Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Two Canadian Secrets (Jane Curtain is the less well kept one of the two)

I had returned from Japan, this about a year ago now, and I'm talking to my friend Sonia about my eating habits, something related to, I'm sure, either a Whopper or a McChicken (I go Burger King for beef - which is about as sensible as going KFC for chicken). It was Sonia's reaction that I so remember. She was horrified. Horrified!

She said she rarely if ever ate that crap any more, and this from a dear friend who, as she herself would tell you, was not the symbol of healthy eating in our high school and uni days. What her horror reflected back at me was that we were in our 30s now and that eating fast food was just plain stupid.

It's funny, that I can be that brainless about my diet and yet get all uppity, snobby about the arts (My Desert Island, anyone?). Which movie or book or whatever will be remembered fifty years from now. I take this VERY seriously. Not that I don't take my fast food seriously. (I wouldn't be caught dead in a KFC; also, is there a better fast food fry than Mcds?)

Still, I go for the metaphoric popcorn at the local multiplex often enough. The other week I went to see "I Love You, Man," a movie no one will remember in a decade's time. Not a bad movie, but not a Godfather movie either. And yet I felt the urge to write about it here because of Jane Curtain (of Saturday Night Live and "3rd Rock from the Sun" fame). The Canadian actress has a small part in "I Love You, Man" but it's just magic.

She plays the lead's mother and plays it so overly emotional, concerned, loving, wonderful, awkward, old, strange that the whole thing, while being very funny, seems remarkably real. Trade in your ethnicity for Jane Curtain's and this could be your mother, aunt, or most every middle-aged mother I've known. She just nails it, every fucking nuance of it. And how often do you get that in a Hollywood comedy? Something that you would believe as real, and that is also very, very funny. While it's not as outwardly funny as Alan Arkin's great performance in "Little Miss Sunshine," it is a teeny little part and she manages to make it so heartfelt.

It just ... her performance borders so beautifully, precariously close to caricature, but goes no where near Will Ferell territory - it stays plausible. That's artistry, and I'm becoming a big fan of the unnoticed, the never will be Oscar nominated. Call it quiet genius.

And I take that as seriously as I take the mayonnaise they use on a Canadian McChicken (different from what's used in the US and Japan) - trust me [wink] it makes the sandwich.


  1. allison10:18 a.m.

    man, i hate that japanese mayo! i think i might just be heading to my friendly mcd's a little later on today =) maybe secretly.

  2. Took me years - years! - to adjust to the sweetness of Japanese mayo. By the end though, I found their Chicken Filet-o pretty tasty, I have to admit.


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