5pm i left the house for boston, perhaps one of the worst times to commute by public transportation, during the heart of rush hour traffic. fortunately from porter square i was able to grab a seat, but the train was tightly packed, and i was sitting in the wrong direction to see the sunset over boston as we went across the longfellow bridge. i went to ming's supermarket to buy some canned coconut milk, a tin of thai red curry paste, a bundle of coriander, and some fishnacks. i cut my way through chinatown and went to the boston common theatre where i waited for eliza jones to show up. although i've kept in touch with her, i haven't seen eliza since the end of december, more than 2 months ago, when she was able to fit me into her schedule and came over to cambridge for a run. when she arrived at the theatre (wearing her long winter coat, the "heavy artillery"), we bought our tickets for the guru. we opted to see the movie first (showing at 6:30pm) then grab dinner afterwards, since the next showing of the movie would overlap dangerously into eliza's bedtime.
our screening room wasn't very crowded, and with 10 minutes before the movie started, i was surprised that we were able to get the coveted railing seats, the best seats in the house because you can use the metal barrier as a footrest besides having an unobstructed view. nowadays at the movies there's just as much product commercials as there are movie trailers. it usually takes about 15 minutes worth of advertisement before the movie actually starts. there were commercials for coca-cola, chrysler, and m&m's. there was at least two public service announcement reminding you to turn off your cellphones. trailers included willard, what a girl wants ("she wants her daddy! aww!"), bend it like beckham, and boat trip (this movie looks funny).
the guru was a great movie. the setup is about this indian guy named ramu gupta (jimi mistry), an ambitious dance instructor, who arrives in new york city seeking fame and fortune. unwilling to slave away as just another waiter or cab driver, ramu answers an ad in the newspaper which turns out to be an audition for a porno movie. unable to perform (under the stage name "rammy"), he takes the wisdom of the porn actress he meets (sharonna, played by heather graham) and inadvertedly becomes a sex guru for the social elites of nyc ("swami bu"). the movie is not only a comedy, but a musical as well, and towards the end, it develops into a romance too. jimi mistry has an infectious charm (especially with those sad upturned eyebrows), and one of the funniest scenes in the movie is when he auditions for the movie part, unaware that it's really for a porno, and dances "risky business" style for the casting director when he tells ramu to "lose his pants." he has a group of indian friends which he shares an apartment with, and they act as a great comedic foil. one great thing about ramu is even when he makes it big, he shares his money with his friends, which i think shows the audience something about the character. marisa tomei is good in her role as yet another flaky brunette (my cousin vinny, what women want, the slums of beverly hills), in the role of socialite lexi who catapults ramu into self-help stardom. even better is heather graham as the pornstar with the heart of gold, it's hard not to fall in love with her mesmerizing screen presence. oh, and the music! the big draw that got me to go see the movie in the first place was catching a glimpse of the bollywood version of grease's "you're the one that i want" in the trailer. the movie is peppered with that kinetic whirlwind of colors and sounds that is bollywood musicals. i have no idea what they're singing, but i just want to sing along anyway, it's very catchy. did i mention it also pokes fun at indian stereotypes ("he's indian," "no, native-american"), the social elites, and self-help mania? and it's not all about laughs either, there's a surprising poignancy, especially in the scenes where ramu takes sex lessons from sharonna, and chemistry start to develop between the two (eliza also confessed there were points in the movie that almost made her cry, but she did add maybe it was because she was tired). the guru makes you feel good from so many different levels, it's one movie you shouldn't miss this winter season, if nothing else, at least to see bollywood grease!
after the movie (we waited for the credits to scroll completely, we were the last two people to leave, they were already sweeping the aisles when we left), we wandered around chinatown looking for a place to eat. there was vietnamese, there was chinese (of course), and then the japanese and korean and malaysian (notoriously expensive asian cuisine however). we ended up going to china pearl for night dim sum. i haven't had dim sum, let alone returning to china pearl, in over 7 months. the last time was this past summer in july, when i went with laurie (my dim sum companion for the longest time) and paula and jonathan. although this wasn't eliza's first dim sum experience, it was her first time at china pearl, which is the only dim sum place worth going to in chinatown. we had (cantonese pronounciations): ching jing pie gwot (spare ribs), haw fun, tofu pei (tofu skin), cha siu pao, shiu mai, and har gow (shrimp dumplings). i also ordered my fung jao (chicken feet) and ngaw jhap (beef tripe); eliza wouldn't dare touch the tripe but she did take a nibble at a piece of chicken feet. the waiter who's also my dim-sum nemesis was working tonight as well, i think he recognized me, which made me paranoid because i was afraid he'd try to throw me out out again. towards the end, i took on the familiar duty of "human garbage can" and finished up the rest of the dim sum so nothing would go to waste. i ate so much that if someone was to lightly tap my stomach, i'd explode.
after dinner, we walked to dtx, where eliza grabbed the orange line while i took the red line. at porter square i once again engaged boston's longest escalating stairmaster. the trick is to look cool and not look out of breath when you come out on top. i was quietly panting so as to not draw attention as to how out of shape i am. from the cold silent darkness of porter square i walked back home.