if not ever after, at least for the next 5 minutes, there is another betrayal, another sexual encounter and everybody changes partners yet again.
During what were supposed to be dramatic scenes there was giggling from the audience. And deservedly so.
At one point I turned to Walt and said "Well, we didn't get to see 'Meet the Fockers', we went to see 'Meet the Fuckers' instead."
Things were so bad that during yet another dramatic confrontation during which yet another degrading sexual encounter was about to take place, I found myself looking out the window over Julia Roberts' shoulder trying to figure out where exactly in London they were supposed to be having tea, 'cause I sure as heck wasn't interested in the conversation that was going on.
When the movie ended, the six of us just sat there with our jaws hanging wondering what in the hell people found so wonderful about this movie. It has good moments. But the moments are so fleeting that if you blink you miss them and even during the moments something else underhanded is going on in the background that takes your attention away from this good thing and focuses on the predictably bad thing that is about to happen.
At one point I remember thinking that if this had been done as a play it might have worked, so I was not surprised to discover that this actually was a play.
The movie has been nominated for four Golden Globe awards, including best picture. I want whatever they gave the judges to smoke before they went in to see this piece of crap.
The only thing that it had going for it, in my estimation, was that we all agreed that we had just experienced a very close bonding moment.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
What sweeter Grandma/Grandson picture?