Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cinema with Comestible Accompaniments: Only the Lonely

A safe place for lovers of movies and pun-based food recipes with a fondness for TBS's Dinner and A Movie.  Oh yeah, and all the classic Dinner and A Movie recipes will be veganized. 

The Movie
Only the Lonely (1991)
Leonard Maltin Review:  *** D: Chris Columbus.  John Candy, Maureen O'Hara, Ally Sheedy, James Belushi, Anthony Quinn, Kevin Dunn, Milo O'Shea, Bert Remsen, Joe V. Greco, Macaulay Culkin, Kieran Culkin.  Chicago cop, who still lives with his mom, falls in love--and has to overcome both his mother's resistance and his feelings of guilt over leaving her.  Sweet, sentimental update of MARTY shines with performances that are right on-target, including O'Hara's first since 1973's THE RED PONY.

Spoiler Alert:  There may be spoilers salted and peppered though the movie portion of this post, consider yourself warned.

Sometimes it's good to be a cop, sometimes it's not.  Although according to this movie the only time it's not good to be a cop is when you accidentally drop a corpse out an apartment window, but we'll get back to that later.

"I can't skip bingo.  I love it." - Rose


Danny (John Candy), a single Chicago cop, lives with his mother Rose (Maureen O'Hara).  His partner, Sal (James Belushi), is having problems with his wife after he surprised her with some sort of sex toy that she had mistaken for a giant centipede.  His brother, Patrick (Kevin Dunn), puts an unreasonable amount of pressure on one of his three sons, Billy (Macaulay Culkin), and is super aggressive about getting Danny to move out to Florida with their mom.

Good to see Macaulay doing his own stunts.  He's such a professional.  Chris Columbus, according to IMDb, said he was an incredibly charming kid when he worked with him on Home Alone (1990) and brought him and Kieran back for a cameo in this movie.  When the film was released, Home Alone was still in theaters.  At the end of the weekend, this movie finished 4th in the box office with Home Alone finishing in 11th.

"Your friend there's fluthered." - Frank

Fluthered, what a great word!

"Okay fine.  Take the body back.  He can't drink anyway.  What did you do, sew his lips shut?" - one of Tommy Bones' friends

After the corpse of Tommy Bones is taken into O'Neill's for his final drink with his friends, we meet Theresa Luna (Ally Sheedy), the girls that paints dead people's faces...to look like famous people.

"I don't believe this.  I'm getting romantic advice from a widow and two bachelors." - Danny



"I'm sorry.  See, I just got lucky in there with a girl.  I didn't mean it like that.  It's not what you're thinking.  She does everybody in there.  Not in that way but she probably did that guy there for example...I got to go." - Danny


Nick, the Greek neighbor, is in love with Rose, but Rose is a complicated woman and is not into his aggressive courtship.  She might also have some deep-seated hatred for Greek people, it's unclear.  The Sicilians, for sure, but the Greeks, not so sure.  He does seem to know how to charm her on occasion.

"Rose, have you forgotten what a sweet thing romance can be?" - Nick


Danny and Theresa's first date is at old Comiskey Park and was filmed not long after the final baseball game was played there.  In the establishing shot above, you can see both the old Comiskey Park and the new Comiskey Park, renamed US Cellular Field in 2003 and Guaranteed Rate Field in 2016.

Back to the corpse and the most memorable part of this movie when I originally watched this as a child.
As Danny and Sal are lowering a corpse tied to a fire hose from an apartment building window, Sal accuses Danny of being "pussy-whipped" for wanted to go on a second date with Theresa instead of going to a football game with him.  Sal, there is a reason you are sleeping on the couch.  **cough cough** misogyny **cough cough**

"You think I'm going to that door alone?  What if it's a crack maniac dressed up as Frankenstein or a rapist dressed up like Elmer Fudd?" -Rose

The Irish stew I prepare below went slightly better than the meal Danny makes for their first sleepover date.
This line stood out to me for some reason.  As some of you may know Ally Sheedy starred in Maid to Order (1987) where she plays a rich girl who becomes penniless and must take a maid's job to earn a living.  Only the Lonely came out in 1991.  Is this a not so subtle reference to Maid to Order?

"Rose, I know you realize it's the nineties.  I'm just not sure you realize it's the 1990's." -Polish priest

Even though his mother, brother and partner Sal discourage him from pursuing his relationship with Theresa and Danny deserves a shot at love.  Rose beats up a bunch of terrorist to prove that she'll be fine on her own and Danny can move to New York City to be with Theresa.

"Everything in life does relate to sex, Danny.  I mean, think about it.  Do you realize that 45% of these people in these buildings right now are having sex of some sort?  That's a statistic, Danny." -Sal

Let's take a moment to appreciate the soundtrack for this movie: the title song Roy Orbison's Only the Lonely, Etta James performing Otis Redding's I've Got Dreams to Remember, a couple Van Morrison songs, Jimmy Durante, Mario Lanza, Dean Martin.  

"I love you, ma." -Danny
"I'm not so lovable." -Rose
"True enough.  I'm kidding." - Danny

Some More Fun Fact from IMDb:

  • Chris Columbus wrote the script with Maureen O'Hara in mind for the role of the mother.  What he didn't know was that she had long since been retired and was living on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.  Knowing her brother, Charles B. Fitzsimons was still in the movie industry, Columbus contacted him and had a script sent.
  • This would turn out to be Maureen O'Hara's final feature film with the exception of three TV movies (1995, 1998, and 2000).
  • During filming, Maureen O'Hara would often tell John Candy that he reminded her of Charles Laughton, citing that underneath the clown character had existed a powerful, complicated actor.  O'Hara told Candy to trust his talent as an actor and not always play the clown.
  • This is the only John Hughes film where he wasn't the writer.
  • Producer John Hughes insisted to writer/director Chris Columbus that Ally Sheedy be cast as Theresa. 

The Recipe
Irish Stew for One
(for original recipe click here)



(also pictured some whiskey on the rocks with a sprig of rosemary because I bought a lot of rosemary)

For the stew:

  • 1 block of tofu, cut into 1-2 in cubes (but I think tempeh would work well in this recipe as well)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 each: bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic clove
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 10-oz can cannellini beans (I used 15-oz)
  • salt and pepper
For the soda bread:
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup almond milk w/ 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (combine and set aside 5-10 minutes to make buttermilk)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 copy "How to be Your Own Best Friend"
1. Preheat oven to 250⁰F.

 2.  Prepare the stew: Heat the oil in a large, heavy (oven safe) pot over medium-high heat.  (It's times like these I wish I had a dutch oven, but instead I used my cast iron pan and wrapped some heavy duty foil over it when it was time to transfer to the oven).

3.  Brown the tofu in 3 batches, then return all the tofu to the pot and add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.
 4.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the preheated oven.  Cook for 45 minutes.
5.  Meanwhile, cut the vegetables.
 6.  Add the potatoes, onions, carrot, cannelini beans and chopped parsley.  Cover and continue cooking until the vegetable are tender.  (The original recipe says this is about 20 min., for me it was about 1 hour and 40 minutes.)  This will take some time, hopefully you didn't have any plans tonight.
 Ta-da!
 7.  Prepare the soda bread: Preheat the oven to 375⁰F.

8.  Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and rosemary in a mixing bowl.

9.  In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste and buttermilk mixture.


 10.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and knead the dough until it holds together.
11.  Shape the dough into small, depressing, 1 person loaves and brush with a little olive oil.  Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until done.
(I read this whole part wrong and made one big loaf and forgot the olive oil.  It still came out good though.)









Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nick Nick Doom: Death of the Bachelor Posts

Disclaimer:  Tara wrote the following several weeks ago while I was busy curled up in the fetal position stress eating, signing every online petition I could get my hands on and putting my senators on speed dial.  Needless to say, we will not be recapping the rest of the season.

Monica and I have decided to end our recaps of Nick's season; this should provide some clarity.  Furthermore, in light of our new fascist regime, we need to retreat to our titanium bunker carved into the side of Mount Haystack and plot over bowls of room temperature corn niblets.  If anyone wants to share protest experiences, conversations with senators' staff, methods of self-care, etc., we'd love to get privy.

To make the oncoming radio silence less painful, here are the Blog 'Scuse Me Official Predictions of Bachelor Shenanigans to Come:
  • Taylor will rip Corinne's face and hair off to reveal she's been a vengeful gopher on stilts this whole time. 
  • Nick will convert to Eckankar and get too busy trying to achieve God-Realization to focus on dating (I've lost count of how many times this has happened on reality tv). 
  • The cast will receive order from Chris Harrison and an "anonymous collaborator" to vacation in Russia, where Nick will ride a stallion topless and unceremoniously toss Corinne into Klyuchevskaya Sopka.
Sorry, Nick, much like your production team we have failed you.  (Monica again)

On the bright side, Rachel is going to be the next Bachelorette.  She'll be making history as the first black lead on the show after 21 seasons of The Bachelor and 12 seasons on The Bachelorette.  Let's just hope we will get our shit together in time to recap her season.

Love, bouncy castles, and puppies, until next time/season!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nick Nick Boom: Week 2 Recap

Welcome to blog 'scuse me?'s Bachelor Season 21 Recap.

We will continue the tradition of me (Monica) writing in blue and Tara in orange even though if you read this on a feed reader you probably won't be able to tell, but who cares.

**Needless to say, if you haven't watched episode 2, there are spoilers below.**

Side Note: I'm not sure if you can start with a side note, but I'm doing it.  I've been thinking about this Corinne/Nanny business for a week now and I think I might get it.  Other household assistants (i.e. maids, butlers, &c.) only provide services like cleaning, greeting guests, preparing food but having a nanny is like paying a stranger to fulfill a mom/daughter relationship without conflicts.  The only time you could disappoint your nanny is if the check doesn't clear.  Otherwise, you spend time baking cookies, watching Gilmore Girls arguing about whether or not Rory is a good journalist while she teaches you how to knit.  Who is suppose to hold my hand while I'm crossing the street when my mom's at work?  My nanny, that's who!

Let's get into the episode!  

From the opening scenes, we can see that they are plying the girls with liquor.  Rachel makes a comment about only getting 2 hours of sleep.  I feel like The Bachelor production team is showing their cards this season or maybe I'm just starting to notice it.  Liquor plus sleep deprivation plus dehydration equals crazy girls and good "reality."

Josephine is "bursting with excitement", thankfully not hard enough to explode the clasps on her overalls, because Nick is so attractive with his "genuine nature".  Can we get our hands on what I assume is a collection of VHS tapes hidden in a government vault that show this alleged genuine quality?  All I've seen thus far is a languid but persistent hunger for reality show fame. 

Chris Harrison stops by the mansion with a little exposition and a date card.  This week will have 2 group dates and 1 one on one date.

1st Date Card - Always a Bride's Maid...
w/ Corinne, Vanessa, Sarah, Alexis, Hailey, Lacey, Brittany, Jasmine G., Raven, Danielle L., Taylor, Elizabeth

Nick prances up to the group wearing dark button-down and slacks, looking like a hungover lounge fly, and Lacey tells the camera he looks great, but then again, he could "wear a potato sack" and look amazing.  This conjures an intriguing image because Nick is a human potato sack. 

The theme of this date is wedding photos with Franco LaCosta.  Franco has a rack of bridal gowns that each have a cute little theme.  Vanessa is the 80's bride (my favorite dress) with Raven and Jasmine G. as her bride's maids.  Alexis is our pregnant shotgun bride because after being a shark/dolphin last episode we need a shot of balancing a drink on her pregnant belly.

Alexis expresses her disappointment over this look, telling the camera she thought "shotgun bride" meant "looking hot and sexy with guns".  Nineteen hundred gold stars.

Brittany is the Adam and Eve bride because that's a thing and it's not The Bachelor if they don't make one contestant get near naked on the first group date.  Sarah is the Las Vegas bride.  Hailey is the biker bride.  Danielle L. is the boring traditional bride with Lacey as her bride's maid.  Taylor is the princess bride which sadly has nothing to do with the movie.  Corinne is the beach bride which involves just a bikini and a veil.


Corinne is feeling super confident about her bikini "gown" since all the other girls are all covered up in taffeta and lace.  Nick won't be able to see all their lady parts.  How's he supposed to know the difference between them and Chris Harrison.  And then Brittany walks in with her leaf covered bikini bottoms and nothing but her long wavy hair covering her nips.  Challenge accepted, Brittany.  Corinne is here to win... a vacation in Mexico on the next season of Bachelor in Paradise.

Highlights of the date:  1) When the ladies march down the steps for their fake wedding photos with Nick (who appears to be wearing a suit made of mylar), the "TGIF sax" version of wedding march music plays. 2) Whoever plants one on Nick during her respective shoot gets a response that makes lukewarm corn syrup look like mulled wine.  Nick should have laid out a "no kissing until Episode 4" policy when the girls first got the mansion.  He is literally a dead body getting dragged around by Franco in "Weekend at Douchey's".

Let's take a moment to appreciate Franco's outfit.

Corinne wins the challenge and sashays out with a triumphant giggle while the other girls applaud and smile in a rare show of sportswomanship:



(The woman in the foreground is Franco).

Corinne ups the ante for the group date after dark activities.  After a thorough make out sesh (with Nick), Corinne interrupts not one but two other contestants time with Nick.  Classic taboo in the TV dating world.  When Taylor, the second girl to get interrupted, decides she good enough, smart enough and gosh darn-it people like her and she deserves her time with Nick.  Corinne can't boss her around.  Taylor comes back and asks if she can interrupt.  Boosh!

I am officially fucking sick of Basic Bitch Corinne.  When a person makes me long for the fang-baring "can i steal you....AGAIN" days of Olivia, there is a tremendous problem.  I'm 260% sure the producers have already drafted a rider to Nick's contract forbidding him from kicking her off until she makes it to the Final Six. 

Corinne's sloppy behavior gets her a safety rose, which incites well-deserved cynicism in a few of the empty-handed ladies.  Quoth the Raven:

"If you want a woman who leads with her sexuality, no wonder it's your fourth time.  I know that's mean, but..."

I have nothing against a person who leads with his/her sexuality and disagree with anyone getting shamed or dismissed for such, but Raven bringing up this is Nick's fourth go-round (you know, because he's a fucking failure and a half) gets her the biggest blue ribbon at the state fair.  

THIS TIME'S THE CHARM, GUYZ

Quotable quote from Corinne:  "When I was talking to Nick, he was, like, LISTENING.  Like, guys don't LISTEN to me!" 

NOBODY LISTENS TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A SELF-ABSORBED ASSHAT GET OFF THE SHOW AND GO TO MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER 

2nd Date Card - Our Relationship is About To Take Off...
w/ Danielle M.

There is not much to say here.  Typical Bachelor date: Helicopter to the yacht to the hot tub to the dinner that never gets touched.  She tells Nick about losing her fiancee to drug addiction.

(Is it just me or are they rushing all the story lines they usually space out through the season?  What do they have up their sleeves?)





Nick whines about getting dumped by both Andi and Kaitlyn after making it to the Final Two on their respective seasons, and how when you love you have to be vulnerable, or something.  Danielle M. hangs on every word, enraptured:


When Danielle M. is getting candid with Nick about her fiance's death, he looks like he's biting his tongue to keep from saying "Ah, come on, babe, don't talk on our first date about other bros you slept with. Daaang."

3rd Date Card - We Need To Talk...
w/ Christen, Josephine, Astrid, Jaimi, Kristina, Liz

Before this date, Liz tells her new friend/fellow contestant, Christen, all about her post-Jade-and-Tanner-nuptial coitus with Nick.  Great idea!  This won't backfire.
The theme of this date is break ups because Nick has some baggage from nine months ago that he needs to dump. 
 
Apparently, Hollywood has a Museum of Broken Relationships and when a man takes you here on your first date it means you will not make it to the final four.  Prove me wrong, Nick.

We get to see a relic from Nick's history here in the museum, a dead rose and his engagement ring to Kaitlin (the second bachelorette to dump him).
It's a bit much. 

Poor Christen was giddily clasping her hands, hoping they were going to be on a talk show.  Instead, she's forced to visit an emo breakup exhibit and listen to Nick whine about Kaitlyn the Heart-Smashing Canadian.  The producers would rather film this shit than show the gang traipsing around with Jimmy Kimmel?  Okay. 

All the girls get to break up with Nick in cute little skits.  Astrid hands him his rose back, Kristina does some dental hygienist-esque thing, Jaimi tells him he's messy, Christen's was forgettable because I forgot it (she accuses Nick of calling her fat....um, is some latent self-shaming coming to the surface, Christen?  Are you okay?), Josephine slaps him and won my heart, and Liz... oh fuck, why?  Liz retells the story of them meeting at a wedding in front of all the other girls and only Christen knows it's actually true.  Everyone else just thinks she's a shitty story teller/dumper. 

I love Liz's turn from second one:

Liz: *cracking mini notebook* "So Nick..."

Nick:  


(forty minutes later)

Liz:  "I came to learn that I was afraid of letting you in..."

Nick:  


What now lives in Pulp Fiction-esque infamy as The Liz Situation is proving itself quite the burden on Nick's good time, and the world can hear the exit limo's engine revving...


Why did I write "David Blaine" in my notes?

During group date night time activities, Nick fishes for information as to whether or not the other girls know about him and Liz's past.  Christen spills the beans!  She knows and Nick is not happy.  After an awkward conversation with Liz, he sends her home before she can do more damage.  Good job saving face, Nick.  Now Nick can control the narrative of their night together as he comes clean to all the girls on group date.

Liz feebly tries to explain why she never got in touch with Nick after the sex, and all she accomplishes is looking like a generic brand Julianne Moore and making no sense.  When Corinne begins to look like a more valuable competitor, it's time to pack your bags.  Did Liz not learn from Frasier that "we need to talk" is always a death knell? 




FYI, Kristina's accent is Russian!  Not knowing was killing me.

Episode Stinger:  Alexis celebrates her boobs' birthday with Nick.  Sigh.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Nick Nick Boom: Week 1 Recap

Welcome to blog 'scuse me?'s Bachelor Season 21 Recap.

We will continue the tradition of me (Monica) writing in blue and Tara in orange even though if you read this on a feed reader you probably won't be able to tell, but who cares.

**Needless to say, if you haven't watched episode 1, there are spoilers below.**

This season mumble-core Nick, after being the runner up on The Bachelorette (and frankly, America's hearts) two seasons in a row and then babysitting Bachelor Nation rejects on his redemption tour in Bachelor in Paradise, shall sift through 30 women on national television to find one that can tolerate his massive ego for at least a few months.  And every time someone this season says, "Fourth times a charm," a little piece of me dies.
 
The premiere is absolutely screaming for viewers not to hate Nick as his intro rolls along:  Here's Nick goofily announcing himself as "The Bachelor" (as if to say, "Gee willikers, America, I can't believe they chose lil ol' me to do this!"); Nick doing cardio and presenting his .0004% body fat (so unique after years of lean people getting discriminated against by ABC...EYEROLL); Nick showering in a pervy low-angle shot (wtf...never mind, it's a Chris Harrison show; I'm not surprised). 

Then we roll down Memory Lane (in a carriage driven by a screaming Willy Wonka) to see Nick's stints with Andi, Kaitlyn, and the Ladies of Paradise.  To reference Monica's "mumble-core Nick":  I adore how ABC tries to pass off Nick's mumbling, covering of his mouth when he speaks, and failure to establish eye contact as "endearingly quirky" when it all just pegs him as a filthy liar. In the obligatory "big family with solid midwestern values" sequence, his own sister tells him to cut the body language bullshit.
  
As he anticipates meeting the "lucky" ladies of his season, Nick sits down with former Bachelors Ben, Cacklin' Chris, and Sean so they can remind him he's built a solid reputation as a "giant toolbag" (thank you so much for that, Sean).  THIS time, things are gonna be SO DIFFERENT, bro. 
 
There was a commercial for the live action Beauty and The Beast movie which could mean only one thing, a Beauty and The Beast themed date or maybe its a bigger theme that once the final rose loses all its petals Nick's TV career is over.  

Now let's take a look at these future Instagram celebrities in the order of their arrivals to the mansion:

(FYI, most of the women this season didn't bring props or lame joke with them to the mansion, so other than 11 red dresses we are not working with much here.)  .

Danielle L., 27, Small Business Owner, Los Angeles, CA - (black dress). She's introduced with a midriff shot (good job ABC), owns nail salons, and has perfect eyebrows.

Elizabeth, 24, Marketing Manager, Dallas, TX - (white dress) Right off the bat we can tell this is a gal with some good ol' down-home Southern charm!  She looks like she wants to go Hannibal Lecter on Nick's face...out of lust, of course.

Rachel, 31, Attorney, Dallas, TX - (red dress) - She makes a joke(?) about setting up her fantasy team before she left to film?  I don't know or care about sports.  She also likes to dance while vacuuming, so she's a winner in my book.

Christen, 25, Wedding Videographer, Tulsa, OK - (yellow dress) - She does this thing with a fan as she's stepping out of the limo.  She sets up her catchphrase for the season after tossing her fan:  "How crazy do you think I am right now?"  I hate this woman. 



Taylor, 23, Mental Health Counselor, Seattle, WA - (maroon dress) - Her friends think Nick is a piece of shit and his face does this thing:
Mental health counselor with a Master's from Johns Hopkins, huh?  If she doesn't determine Nick is a fucking sociopath in the first three episodes, she should go back through the curriculum real quick.

Kristina, 24, Dental Hygienist, Lexington, KY - (blue dress) -

Angela, 26, Model, Greenville, SC - (red dress) -

Lauren, 30, Law School Graduate, Naples, FL - (gold sequins dress) - Her last name is Hussey and his last name is Viall (which she pronounces vile...understandably) and together they can be a "disgusting slut"?  No, that's not right.  Why are the words slut and whore used so much on this goddamn show!?!

Michelle, 24, Food Truck Owner, Los Angeles, CA - (purple? dress)

Dominique, 25, Restaurant Server, Los Angeles, CA - (red dress) - She's makes a 'fourth times a charm' comment, so naturally she made my shit list.

Ida Maria, 23, Sales Manager, Harlingen, TX - (blue dress) - Someone has been watching too much Tosh.0 because she think trust falls are still a thing.  Remember when you tried to get into Daniel Tosh's comedy and then he made a rape joke so you rolled up your sleeves and galsplained to your guy friends why he's not funny. 

Olivia, 25, Apparel Sales Representative, Anchorage, AK - (black dress w/ fur coat) - Fur is fucked!  At least she's going home.  They do a Eskimo kiss, you know, because Alaska.  I wonder if she can see Russia from her house.

Sarah, 26, Grade School Teacher, Newport Beach, CA - (light purple dress) - She forgoes the limo to jog up to Nick and makes a runner up joke.  Her little cardio blast is accompanied by fake-ass 80s montage music.

Jasmine G., 29, Pro Basketball Dancer, San Francisco, CA - (teal dress) - She brought Neil Lane with her in the limo so him and Nick could have a little reunion.  Neil has with him three engagement rings she picked out that would all be acceptable if a two time runner up were to ask for her hand in marriage.  She's practical and I like it.  Nick, don't you think about using any of those rings on some other girl.

Hailey, 23, Photographer, Vancover, Britsh Columbia, Canada - (red dress) - She makes a joke that basically boils down to her not wearing underwear.  (Semper ubi sub ubi.)  Nick reacts to her "joke" with his usual fiery delight:




Astrid, 26, Plastic Surgery Office Manager, Tampa, FL - (purple dress) - She talks about her boobs in German.  Fun.

Liz, 29, Doula, Las Vegas, NV - (blue sequins dress) - Liz has a secret and it's that she went to the bone zone with Nick at Jade and Tanner wedding about 9 months ago.  If everyone on this show wasn't paper thin, I would totally be looking forward to the I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant-esque episode where she has a toilet baby in the mansion. I was extremely curious to see Nick's reaction to the emergence of this notch on his bedpost (I mean, let's not waste our time pretending she's been anything more to him).  I was not disappointed:



He insults everyone's intelligence by giving her a stiff, half-assed second hug as if he's thrilled she's back in his life and, as she struts into the mansion, gazes wistfully at the moon and stars, and by that I mean stares into the middle distance like this:




I know he gets a lot of (undeserved) attention, but I think he knows who this woman is.  Let's see if a "little mystery" works in her favor, or if he's going to see a neon "Cock Block" sign on her forehead every time she appears.

Corinne, 24, Business Owner, Miami, FL - (maroon dress) - She hands Nick a hug token to collect later.  She also happens to have a nanny.  Not a maid or a personal assistant, but a person employed to care for a child in its own home.  She's running the family's "multi-million dollar business" and she needs a nanny.  I guess I should be impressed she didn't try to make herself sound more professional?

Vanessa, 29, Special Education Teacher, Montreal, Quebec, Canada - (black & white dress) - She speaks in French to Nick and he calls her "a keeper." French-speaking AND loves dedicating her career to a marginalized group?  I'm on board so far...just disappointed she's naive enough to tell the camera with a straight face that Nick seems like a "genuine person".  Is she in for a douche-a-riffic treat!

Danielle M., 31, Neonatal Nurse, Nashville, TN - (red dress) - She brings Nick some real maple syrup and they banter about french toast. She gets introduced by Colbie Caillat-esque strings, looks like she sampled some valerian root and chamomile tea when she speaks to the camera, has high cheekbones, and takes care of helpless lil infant baby tots, so I'm pegging her as a shoo-in for the final five.

Raven, 25, Fashion Boutique Owner, Hoxie, AR - (sparkly dress) - She makes Nick "Call the hawks" with her.  I don't know.  If my name was Raven, every time I exited a room I would say, "never more." She tells the camera all her town has are "family, faith, and football", which I'm sure she means as a proud declaration but I see as a horrific confession.

Jaimi, 28, Chef, New Orleans, LA - (black dress) - She shows Nick her balls.  I don't feel like explaining it. I'll take a shot - her septum is pierced. This would have really been something to shout about in 1994.

Briana, 28, Surgical Unit Nurse, Salt Lake City, UT - (purple sparkly dress) - She takes Nick's pulse.

Susannah, 26, Account Manager, San Diego, CA - (red dress) - She gives Nick his first beard massage.  

Josephine, 24, Registered Nurse, Santa Cruz, CA - (red dress) - She has a book within which there is a hole that contains a wiener and by wiener I mean uncooked hot dog.  Her and Nick Lady and the Tramp it and that make us all wieners.  Right?   



I give her one hundred gold stars for shriekily flopping around like a millenial Ruth Buzzi and the "kitty head massage" scene.

Brittany, 26, Travel Nurse Santa Monica, CA - (red dress) - She puts on some latex gloves and has Nick bend over and isn't that the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  I hope Nick can afford the deductible.  

Jasmine B., 25, Flight Attendant, Tacoma, WA - (red dress) -

Whitney, 25, Pilates Instructor, Chanhassen, MN - (red dress)

Lacey, 25, Digital Marketing Manager, Manhattan, NY - (red dress) - She rides in on a camel because she heard Nick likes a good hump.

Alexis, 23, Aspiring Dolphin Trainer, Secaucus, NJ - (shark costume) - This dolphin loving Jersey Girl keeps telling everybody she's wearing a dolphin costume.  However, with the gills it's obviously not a dolphin.  Is she gas-lighting everyone?  Not only that, but dolphin costumes exist on the internet.
Oh wait?  Not sexy enough for you.  I also found one that is more of a skimpy dress with a tale, but still more like a dolphin then this left shark costume they found in a dumpster outside the 2015 superbowel.


When Nick emerges from the limo to find smug house father Chris Harrison gazing upon him with his usual mixture of ironic affection and distaste, we already know we're in for a terrifying ride...oh, sorry, JOURNEY.   Corinne tells the camera she does this when she looks into Nick's eyes:

 "LalalalalaLADYSTOPIT."

Nick says the word "process" and it doesn't get edited out, which hints ABC gives even less of a fuck these days than I thought. I say it will take two more seasons until Trump's America gives us Stephen Baldwin as The Bachelor, where Alec will compete disguised as an elusive Parisian woman named Faux LaRuse to sabotage him. 

Corinne gets the first kiss, which Nick calls a "strong move" and admits "didn't make [him] feel totally comfortable" (translation:  "You're overbearing and I hate you and your weird PDA tokens."). 

But wait...what's that we hear Corinne say post-kiss??

"I'm here for Nick...Nick, Nick, Nick, Nickelodeon (singing)."   

 



One of the girls calls out that dolphin/shark/trout/snake/whatever-costume-wearing Alexis is her "spirit animal", which comes as a relief because there simply wasn't enough ignorance-fueled shitting on Indigenous people in 2016; way to kick off the new year right!

Nick finally confronts Liz with the classic "why didn't you get in touch with me after we had sex" guilt-trip.  Looks like that dash o' mystery routine is biting you in the ass, Liz! 

After interminable tension, the first Rose Ceremony speeds in like one of the trucks from Maximum Overdrive.  Corinne is allegedly so nervous she begins to go blind. 

Liz scores the last rose of the night, and the "parade of rejects" unrolls in all its glory.   Lauren says she needs to start "finding guys who see [her] worth".  Calm your sparkle dress, Lauren: After this exposure, you're going to wake up to roughly 18,000 social media suitors.  Briana dissolves in tears and acknowledges this show "wasn't the place to find [love]".   Uh, yeah; this isn't the place for anyone to find anything except Veuve Cliquot and a soulless-eyed fecal nugget with a crop-dusted beard.


The girls that were sent home this episode:

  • The Fur Coat
  • The Trust Fall
  • The Flight Attendant (we did that last season)
  • The Vile Hussie 
  • The Pulse Taker
  • The Beard Massager
  • The Model
  • The Food Truck Girl
Buckle up for a season of ocean antics, spontaneous nudity, boy band romping, ACTUAL Nick tears, post-sex backlash, and overuse of Axe styling putty!   WOO PIG SOOIE!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cinema with Comestible Accompaniments: Serendipity

A safe place for lovers of movies and pun-based food recipes with a fondness for TBS's Dinner and A Movie.  Oh yeah, and all the classic Dinner and A Movie recipes will be veganized. 

The Movie
Serendipity (2001)
Leonard Maltin Review:  *** D: Peter Chelsom.  John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Molly Shannon, Eugene Levy, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Lucy Gordon.  A chance meeting in N.Y.C. leads to a romantic evening for Cusack and Beckinsale, but she chooses to leave it to fate to decide if they should ever see each other again.  Several years later, on the eve of his wedding, Cusack decides he simply must find her.  Endearing romantic comedy with appealing stars and wonderful support from Piven and Levy.  Buck Henry appears unbilled.

Spoiler Alert:  There may be spoilers peppered though the movie portion of this post, consider yourself warned.

Keep in mind this movie came out in theaters a month after 9/11.  Before it was released, they digitally removed the World Trade Center towers from the skyline.  (Never Forget.)  What better movie for our United States in a time of great sorrow and need then a John Cusack rom-com.  Eugene Levy took a break from making American Pie sequels, John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan took a break from Sex and the City playing three-dimensional characters that get cheated on to playing two-dimensional characters that get dumped in a feature film (always the cheatee, never the cheater), and Molly Shannon shows up to wrap you in a warm blanket of friendship.    We all need more Molly Shannon in our lives.

"Our hero, Jonathan goes out in search of black gloves and in a perfect act of "serendipiocity" or "serendipaciousness," he runs into a beautiful, attractive English girl with a boyfriend." - Jonathan


Classic meet cute, Christmas shopping is at its peak in a crowded Bloomingdale's in Manhattan and two people grab the same pair of black cashmere (not vegan!) gloves.  Apologetically trying to hand the gloves to the other person, when the unbilled Buck Henry shows up and takes the gloves.  To get the gloves back, they fabricate a story about Cusack's trans-gendered future girlfriend, which is a plot to a movie I would like watch.



After a magical night of frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity 3 and ice skating, they part ways but not without releasing their name and numbers into the universe for the other to find if they were destined to be together.  Flawless plan.  Jonathan's contact info goes on the back of a five dollar bill and Sara's on the inside of a first edition Love in the Time of Cholera


Flash forward a few years later which at some point Piven states it's been seven years, Jonathan is a few days away from marrying the lovely Halley and Sara has just been proposed to by Lars and about to join him on tour to support his weird Viking murdering music career.

Let's go over the signs that bring them together after seven years.  Jonathan is doing his ESPN job thingy at the golf range when he hears a man page 'Sara Lawson' and waits to see her approach the desk (which begs the question, does this happen every time he hears the name Sara because it's a fairly common name).  Turns out it's not her.  After work he goes to get his hair cut before the wedding, but it's Lauren's day off and a girl named Sara is replacing her.  He runs out sans haircut.  While in a cab, he hears a bike messenger singing Hall & Oates' Sara Smile.  With the fates working overtime to bring him and Sara back together and rekindle their irrefutable connection he runs to his best friend Dean (Piven) at the New York Times for help. 

Sara, on the other hand, sees a Cool Hand Luke poster and buys two tickets to NYC for her and her friend, Eve (Shannon), for Eve's Birthday but mostly completely selfish reasons. 

"Let's just pray he's a bald fascist who picks his nose and wipes it under the car seat." -Sara

The search begins...

"Kids your age.  Pimple-faced college dropouts who have made unhealthy sums of money forming internet companies that create no concrete products, provide no viable services and still manage to generate profits for all of its lazy, day-trading, son-of-a-bitch shareholders.  Meanwhile, as a tortured member of the disenfranchised proletariat, you find some altruistic need to protect these digital plantation owners?" - Dean  (FYI, this movie came out almost 3 years before Facebook was founded and 6 years before the first iPhone was released.  He's referring to the dot-com bubble from 1995-2001 for which I know very little, but what a lovely Piven rant.)

They eventually find their respective five dollar bill and book.  Dean uses his New York Times resources to find Sara's address while Sara just calls information.  This is about the time in the movie where things stop making sense for me.

First, Sara runs into the ballroom where presumably Jonathan is marrying Halley yelling "Stop!"  Who does that?
Thankfully, the only person there is a hotel employee packing up the chairs, who's exposition informs us that Jonathan and Halley called off the wedding, so that Jonathan could walk around the city thoughtfully reading his own obituary written by his best friend.  

After Jonathan's obit stroll, he ends up at the ice skating rink from before and sits a bench where he finds a jacket (Sara's jacket, but he doesn't know that yet).  He walks to the center of the ice and sits down.  (I always thought at this point he would ask the people ice skating around him if they had lost a jacket, but he doesn't.  Not that it would serve the story, it just bothers me.  What's he going to do with a woman's jacket?  He doesn't even have a fiance anymore.)  It starts snowing, so obviously he decides to lay down in the middle of the ice using the jacket he found on a park bench as a pillow under his head.  Then this happens...
A second black cashmere glove hovers in the air above him and lands right on his chest.  

And I'm suppose to believe she threw it from the edge of the rink.  She's at least 10 feet away and it's snowing.  Did she ball up the glove?  Did she stand above him, drop it and then run back?


The Recipe
When Life Hands You Lemons...Make Lemon Risotto
(for original recipe click here)

As fate would have it, here's a tasty little treat courtesy of the incomparable Claud Mann.
(also pictured sauteed shishito peppers)
  • 6-8 cups "homemade" vegetable stock (I used store bought because I'm lazy)
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil (or vegan non-hydrogenated margarine like Miyoko VeganButter)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Italian short grain rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 1 lemon juiced (2-3 tbsp) and its zest (2 lemons if you're feeling extra zesty)
  • 5-6 stalks asparagus, rough ends discarded, cut into 1-inch-ish pieces (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs (optional, but strongly suggested)
  • sea salt, as needed

 1.  Bring the stock to a simmer.  (I like to pour it into a microwave safe measuring vessel or bowl 2 cups at a time and heat it up in the microwave so I don't have to clean another pot.)

 2.  In a large, heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat, combine 3 tbsp of the coconut oil, olive oil, and shallot.  Sweat the shallot without browning for 5 minutes, stirring often with a flat edged wooden spoon until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the garlic, saute another 3 minutes.

 3.  Add the asparagus and cook until tender.
 4.  Add the rice and stir well to moisten the rice grains thoroughly with the oil in the pan.  Continue toasting the rice 2-3 minutes, stirring often.


5.  Add the wine and stir until evaporated, and then begin adding the hot stock to the rice one half cup at a time, all the while stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with the wooden spoon.  Allow each addition of the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding more hot stock.

6.  After 20-22 minutes, begin testing the rice for doneness.  When it feels creamy, not yet completely tender and still is slightly firm in the center (but not crunchy), remove it from the heat.
7.  Stir in the remaining coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh herbs.  (Life had handed my two lemons on this particular day so I juiced a second one and I don't regret a thing.)  Season to taste with sea salt.  















Happy New Year!