"My Blueberry Nights"

In the film My Blueberry Nights, a diner owner (Jude Law) explains to a heartbroken girl (Norah Jones) who's trying to make sense of being jilted by her boyfriend that you can’t always make sense of others’ choices - sometimes people let go of a perfectly good thing. Jude makes his point while he's tidying up his greasy spoon for the night, telling Norah that at the end of the day the cheesecake and the apple pie are always gone, and maybe there's a slice or two remaining of the chocolate and the cobbler, but nearly always, an entire blueberry pie is left in tact.

“So, what’s wrong with the blueberry pie?” she asks.

“Nothing’s wrong with the blueberry pie,” he says, “it’s just that people make other choices.”

And just as Jude’s about to toss the overlooked pie into the bin - Norah stops him.

“I want a piece,” she says.

I hadn’t yet seen My Blueberry Nights when Jimmy Ho, the infamous man-about-London-town and aspiring world-dominator (see his OMyJimmy t-shirt line), texted me to say that he fancied a drink and a large slice of blueberry pie.

A quick Google search provided us with no direction regarding the blueberry pie. The Diner in Shoreditch with its "classic American food" only had apple and banoffee - the later of which the Brits think is a quintessential American dessert despite its suspiciously British-sounding name and the fact that nobody in the U.S. has ever heard of it. But I reasoned, there must be some cocktail concoction somewhere that would satisfy both cravings.

So as I waited for Mr. Jimmy at the elegant and eclectic Loungelover with its impressive list of libations (their dessert menu boasted tofu panacotta – still no blueberry pie) one of the bartenders asked me a succession of questions meant to shed light on 'my' drink: "Coffee or tea?" "Umm, both, depends on the day..." "Last meal on earth - chocolate or vanilla?" "Chocolate." (Although I had tempting thoughts of Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake recipe).

But as it turned out, my choices didn't make any sense; what my answers said I liked (sweet) and what I actually like (definitely not sweet - sour) didn't add up.

"Interesting," he said. "You're one of only 2% of people in the population who get such a result."

Of course. Me? A reflection of only 2% of the population? How typical.

But I was a tad disturbed.

"Does this mean I don't really know what I like?"

"No, it could just mean you're adventurous."

Ahhh... that sounded about right - I hoped.

Around that time Jimmy showed up. After having his cocktail fortune told via the bartender's series of questions (his answers were far more definitive than mine and actually made sense) Jimmy came away with a drink (muddled with blueberries!) just to suit his taste...as seen below with his faux blueberry pie fix in-hand.

Soon after my evening at Loungelover, I happened to see My Blueberry Nights and the scrumptious symbolism of the blueberry pie really hit me…the way it so deliciously embodies the choice unmade…the thing that people don't want - right down to the near-impossibility of actually finding one.

Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with the purple stained pastry, as Jude espouses, it's just - people make other choices. Coffee or tea... vanilla or chocolate... tofu panacotta (how many people order that?) or plain tofu... they're all exactly what they should be.

Yet, I've been the blueberry pie, and reacted just as Norah did, eyeing it suspiciously - demanding to know: "Well?! What's wrong with it?"

But people make the choices that they do... because that's what they've learned they like, and probably a good deal out of mere default. And though I undoubtedly would have argued with Jude about this prior to my own blueberry night, maybe sometimes, say... 2% of the time, peoples' choices really don't make any sense... maybe because they’re being adventurous, or not being, or perhaps they don’t even know what they want - at any rate, the reason that we're so sure exists that would explain everything...really isn't there.

Halfway through the movie Norah’s character says that to kick an addiction, you usually have to focus your attention on something else.

“Me?” she says, “I'd pick blueberry pie.”

Which I liked. The idea that in order to move on from any negative situation - to become better - you really have to focus your attention on something that you essentially equate with yourself. Though it really seems that whatever you choose ought to be the sort of thing you'd find at the back of the dessert case, so that you can hold it up for being something other than the standard fare, and literally savor all of its peculiar facets.

Yes. Everyone should have their own blueberry pie.

Epilogue: Serveral days later... blueberry tart found at a cafe on Great Eastern Street. Of course, I let Jimmy know, for next time...

Disclaimer: Even though I posted the movie's trailer here (yes, the French version, because it was better) to provide a sense of the film's characters and mood, if you haven't seen My Blueberry Nights I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. The first half especially is pretty disjoint and slow... lots of pregnant pauses wherein we watch a character contemplate their life under cool moody lighting from a uniqe far-off angle. If you've seen In the Mood for Love, which was directed by the same guy (Kar Wai Wong), you know what I'm talking about. Not that the film doesn't have its enjoyable moments (I kind of covered my personal highlights), it's just... well, don't run out and see it on my account.


Bob said...

Not a big Blueberry Pie guy either always something better no metaphore here.Give me Blueberry Pancakes or Blueberry Muffins but a Huckleberry Pie now your Logging.Thanks for the Barcelona pictures

anne spice said...

Ha! Lumberjack Bob! As far as atypical desserts go, I think Huckleberry Pie passes the test...the metaphor is your's is you so-choose.

And you're welcome from and for BCN!

Jimmy Ho said...


Didn't even know I was mentioned until K told me!

Still reminicising about my blueberry cocktail...Since then, have been having a lot of blueberry salad at home (well..not quite salad, as it is just blueberry).

I reckon blueberries deserve a bit more lovin' than say, strawberries and raspberry..what's wrong with blueberry pies?!! Really?!

Bought the blueberry night DVD and watched half of it..yes..HALF. Being a big WKW fan, I must say that My Blueb Night is a let down.

Jude law is clearly the wrong cast...to me he is always this little whimpy sister boy who cannot act but to bitch.

The story line, character, are all too familiar to his previous work. In fact, more than familiar.

It resembles ChungKing Express (you MUST watch it if you haven't), with the cafe, policeman, broken hearts, etc...nothing seem to be new.

In fact, one of the greatest thing about WKW movies is his choice of sound tracks....Esp in In the Mood for Love, I was literally hypnotised by the theme song, which, they glady reuse (with instrumental change) in My Blueb Night, a bit disappointing really.

I can blag on about WKW for hours...but another movie of his worth mentioning, is Ashes of Time. if you think films like Heros, of fly daggers are breathe-taking with great cinematography, Ashes of time totally rocks it, and was way ahead of time before.

Anyway, I hope you are eating more than just blueberries in BCN....!!

Will start looking for a blueberry pie recipe if i cannot find a proper one in resturants soon.

Jimmy Ho said...

Saw the film again.

It also reminds me of another great one of WKW's, 'Happy Together', starring Tony Leung (one of my favourite actor) and the late Leslie Cheung (one of my fav actor/singer since the 80s!). It is about the road trip in Argentina. You can see a lot of the angles, and composition are similar when Norah and Nathalie travel in US. The desserts, the sun, the long roads...

Must see Happy Together, even for the fashion/textile!

About My Blueberry again...did you see the interview at the extra bits? Very inspiring..well, at least to me. I think I have a new idea to do a photoshoot with now...will work on that at some point :)

anne spice said...

Wow! Jimmy! Kudos for being the first to leave an essay-comment on my blog!

That said, I can't believe you missed the post wherein you figured as a central character! (And hey, where's Nael, our bartender's posting contribution...? He supposed to leave us a blueberry cocktail recipe! Hellooooo Nael... if you're out there... we're waiting...!)

Yeah... the first half was a bit of a struggle to get through (not, of course, in any way like trying to get through a blueberry pie).

I think I thought the music was just emblematic of WKW in generally...didn't realize it was actually just a recycled theme - sad.

Frankly, I thought all of the casting was strange... I mean, what was going ON with Rachel Weisz's hair - or acting for that matter - and I really like Rachel Weisz.

Didn't watch the extras...and don't own the DVD (thank goodness, really). But if they're really inspiring, we should watch a la mode homemade blueberry pie!

Haven't seen the other movies you mentioned (besides In the Mood for Love of course)... but shall. But ONLY once dissertation is over... too many distractions already!!!

Jimmy Ho said...

where is that blueberry recipe!!?!?

Been reading a bit more about MBN (My Blueberry nights)...and realised on intersting thing...

WKW did not use his right-hand cinematographer, Christopher Doyle this time!!

If you love In the mood for love, you must look at Doyle's other work!

He was also the guy behind Hero! Hence the similarity between 'Ashes of Time' and Hero, great cinemagraphy for old school martial art film.

Do you know of the prequel to In the Mood for Love - Days of Being Wild? Another great one! Maggie Cheung (the girl in In the Mood..) was in it. And the theme song was so hypnotising that I used to roll around on my sitting room's floor listening to it....crazy I know.

ok..no more arty farty film buff talk....

Jimmy Ho said...

Check this out.


anne spice said...

I LOVE the arty film talk... makes me feel like I´m back in LA. (Not that you were going to stop anyway... ergo your youtube link, which, at 9 minutes, I will have to watch in-full as a reward for writing 1,000 relevant and usable words of my disseration... Full Disclosure: I cheated and watched another Doyle clip that topped out at 1 min 30 sec and, cinematography aside, I like what he has to say about life and art in general...).

No worries, we will get the pie recipe from epiurious.com or chocolate & zucchini or some other such blog (Martha is SOOO 2005), but it´s out there!

Am still trying to think if there´s some bit of music that´s transfixed me to the point of floor-rolling...am sure thére´s more than one...hmmm.....

Anonymous said...

Yes, well, I must say I have been very inspired by this post (and I once even rented the movie, then remembered all of the bad press here and thought the better of it). I was recently out to dinner with some friends, and could not decide on a dessert. I went with the blueberry pie, and it was delicious! Just saying...

anne spice said...

dear anonymous,

lucky you to have actually stumbled across blueberry pie!! jimmy and i have been making an a very active effort to try and find and feast on one, but they keep disappearing on us...

i'm happy you found the post inspiring... it's interesting to me just what a nerve it touched in so many.... the sheer population out there who genuinely relates to being a victim of something that they can't make sense of, and the resultant feeling of 'argh... if only i were different.' silly us, too often we think we have greater control over such things than we really do.

i recommend that you keep eating blueberry pie! that you were able to find one (and thoroughly enjoy it!) seems a sign...