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!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Cinema with Comestible Accompaniments: The 'Burbs

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. 

I took a break from binge watching holiday movies to watch The 'burbs this week!

The Movie
The 'burbs (1989)
Leonard Maltin Review:  ** D: Joe Dante.  Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Henry Gibson, Brother Theodore, Courtney Gaines, Gale Gordon, Dick Miller.  Strange new neighbors set a neighborhood abuzz, and lead several slightly cracked compadres to extreme measures so they can learn just what's going on behind closed doors.  Comically warped view of suburban life takes far too much time to play out its paper-thin premise, and leads to (mostly) predictable results.  

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



In the words of Robert Frost, "Good fences make good neighbors."  Enter the movie where you're not quite sure who the bad guys are.  Are they the creepy neighbors who rarely go outside and have a giant furnace in the basement?  Or are they the busybody neighbors who keep trespassing and causing numerous amounts of property damage?  Maybe those meddling neighbors should of just minded their own business, but where's the fun in that.

"Walter's dog just took a dump on Rumsfield's lawn again." - Ray

The director, Joe Dante, might sound familiar if you are a big fan of The Gremlins movies, Innerspace, Explorers, you know, defining 80's movies.  Not only that, but Gremlins should be on everyone's top 5 Christmas movies.  I know it gets a little fucking scary, but look into Gizmo's eyes and tell him it's not Christmas.  I dare you.  Aside from Dante, you have prime comedy-era Tom Hanks, right before he got into more dramatic roles and left his over-the-top hand gestures and his chris pratfalls to the wayside.  Lest we forget, Bruce Dern, who when I saw Nebraska (the movie), I thought to myself that guy looks really familiar.  Turns out he was in one of my favorite movies, MacGruber.  Just kidding, it's The 'burbs. (That was a Will Forte joke, in case that wasn't clear.  If you can't read it with my comical timing, it's your fault.)

"Art's got a gun." - Ray

This movie happens over a holiday week and obviously during the warmer months because it's assumed we are in the Midwest of the US and everybody is dressed like they are from California (maybe because it was shot on a backlot).  There are only a few holidays that children (i.e. Dave and Ricky) would have a week off and maybe Art and Rumsfield but Ray would need to use vacation time.  We have maybe an early spring break Easter week, Memorial Day (which would still overlap with the school year),  Independence Day (but that would involve more fireworks and patriotic fun, and lastly Labor Day, end of the summer party.  It's never mentioned except for the fact that Art and Rumsfield are always around and the movie only takes place over four days (five if you include the beginning when Ray wakes up early and walks over to the Klopeks house which could be included in the original four day depending on the time).  The movie has to start on either a Monday or Tuesday for Art to ask Ray if he's taking the week off at the beginning of the movie and for Ray to tell Carol to 'have a nice weekend' before he sends her off to her sister's an hour into the movie (day 4).  Not only that, why is he taking this time off, in the movie Carol (his wife) makes it sound like he had a nervous breakdown.

"...a hideous raging inferno." - Art

Let's talk about the Klopeks for a second.   Courtney Gains, who has starred in a million things, most notably other than The 'burbs,  Malachai from Children from the Corn and "Dixon" from Back to the Future (you might not remember the name, but you definitely remember the scene where some redheaded guy steal Lorraine from George McFly and Marty's hand starts to fade into non-existence, yeah, that cackling jerk was Courtney.  Special shout out to the The 'burbs minute podcast folks.  Listen to it because anyone could do a better job than I'm doing.)  For Henry Gibson (the doctor), my fondest memories of him may be from Bio-Dome or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but he's been in everything.  Lastly, Brother Theodore, who was the voice of Gollum in the 1977 The Hobbit.

"Ricky Butler says they're nocturnal feeders." - Dave, Ray's son



"In southeast Asia, we call this type of thing bad karma." - Rumfield

Thank you, Joe Dante, for the Queenie close up.


"Ray, what were you saying the other day about half-cocked theories?" - Art

Random question, but does Ricky ever do anything more than move paint cans and order pizza?  Not that there is anything wrong that.

"GARBIES, GARBIES, GARBAGEMEN!" - Art

If you are into maps, you are going to love this: backlot map link
Here are the house #s and residents:
667: Walter Seznick
668: undisclosed
669: The Klopeks
670: The Rumsfields
671: The Petersons
672: Ricky Butler
673: The Weingartners (Art)

Ricky's house is the Munsters house which is why we never see enough of it to be recognizable.

"A soldier's way saves the day." - Rumsfield

The three movies that Ray Peterson flip through before he has his nightmare are Race with the Devil (1975), The Exorcist (1973), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) starring Dennis Hopper for that last movie.

"Who started this, tuna neck?" - Carol


"As soon as that car leaves in the morning, I'm going over the fence and I'm not coming back until I find a dead body." - Ray

Shall we talk about the dog who played Queenie, appearing in Batman Returns, an episode of Coach, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and most notably as Precious in The Silence of the Lambs?  There is a dog that has a better resume than most actors.

"Shut up and paint your house." - Rumsfield

Super spoiler: In the original script Ray Peterson was supposed to be killed by the Klopeks.  However, when Tom Hanks was cast, the studio didn't think the audience would appreciate witnessing Joe vs the Volcano getting killed onscreen.

"...you can't go now.  This is the best part.  I called the pizza dude." - Ricky

More shitty fun facts (via IMDB):

  • At the time of filming, Corey Feldman and Michael Jackson were good friends.  Bubbles, the famed chimpanzee of Michael Jackson, visited the set.  On these occasions he would defecated and spread his feces all over Feldman's trailer, to the point that Joe Dante had to ban Bubbles from the set.
  • Tom Hanks improvised the scene where he picks up the gurney and puts himself into the ambulance.
  • The Klopeks named their Great Dane after a notorious French serial killer, Henri Landru.
  • The film was entirely shot on the Universal Studios lot.
  • The  astronomic zoom at the beginning of the movie places the movie location in central Iowa; fictional Hinkley Hills is probably a 'burb of Des Moines.
  • In the Klopeks basement there is a sled with the name Rosebud - a reference to Citizen Kane (1941).
  • The trash that Art and Rumsfield throw into the street remains there for the rest of the movie and is run over several times by various people.
"Hey Pinocchio, where are you going?" - Rumsfield



The Recipe
Classic "Cul de Sac" Mac 'N' Cheese
(for original recipe click here)

For Cheese Sauce:
2 cups almond milk (or your favorite plant-based milk)
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 onion
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine or coconut oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt

For the Filling:
16 oz. dry macaroni
2 cup Daiya shreads (or your favorite vegan cheese)
1/4 cup or more nutritional yeast
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 dirty little secret

1.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease a 2-3 quart casserole.

2.  Cook the macaroni until al dente (a minute or two less than the package instructions).  Rinse in cold water, drain and set aside.

 3.  Pour the non-dairy milk into a small sauce pan, stick the bay leaf to the onion with the cloves and add to the milk.  Slowly bring the milk to a simmer on a medium-low heat.  Melt 1/2 of the margarine in a medium sauce pan, add the chopped shallots and cook at a medium heat until soft.  Add the flour, dry mustard and white pepper and cook another 2 minutes.

4.  Slowly add the milk to the margarine/flour mixture, whisking constantly.

5.  Once combine in a blender, add the cashews (soaked, then drained), the vegetable broth, and the milk/margarine/flour mixture.  Blend until smooth.
6.  Pour the mixture from the blender back into the saucepan.  Add the studded onion and Worcestershire to the sauce and simmer at least 15 minutes, until thick and creamy.
 7.  Remove from heat, discard the onion.  Lightly season with thyme and just a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne.
 8.  In the greased casserole dish, place the cooked and drained macaroni.  Pour the cheesy sauce on top and few fist fulls of your favorite vegan shreads.  Mix well.

9.  Top with nutritional yeast and bread crumbs.



 10.  Dot with the remaining margarine and bake uncovered for 20 or 30 minutes until brown and bubbly.

11. Don't become a creepy neighbor and enjoy The 'burbs.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cocktails and Dinosaurs: News and Libations for the Weekend of December 9, 2016

The posts that used to be weekly, then monthly, and now it's a struggle to get one in a year.  After a weak showing for VeganMofo which I blame mostly on Trump and cabinet appointments that should come with a trigger warning, I'm back with a list of this week's news that I will attempt to make not completely shitty and a tasty cocktail to take the edge off.



  • The first official trailer for Spiderman: Homecoming is finally here.  7.7.17 - Who's coming with me?
  • What about Bob?...cats and wolves.  Illinois is trying to bring back bobcat hunting and Michigan is trying to bring back wolf hunting.

    In Illinois: "The state banned bobcat hunting in 1972 and placed the species on its threatened list from 1977 to 1999." (via Chicago Tribune)
    In Michigan: A bill was approved "...that would allow a commission to designate wolves as a game species if they are ever removed from the federal endangered species list." (via The Detroit News)

    In both cases, there are a bunch of gun toting Elmer Fudd's waiting to kill an animal we just saved.  I don't have time for this!  We just elected a pussy-grabbing monster who believes climate change is a hoax for president.  We're all going to be on the endangered species list soon.

    To help the bobcats, there is no shortage of internet petitions and activists in Illinois are applying for the bobcat hunting permits with no intention of using it (story here).
    To help the wolves in Michigan go to http://keepwolvesprotected.com/ (associated with the HSUS) or tweet at the governor like Kristen Bell and remind him about Flint while you're at it.
    (If you have more information about what we could do to help these animals or other states nipping at the bit to kill off another endangered animal, please share!)
  • Time Magazine names Trump "Person of the Year" and after four hours of scream crying Jezebel posted this delightful analysis of the photo quelling my scab-covered, bruised, and broken heart.  So I ask myself, how did I get here? And there's no way he could turn this honor into something misogynistic, right?

  • Oh fuck... sorry.  Aren't you glad I started with the Spiderman trailer?  That was good stuff.
     
  • Injustice Boycott.  Sign up now.  It's like an advent calendar except instead of eating a piece of chocolate everyday, you send a tweet @ a politician, share an article or donate money to a worthy cause and that's just one week in.
  • Tyson Foods, which according to Wikipedia is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States, has launched a $150 million venture capital investment in meat substitutes.  (via myveganjournal.com)  

Cocktail of the Week:  Hard Apple Cider Fall Cocktail with Smoked Sage (recipe courtesy of Chic Vegan)

This cocktail is a delectable boozy blend of gin and hard apple cider.  I didn't know I could smoke sage until making this cocktail and I fully intend to continue.  What else could smoked sage enhance?  Martini?  Mac 'n' "Cheese"?  Hot Chocolate?  Sky's the limit!

Email that crap out of us @ monicatara[at]gmail.com.  Or just comment here!  We love you and we want feedback and cocktail ideas!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cinema with Comestible Accompaniments: Heathers

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. 

From 1995 to 2011, TBS provided recipes to compliment the movies they aired on a show hosted by Paul Gilmartin, Claud Mann (the chef), and what AV Club calls "a succession of female hosts" Annabelle Gurwitch being my favorite.


With two cookbooks and the vast internet, I plan on veganizing every Dinner and a Movie recipe I can get my hands on because this show deserves to live on in my cold dark vegan heart.


The Movie

Heathers (1989)
Leonard Maltin Review:  **1/2 D: Michael Lehmann.  Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, Penelope Milford, Glenn Shadix, Lance Fenton.  Sharp, somewhat smug satire of high school social strata, with Ryder in a terrific performance as a girl who hangs out with the school's bitch-queens but doesn't feel quite comfortable about their reign of terror.  Outrageous black humor works at first, but isn't sustained; uneven script goes far astray.  Slater is commanding in his Jack Nicholson-esque performance.  Feature debut for director Lehmann and writer Daniel Waters, with many virtues as well as flaws. [R]

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

The movie that answers the age old question: Are we going to prom or to hell?

Corn nuts...  

High school was hard for most of us, but for Veronica, her "teen angst bullshit has a body count."  (That sounds like the beginning to the trailer, right?)  I remember thinking people in high school talked the way they did in this movie.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed.  (Side note: Dawson's Creek came out when I was in high school and none of my friends used half as many SAT words.  That was very disappointing as well.  I still want to marry Pacey, though.)

"...bulimia is so '87"

This movie has a special place in my heart (which is why I started with it) because it validated my disdain for the popular crowd and at the time I first saw it I wanted to be Winona Ryder.  She was fresh off of Beetlejuice playing strip croquet with a pre-baboon heart Christian Slater.  What's not to love?  The movie is visually stunning as well.  All the Heathers are color coded, presumably not to mix them up, but the use of color definitely adds to the story.  First, we have Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) in red (power color), the Regina George of the group.  Then there is Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty) in green... with jealously?  which is established during the croquet game at the beginning of the movie and later when she gains possession of the red scrunchie.  Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) in yellow, the weakest in the group, only because she's the realest person in the group who has real people feelings when people around her start dying.  Veronica (Winona Ryder) wears lots of blacks and blues and she happens to be the one to introduce all the death and mayhem that follows.

"I gotta motor"

Both the Veronica and J.D. character have weird relationships with their fathers.  Veronica's dad will throw out a rhetorical question as to why he does something and Veronica responds with, "...because you're an idiot."  J.D. and his father, however, have this banter where they switch roles and J.D. refers to his dad as son.  I'm struggling right now to think of a teen movie where the parent is shown as anything other than to create a conflict or completely pointless.

"...that the answers can be found in the MTV video games."  

 Something I just recently noticed is that Veronica uses a monocle throughout the movie and they never call attention to it.  I need to get myself a monocle.

Another observation is Heather Chandler's coffee table contains a Cliffs Notes for The Bell Jar and Info Magazine with the cover article being "The Fall of the American Teen" which helps J.D. concocted the suicide idea.

My favorite character, hands down, is Martha 'Dumptruck' Dunnstock with her Big Fun t-shirt and her plans to rent some new releases and pop some popcorn with Veronica on prom night.  That would have made a great spin off or sequel.

My favorite scene is the Heather Duke funeral-dream sequence where everyone is wearing 3-D glasses and white gowns.  This just help to prove that the 80's were superior in every way.

More quotes I love:
"Our love is God. Let's go get a slushie." - J.D.

"Chaos is what killed the dinosaur, darling." - J.D.

"I don't patronize bunny rabbits." - Veronica's Dad

"If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn't be a human being you would be a game show host." - Veronica

Trivia:

  • Heathers was filmed in 32 days in July and August of 1988.  
  • The Veronica role was originally intended for Jennifer Connelly, who turned it down. 
  • Justine Bateman was also considered for the lead.  
  • Brad Pitt auditioned for the role of J.D. but was considered "too nice."  Thelma and Louise era Brad Pitt... he was too nice.  Actually, Ocean 1000 era Brad Pitt still too nice.
  • Westerberg High was named after Paul Westerberg from The Replacements, Winona's favorite band at the time.
  • Ich Luge is German for "I'm Lying" - the bullet J.D. tells Veronica they are using for Kurt and Ram.
  • Ram - if you are a fan of the movie Summer School, he also plays a jock in that movie.  The actor's name is Patrick Labyorteaux.
  • Something I learned from listening to the podcast Sweet Teen Club, the version of Que Sera, Sera in the movie is not the Doris Day version because she wouldn't let her vocals be used on any project that used profanity. 
  • Soon there will be a TV series on TVLand based on Heathers.  (Here's an article on Jezebel which is where I get all my news.)
  • Heathers: An oral history (courtesy of Entertainment Weekly)



The Recipe
Heathers 'Killer Pasta w/ Oregano'
(for original recipe click here)

For Pasta:
(I used the pasta recipe from Vegan Dad here)
2 cups flour (1 cup all purpose and 1 cup semolina)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
about 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

For Sauce:
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb ripe plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 fist full of fresh oregano and basil (optional)
1 copy of Moby Dick
Mineral Water
Big Red Scrunchie
(The original recipe had cheese in the sauce, I took it out, get over it.  Just add extra scrunchies.)



 I advise following the Vegan Dad recipe for the pasta as I am a fresh pasta novice and used a humorously tiny rolling pin to roll out my pasta which took forever.  I added the fresh oregano when combining the flours and salt.















The drying the pasta on the kitchen cabinet doors trick courtesy of the Vegan Dad blog.

Preheat over to 350F.

Combine the red wine, olive oil and tomato paste.
(My first attempt at this recipe I forgot to pick up wine and used balsamic vinegar instead.  Turned out pretty good.)


Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on a cookie sheet cut side up. 
Drizzle the wine mixture over the tomatoes then top with the diced onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes.
Post oven photo.

Put everything on the pan into the blender, minus the parchment paper.  (What did we do before parchment paper?)  When the sauce looks nice and smooth, add a fistful of oregano and/or basil and give it a few quick pulses to just roughly chop the herbs up.  





















And there you have it Veronica's favorite dinner Spaghetti with lots of oregano.  Can you tell which one is from the movie and which one I made?  Probably.


The next movie will be announce shortly.  I was going to do The 'Burbs, but Netflix rudely removed it from streaming.