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“Tree of Life” and Indian Delite at Market East by Dr. Mary Burgers
Jun 14th, 2011 by maryburgers

Tree of Life

dir. Terrence Malick


The Tree of Life is a CGI comedy romp starring Sean Penn as Loci the Talking Raptor and Brad Pitt as a strict navy officer. They form an unlikely bond after another raptor (played by you) intervenes on their fight over the significance or insignificance of all events in life, clinic which is displayed through a contrast between present day events and the creation of all life and time. You resolve it with laughter, try song, salve and an hour long perfume commercial, directed by Calvin Klein, complete with the principal actors whispering abstract narratives over flashes of sun-dappled imagery.


You lucky raptor you, you are there to bear witness to every event, every event that has ever happened in all of time:  you watch the original mitochondrion merging with a cell, you are there running with your brothers through cornfields in Texas, you witness a plesiosaur bleeding into prehistoric waters. Each of these events is handled with equal weight by Malick’s camera. The merging of hands at a funeral is as big and vivid as a piece of earth breaking off and creating a magma-fall.


You are always looking up with Malick, up at stained glass spiral ceilings in a church, up at the tops of trees blooming in spring, up at your red-headed strong-willed mother who never thought she would have a life revolving around four boys. She whispers delicate entreaties to God, and soon her oldest son does the same. It seems stilted and precocious when he asks why God let a young boy die, but it becomes more meaningful as you see him ask the same questions of his father.


Though the mother opens the movie by saying the weather will always find a reason to be unhappy, the entire movie is vibrant, all sticky southern summer nights, no grayness or rain, just fields and rivers and rope-swings.


Enough about you, Mr. CGI Raptor. Back to me.


I considered it a great compliment to the movie that, after I exited the theater disoriented and crying, an older woman came up to me and asked about the single most important plot detail. She had missed the first ten minutes of the movie, and still thought it was spectacular.


I would really like to see it again, but next time allow myself to fall asleep more often. It is not a boring movie. Every shot of every scene is careful and deliberate and beautiful. But it feels like fragments of memories you might see before you fall asleep, and to go in and out of those dreamlike states seems to be as valid and true a way of watching it as enduring it straight through.


6 out of 6 burgers


I stumbled out of the movie theater wishing I could die right then and there but somehow managed to get myself on the EL and back to Market East Station. And I was hungry.



non-vegetarian curry platter

like $10 with a mango lassi


For some reason I was like “No, it is not a bad idea at all to get food court Indian food!” I went up and asked for the non-vegetarian curry with a side of mint sauce. I did not ask for a platter. I got a platter anyway! And no mint sauce. Then I asked for mango juice and the lady gave me a $4 mango lassi instead.


I couldn’t be sure, but I think the mango lassi had gone off. It tasted much more sour than I think should have been right. I kept sipping at it to make sure, and I realized if I continued doing that I was putting myself at risk for food poisoning. “But it was $4! And I didn’t ask for it!” I guess I finally decided having my stomach pumped would be more expensive than a $4 lassi and I threw it out.


The platter came with vegetarian curry (which I guess sounds exactly the same as “non-vegetarian curry) and some cheese in some kind of cream sauce, some rice, and a samosa. The curry was fairly nondescript with some cauliflowers and carrots and peas. I guess most of her customers are not Indian so it was not spicy at all. The cheese stuff was also ok. The samosa was kind of dry and gross. Mostly I just kept crying about how all events in life are the same level of significant and I wondered if someone would make a 2 hour perfume ad about my life if I died of food poisoning right then. I should have gone to get bahn mi!


2 out of 6 burgers


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