» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

June 11, 2007
It has been a long time since I left a movie theater feeling excellent. Awestruck, yes. Moved, certainly. But happy and inspired and benevolent towards all humanity? Not until Adrienne Shelly's Waitress. You would think that the real-life circumstances surrounding the untimely death of Shelly* (who also stars in the film) would cast a gloomy pallor over the Waitress experience, but it really doesn't. Instead, the film somehow ends up becoming sweeter and more poignant when you know that this will be the last of Shelly's contributions to the film world.

And yes, Waitress really is quite a contribution. Instead of the brooding, bored, and displaced 30-somethings we're becoming accustomed to seeing on the screen, we've got Jenna (Keri Russell), a no-nonsense waitress at a Southern pie diner. Jenna's doesn't dream of finding herself or ponder the meaning of life. She doesn't aspire to run away from her small town into the bright lights of the big city. She just wants to make pies. Pies are enough. Her distinctive pies are how she expresses herself, how she takes pride in herself, and how she introduces variety into her life. Waitress is a celebration of the simple life - recognizing your mistakes, moving past them, and in your own way dealing with whatever else might pop up next (like a pregnancy or an affair or a sick spouse).

I'm not going to lie to you; movies and baking are my two favorite things. So a well-made film that centers around pies is basically guaranteed to melt my cold, stony heart.** However, something tells me that anyone passionately involved in a hobby will appreciate Keri Russell's performance as a creator who is at her absolute best when creating. There's something in her manner that goes beyond the Nigella Lawson-esque sensuality of manipulating food into something beautiful. This baker loves the baking itself and clearly savors every task with a dreamy expression and a half smile.

Sorry, now I'm getting dreamy and half-smiley as well. I should mention that pies are not the only thing going on in this film. There's fights, humor, a fantastic script, and a fair amount of sex, thank you very much. Also worth noting are the performances of the other actors - Cheryl Hines and Adrienne Shelly as fellow waitresses, Nathan Fillion as the charming, bumbling gynecologist, and Jeremy Sisto (who is so consistently cast in the role of a psychotic asshole that I'm convinced if I met him at some sort of red carpet gala, I would be hauled off screaming by large men with ear pieces in under two minutes) as Jenna's scary, controlling, pie-eating, impregnating husband. And Andy Griffith. Did everyone else already know that he was adorable and I'm now just catching on?

If you are like me, I am willing to bet that you'll still be on a Waitress high 24 hours after seeing the film. Here's hoping you aren't exactly like me and don't call your unsuspecting boyfriend and shout into his voicemail that you need both a baby and a pie shop ASAP, though. Can it, Betty Crocker, it's only a movie.

*I recommend her Wikipedia entry, but I'll sum up. Shelly was murdered in her office by a 19-year-old who was "having a bad day."

**Pop quiz for bake nerds: What was wrong with Jenna's lattice crust?

SEE ALSO: waitressmovie.net

Susan Howson
A staff writer attending graduate school in Richmond, VA, Susan Howson cannot be persuaded to stop talking about movies.

See other articles by Susan Howson.



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