Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Is That a Leaf? Or a Dead Guy?"

Our Meryl Streep Film and Hot Tub Festival got off to a slightly rocky start when Dreama, Stony-Faced Front Desk Girl, informs us that the hot tub is already closed. "Closed?" Brunie asks, blankly. "It's just next to the pool, isn't it? How can it be closed?" Dreama explains that it's run by another facility, which chose to close early for Easter. Brunie mutters some things about how Jesus would want her to sit in a hot tub, stupid Easter, mutter, mutter, and we decide to hit the on-site bar before even emptying the car.

After several beers / glasses of Chardonnay, an appetizer, salads, and an entree (and at least one of us had already consumed a full Easter dinner), I point out that we've been here two hours already, have seen exactly zero Meryl Streep nor soaked in a hot tub, our only goals for the weekend, and yet we've managed to both eat and drink. Yeah, that's us.

Brunie felt bad for being so testy with Dreama, so we stopped at the front desk so she could apologize. Dreama was very nice and forgiving and then said, "I'm not really supposed to do this . . ." and she reached under the counter to get something. We perked right up, expecting vouchers for free drinks, but no: She gave us flyers for a product she sells to whittle away unwanted body fat. Maybe she wasn't so nice and forgiving?

Our room temperature is set at 65. The thermostat implies that we have some control over this, but I press and press the down arrow and nothing happens. I call Dreama and explain exactly what the situation is (i.e., "Can you turn the thermostat down from your end? I can't seem to do it") and she sends up a maintenance man . . . who tells me that the temperature is fixed, no one can change it.
  • Me to Brunie: Words fail me . . . and yet I keep using them.
6:27 p.m., Ironweed
  • Me: Did you read this book? I read one chapter.
  • Brunie: I saw the cover.
We decide that we'll give it till 7 to grab us . . .
  • Me: But I'm already dug in, you're not pulling me away.
Opening shot of a windy vacant lot, lots of leaves blowing around.
  • Brunie: Is that a dead guy?
  • Me: It's a leaf.
Jack Nicholson smashes an empty bottle against a fence.
  • Brunie: If the bottle's empty, what good is it?
  • Me: I'll drink to that, dead guy.
7:23 p.m.
  • Brunie: I hate this movie.
  • Me: Yeah, it's terrible.
7:24 p.m., Lions for Lambs

Two soldiers are playing a slap game; one holds his hands up and the other guy tries to slap one.

  • Me: Why don't we play that game?
  • Brunie: You can't play it as slowly as we'd need to play it.

  • Government Official Tom Cruise: "Do you remember how petrified we were at what our enemies might do for an encore? And how all at once everything was at risk? Families, friends, the kindergartens, the rivers and bridges, nuclear plants."
  • Me: Families, friends, kindergartners and bridges? That's how your list goes?
  • Brunie: Don't forget rivers.

  • Tom Cruise: "Every day in life, genocide happens."
  • Me: I don't do genocide.
  • Brunie: It's not even one of my hobbies.
  • Me: I don't even do it by accident.
8:27 p.m., we establish the 30-minute rule: We give every movie at least 30 minutes, but after that anyone can call it and we switch to a new movie.
  • Me: Want to make the coffee?
  • Brunie: It's not my best thing . . .
  • Me: Oh, God, right. Back away.

(You cannot believe how thoroughly she clogged our coffeemaker in Mankato.)

8:30 p.m., Adaptation

Brunie knows she's seen it and loved it but doesn't remember a thing about it. She named this as one of the three movies she's most excited to see. Nonetheless, she's asleep within minutes. I watch till the bitter end. Great movie!!!

10:37 p.m., Rendition

Brunie stirs.
  • Me: Do you have any closing words for this evening?
  • Brunie: I did it all for Meryl! Wait, you're watching another movie? What's this one called, again?
  • Me: Um — People With Accents Doing Things in a Country That Might Not Be America.
  • Brunie: Oh, yeah, I hated that one.
Jake Gyllenhaal is onscreen with a scantily clad woman .
  • Me: This is our second Gyllenhaal movie. Are we accidentally having a Gyllenhaal film festival?
  • Brunie: Ten to one, that girl's a whore.
  • Me: So, this is our third whore movie.
I watch the whole thing. Lights out at 12:30. Nighty-night!


5:45 a.m., Brunie rises. We sleepily wave at each other.
  • Brunie: OK, what's the trick to making coffee?
  • Me: Make sure the water is cold. The machine is somewhat hysterical on the topic.
  • Brunie: Like the room, I fear the water only goes to 65.
Brunie promptly spills her coffee all over the floor and ejaculates, "Sh*t f*ck sh*t!" (She requested "ejaculates" as her verb.)
  • Me: I think you have a drinking problem.
  • Brunie: It's scary how filthy the floor was before I spilled coffee on it.
  • Me: Did you request the room with no fridge, a filthy floor . . .
  • Brunie: . . . no bathtub . . .
  • Me: . . . and a thermostat that, like me, doesn't go down?

  • Brunie: So, did you watch Rendition?
  • Me: Oh, yeah, wait till you see my re-enactment. I slept through a lot of it.
  • Brunie: Can't wait. I love a plot hole!
6:12 a.m., The Devil Wears Prada
  • Brunie: I'm moving your stuff so I can sit in this chair; it has a better view.
  • Me: Of me?
Brunie gets ice and drops the bucket.
  • Me: Do you have a tremor?
  • Brunie: Yes, when you're near me.

  • Scary Prada Boss Lady Meryl: "Everyone wants this. Everyone wants to be us."
  • Brunie: Think how exhausting it would be to be her.
  • Me: It's exhausting enough to be me — and I'm not even dressed!
8:38 a.m., closing credits of Prada
  • Me: She should win every Oscar.
  • Brunie: She should win the Nobel Prize for awesomeness.
  • Me: Who won that last year?
  • Brunie: I think God.
  • Me: Again?
Decision time: Hot tub or Doubt? We decide that Doubt should be discussed in a hot tub.
  • Brunie: Is it too early to drink? 
  • Me: Isn't sangria a morning drink?
9:08 a.m., Doubt
  • Brunie: Where is my glass?
  • Me: I don't — wait, why do I have it? What happened last night???
And yes, Brunie has a drink.

  • Sister Meryl: "Sugar?"
  • Father Phillip Seymour Hoffman: "Yes, please."
  • Sister Meryl: "One lump?"
  • Father Phillip Seymour Hoffman: "Three."
  • Me: Poofta.
  • Brunie: Seriously.
  • Me: "I take my tea black — like my altar boys."
10:28 a.m., Viola Davis's scene, we are wrecked.
  • Brunie: We should write to Meryl and tell her about our weekend. We should take a picture of ourselves after each movie.
  • Me: This is our Doubt face. Wahhhhh!
I pour a drink.
  • Sister Meryl (to Father Phillip): "Cut your nails!"
  • Me: Drink your tea black like a man!
  • Brunie: Get rid of that ballpoint pen!
  • Me: A granite stick was good enough for Jesus!
Father Phillip says that everyone has a purpose.
  • Me: A special purpose!
Brunie guffaws.
  • Me: If I never saw a movie, I wouldn't have a thing to say.
Here is Brunie, post-Doubt:

We go to the hot tub, where I recount Rendition in graphic detail. No one says a word to us. Was it the water-boarding, you think? Wussies.
  • Me: Not one person we've met this weekend has had an iota of interest in us.
  • Brunie: It's New Hampshire. The state motto is "Fuck off."
  • Me: "Live free or fuck off"?
  • Brunie: Exactly.
12:20 p.m., A Prairie Home Companion
  • Me: On the Hope Scale, as in, what are your hopes for this movie from 1 to 10, where are you? I'm a 5.
  • Brunie: I'm a 7.2.
Meryl and Kevin Kline are briefly onscreen together.
  • Me: Swoon!
  • Brunie: Sophie's Choice next.
  • Me: FOR SURE.
12:50 p.m.
  • Me: When's Tommy Lee Jones showing up?
  • Brunie: I'm not waiting around for him.
12:52 p.m. We're calling it. It's not terrible, just very plot-less, and we have other great stuff to watch.
  • Brunie: Room-service Reubens?
  • Me: It seems really wrong to eat a Reuben while watching Sophie's Choice.

  • Brunie (on phone with room service): No, we have plenty to drink.
  • Me: That's why we're ordering room service. It's our service to the city of New Hampshire.
  • Brunie: The city of . . . ? Yeah, you're not driving anywhere.

1:08 p.m., Julie and Julia (our amuse bouche while we eat)

Our second Stanley Tucci movie! Our second Amy Adams movie! Though Brunie insists that we forward through the whiny Amy Adams parts.
  • Brunie: Do you need more hooch?
  • Me: I'm afraid I do.
  • Brunie: Do you need more self-control?

1:41, Sophie's Choice
  • Brunie: Call me Speedo . . .
 We watch crazy Kevin Kline in enraptured silence for 20 minutes.
  • Me: He is so my perfect man — which is all kinds of wrong.
  • Brunie: No, he's dreamy in this movie.
  • Me: A sociopath.
  • Brunie: Yes, but.
Sociopath Nathan sees Sophie's concentration camp tattoo.
  • Brunie: "We are perfect for each other."

  • Me: We are Nathan to the NEWBETSYs. We bring the party.
  • Brunie: And the crazy.
  • Me: See, you have to take it to the dark place. You are dark Nathan. I am bubbly Nathan.
  • Brunie: I am bubbly as a mo-fo!
3:41, Brunie determines that there are 40 minutes of horror left and she can't take any more. She flees to the hot tub. But I'm here for you, Sophie.

4:13: Took post-Sophie selfie:

4:28 p.m., Brunie returns, wet and glowing.
  • Me: How was the hot tub population?
  • Brunie: Just me and an obese Japanese woman.
  • Me: Interesting. They are usually a tiny people. Maybe she was a sumo wrestler?
  • Brunie: I should have asked. People love it when you take an interest.
  • Me: Yes, that has surely been the theme of our weekend thus far.
 4:33, Prime (we need to shovel off the heavy)
  • Wacky Friend Guy: "It's like Learn Your Fuckin' Lesson Day around here."
  • Me: When's that day again? I always miss it.
Brunie does not like the ending, but otherwise — what a surprisingly delightful little movie!

We determine that we're not hungry yet, despite having only half a Reuben apiece for lunch. True, we've been grazing lightly on our snack selection: Bugles, Cheetos, 40% Reduced Fat Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, and Twizzlers . . .

6:16 p.m., Silkwood
  • Brunie: Next year we're doing this with Kurt Russell movies.
  • Me: We start with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.
  • Brunie: Or we could just watch Overboard six times. OR have a Band of Naked Brothers marathon.
(I once said that Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell, and Patrick Swayze should play brothers in a movie. Brunie said, "Yeah — naked brothers." After Swayze died, God rest his soul, we swapped in Jeff Bridges.)

Oh, man, I love this movie. I still maintain that it's Meryl's best performance — the one where she disappears most completely into a character. It's all Karen Silkwood, Meryl doesn't live here any more.

8:30 p.m., I put clothes on for the first time today, and we go to dinner at the on-site restaurant, where Brunie reads the notes I've taken thus far.
  • Brunie: It's like I was almost there!
  • Me: You were almost there for a lot of it.
Brunie orders bruschetta, and our sweet addled server looks deeply lost. Brunie points to it on the menu.
  • Addled Server: Oh . . . OK . . . I know what that is.
  • Brunie (kindly): Do you have to cook it too?
9:38 p.m., we go outside for our first breath of fresh air of the day. Of course, there are two smokers near us, so our "fresh" air is somewhat compromised. I shake my head and scowl, Brunie is less judgey.
  • Brunie: Karen Silkwood smoked, and it ended great for her.
  • Me: I think you saw the Phoebe Buffay version of Silkwood.
  • Brunie: Yes, and in Adaptation, she and Chris Cooper plant orchids together forever.
  • Me: I'd forgotten how dark that movie was.
  • Brunie: Which movie of those we've seen so far had the happiest ending?
  • Me: Julie and Julia, because we got a Reuben.
9:48, The River Wild

[Opening music plays]
  • Me: Is that a hymn?
  • Brunie: It's an Irish folk song.
  • Me: Well, we sing it in church.
  • Brunie: Apparently when you're UU, "Irish" is a faith.
  • Me: Yeah, like Goth.
Kevin Bacon is charming to Meryl's young son.
  • Brunie: He's adorable. Too bad he's a psycho.
  • Me: Maybe it'll go another way this time. Maybe it'll be The River Mild.
Brunie's asleep within the hour. I put on another movie.

11:30 p.m., Dark Matter. Kind of.


7 a.m., we're awake. This is a bit of a lie-in for both of us.
  • Me: You know what movie made no sense? Dark Matter.
  • Brunie: Yeah, what was that about?
  • Me: I have no idea.
  • Brunie: Were you asleep?
  • Me: Yeah, but even asleep, I could do a decent recap of Rendition!
As of 7:34 a.m. on our final day, the bag of grapes Brunie brought has yet to be opened.  But there's still sangria in the bottle, we're calling it a win.

8 a.m., The French Lieutenant's Woman
  • Me: We have  no ice. What if we want a drink?
  • Brunie: Do you really think you're going to drink this morning?
  • Me: No! Well, not until 10.

  • Me: Why haven't you seen this movie? Lady Darcy and I saw it in 1981. What were you doing in '81?
  • Brunie: Nothing. Masturbation and musicals.

  • Brunie: Look at those leaves — or dead guys.
  • Me: And we have a whore. We've really gone full circle.

  • Doctor: "It was as if her torture had become her delight."
  • Brunie: That's the Mr. Brunie story.

  • French Lieutenant's Meryl: "I drank the wine, but it did not intoxicate me. I think it made me see more clearly."
  • Me: I always feel that way.

  • French Lieutenant's Meryl: "I married shame."
  • Me: Did you hyphenate?
10:06 a.m., Kramer Vs. Kramer (just a little bit, while we pack)

Sangria is poured, Brunie takes a load to the car, I dress.

  • Brunie: Look at you with clothes on!
10:23 a.m., It's Complicated

We've been trying to give Meryl shout-outs when her name appears in the credits, but we are surprisingly half-assed at this. (You'd think we could bring our whole ass.)

Meryl lies alone on her hotel bed, stood up by her kids. We yell in unison, "Masturbate!"
  • Me: I feel like we've gotten a lot cruder in our comments. Is it this movie?
  • Brunie: I think it's Meryl.

  • Adulterous Meryl: "This is the dumbest thing two people have ever done."
  • Me: Oh, sweetie — have you seen Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?
  • Brunie: Have you seen any of your other movies?
We critique the ethics of sleeping with your own (married to someone else) ex-husband.
  • Me: I am Judgey and you are Belchy. No one's picking us for their dwarf team.
11:48 a.m., we're not going to finish in time to check out at noon. And there's still wine in our glasses! Brunie calls the front desk, Not Dreama gives us till 1 p.m. Eureka!

While Brunie's in the bathroom, I empty the Bugles and potato chip bags onto my plate and feel sad for using them up.

I decide to share with Brunie. Then I glance over at her bed:

We see Eric Osmond in the credits.
  • Me: Is he an Osmond?
  • Brunie: No.
  • Me: I know he's not one of the original brothers, but they have a million grandkids. Like Son of Alan, he was on American Idol. Alan was my favorite. Well, Marie was actually my favorite.
  • Brunie: Mine was Tito.
1 p.m., we check out. Dreama has been replaced by Alex Dunphy. We decide to go to Bahama Breeze for lunch.
  • Brunie: It sounds like your kind of place.
  • Me: If it had an exclamation point, my joy would be complete.
Lunch was delicious. (Sister Hart, we missed you!)

And that was the end of our glorious adventure!!! Later, I told Mimosa some of the high points.
  • Me: And look — I'm coughing so much less! I'm well!
Then I coughed.
  • Mimosa: Well into a state of denial.



  1. This is SO MUCH FUN! As ever, I like the parts about me the best...

    1. You were almost there for so many parts!!

      Man oh man, aren't you ready to do this all over again? How I envy other people, having us to envy.


    2. I am envious! I LOLed at Brunie saying "Mine was Tito." But I didn't have my reading glasses on so I read it as "Mine was Tib" which was funny enough until I read Tito which was even funnier. I'm not a huge fan of Meryl's movies, but I do like her. I saw Hope Springs in 2012 because I'm a HUGE TLJ fan and that movie was great but depressing. It was about a couple who lost their mojo and Meryl dressed like an old lady in Coldwater Creek clothes and then I realized that we had the same nightgown. I threw it away when I got home. Well, threw it into the Goodwill bag.

    3. Hee! Yes, I agree with your assessment of Hope Springs (B's six-word summary of that movie was "Meryl tries to give hummer; fails"), also TLJ. LOVE. HIM. That is too funny about your nightgown!!

  2. Replies
    1. Please come to Boston for the Band of Naked Brothers Marathon! We'd love to have you.

    2. You girls! I feel like I was almost almost there! -- SDF

    3. Apparently lots of people felt that way! :)