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Midnight in Paris

We have a movie theater in town that shows second-run films for a very cheap price.  It used to show all of the new releases until the leviathan across town opened, and since then it's been in a gentle decline.  It's owned by the same chain, but as it's running movies that have already been out for a while, usually right around the time they are shown on airplanes or are released on DVD, it charges a lot less.  The first showing is $1, and later showings are $2.  I really like this.  It allows me to see movies I'm not sure if I'll like or not without feeling like I've been ripped off, or I can watch films that I already saw and loved because there's nothing like watching it on the big screen.

Today I took a breather between other responsibilities and chores and to-do lists, and saw "Midnight In Paris" at the cheapo theater.  It's Woody Allen's latest film (he's not in it), and it didn't last long in full release which is a shame because it's quite marvelous.  The first five to seven minutes of the movie are nothing but shots of the city, with gentle music playing.  No credits, no narration, no dialogue, just beautiful and languid scenes of a lovely city going about her day, in the sunshine and the rain, at dawn and dusk.  Lazy, charming pictures that do not forward the story other than to show the audience those places that make people fall in love with the city.  I can't remember the last movie I saw that set the table for me, pulled out the chair and said, "Enjoy!"  

The movie is about a writer from California who visits Paris and feels immediate chemistry with the city.  If you've ever been somewhere, taken a look around and breathed deeply and thought to yourself, "This!" you'll know what I mean.  One evening he decides to walk back to the hotel after dinner, gets hopelessly lost and rather than panic, he sits on some steps and just takes it all in.  An old car pulls up, he is persuaded to climb in by the passengers waving glasses of champagne, and finds himself dropped off at a party in the 1920s.  It's surreal, but not as weird as it sounds.  He meets many famous writers and artists from that golden age and his experiences help renew his love for writing and life in general.

I loved the movie more than I can say.  The music, the dialogue, the strangeness, the scenery were all perfect and at the end of the film, I even sat through the credits (something I never do) because I wasn't eager to break the spell.  There were only three people in the tiny theater besides me, which made the experience even more special.

What's more, I spent yesterday with my niece Kathleen who is home on winter break from Cal Poly.  We went to a bunch of thrift stores with my mom and my sister, and then I took her to my favorite used book store, Cal's Books.  She had never been there before, and was blown away by the stacks and stacks of books piled up to the top of the 30 foot ceilings.  I took her to the back corner where the classics are located and we had a wonderful time talking about great books and writers, many of whom were depicted in the movie I saw today.  It was a cool coincidence and if I had known I would have taken her to see the movie with me.

Considering the way things have been going lately, this movie could not have been a better medicine for shaking off the stress and frustrations of daily life.  It was just what I needed to catch my breath and renew myself for another week.

I hope all is well where you are and you've had a moment or two to take a look around you.  Plus I hope you've taken the time to eat some ice cream.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
Wonderful, so pleased you had the mental vacation. xoxo
Dec. 19th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
It was like a little trip, minus the jet lag and exchange rates! xxoo
Dec. 19th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
I SO want to see that movie! The most beautiful city depicted by my favorite director.

I love that description you wrote of when you've been somewhere and think, "This!" Only until you travel outside your comfort zone can you understand what that is like, and how.

gets hopelessly lost and rather than panic, he sits on some steps and just takes it all in Something like that happened to me on my first trip to Paris in 1983. I got lost wandering around my first night. Then somehow, magically, I wandered into an area that seemed to me a large continuous party, with lights amd music and people outside walking and laughing, and then I knew I was all right.
Dec. 19th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
I thought of you many times during the movie. It's right up your alley, and you should see it this week before it ends its run on Thursday. It's only 88 minutes, so it won't even take up your whole evening.

It's funny that you would describe getting lost in Paris that way because that's more or less what happened in the movie. He was worried, and then along comes this party and he's all right again.
Dec. 19th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
This sounds like a marvellous movie, and one I haven't heard of...I doubt it will be available here, but I will try. And I know EXACTLY what you mean about knowing when you have arrived in just the right city or country!

Hope the rest of your week is stress-free Matt....take your own advice and have some (more) ice-cream!

Dec. 19th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
It should be released on DVD soon and you might be able to rent it. It's very, very worth it!

Ice cream was eaten last night and it was just what I needed to complete my day! Hope your week is stress free as well my friend.
Dec. 19th, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
Hey mat!!! I wish we had a movie theatre like that. I'd go every other day LOL. Glad to hear you are having some nice 'timeout" time with your family. We are taking it pretty easy here, haven't really got sorted for christmas, but hey! there's still 5 shopping days to go. LOL!!!! We are having both my sisters and their families, and my dad as well as Gracie over for xmas day/boxing day and it's the first time we've all been together for christmas for a few years now, so am really looking forward to it. Dave & I are housesitting the same place we housesat last xmas and it's a pretty good place to host xmas.......HOWEVER, we are planning on being in our own home for xmas 2012 first time in 4 years.....so really looking forward to that. xxxxx
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'm so thrilled for you that your whole family will be together for the holiday! I think of all of you often and please give everyone my best. Your tribe often reminds me of my own, in all the best ways.

Here's to a fun filled holiday with people we love, in houses full of laughter!
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful film, Matt! I'll have to check it out. I'm very glad you got the respite of a a good film and some family time (at a bookstore, no less!). Things are things here. If I were to get lost in Paris this week, I doubt I'd come back. :-)

We're doing a work move (bleh!) and it's mostly my job to make it happen. I'm hanging in there, but there will be ice cream soon!

Take care!
Dec. 19th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
A work move? You need medicine far stronger than just ice cream! I doubt even gelato in Florence would help!

Hang in there, and I hope your week progresses more smoothly than expected.
Dec. 20th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Matt! It's a "doozy", too. We're (literal translation "I am") moving our machine shop/R&D section. Condensed from 10K square feet to 800 square feet. No, that wasn't a typo. Shipping many things to various out-state partners, selling a lot, and moving the rest. Began mid-November, must be done end-December. Joy.

Thanks for the well-wishes! I think of your office move and at least this move isn't in scorching heat!

As for gelato in Florence... I'd sure be willing to give that remedy a try! Doubt I'd ever return... :-)
Dec. 20th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
I really love Paris. You've made me nostalgic for it! xo
Dec. 20th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
This movie made me really want to see Paris for myself!
Dec. 23rd, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
I went to see "Midnight in Paris" and LOVED it! Thanks for putting me onto this film. I've made my post already!

Dec. 23rd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Well done! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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