Over the past year, you might’ve heard of The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project, where college student Lawrence Dai endeavored to watch the blog-to-movie Julie & Julia every day starting November 29, 2010 and blog about it. His repeated viewings led to a bevy of funny, off-the-wall posts about racism in the movie, reenactments, and of course recreating Julia Child‘s recipes. Viewing #365 happened last night—not in Lawrence’s Northwestern dorm, but a public screening in Denver attended by his fan club and even Amy Adams‘ mom!
Denver’s Off-Center at The Jones hosted the final party, organized by two people who had been obsessively reading Lawrence’s blog. (Yeah, things got reaaally meta.) In the style of Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room gatherings, the movie was projected on a big screen, as was a Twitter feed using the hashtag #LJJ. As you can see in the photo, people dressed up as the characters of Julia Child (delightfully portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie) and blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams’ character) and cooked along with the movie—mirroring Julie’s original intent to cook one of Julia Child’s recipes each day for a year.
I’ve been reading Lawrence’s blog over the past 24 hours as research for this post, and I still can’t tell if he’s a true aficionado of the movie, or if he hated it from the start. Regardless, his skewering of the film works because of how often he’s watched it; he’s earned the right to mock the performances and make crass jokes. Some of my favorite posts from his blog are the ones that other people would shy away from, like a guide to the best moments to masturbate to Julie & Julia. (At least one of those scenes involves Stanley Tucci as Julia Child’s doting husband.)
Here are more examples of Lawrence’s irreverence: He tried to sync up the movie to Kanye West; about a month in, he contemplated the movie’s racism; he wrote some “julierotica”; and my personal favorite, he interviewed a Dean & Deluca cheese guy who was an extra in the movie.
The party copied the blog in being the opposite of passive viewing: The attendees churned butter, reimagined the characters as beavers (not the dam-building kind), and handed out goodie bags filled with onions. And like I mentioned above, some “celebrities” have taken notice: Somehow Amy Adams’ mother heard about the blog and decided to drop by the party; and all the way back on Day 1, Julie Powell herself commented on the blog and said it was both impressive and random.
I have to believe that what might have started as a stunt piece really did touch Lawrence. In his final post on the blog (for now!), he says that the experience gave him structure in the beginning of college, an amorphous and intimidating period in anyone’s life:
But here’s what Julie & Julia really taught me. It taught me discipline. It taught me to never give up. It taught me that even the stupidest of ideas could find a home on the Internet.
…The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project has given me some structure in my life, as strange as it sounds. Like Julie Powell says in the movie, “It’s a regimen… It gives you something you have to do every day, one day at a time.” And being forced to write something funny/amusing about the same movie every day has definitely maed me a more better writer-person.
And finally, I like to think that by doing this stupid, stupid thing, I have made some people happier. I have grown fond of my daily readers and I hope they’ve found my antics to be amusing this past year. I do it all for you guys. Really.
So, what’s next? One of the attendees tweeted about some announcement concerning the date of July 8, 2012, but so far we have no idea if it’s connected or not. And according to Lawrence’s Twitter, it seems that for now he’s just enjoying the surreal end to this passion project.