Monday, November 14, 2011

"A Song of Lunch" - It Must Be Sung

In an effort to make our kids completely clueless freaks, we don't have cable. We really want them to have no idea what their peers are talking about when the rhapsodize about the latest prepubescent heartthrob (I refuse to use the word 'tween' and I'm pushing my personal envelope a bit with 'heartthrob'), or mindless, violence driven sublimation of male pre-adolescent fantasies. Neither the Chief Lou nor I works someplace with a water cooler and its fabled chatter (try as I might, the phrase 'water cooler talk' never ceases to conjure an image of a talking water cooler with a voice like Elliott Gould), so we're set on that front.

This is like a scene from
a horror film for me.
I know what that sounds like. And yes, I do have some morality issues with a lot of television programming (especially the "news"), but mostly it's an inanity issue. I bristle at the idea of being told to believe something, of being sold something. I know everybody gets annoyed with those emails and status updates that "must be forwarded to at least 5 people or else"; "repost now if you love your family" and blahbbity blah blah. Well, not everybody, because somebody keeps forwarding them to me. But stuff like that immediately starts a brain parade of waving red flags, belching trombones, banners and chanting "You can't make me!"

Most TV advertising strikes me as a series of slickly produced "repost now or else" status updates. Get our life insurance or your family will die in a fire and you'll be selling papers on the side of the road. Buy our cheap diamonds or your marriage isn't real. Eat at this restaurant or your life just isn't very much fun. And the worst, the most insidious, the hipster car commercial. I live in fear of discovering one of my favorite songs as the soundtrack for the antics of beautiful, if slightly unbathed looking thirtysomethings cavorting in their socially conscious car. Even the shows often seem like elaborately staged, thinly veiled advertisements for something. I don't want to come off as some sort of egghead crank. I love inanity in certain forms [I wrote an entire post on being a hamburger yesterday, case in point], I just like to have the freedom to choose my inanity not have it randomly shouted at me from a talking box in my living room.

 So, save the odd Seattle Sounders match, it's PBS or DVDs for us. All this is a wordy and cantankerous prologue to this bit of delightfulness: Last night as I was finishing up my beleaguered aforementioned blog post, the Chief Lou was eating some ice cream and "flipping through the channels to cover the noise". [This is one of the many ways I am married to the most thoughtful man in the world. The sound of chewing makes me feel like my head will fly off and instead of telling me to get over it and quit being insane, he simply turns on some sort of background noise to mask it. I digress.] In flipping through our 5 channels, he landed on one of the best things put to film I've seen in a long time. Ice cream and blog stats forgotten, we stared open-mouthed at the TV as the beauty of "A Song of Lunch" unfolded before us.

It's Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, so there's the whole "do no wrong" of that whole situation. It's the story of a failed poet (Rickman) reuniting with his ex-lover (Thompson) for lunch. But it's so much more than that. Beautifully filmed and set to a soundtrack of mostly the poet's internal monologue, it is one of the funniest and most heartbreaking things I've seen in a long time. To have found it on TV quite by accident carried the same giddy excitement of finding a $100 bill on the floor at WalMart. I will have to watch it again and again, if for no other reason than to hear Rickman's inimitable enunciation of the monologue, reeking of self-importance and self-loathing all at once. I have been in love with Alan Rickman since he played The Sheriff of Nottingham in that otherwise regrettable Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie. I have often maintained that he (Rickman. Not Costner.) could read the phone book on film and I would watch it. So this little Masterpiece Contemporary was a dream come true. Still not convinced? Watch the trailer below.


  1. Yes! We don't have TV down here on the island and I don't even miss it!

  2. I would agree most TV is a waste of time, but PBS is streaming "A Song of Lunch" on their website right now and I totally recommend it!

  3. I saw this advertised and wanted to watch it. I'll have to Netflix it. Emma Thompson might be my favorite female actress. Alan Rickman isn't my favorite, but he's up there. And almost anything the BBC sends over the pond turns out to be something I like. Except Downton Abby. Go figure.


  4. Sarah - you really should watch it if you get a chance. I can't even explain how giddy we were to come across it. Never watched Downtown Abbey, in spite of many recommendations to do so. Glad to hear I'm not the only converted.


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