Photo swiped from Amazon.com.
So one of the presents that His Awesomeness requested and received for Christmas was the new Criterion Collection DVD of My Dinner with Andre.
I'm as pretentious as the next guy and watch my share of serious art films and important movies. But Jesus Christmas, I fell asleep THREE times while watching this movie a few years ago. And each time I woke up, I rewound to the spot where I'd fallen asleep so I wouldn't miss anything. Because it's a GREAT and IMPORTANT film. And I am pretentious like that.
It's about 2 playwrights having dinner and talking about the meaning of life. Even they don't know how they ever got funding and distribution for this thing.
They both play versions of themselves. Wallace Shawn is an unsuccessful playwright and Andre used to be successful, but fell out of fashion or something and took off to find himself or some such twaddle. After not seeing each other for a few years, they meet for dinner at a fancy NYC restaurant. Wally wears a jacket and tie, as is appropriate for such establishments. (In NYC today, only 2 restaurants require a jacket and tie, but in 1981, a lot more did and this appears to be that kind of place. Wally orders the quail, for example.) Andre wears a fucking grandpa sweater. Scroll up and look at it! God, I hate that sweater! If the struggling artist can put on a jacket, then so can the successful one. Of course, if he had worn a jacket, then visually, you would've had 2 guys in jackets discussing the meaning of life and that might have tipped the boringness scales.
HA tells me that the film is about how these two guys avoid connecting with each other. Wally hides behind questions and Andre hides behind words. Which means that we have almost 2 hours of Andre bloviating on the moving life changing experiences he had. Towards the end, Wally calls him on it and argues that the rest of us have to earn a living and living life to the fullest every day kind of gets in the way of that.
The part that really chaps my ass is this story Andre tells about something that happened to him on New Years Eve in the middle of nowhere in Norway or some other place that is way too cold for people to be going out at midnight at the end of December. (The whole movie is on You Tube, but there is no way in hell I'm going to search through all the videos for this scene, so you'll just have to take my word for it.) He was with a whole group of people having dinner, etc. and then the hosts take everyone out on a hike to the middle of nowhere. There's no one else around. They're completely isolated.
Now, at this point, I started to get concerned. Most women will tell you that any blind date that ends without her stuffed in the guy's trunk is a good date. Women are forced to be constantly aware of the possibility of street harassment and violence against us. I will spare you the full rant on that subject.
So it's clear at this point in the film that not only is it a high fallutin film about IDEAS, but it is also BOY MOVIE. Because every woman watching the film at that point is wondering what the matter is with all these people that they would allow themselves to be led into the middle of nowhere by people they barely know.
People who then make everyone DIG THEIR OWN GRAVES. I seem to remember Wally asking Andre if he was scared at that point and Andre says that he wasn't.
And that is why I HATE Andre. I'd rather starve than have dinner with him. GOD!
Of course, Andre wasn't murdered in the Norwegian countryside and instead went through some rebirthing experience and well, good for fucking him, I guess.
Anyway. At least Andre picked up the check for dinner.
So HA went to visit the family in the midwest after Christmas. (We alternate years with the families, but he goes out there between Christmas and New Years anyway to see the family. If money weren't an issue, I'd go too.) So his nieces (aged 3 and 6) grabbed a DVD from his bag and insisted on watching it. It was My Dinner with Andre. He put it on and they think it's boring too.