It’s been quite a while since the last Brain Bubbles. What can I say; work has been sucking the bubbly out of me these last months. It’s like when all the oxygen is removed from water. No bubbles, and the fish all die. But being, in my own weird fashion, a cynical optimist (or am I a naive pessimist…I can never keep them straight), bubbles still do happen.
It’s also the end of that whole 12 days of Christmas thing. It’s now truly all over, and you can take down the decorations and toss out the tree.
It’s time to move on to the new stuff! Today’s edition of Brain Bubbles looks at some new things…
I saw the oddest short movie the other day on HBO OnDemand. It’s called Picture Paris, and it stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whom I’ve mentioned before). It runs just under a half-hour and tells the tale of a happy suburban housewife, Ellen (Louis-Dreyfus), who dreams of Paris.
Ellen dreams of Paris so hard that she learns to speak French. She even tries to learn to cook French (there is an implication her lack of success is more the teacher’s fault than hers). After her son leaves for college, she thinks her life-long dream of visiting Paris with her husband is about to come true.
In the movie, everything up to this point is the setup. I’m deeply torn about taking you beyond this point (because it will ruin it for you if you don’t like spoilers). On the other hand, being an HBO product, many of you many not have access. So for those folks, I’ll share the plot—it’s too… remarkable… not to share.
For anyone who thinks they might see this, I strongly urge you skip down to the next bubble. Seriously. The film is too cute to ruin.
So skip down.
You’ll be sorry if you keep reading.
Because once the context is set up, the film takes a left turn into something else. And ultimately it takes a sudden turn into being a (fairly hysterical, I thought) black comedy. Two reviews I’ve found since indicate the reviewers had a real problem with that last turn. I thought it was a hoot (but then I am a dark and twisted soul).
Anyway, to continue.
On the eve of their trip, her husband announces that he’s leaving her. He doesn’t love her anymore, he’s been having an affair with her best friend since seventh grade, and they’re running off to live in a beach house. He tells her she can have the kid and the house.
Ellen [in closeup], stunned, lip quivering, voice breaking, asks, “But,… who gets Paris?” Fade to shots of a long airplane flight.
Fade in on Ellen sitting in a Paris cafe. She’s melancholy. She’s in her dream city, but she can’t connect with it. She can’t see the beauty. An old boyfriend contacts her, hope flares, a big date is planned. It ends in disaster; he’s a drunken boor.
Depressed after the date disaster, sitting in the cafe she’s been frequenting, she has a moment with the handsome waiter (who all along has been making comments to the owner about the “poor American girl” not enjoying Paris—she must have been hurt very badly).
Ellen wants to eat where real Parisians do. The waiter describes a place and the route to get there down “the most beautiful street in Paris.” Sure enough, Ellen finally connects with the beauty of Paris and is sitting in a lovely park feeding ducks when the waiter appears. Ellen’s heart leaps!
Then the waiter’s wife and two kids appear. Ellen’s heart sinks. They invite Ellen to join them for lunch. And then, as the narrator explains, rather than being a rival, the wife becomes Ellen’s good friend. She turns out to be a travel agent wanting to expand to the US, and Ellen—knowing exactly what Americans want from Paris—is a welcome perfect addition to her business.
Ellen meets a man, they marry and live happily every after.
And at the end, the new husband—whom we discover is the narrator—turns to the camera and says, “And what of the husband, you wonder?”
Flash back to the moment Ellen asks, “But,… who gets Paris?”
Her husband now really goes off the deep end on the whole Paris thing. His rant begins to reach abusive levels. If he hears one more word about Paris, he’s going to… blah, blah, blah. Ellen is in deep, deep shock.
So she picks up a large kitchen knife and stabs him. Repeatedly.
And then she takes a butcher knife and… well, let’s just say she successfully makes the pate she’d failed at before. And she leaves the large pate loaf on the front step of her best friend. Ellen rings the doorbell and scampers off into the bushes. Her best friend opens the door sees the loaf.
Mmmm. Pate! Yummy!!
What a heart-warming, charming comedy!
Okay, well that ran a bit long, but it was too much fun to not record.
In other news, I also saw the Doctor Who Christmas episode. Still the best SF on TV. The Christmas episodes are so much fun in how they take Christmas elements and twist them. Darkly. Killer robot Santas and murderous Christmas trees.
This year it was killer snowmen.
And a newly designed interior for the TARDIS. A kind of edgy, serious design that I think reflects the Doctor’s newly darkened heart. But he still thinks bow-ties are cool (so do I—wore one when I got married; matched my vest).
And we meet either the Doctor’s new Companion or his new obsession or perhaps both (Wikipedia says she is his companion).
And I am just head-over-heels smitten. The actress, Jenna-Louise Coleman, is as cute as a button, but more importantly, she’s making an outstanding Companion. She’s smart and sassy and adventurous.
And she talks faster than the Doctor!
Have you ever ridden in a helicopter? If so, did you get a strange sense of déjà vu from it? The first helicopter ride I took was with my (ex-)wife during a vacation in Vegas. It was a “champagne night flight” over the city to see all the lights (very enjoyable if you like Vegas). They get you buzzed on champagne first, so it’s extra fun (they limit the pilot to only a few glasses, of course).
But the thing about the helicopter itself was that I was looking forward to my first ride, but it was not as thrilling as I expected. I’d seen all the “moments” on TV so many times. Looking down while the runners lift off or touch down, for example. A sight I’d never seen in real life before, but it seemed like old hat due to seeing in on film and TV so often.
It wasn’t a disappointment in any way. It just wasn’t as thrilling as I expected.
January. First month of the new year. You may know that our calendar is based on the Roman calendar; our month names trace back to their names for the months.
January was named for the god, Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions. He is usually depicted as having two faces: one looking back and one looking forward.
So, you see, all this reviewing of last year and looking forward to this year is all very appropriate for the month of Janus-uary.
Have you been thinking about elephants? Or trying not to think of elephants?
Last year (or maybe it was just last week) I suggested you think about the blind men and the elephant. Now meditate on the traditional process of sculpting an elephant.
(Yes, I know: Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to look at a painting.)
I know you think I’m kidding, but there are some Deeply Buried Universal Truths here!