Friends with Money?

So Mike and I are selling our condo, which means that during Open Houses, when the public is invited to view our apartment to see if they would like to buy it, Mike and I have to make ourselves scarce.

We were supposed to go to Brentwood to go look at some houses but Mike felt too tired after cleaning the whole place (our cleaning lady couldn’t come this week, but Mike actually cleans better than she does–ladies, take it from me, marry a man who cleans!! You know how they say women marry men like their fathers? Well my dad is also a cleaning freak. My mom hates to clean, so my dad cleans (AND irons!). He used to be a big time investment banker, my dad, but now he works from home, so he is the house husband and he cleans. Mike and my dad joke that they will have a cleaning contest one day to see who cleans better. Both of them swear they are the Mr. Clean Champ!)

This whole tangent makes me realize the reason I can’t relate to all those new books out about housework and how women hate it, (like that new Caitlin Flanagan book) because in our house the point is moot. Mike cleans. I don’t. Am I the luckiest wife in the world? Possibly!

Anyway, so we left the apartment and went to the Grove, where we saw Friends with Money. I knew the moment we bought our tickets that Mike was going to hate the movie. He hates all talky movies, but I was curious about it and I’d read so many reviews and the article in Salon where the reviewer says he not only felt for the characters, he was worried about them, and he saw himself in them. I usually love movies about angsty urban people and their tiny, tiny, tiny little problems so I went.

So we settled in, and at first, I was totally entertained. I loved the ambiguously gay husband, who reminded me of Simon Doonan (so cute) and I loved that the screenwriter couple were building an addition to their house, and all the cozy dinners they go to with friends. But then, the movie just started to get kind of annoying… like Jennifer Aniston can’t get a date? Puhleeze. And the couple played by Catherine Keener and the guy who looks like Timothy Dalton but isn’t, how we’re supposed to sympathize with her because her husband is a jerk? I actually was rooting for the husband. I thought her character was SO annoying. Like, puh-leeze, you knew you were going to block your neighbor’s view with that ugly addition! Don’t act like you di’int!

And since Mike’s an architect who practices in LA, he pointed out all the incorrect things in the movie, like how the architect tells them they need a “special permit.” There’s no such thing. And no one can just put up an addition like that, you need to get a variance from the city, which involves a public hearing, where anyone in the neighborhood can protest it. It’s just absurd, Mike says, that they would just build it without one.

I really am not one of those people who are smarter than the movie. It’s just, I’m married to an architect.

And really, I go to the movies to get entertained, not annoyed. I guess I should have known. I usually keep away from things that will annoy me, like some people, who are annoyed by stories of girls partying in the Hamptons should keep away from my books.

I *like* the fantasy Hollywood romantic comedies… with the fabulous production values and everyone looking so gorgeous, like Must Love Dogs and that one with Uma Thurman where she dates the young guy, I can’t remember what it was called right now–I loved those. Everyone in this movie looks awful. It was just hard to watch.

And ok, so back to Catherine Keener’s character’s jerky husband. She is basically divorcing him because he never asks her if she is “Ok” after she hurts herself–like when she burns her hand, or bumps into a table. And she confronts him, and he says, well, why don’t you just say you’re OK? “You’re OK, right?” And she says, that’s not the point. And I just sat there and thought, WHINER! I told Mike the reason I rooted for the jerky husband was because he reminded me a lot of him—Mike. Mike NEVER asks me if I’m OK after I bang my foot or whatever, and he never says God Bless You when I sneeze.

Now, if I were a character in a movie, like say, “Singles” that Cameron Crowe movie where the girl is really mad at her boyfriend for never saying God Bless You when she sneezes, I would think Mike is a jerk. But Mike is NOT a jerk. Some people just don’t do that, some guys don’t do that, and life and relationships are just not that simple and black and white.

I don’t know, maybe it’s because we are basically happy people. I was lucky enough to come from a happy family, and while we have had some sadness in our lives (illnesses, immigration issues, etc) we always looked on the bright side of things. We are a positive people. So I guess I just don’t relate to all the angsty whining in movies like Friends with Money.

I was just thinking of how Woody Allen’s movies are about angsty urban people and their tiny tiny problems, and how I love those–because the NYC apartments they show are just sooo drool-worthy–and hello, did you not love Match Point and that gorgeous London flat? And the family estate’s library where everyone sits around and drinks G&Ts? Swooon.

Friends with Money had none of that–nothing to aspire to, nothing to emulate. Nothing that really showed the fun side of life. Oh, except for that one scene where the ambiguously gay husband has lunch with his new ambiguously gay friend in the friend’s house, which had a fabulous pool and garden. (During this point in the movie, Mike and I turned to each other and said, “Oooh. We want that! How much do you think it is?”)

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, take a guy who cleans over a guy who says Gesundheit anyday…

I just remembered what else I wanted to share, so, I’m writing Blue Bloods 2: Masquerade… and the other night we happened to catch Phantom of the Opera the movie on cable. So now everytime I write my book, I sing gleefully to myself…

“MASQUERAAAAAADE…Paper faces on Paraaaade….MASQUERADE…Every face a different shade..MASQUERAAADE….”

And then I giggle madly. Like I’m doing now.

It’s so cheesy! And now Mike says I should change the title of my book. But we’ll see. I kind of like it even if it reminds me of that song…

Happy Easter everyone!