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Saturday, March 4, 2006

So Iím watching this movie, In Her Shoes, and about twenty minutes in Iím finding myself terrifically bored. I could turn it off and watch something else, but itís the last DVD I have from Netflix, and Iíd like to mail it back Monday and get something else. So I let it play and head into the kitchen to putter.

My eye lands on the food processor that has been sitting on the counter, unused, for the last couple of weeks while I havenít had the time or energy (or appetite) to eat anything more than frozen foods and leftovers. I decide that chopping something will probably be more entertaining than this movie, so I take the tub of cooked chicken out of the refrigerator.

Once the chicken is chopped, I mix in a little mayo and mustard and relish, but Iím still not quite ready to say that Iíve done anything very special. So I open the refrigerator door a little wider and stick my head all the way to the back of the shelf, where I find a jar of giardiniera. Pickled Italian vegetables. I canít even remember why I bought it, but it was probably for some recipe Rachael did, back when I had time to watch her show.

After Iíve processed the veggies, Iím not sure what to do next. It takes two sessions in the machine, because the cauliflower stayed pretty much whole the first time through, but now I have everything finely chopped and set aside. I take a small bowl and lift a spoonful of the chopped chicken into it, and then add some of the chopped vegetables. I mix it up and give it a taste and decide to take all of both and make one small vat of sandwich spread out of it. This is going to be great!

Then I realize that I have only two pieces of bread left in the house. So itís going to be great, but itís only going to make one sandwich tonight. At least itís a fairly healthy sandwich, and it turns out to be a pretty tasty one, too. I take it into the living room and sit in front of the movie, which has been running the whole time Iíve been puttering.

Amazingly, the movie is suddenly better. Itís now watchable, and Iím thinking I should have just started it about 45 minutes in. Who needs a setup? Who needs background? Iím interested in what these characters are doing now, and I couldnít care a bit about what they did in the first third of the picture. And I decide that maybe some movies (maybe most movies) should be started somewhere in the middle. It makes them more like art house films, and it forces me to pay attention. Itís much less boring that way.

3 March 2006

Dark clouds in the east.

Of course, another reason this particular movie gets better after 45 minutes is that Shirley MacLaine doesnít appear in that first part. Itís all Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette, and all sex and self-involvement. Now it has become two parallel stories, each more interesting than anything with the two stars together. Iím not sure how to apply this lesson to other pictures I watch, but itís something Iíd recommend when viewing this one. Watch the second half first (or maybe the second half only). It also has the advantage of taking a lot less time that way.

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Actually, the movie ended better than it started. Thatís better than the other way around, but still, it wasnít enough to redeem it totally. My favorite scenes are those with Cameron Diaz and Norman Lloyd together. More of those and youíve got yourself a movie (but an entirely different one).

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One year ago: Unified
"Sometimes on a good day, you just have to realize that living can be (maybe should be or must be) its own reward, and that the process is at least as important as the product."

Two years ago: Disservice
"It's a good thing it wasn't an amount big enough to overdraw my account. I'm thankful for a small tankful, I guess."

Three years ago: Skating
"Until then, let's just pretend we've done something really, really smart and keep patting ourselves on the back."

Four years ago: Better Than Beets
"You can only hit the snooze bar so many times before it says, 'Forget this. You're on your own, amigo. Why do you even set the alarm if you're not going to get up?' Then it turns itself off and we both go back to sleep."

Five years ago: That's Me in the Corner
"I didn't really hate the film, but I hated every single character in it."

Six years ago: Bottom Line Pricing
"I helped keep track of the kids while their mothers sold off their old clothes and toys."

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