October 23, 2008

Man in the Cookie Factory

The scene from My Dinner With André below is one of my favorites:

"I mean, André, let's say—I mean, if I get a fortune cooke in a Chinese restaurant, I mean, of course even I have a tendency—I mean, you know, I would hardly throw it out—I mean, I read it, I read it, and I—I just instinctively sort of—if it says something like-uh-a conversation with a dark-hared man will be very important for you, I mean, I just instinctively think, Well, who do I know who has dark hair, and did we have a conversation, and what did we talk about? In other words, I mean, I do tend to read it— but it's a joke, in my mind. I mean, in other words there's something in me that makes me read it, and I instinctively interpret it as if it really were an omen of the future. But in my conscious opinion, which is so fundamental to my whole view of life—I mean, I would have to change totally, I think, to not have this opinion—in my conscious opinion, this is simply something that was written in the cookie factory several years ago and in no way refers tome. I mean, the fact that I got it—the man who wrote it did not know anything about me, couldn't have known anything about me There's no way that this cookie could actually have anything to do with me. The fact that I've gotten it is basically a joke. And I mean, if I were planning to go on a trip on an airplane, and I got a fortune cookie that said, "Don't go," I mean I admit I might feel a bit nervous for about one second, but in fact I would go, because I mean, that trip is going to be successful or unsuccessful based on the state of the airplane and the state of the pilot. And the cookie is in no position to know..."

I mention it because I just stumbled across this little New Yorker piece on the actual man in the cookie factory.

More links: The obligatory wikipedia article, lots of youtube clips (all great), and my own personal train ride with André.

Also related: you can now find Andy Kaufman's parody My Breakfast with Blassie on youtube (!): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

posted at 02:09 AM by raul

Filed under: film

TAGS: andre gregory (3) andy kaufman (1) my breakfast with blassie (1) my dinner with andre (3) wallace shawn (3)


10/24/08 02:08 AM

As soon as I read the words "My Dinner with Andre" and "fortune cookie," I started replaying that scene (which is my favorite, too) in my head. I've tried to describe it to so many people over the years, but I'm not Wallace Shawn, so it just doesn't come off properly. I love this part: "I mean, I would have to change totally, I think, to not have this opinion." Thanks for reminding me of this . . .

10/24/08 09:14 AM

What is so nice about the rest of this scene is that it's really an extended meditation/argument on rationality vs irrationality, faith vs science etc. I love the movie which I discovered in college, but I've come to cherish the screenplay which I read with a different voice than the movie and which never goes stale for me. The book provided much comfort after I lost my boyfriend in a car accident. I must have read it 20 or 30 times.

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