Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I don't have a photo of what the actual dish looks like. It's a concoction I ate as a child before I realized what it was made out of it. I just thought it was gray Jell-O. I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
It's boiled pickled pigs' feet, garlic and gelatin. I used to eat the jelly parts. I loved the sound of my spoon scooping up the jelly. It sounded like a suction cup. Then one day when I was probably 6 or so, not sure on the age, I found out what was actually in it, and I quit it cold turkey, never to be eaten again. I gotta say that I don't miss it. It wasn't until 20 years later I really understood what even gelatin was made out of. Sigh. Why must ingredients ruin food? Why does knowledge destroy the ignorance? Is ignorance truly bliss?
Monday, August 16, 2010
At the dinner table. As a child I ate dinner at the table and wasn't allowed to leave my chair until I ate everything because as everyone knew back in the day, "there are starving children in Ethiopia", which meant I had to clear my plate even if I was full. What my father failed to realize was that the plate he served me had as much food on it as his did. How could an 8 year old skinny girl eat as much as a man in his 40's? We clearly had different stomachs and tastes.
So there I was, sitting across from my brother, picking at the bean stew or poking the brussels sprouts and waiting until my father left the table where upon my brother and I could slowly clear our plates by chucking food out the window, or in my brother's case by stuffing it in between the fold of the chair, which would eventually be discovered by my mother. He was much more barbaric than I was.
Being forced to eat liver or plum dumpling or boiled meat made me the bitter woman I am today.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Okay, here goes...I liked The Expendables for its pure ridiculous nature. It's silly and fun, and action packed with no discernable plot. But who cares! Does this film need more character development? Perhaps. But why ruin action with such trifling things?? I am joking because ultimately if this film had all those elements and a strong plot then it'd be an awesome ride. It's not a perfect action film, but it has heart to it. I really felt that those involved gave it their all and wanted to bring back some old school 80's action.
Sylvester Stallone and his ragtag group of mercenaries shoot 'em up and blow 'em up and save the girl without barely getting a scratch. Most of the cast are indeed expendable. We catch a glimpse into Stallone's character and it's cliched, but works within the walls of this film. Mickey Rourke, who is a retired mercenary, gives a poignant speech about why he left and the loss of his soul in a way. It's a bit cheesy, but at the same time, I actually believed him and found it to be a true moment in film jam packed with action.
The fight sequences are fun with lots of things being blown up or ripped into shreds (body parts included). I wasn't a fan of the unrealistic cgi blood splatter. That sort of thing works in a film like 300, but just doesn't lend itself to this world that is meant to be based in some sort of reality.
If you're a child of the 80's or anyone who remembers the 80's and those Action packed films that filled that decade then The Expendables might be a ride you'd like to take.
THE OTHER GUYS, a buddy cop movie starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg starts off on such an unrealistic note that it threw me off for the rest of the film. By taking the comedy, at times, to an unrealistic level, it takes the audience (me) out of the story. The older I become the more I realize and want, comedy to come out of situations and not one liners. I want comedy to be organic to the story and the plot. If you asked me what the plot of this film was I'd have no idea. That being said, I did enjoy the film here and there. I probably would have enjoyed it more if the tone wasn't all over the map.
The charm of the film comes from its two leads who have wonderful chemistry. The best being while inside Ferrell's prius car. But is that enough? Last week I had a similar experience with Dinner for Schmucks, where the plot was weak, but the chemistry between its two male leads was its saving grace. But I can't help feeling a bit cheated because of that. Perhaps, these films are falling into the pattern of casting as the focus and throwing story and character development out of the window because as long as they have names attached they'll get bums in the seat.
If the film had been left to simmer in a realistic setting such as, say, Beverly Hills Cop, I think it could have become a comedy classic. But by making so many of the elements so over the top and unbelievable, it hurts the film. It feels like a cheap gimmick. The film also feels like many writers had their hand in the rewrite process despite it having only two credited writers on it, one who is also the director (Adam McKay and Chris Henchy).
Overall, it's a fairly fun time at the movies, but it could just as well be a fun time at home when it is available to rent.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Dinner for Schmucks takes a while to get to the dinner, where the comedy takes it up a notch. The journey to get there is okay, but it feels a little long at times. The saving grace for the film are its two leads, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, who give genuine comedic performances and have great chemistry. Without their talent and our willingness to follow their journey, the film would be just another comedy with no heart.
Paul Rudd plays Tim, a guy determined to get to the 7th floor at work and be one of the suit guys. He makes his move and is recognized for his determination. He receives an invitation to an annual dinner party where they are required to bring an "idiot" to the dinner. I don't think the word "schmuck" is ever uttered in the actual film. Tim, a good guy, isn't sure about doing such a thing, but when Steve Carell's Barry shows up, via a head on collision, Tim can't help but think it's fate. His girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak who is a real find ) disagrees. And before Tim knows it, Barry has infiltrated his life, destroyed his relationship, his apartment, his job, revved up his crazy stalker and so on. Barry is a sweet guy with a love of mouse taxidermy, but the man is a walking bomb. Carell walks a fine line between making Barry annoying and likable without turning us off. It gets close sometimes, but he pulls it back just in time.
The script is what falls short. It's written by David Guion and Michael Handelman , whose other credit is the film, THE EX, which wasn't all that funny. I don't blame the writers because who knows how many drafts it went through with dozens of fingers at it over the course of its inception. It's more so that potential was lost here.
Overall, the film is harmless and doesn't insult the audience. However, I want more for my comedies. I want to laugh out loud. It's what I paid for.