Friday, October 5, 2012

Throw Down: I Heart Huckabees Movie Night

What would you do as an American with a philosophical crisis, 3,500 miles and 72 years from the epicenter of existentialism? You'd outsource your problem to a husband & wife team of Existentialist Detectives. Obviously.

I Heart Huckabees is absurd and completely entertaining. Jason Schwartzman is pitch perfect as the disaffected, 20-something environmental activist poet, raging against crass consumerism and corporate doublespeak when he isn't drowning in self-pity; Mark Wahlberg is brilliant as the depressed fireman so obsessed with oil consumption and the meaninglessness of life that he will punch anyone in the face; and Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are their philosophical investigators. Add Jude Law and Naomi Watts as the golden couple Schwartzman despises, and Isabella Huppert playing the French former protege turned dark philosophical nemesis, and there is just no telling where the plot will veer next.

Might I suggest this fine film for your next movie night?

photo via
 If you're familiar with our other movie nights (Darjeeling Limited; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Love Actually; Fantastic Mr. Fox; and Burn After Reading) then you know that one of my favorite things to do is serve food as it appears in the movie, so you can eat along with your favorite characters. Read on to learn what food appears when, and choose to serve as many items as you care to. Join us next week for a playlist of French songs inspired by the films of Isabella Huppert, and for our wrap-up post where we'll give you some fodder for your Netflix queue - a list of my favorite movies featuring actors from this movie.

The menu for I Heart Huckabees can be as simple as you want to make it. At the very least the afternoon before the party, make a tray of brownies. Then decide how elaborate you want to get with dinner. There is one scene where our protagonists are sitting down to dinner in a house of super-Christian strangers. The family is feasting on pasta, peas, asparagus, green beans, bread, salad and tall glasses of milk. For my purposes, I bought some pre-packaged garlic bread and popped it in the oven - but feel free to substitute a healthier option from that list. If you'd like to serve cereal, pour out small bowls ahead of time and load them onto a tray with spoons and a carton of milk. If you'd like to serve ice cream, load up a second tray with ramikins and put a nice chunk of ice cream cone in each as a garnish. Leave the carton of ice cream on the counter to soften as the movie begins, then scoop out small servings right before go time.

As your guests arrive, put out licorice in bowls within their reach, and then take their drink orders. You may want to mix up a shaker of martinis, or a pitcher of your favorite cocktail with lemon garnish. You can also give guests the option of coffee, tea with lemon, or a glass of milk. If you plan to serve champagne, load up a tray with glasses which you can bring out when it's time to pop the cork.

photo via
 Minute 11: Jason Schwartzman is being surveiled while eating cereal. Bring out the tray and let guests pour their own milk.

Minute 17: The snooty lady is washing down her hatred of Schwartzman's character with an ice cream cone. Bring out your tray of little ice cream bowls.

Minute 36: It's Mancala Hour! Time for some nice cocktails with lemon.

photo via . . . and yes, that is a
really young Jonah Hill.
 Minute 42: Schwartzman and Wahlberg break bread with some right-wing Christians, and nearly end up brawling. Serve your dinner item.

Minute 53: Isabella Huppert is driving around and Wahlberg is noshing away on some licorice.

1:11: In one of my favorite scenes, Naomi Watts is wearing a bonnet and unselfconsciously stuffing her face with brownies. Mmmm. Brownies.

1:35: We've finally arrived at the Wetlands Benefit! Time to pop the champagne.

After the movie ends, invite your guests to stay and mingle. Press play on your Isabella Huppert-themed mix, and stage your own mancala hour - or just hit each other in the face with a punch-ball. Enjoy!