That Guy

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Sometimes you have a story that has so much ick attached to it you wonder if you can even tell the whole thing. And this is coming from a guy whose last blog post was about pretending to be Olivia Newton-John while rollerskating in his garage.

I’ve sat on this story for a good 24 hours. I went to work today and told no one because it’s really too embarrassing, but hey, maybe this will make you feel better about your life.

Last night, I went with my friend Vinod to a screening of Enough Said, the new Nicole Holofcener film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener. It’s a wonderful, funny, sweet, heartbreaking film and I loved it every bit as much as I loved every other one of her movies. There was a Q & A with Nicole and Julia after the screening and for the life of me, I tried to think of a smart, cute question, but I couldn’t think of one, so I didn’t raise my hand.

Now I have a history of embarrassing myself with Nicole Holofcener, it’s been documented here. And I really wanted to present myself to her in a way that would exonerate myself of the crazy attached, not that she would remember (actually, she might remember). After the Q & A, a few people went to the front to shake hands with the women. Vinod wanted to meet Julia and he convinced me (’twas not hard) to go with him. There was one old guy in front of me who talked to her, no kidding, for 5 minutes about the movie Bell, Book and Candle. Finally, she politely dismissed him and then some guy interjected that they’d met before and they talked for 2 minutes and then a Russian lady told her that she should film something in Russia and then a tall Nigerian woman gave Nicole her headshot business card and then Nicole’s handler came and said she had to take her away. And the whole time I’d waited patiently to tell her that no one loved her movies more than I loved her movies, that we’d lived parallel lives, that she was my touchstone. And this is the super ick part, as she was being ushered away, I told her, in a voice somewhere between normal and bellow, “This is the second time I’ve seen it, I saw it on Wednesday.” Don’t worry, she didn’t hear me, there were too many others doing metaphorical pirouettes, trying to get her attention. Even my friend Vinod didn’t hear me because at that moment, he was getting the most amazing picture of him and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The only person who heard my awkward statement was me and I immediately became flushed. As Vinod and my friend Amy and I walked to our cars, I felt so sad, so embarrassed. I am that guy. I don’t have an ounce of cool in me. I actually wouldn’t have been able to ask a question because I don’t know how to modulate my voice when I’m talking to famous people. If I were being played in a movie by Zooey Deschanel, I’d get on your nerves a little, but you’d think, she’s just so cute I can’t help but love her, but when the me character is played by, well, me, it’s just not cute.

Anyway, that’s my story. I’d say it’s going to be the last time I embarrass myself like that, but clearly, I’m making it worse by telling you. And just so you know, I’m writing this stone cold sober, I won’t even be able to blame Sauvignon blanc or Ambien for this confession in the morning.

I do want to say, if you get a chance, go see Enough Said, it’s wonderful. And if you ever get the chance to meet Nicole Holofcener, please bring me along. I per-omise I won’t embarrass you!

This is Me

2006_friends_with_money_008If you have seen the movie, Friends with Money, you probably remember the scene where Frances McDormand’s character, Jane, has a meltdown at this couple who have cut in the line at Old Navy.  I’ve posted it here if you haven’t seen it: it’s perfect.  In fact, I highly suggest watching all of Nicole Holofcener’s movies, she’s my favorite director. (More on her later.) There are many things that I love about this scene and this character, she’s so self-righteous and funny and sensitive.  She’s a crusader for integrity but her mission has made her crazy.  When you watch the scene, you see that her actions affect everyone around her, but most of all, her actions affect her.  She’s taken this moral high ground, but it’s taken a toll on her soul.

I’ve certainly written about such themes before, specifically here.  Every day I feel like behaving the way Jane behaves.  I’ve talked about how crazy it makes me when people run the stop signs while I’m walking my dogs.  I yell to them, “Hey, you missed your stop sign.” And then even louder, “JUST SO YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A LOT OF SMALL CHILDREN THAT LIVE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!!”  Sometimes, they flip me off, sometimes, they don’t even notice.  Most of them are too busy rushing to their game at the Tennis club.  And as they drive off, completely unfazed, my heart is always racing and I’m so filled with fury that people don’t think the laws of the land apply to them.  All of this self-righteousness is taking its toll on me.  

The thing about the scene in the movie, is we see that there is something deeper going on than outrage at people cutting in line at a checkout lane.  It’s a depression.  She is a woman looking at her life, grieving for lost youth, burdened by inadequacies and that feeling that her life has not amounted to all that she’d hoped it would be.  And most of us can relate to at least a smidge of that, maybe even more than a smidge.

I’ll end on an upbeat note, though.  A couple of years ago, I was at West Elm with my friend Carrie.  I saw a woman who looked familiar, in fact she looked like Nicole Holofcener.  Carrie and I had been to happy hour at Border Grill a few doors down and emboldened with margarita courage, I went over to her and asked if, by chance, she was a director.  I did not say her name, because to this day, I do not know how to pronounce her last name.  She told me she WAS a director and I told her that I was her biggest fan.  I told her that we had had parrallel lives because her Walking and Talking reminded me of my life when I lived in New York and that Lovely and Amazing and Friends with Money rang true to my life in Los Angeles.  I said that the scene in Lovely and Amazing at the McDonald’s between Catherine Keener and Raven Goodwin is my favorite movie scene ever.  I’ve included it here, too.  Anyway, she was very gracious, even if Carrie was standing by the pillows mouthing the words, “You’re crazy,” over and over.  I told her I would love to work with her in any capacity and even went so far as to write my name and phone number on a slip of paper and give it to her.  She told me, “You never know, you might hear from me.”  It’s been a while now, that slip of paper has probably long been thrown away.  It was an exciting moment though, I actually felt like a character in one of her movies.  And every once in a while, when my phone rings and I don’t recognize the number, I think, maybe it’s my future friend Nicole, because, well, you never know…