bruchetta and a Good Year

I finished reading a book about bananas, of all things, today. I'll probably write up a review of the book tomorrow. I want to mull it over a while. It was very interesting to me, but it had a lot of flaws.

I didn't get very much done today. I did finish up clearing off the counter and dry sink in my kitchen. I also made two types of bruchetta and watched a Russell Crowe movie A Good Year. I liked the movie and both types of bruchetta. As for the lasagna yesterday, it's not bad but definitely not as good as the stuff I usually make. I'll have no problem finishing it off tho--in fact it's almost half gone already.

The movie has a lot of problems but basically I didn't care, I liked it anyway. Probably a lot of the reason I liked it was how something like 10 or 12 loose ends were cleared up near the end of the film. Or maybe it was the 20 or so loose ends that weren't cleared up! I love thinking about screw upped things in movies, y'know?

Some of the loose ends struck me as being editing floor issues like how he ended up with the painting and not the money or the partnership, or why the vineyard had one great year (that nobody knew about--which is the inspiration for the title) and that one marvelous vintage was never duplicated, while other problems with the movie were more serious like why would a character as driven as Max decide to downshift to a pastoral life. Or how could a serial womanizer like Max meet a woman for a few seconds then dedicate his life to winning her over?

Let's back up a bit, A Good Year is about Max Skinner (Russell Crowe), a self involved British investment banker who learns of his dear Uncle Henry's death on the same day he scored a 67 million pound gain for his company in a way that created bad press for his firm. The result? He had to meet with the owner of the company--but missed the meeting due to an accident while Max was at his uncle's estate in France. This allowed for the dramatic tension on the England side of the film.

Sound interesting? LOL No. Well, that's why this film isn't all that good--but I still liked it. Go figure. My favorite person in the film was Archie Panjabi who plays Max's assistant Gemma but Crowe was oddly appealing as well. Odd.

And on the "Bad" side of the movie's ledger--the director, Riddley Scott, totally sucks at comedy. There's all sorts of really bad physical humor like a dog peeing on Max's shoes, a Keystone Kops type car bit, Max falling into a swimming pool and not being able to get out, and an obsession with scorpions. I didn't really like the film much until the last third but between the locations and the likability of some of the acting talent plus the loose ends, tied up or not--it all came together for me.

I was also amused at all the reviews that I read on Amazon about this film that got some basic details wrong. Max is NOT a stock broker, he was an investment banker and it was bonds he was trading. Duh! And he didn't do anything illegal--he was offered a promotion, the censure seemed to be only due to his boss getting flack over the situation. Often the timeline was wrong too. Reviewers said that Max had not been in contact with his uncle since he was a kid, but Max stated a couple of times that it had been 10 years--which would have placed last contact around his age of 30--which would make sense due to that being when Max probably started making real money and becoming the 'lovable' asshole he appeared to be at the start of the film. And a number of people seemed to think the title referred to the time period in Max's life at the vineyard and objected saying it was only a few weeks: the title refers to that one good year of wine!! Anyway...

I keep coming back and adding more. It's my OCD coming out. :-)

Here's another thing. Most of the reviewers seem to think the young boy Max has "lost his way" when he grows up. Did they see the same movie I did??? In all the flashbacks, Uncle Henry was trying to iron out Max's bad character tendencies like his obsessions with winning and money. Aren't these the very problems Max has as an adult? The tagline for the movie is "Everything matures... eventually" an obvious double reference to the vintage the title refers to and Max both needing an extra couple of decades of seasoning.


Mr. Althouse said…
The bruchetta and lasagna sound good, the movie maybe not so much and I'll wait for the review on the book.

Other than that, it appears to be business as usual in the land of utenzi. It has been some time, I'll have to make iot a p[oint to visit more often.

Michele says so...

Carmi said…
Apologies for the belated visit from Michele's: I wrote a comment earlier this afternoon, then hibernated my laptop before heading out for a bit. I came home and realized my network connection died just as I clicked Publish. Sometimes, technology vexes me.

So, long story short: imperfect movies are like imperfect people: we need to appreciate them, warts and all. If we wait for the lily-white ones, we'll never actually get past the ticket booth.

Re. Mr. Crowe. He's a hero of mine. When my old school's library was firebombed in a hate attack a few years back, he was so repulsed that a place of learning for children could be so violated that he took time out from shooting a film to call in, express his support and make a large donation. He defines class.
Shephard said…
I think this post makes a great statement about "reviews" and how on (esp) Amazon, anyone who wants to make a convincing noise, can just spout whatever froth they see fit, and call it a review. It sounds like you're a detail person too. :) Detail people make better reviewers, I think.

utenzi said…
Mike, I do like Italian food and can make it pretty well. I love Mexican also but unfortunately I can't seem to prepare that very well.

Carmi, but you live for technology!

It's good to hear that about Russell Crowe. One hears so many bad things about him that a positive story like yours is encouraging.

Shephard, I'm not a very good reviewer since I don't organize my thoughts well. I don't think the reviews I read on Amazon are bad, but people often take mental shortcuts. People associate finance with stocks so they assume stockbroker, they associate children with innocence so they assume the kid was good and later on began his "wicked" ways.
rosemary said…
I'm not crazy about Russell as an actor. Have not seen A Good Year, but I did see 3:10 to Yuma and he was really good. I love bruchetta.
Michael Manning said…
Hey, Utenzi: I relate. I watched "Junior Bonner" last night and the "directors cut tonight". Not a movie many got to see, but I liked it!

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