Just back from Adrienne Shelly's film Waitress. Dumbfounded by how good it is. During the first scene I groaned, worried how I'd get though the next hour-and-a-half of the icky cutsiness. Minutes later the dread slipped away and I let myself slide in. I started caring and laughing and engaging in a surprisingly strong way. Shelly created a kind of artificial nutty world that really works, anchored by the tour-de-force performance by Keri Russell. She is amazing, perfect actually, in a role that would probably seem impossible on paper. But it's not just Russell -- all the performances are fine, with Andy Griffith a standout, Cheryl Hines pitch perfect, Nathan Fillion darling, and Jeremy Sisto more cringe-inducing than ever. The film is highly entertaining; it starts as fluff put pays off in a deeply emotional way.
It's a rather stunning achievement, and therefore, all the more devastating to consider Shelly's senseless murder right before the film's premiere at Sundance 2007. As the credits rolled, John and I were both sniffling and tearing from the film itself, but also from the tragic loss of its creator.