I have a friend in Hong Kong who I have mentioned here before… I call her Frenchie. Because she is French. Not original, but catchy enough that it has become a bit of a nom d’jour. Or I could just be feeling self-important. Regardless, I mention Frenchie tonight for this reason: We have nothing in common. Seriously. It has become somewhat of a joke because it is pretty much a guarantee that if I like something she will hate it, and I have to say, if she likes it, I think it is pretty much garbage. Ironically, this has actually worked to our advantage and having our one commonality be that we have a shared mutual disregard for the preferences of the other turns out to be something pretty significant to have in common. She is the perfect one to share food with – she loves what I hate. We will never fight over the last anything because for sure if she wants it, I definitely do not. I like cats, she says she likes dogs (though she refers to N & M as her niece and nephew… or wait, that could be me… I don’t even remember). She likes pâté, I like vegetables. She likes bright colorful clothes, I like black. She likes heavy reds, I like Pinot. She likes the outside of the brie, I like only the middle. She hates to plan, and you know how I feel about that. She thinks the internet is crap, (and though I am starting to see her point of view there, I am resistant to giving it up…) She likes white chocolate, I like the darkest you can find. She hates the word “fuck” and counts how many times she hears it in the American movies she cannot stand but watches to humor me, and well, you know how I feel about the world’s most versatile word… You get the idea; we are a veritable Bert and Ernie. And yes, I am certainly the Bert.
Anyhow, on the odd chance that we ever do agree on anything, we always laugh, and it is a guarantee for a good conversation.
Tonight, Frenchie brought a movie over to watch – and it could not have been more perfect for the two of us. It is called “Bottle Shock.” [Imagine my surprise on seeing the DVD cover that it was called Bottle SHOCK as ever since she has been talking about this film I thought she was saying Bottle SHOP. Just one more area where we make it work – I cannot count the times where one of us has told an entire story to the other only to realize at the culmination of the long and inevitably circuitous and detailed account, the other has no appropriate response to offer as comprehension was lost from the second sentence. Now we just look at each other and say, “You have no idea what I am talking about do you?” And carry on.] But Bottle Shop Shock was an interesting call.
The premise of the movie is about the introduction of delicious (me) rubbish (Frenchie) California wine into the snobby (me) discerning (Frenchie) wine culture of France. And it was pretty good. The movie made me incredibly homesick with the sweeping views of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys – I come from one of the most amazing places on the planet – and I think for Frenchie the scenes of Paris and France in the Seventies had the same effect. It was a funny shared sentiment. While we watched the movie we shared a bottle of Sonoma County Zinfandel. We both liked it. We also had some cheese and crackers (I ate the middle of the brie, she the rinds.) And we had some black pepper Boursin as well, which we both agreed was inferior to the garlic variety. We were freakishly in synch.
Oh, and we totally agreed on the presentation of the Brits in the film, but then, that is one of our few and far between standard shared sentiments. [As when Alan Rickman’s character says, “Because you think I’m an arsehole. And I’m not, really. I’m just British and, well… you’re not.” A mutual nod took place. Or when Dennis Farina’s character says, “Where I’m from, they call it a left-handed compliment. They don’t have a name for it in England: it’s too ingrained in their culture.” We both totally get it.]
The film has a great cast [and the California rental car is a Gremlin, seriously, rad] – and though it is admittedly lighter fare than say, Sideways (not to mention lacking Thomas Hayden Church – though Farina is a good call, I can’t ever really dissociate him from Get Shorty…) it is a fun little film along with which to throw back a nice bottle of a California vintage.
And you might just realize that the things you think are so different might not actually be all that discernibly oppositional in nature at the end of the day.