The Trip to Italy - now on at the Shoreline Cinema in Waikanae
My movie buddy and I have two new rules about our movie watching. a) don't name any movie you want to see - it just results in a list of movies we never get to see, not to mention the unused prepaid ticket incident that almost cost me this partnership, And b) don't read the movie prelude supplied with the session programme.
The latter, our middle aged form of vouyerism, resulted this week in the most indecently pleasant movie experience with 'a Trip to Italy' now showing at the Shoreline Cinema in Waikanae.
The movie opens with the two main characters, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as Brit actor/entertainer types on a commissioned, week long, fully-paid-for gastronomical tour of Italy.
They drive their spunky wee black convertible rental Mini at breakneck speed, alarmingly on the wrong side of the road, through mile upon mile of symmetrical vine filled fields, occasionally disturbed by beautiful historic terracotta farmhouses, so close to the road you could touch them.
They talk... and talk, jumping at lightening speed from subject to subject. Occasionally broken with the impersonations, the first "I just said blow the doors off!" from the Italian Job, sparked by the driving of the Mini in Italy.
This continuous talking quickly became irritating as I mentally forced a downward adjustment to my dangerously high analytical levels that I had entered the theatre with.
These are typically brought on by a little two much constant debate and argument at work, and the 'as often as can be' movies are the perfect cure.
The verballage (don't bother looking in a dictionary, I just made it up) became funnier with the continuous sparring with a menu of very well known movie character impersonations, Hugh Grant was wonderful and the many attempts at the Godfather hilarious, especially with cheeks full of ciabatta.
The food - every so often, the director calls cut, and we are treated to silence, murmuring voices inside the dining room of one of those quaint, famous terracotta hotels. Sometimes towering above cliff tops and aegean-blue sea. Cut again, and we are in the kitchen, where we see the various chefs put the finishing touches to the dishes, named and exquisitely described by soft voiced waiters at the table.
Suddenly we in the audience are remembering we didn't grab lunch.
The best thing about these kitchens is that, unlike master chef, no one screams, shrieks or shouts, no, you can hear the gentle sizzle of the pan, the galloop of a tipped bottle of olive oil, and as the dish is served, and the 'aah's' as all in the kitchen gather around to admire the perfection, newly recreated.
The best of these scenes, saved until last was the seafood restaurant, reached only by boat on the outskirts of Sicily, where as the parade of seared bass, crayfish pasta, delicate squid and cockle medley reached the table, the moans of appreciation from the theatre audience around us reached six different crescendos, how delightful.
The story, um, simple, family stuff, where at every hotel stop, the themed rooms, named for Shelley, and Byron, with terraces once walked by Gina Lollobrigida, these two men face and discuss the fact that all the beautiful young women look through them like glass, and the young men are mere replicas of themselves at a younger, and so much more hopeful age.
Here we are privy to nightly disappointment, phone conversations home, far too short, cut and pained or equally awkward skype calls to a seventeen year old alien one used to call son. Drama comes from an all too lovely to believe encounter with a female pirate, who hoisted a mainsail with an ease that must surely be experienced again to make sure it was all real.
The music, well I'm sure there was more, but all I can remember being treated to was an entire Alanis Morissette CD. Due to the ipod thingy on the afore mentioned and previously described as perfect car having a fault, they switched to the one and only CD instead, and it was great.
Regular poetry quotes from Shelley, Byron (he lived in Rome, you know, I saw his house, and learned enough of his colourful life to want to read more) and a scintillating tour of Pompeii that had me out of my seat, ensured a fully rounded cultural experience. Take your Italian Trip soon. It felt like a rainy Kapiti day on the outside, but in the Shoreline, things got as near to perfect as anyone would wish.