Monday, September 7, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 09/06/20: Breakfast with Patrick and Meagan, Rip van Winkle Again, *Big Night* and *Aja* BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I bolted directly to the kitchen upon springing out of bed this morning and started fixing breakfast for Patrick, Meagan, and me. We had no timetable for this morning, so I just figured I'd get the potatoes and sausage going so that when they arrived, all I'd have to do was fix the coffee, toast, and eggs. They arrived shortly after 11:00. They situated themselves on the deck, managed to find some of the diminishing shade, and before long they were eating Italian sausage patties, two eggs over easy, fried potatoes (overcooked, dang it), and toast made from Killer Dave's Good Seed Bread.

2. Patrick and Meagan are using Debbie's car while she's in New York, so they arranged to return their rental car in Spokane. They left Kellogg about 1:00 to do that and then came back east to CdA to check in at the resort. I busied myself cleaning up after breakfast and fell into a coma nap -- now I know for sure that sausage turns me into a short term Rip Van Winkle. I was just getting ready to head up the river to see Byrdman when he called to say that he and Stephanie were packing up earlier than planned and returning to CdA. He and I will meet up on Monday instead.

3. I relaxed after hanging up with Byrdman. Early in the evening, I suddenly remembered that I'd been longing to see Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as brothers who own a failing Italian restaurant in the movie, Big Night. I originally saw this movie at the Bijou in Eugene back in 1996. Lately, the deep pleasure that movie gave me twenty-four years ago has been asserting itself in my memory and in my bones. I've been cautious about watching it again, anxious that after all these years the movie wouldn't live up to the way it had been playing out in my nostalgic recollections of it.

My anxiety was completely misplaced. Once again, I loved this movie. Looking back, I remember now that Tony Shalhoub was a revelation to me in 1996. I wasn't watching much television back then and didn't see him in the show Wings and if he'd been in anything else I'd seen he hadn't made an impression. He sure made a most favorable impression on me in Big Night. So did Stanley Tucci. Tonight, I thoroughly enjoyed their performances, loved the screenplay, longed for exquisite Italian food as I watched it being prepared and eaten in this movie, and was moved in a variety of ways by the relationship between the brothers, Primo and Secondo. In addition, Ian Holm has a central role in this movie as Pascal, the proprietor of a middle to low brow, very successful Italian restaurant with mediocre food across the street from the brothers' establishment. Holmes plays the part of the crass, profane, shrewd, vivacious, calculating, and vigorous Pascal with verve, sinking his teeth into the role, just like Pascal claims that to live well requires sinking your teeth into the ass of life!

Over the years, as this movie has kept popping back into my mind's eye and memory at the most unexpected times, the women in this film kept paying me visits. This movie is mostly the story of men: brothers, their friends and associates, and the restaurant owner across the street. But, tonight, while their roles were small and their characters didn't have much life apart from their relationships with the movie's male characters, I enjoyed the work of Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, and, especially, Allison Janney, and I think their characters will continue to live in my memory until I return to watch this movie again -- and, this time, I won't wait twenty-four years.

When Big Night ended, I wasn't quite ready to go to bed so I fixed myself a small bowl of cookie dough ice cream and watched, for about the sixth time, Walter Becker and Donald Becker lead a guided tour through the making of the Steely Dan album, Aja, on the old television program, Classic Albums.

Here's a limerick by Stu:

You know summer goes on past today?
It continues beyond Labor Day.
And even though it's now cooling,
And kids go back to schooling.
There's still weekends to go out and play.

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