Posts Tagged Steve Martin

Housesitter

DVD (1992) Written by Mark Stein / Directed by Frank Oz                               STARRING: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn

(Image: hookedonhouses.net)

Housesitter is a movie I always recommend to those who want a rom-com that’s heavy on the “com” and not so much the “rom.” This movie is sort of the antithesis of Sleepless in Seattle, which we all know is a masterpiece of ooey-gooey emotional goodness.  That’s not to say that Housesitter is not moving or romantic, because it is. But the development of the relationship between the lead characters sort of sneaks up on you in a conclusion that’s cute and satisfying yet relatively painless for the viewer who gets wigged out by heartfelt monologues or too many girl tears.

Steve Martin plays architect Newton Davis, a man who has been in love with the same woman since the 9th grade. Now he is  finally popping the question — not with a diamond ring but with a beautiful house he designed and built himself, wrapped in a huge red bow. “You are so nuts!” Becky exclaims upon seeing the house, to which he replies “And you are so sane! It’s perfect!”  But will she marry him?  “No!” she retorts, and three months later, Newton is still broken-hearted and the engagement house sits in the country, unlived in and empty.  But after a one-night stand with a fakey Hungarian waitress named Gwen (Goldie Hawn), Newton decides it’s time to move on and he heads to his hometown to put the house up for sale. Much to his surprise, the house is now being  inhabited by the one-night stand, and she’s been presenting herself around town as Newton’s wife. She is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, Newton is certain, but he allows Gwen to stay when he realizes he can use her to win Becky’s love once and for all.

Goldie Hawn is  funny and beautiful, and quite a different physical specimen from the rom-com leads of the past decade or so. Housesitter was made in 1992, back in the days when it was okay to have some junk in the trunk, and Goldie strikes me as a cross between Jenn Aniston, Madonna, and perhaps a half-baked aunt we like to visit every summer. Gwen seems to be a con-artist at first glance, but when we  realize that all she wants is a place to belong,  it puts a soft edge on an otherwise manipulative character.

As for Steve Martin, I could sing his praises all day (brilliant comedic banjo-plucking art-collecting writer/actor/Renaissance man) but for now I will stick to the subject at hand and say that no one but Steve Martin can slide back and forth between gentleman and supreme nitwit with such ease. If you like Transition Steve (post-Jerk but still maintaining a healthy dose of goofball), you’ll like Housesitter.

Sweet extras Steve singing “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral.” You can’t live without it.

Good for who? This is a funny one for both guys and girls, and will make a great rental for a date night at home. For the content conscious among you (you know who you are), there’s a bit of mild language and a few sexual references but nothing graphic.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Wrapping it up with a big red bow

The big red bow is great for unwrappable gifts like a car or a piano or Newton’s engagement house to Becky. But many of us can’t afford to give the gift of shelter or transport, so does that mean we’re doomed to never partake in the gentle beauty that is the big red bow?  Nonsense! I recall the last time I bought a shower gift: the gift was $20, and the wrapping paper, tape, and ribbon came to $15. Obscene, but what are my choices? Re-using old paper or giftbags is a great idea, but sometimes they can look too worn. I like the idea of presenting a small gift with all of the splendor of a huge one — tied up with nothing but a red bow.  It’s cheap and stylish and it looks so cool that others will assume they should be doing it too. Yes, it can be said that giving an “unwrapped” gift is ruining the surprise, but chances are the person has demanded the gift through their registry or Christmas list and already knows what’s coming. Not only does a red bow scream class, but it also says “I know you already knew what this gift was going to be so let’s just cut the crap. Happy wedding shower, your majesty!”

Below I demonstrate with household items just how great a red bow can look on a little gift.

Books are perfect for this simple yet classic treatment.  Adorned with this fine red bow, painter John Singer Sargent’s Madame X looks even more stuck up than she apparently already was.

No, that’s not a gemstone from King Tut’s burial collar. That’s a yard-sale rooster.

You ask: “What on earth IS this?” I say: Who cares! It’s wrapped in a big red bow so it MUST be valueable!

Even a week-old container of red onions looks like a gift from the Queen when presented with a velvet red bow.  If you hand over this gift and the receiver says “Snooty much?” before sauntering away, you’ll know you’re working it.

Try the red bow idea at the next birthday or shower you’ve been invited to. If you are a clutz and absolutely cannot tie a decent bow, check out this great little quickie tutorial.

Paula Jane

Advertisements

Comments (1)

It’s Complicated

DVD (2009)  Written and directed by Nancy Meyers                                    STARRING: Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin  

(Image: Universal)

We meet the lovely Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) as the last of her three grown children is moving away from home. Considering the lonely days ahead on her Santa Barbara estate, Jane’s biggest dilemma is “Who will I watch The Hills with?”  She’s feeling a bit mopey, but overall, life is great: she owns a trendy successful bakery, and her kids adore her — not to mention she looks ultra-fab in her awesome purple reading glasses. It seems the only thing missing from this divorced woman’s life is a man, and it’s not long before she finds herself with two: her architect Adam (Steve Martin) and her intrusive-but-charming ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin). Jake’s married to the younger woman he left his wife for 10 years ago, but insists he never really got over Jane. As for Jane, she’s interested in her architect, but she’s also curious: would things be better with her ex-husband the second time around?

If you liked Something’s Gotta Give (also by Meyers), you will without a doubt enjoy this one too. Music and tiny snippets of familiar-sounding dialogue tie the films together in mood and tone without being too copycat. What I especially love about the most recent films of Nancy Meyers is that she takes me to places I’d love to be: the perfect beach house in the Hamptons (Something’s Gotta Give), a cozy English cottage at Christmas time (The Holiday), or Jane Adler’s terra-cotta tiled estate near the Pacific.  For Meyers, the homes must be gorgeous and the characters must wander about them, eating great meals and MarthaStewart-ing in the veggie gardens and markets. In Nancy Meyers’ world, not even the marijuana stinks. (I know that would have made Carl, my previous neighbour, a lot more tolerable.)

But what really makes It’s Complicated work is that the characters are all so likeable. There was even a moment when I felt for the hard-edged tiger-tattooed Agness (Lake Bell).  And as for Meryl, I never not love her—even when she’s as high as a kite or weirdly thrashing about in her Mamma Mia overalls.  The roles in this film seem tailor-made for the comedic timing of  Streep, Martin, and Baldwin, and the humour of this doomed love triangle is ultimately showcased in a second-act conclusion that is both gut-bustingly funny and deeply horrifying. I shall say nothing more except that it’s great fun.

Sweet extras  John Krasinski (The Office) plays Meryl’s soon-to-be  son-in-law. He’s too cute when he finds himself privy to information he wishes he never had.

If you liked this, you will also like Something’s Gotta Give, written and directed by Nancy Meyers.

Good for who?  An excellent choice for singles and couples, and a great one to watch with your spouse. If you’re watching in mixed company, be warned of the sexual content (frequent though not explicit) and some pot-smoking (though miraculously odourless).

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Croque monsieur

No, I’m absolutely not going to suggest you have an affair  with your married ex-husband, but I WILL tell you how to make a brilliant quick dinner, inspired by the movie. The dish is croque monsieur, which Jane makes for Adam one evening after meeting to discuss the architectural plans for her house.  Jane says she discovered the recipe for this toasted sandwich while living in Paris, and made the dish frequently because it was quick and cheap.

I combined several recipes to come up with one delicious and easy one.  It’s like a fancy-pants grilled cheese and very rich tasting and filling. Try it with a crisp side salad of grape tomatoes and romaine.

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • several tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 slices firm white sandwich bread—can’t be too soft. (You might prefer fresh bread you slice yourself)
  • thinly sliced Black Forest ham
  • slices of Gruyère cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green onions

Directions:

Have on hand a small saucepan and a large skillet. Preheat your broiler.

In a small saucepan, melt several tablespoons of butter. Add flour and stir, and gradually whisk in milk for one or two minutes. Bring to a boil on medium-heat until the sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the crusts from the bread if you like (I did) and build four sandwiches with ham and a slice of Gruyère between two slices of bread.

Heat a large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon of melted butter on each side. Cook in the skillet until golden brown on both sides. Place the sandwiches on a cookie sheet, then smooth a light layer of sauce over the top of each sandwich. Grate cheese over the sandwiches, sprinkle with green onions, then broil until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown (should take about 3 minutes).

Tips:

  • Test sandwiches before you pull them out of the broiler. You want the bread to be toasty, not too soft.
  • To make the recipe cheaper, substitute a cheaper swiss or gouda cheese for the Gruyère.
  • While most recipes called for just a light grating of cheese on the top and slices in the middle, I put less cheese in the middle and more on top to get a nice grilled taste.

Comments (1)