Cowboy Frito Pies for a Texas Movie Night

Hi everyone! Once again, a good long while since I’ve posted. Hope you all enjoyed your Super Bowl Sunday! I know I overdid it on the wings and guacamole. Anyway, now that I’ve gone on vacation and officially settled into my school and work schedule for the time being, I’m here to post on two movies today. Boyhood and Men, Women and Children. Both were filmed in Texas, so I decided to make something that I know I’ve only seen in Texas before: Cowboy Frito Pies made with BBQ brisket. Let’s get to it!

The Food: My very first job was at a family owned BBQ joint in Amarillo, TX called Doug’s BBQ, which was famous for their chopped beef Frito pies topped with beans and tangy sweet BBQ sauce. I decided to make this solely because I was craving it and have yet to find this dish outside of Amarillo, but the internet tells me that it does exist at other restaurants in the area.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Beef brisket (I got about a 6 lb brisket I believe which was perfect for a few days worth of leftovers)

BBQ marinade (my dad uses Claude’s, and that’s what I decided to go with and the smell of nostalgia filled my home)

Vinegar based BBQ sauce (any kind will do, just make sure it’s a thin sauce and not thick and molasses-like)

1 can pinto beans

Shredded cheese

Original Fritos

Transfer your brisket to a gallon-size zipper bag and pour your marinade onto it. I poured only 3/4 of the bottle onto it because I wanted to make sure I had a good amount for the crockpot, but I could have poured the whole bottle and it would have been fine. Refrigerate your meat and allow to marinate over night. The next day, transfer your meat to the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

IMG_3490 IMG_3496

I did mine for 8 and it was perfect. There is a large amount of shrinkage as it cooks, so if you’re worried about that, get a bigger brisket. Start your pinto beans on the stovetop. I used salt and pepper to taste, but also spooned some of the juice and marinade from my brisket to season those up. Heat up your BBQ sauce on the stove as well if you like. Now it’s time to build your pie! Start with your Fritos, add beans, shredded brisket, cheese and top with your BBQ sauce that has been heated on the stove so that it melts the cheese and is awesome. Also, be liberal with that meat juice and bean juice, I like my Fritos a little soft and soggy.

IMG_3497 IMG_3498

The Critique: There’s no way to mess this up. It was literally the most delicious and easiest hand-off meal I’ve had in a while. You really don’t even have to start working until about 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve them up just to get your beans and sauce ready. After 8 hours in the crockpot, shredding that brisket is like buttah and the flavor was fantastic with Claude’s, but feel free to use a home-made marinade. Great meal, worth the little effort it took since I missed my opportunity to get the real deal when I was in Amarillo a few weeks ago.

The Movies followed by The Critique:

1. Boyhood (2014)- Written and directed by Richard Linklater over a 12-year period which centers around a boy named Mason and the trials and tribulations one goes through from age 5 to 18.

boyhood1

The Critique: This movie is entertaining. I will say that the plot didn’t do a whole lot for me, but it’s fun to see 12 years unfold before your eyes. I think it’s important for people to see this movie for the piece of art that it is, even more so if you’re a Texan! Even if the story is a little flat, that’s not really the important part of this piece. The acting was a little lacking in some scenes, understandably because the main character is kind of an unknown. One scene was a little disappointing, when it came down to the acting, because it was executed so poorly that I almost thought that it shouldn’t have been in the movie at all. However, it tied back to another moment earlier in the movie, so I wanted to see it in there. Other than that, there are some really beautiful shots throughout and the look of it is very uniform throughout. It’s fun to point out the places I’ve been in this movie (shot in San Marcos for a few scenes which was cool) and it’s cool to figure out which year you’re watching based on pop culture references. It’s a good watch and a really neat project that no other film maker has done before.

2. Men, Women and Children (2014)- Directed by Jason Reitman and based on the novel by Chad Kultgen, this movie (which was filmed in Austin) follows a group of individuals that are all struggling as technology affects their sexuality, self-esteem, social communication and personal relationships with most of the stories being somehow intertwined yet completely separate.

la_ca_0901_men_women_and_children

The Critique: The trailer for this movie caught my attention immediately. I saw the preview for it for the first time in the set of previews preceding Boyhood, and I was so intrigued and needed to see more immediately that I ran around town looking to rent it the very next day. I had to settle for renting off of iTunes because all copies were out! With that being the case, I hoped that the movie would do the trailer some justice and I think it did. It reminded me a lot of the movie that came out a couple of years ago, Disconnect, which is generally about the same social media world that we live in that Men, Women and Children tried to convey. This movie has a lot of drama coming from quite a few different angles, so there’s always something to keep your attention. I will say that I wanted a little bit more from it, such as some tied off ends, but I still enjoyed it. It’s not much of a warm and fuzzy movie at all (if you’ve seen the trailer, you get that right off of the bat), but it has some nice and redeeming qualities like humor and sweet relationships that help to balance out the tragedy so you don’t feel so empty when it’s over. Amazing cast of people and interesting concepts that made the story unlike any I had ever seen or heard before. All in all, I think it’s a good watch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peasant’s Potato Chowder

Hi everyone! Now that it’s officially been a month since my last post, I’m back with a slew of movie reviews! I haven’t posted in so long, because of the holidays and a lack of creativity and money, so I had no good ideas (or funding) to create elaborate dishes. Therefore, I will share with you one of the many cheap food items that I made over the break: a creamy potato chowder that I’ll name Peasant’s Potato Chowder to cleverly display the poor-man diet that I’ve been on. With that, about four different movie review, including In the Name of the King, which I announced I would be doing last time. Now without any further adieu, let’s get started.

The Food:

We pretty consistently keep a lot of potatoes and onions on hand at our house, which is great for a poor-man diet. When the weather turned really cold last week, we went out and bought some whole milk (we pretty much only drink almond milk) in order to make some rich and creamy hot chocolate. So, with all of those ingredients being in the pantry and refrigerator, my grocery list for this meal was pretty short. This is the recipe that I followed, and I obviously left things out, but you don’t have to! Here’s what you need:

6 cups diced potatoes (smaller than 1-inch square, you can peel yours, but I didn’t)

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

1 can chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 cup milk

Chopped bacon (I did about 5 half strips, chopped)

Put bay leaves, salt and pepper and potatoes in a pot and cover with broth (or water). Cook until potatoes are soft, but not mushy (25 minutes). Fry bacon as you do this, set aside to cool.

IMG_3409

IMG_3411

Sautee onion in bacon grease. Chop bacon when cool.

IMG_3412IMG_3413

Mix soup and sour cream in a bowl until smooth. Add this mixture to the potatoes with your milk. Stir lightly and add your onions and chopped bacon until everything is completely incorporated. Serve with shredded cheese on top.

IMG_3415

The Critique:

This tasted amazing and really hit the spot since I had been craving a creamy soup like this. However, it was extremely heavy and really bloated me every time I had a bowl. The good thing about it is that it took all of 30 minutes to make and that there were lots of leftovers. Chow really enjoyed it and I, like I said, enjoyed it, but I don’t know if the taste was worth my miserable feeling afterward. I’ll be making it again though, hoping for the best.

The Movies followed by The Critiques (Spoilers):

1. In the Name of the King (2007) – Directed by Uwe Boll, this is a high-fantasy movie that follows a man named Farmer (Jason Statham) who bands together with his friend and brother-in-law in order to save his wife who has been captured by the evil wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta). All the while, the King (Burt Reynolds) is conspired against by Gallian and his nephew.

in-name-of-king-allmoviephoto-com

The Critique: This is the first and hopefully the last time in foodiesatthemovies history that I was unable to finish a movie. This movie is absolutely horrendous. I first started watching it in the company of friends and many beers. Because of those circumstances, I loved it. It was so bad, that it was good. The cast is made up of some surprising picks. You have Jason Statham as the main character, which makes sense because it’s an action movie. Then you have people like Ron Perlman, Will Sanderson (who seems more like an ex-wrestler than an actor), Burt Reynolds and Ray Liotta. Let me also mention that, as a period piece, fantasy or not, Statham is the only actor who has an accent. Matthew Lillard who plays the king’s nephew, tries really hard with a Middle English accent, but as for everyone else, you just have a mish-mash of all different types of American accents.

This is one of the many reasons why I loved this movie under the influence. I believed that director Uwe Boll must have made these choices on purpose and that it was meant to be bad in the name of humor or to cause some sort of confusion. When I began to watch it again the next day in order to finish it, completely sober, I found that I was no longer a fan of these choices and that this movie was just plain bad. I got about half-way through this TWO-HOUR LONG MOVIE, and had to stop. It was a lot like the many Sy-Fy network original movies that I’ve seen in my day, however this had a big budget and actually went to theaters. It’s so bad. I would recommend that if you do watch it, you do as I did the first time around and have friends and alcohol to surround you. Or, if you ever hear that a theater in your area has a RiffTrax special screening of it, that would be an absolutely fun ride to have.

2. Tusk (2014) – The newest Kevin Smith movie which is a horror-comedy is about a podcaster named Wallace (Justin Long) who travels up to Canada to interview a viral video star for his podcast. Things go awry, and he decides to try and find another interesting person in Canada to interview instead. He finds a flyer at a local bar describing a man who has lived a very fulfilled life and has many stories to share with anyone who’s willing to listen. Wallace calls the number and sets up a meeting with the mysterious man, Howard Howe (Michael Parks) and hilarity and horror ensue as the story unfolds. Howe is actually a mentally disturbed man who dreams of turing an unsuspecting victim into a walrus.

TUSK

The Critique: I was definitely completely wrapped up in this movie the entire time. The comedy is really strong, and the horror (which I would consider more disturbing and suspenseful than horror) was really strong also. That being said, this movie had some troubles with tone. You could be rolling laughing so hard at Johnny Depp’s character one minute and then it immediately cuts to Long in his walrus suit/new body screaming and crying about what has happened to him. And I’ll just say that this happens a lot in the duration of this film. Being a huge fan of Kevin Smith, however, I took it upon myself to watch the special features on the DVD, and Smith himself even says that the switching of tones is an art form that he hasn’t perfected yet. Agreed.

Another part that really got to me, was the fact that Justin Long’s transformation is somehow irreversible, yet it’s a walrus suit that he’s wearing. Yes, he undergoes several surgical adjustments to his body, but the suit is still a suit that is attached in ways I can’t begin to understand. What I’m getting at is, IT’S STILL A SUIT! Legless Justin Long is still inside of there with organs completely intact. Go to a doctor and try to have it removed! But alas, Wallace decides to be stuck as a walrus for the rest of his life and live in captivity at an exotic animal exhibit, and for some odd reason doesn’t  try to kill himself due to the pain he’s feeling. But, all in all, I liked this movie. Unlike other movies from Smith, this is kind of a one and done sort of movie. I would probably watch it again, but far in the future and with some lighthearted company to help keep the mood up.

3. Amadeus (1984) –  Directed by Milos Forman and adapted from the play written by Peter Shaffer, Amadeus is about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his contemporary Antonio Sallieri. The story is narrated by Sallieri (F. Murray Abraham) as he talks about the life of Mozart and the trials of being his contemporary at the height of his fame.

Tom Hulce F Murray Abraham Amadeus 001

The Critique: I just want to point out, that when it comes to period pieces, I am generally never on board. All I’ve ever heard about this movie, however, is how great it is and how it won an Oscar, so I had to see for myself. I loved it! The director chose to have an American cast and I feel like it’s stylized in a way that the only thing 18th century about it are the costumes and set, in a sense. The dialogue is just easy to understand and the characters are relatable. It’s a movie that you really become invested in every character. I enjoyed watching the entire time, but the scene that really got me, was one of the last. It’s the scene right before Mozart dies and he is dictating his music to Sallieri for him to write. It’s a beautiful scene and a really perfect note to leave the audience with, with these two characters putting jealousy and differences aside to just make art together. Definitely worth watching.

4. If I Stay (2014) – Mia (Chloe Moretz) and her family are in a car accident that leaves her in a coma. She has an out of body experience, finds out the fate of the rest of her family and loved ones and can make the decision for herself to live or die, essentially. All the while, her story of love and heartbreak is told in the form of flashbacks.

ifistay

The Critique: I’m not even sure why I’m featuring this movie on the blog. I think I’m doing it just to give some extra content. This movie was just mediocre. It has the same kind of appeal that The Fault in Our Stars did, where it’s a romantic drama revolving around young people. I think that I’ve decided that I’m just too old to watch teenagers fall in love. It’s awkward to watch and there aren’t really any redeeming qualities to it. At least The Fault in Our Stars had some comedy/zany characters. The parents in this movie were zany and eccentric, but they died. Anyway, I really have nothing to say about it. It’s for a specific type of audience, and that audience doesn’t include me. Therefore, I thought it was a waste of time, even though I did get a little teary eyed during one scene. It was beautifully shot and I did like that her entire back story was told with flashbacks, instead of going at it in a full on linear style. That’s besides the point, I would find something better if I were you.

Alright folks, that’s all that I have for now. I will be updating more regularly after my long hiatus, so stay tuned!

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Food, movies, reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Final Review…

…but not really! Hi everyone, or anyone who cares to read through this. This is the final post that I will be making that has nothing to do with my actual blog and everything to do with the class that I started this blog for. So, once again, sorry to distract you from the original content. I will continue to blog about food and film after this, hopefully on a regular basis still, fingers crossed! After this week, finals will be over and I can really apply myself to watching movies and finding new recipes for all of you, but first here’s my review over my blogging experience.

I started this blog for class, and I’m so glad that I was assigned a blog project. Literally, on the same day that this blog was assigned, I had had the idea for it. Talk about synchronicity! That being said, I love what I write about and will try to continue it for as long as I can. My one hope from this blog is really that it gets noticed. I think it’s a one of a kind blog, and I hope to one day Google the topic and find my blog on the first page of results. Sadly, I have Googled the topic “Food and Film” and this doesn’t show up at all, but I have high hopes for one day!

My other goal, is that I get better at watching movies and to watch more really great movies. I hope to talk more about techniques and directors and really get a sense of what I’m talking about. I think that plays a really big part in getting noticed. Along with having great recipes, if I have a real voice about my opinions on film that everyone can relate to, I think I can attract a real audience.

Another big part of this class was to use social media to promote myself along with my projects as much as possible. I think this is a great thing to learn, I just wish that I hadn’t taken such a long hiatus from all social media as I did. Because I did go silent for so long, I still feel like I don’t get much traffic from people hearing about this on Facebook, but I’m going to continue to try. My next big move for social media and this blog is to figure out how to synch it up to Pinterest that way I can get more views and work my way up in the Google ranks.

All in all, I enjoy doing this. I like exploring my writing style and my creativity and that’s something that I hope to be able to take into the professional world with me. I love WordPress. I think it’s great that I can buy this domain if I really want to. I also love the ease of it for helping me to understand building a website, even if it is all done for you. It’s one thing that makes me feel more confident about the internet. This experience has been a positive one and all I have to do is just keep going. That being said, I will leave you with this. The next movie that I will most likely be reviewing soon. Get excited, I’ll see you soon!

inthenameoftheking

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Honey Lemon Ginger Hot Toddies

Hi all! This weekend has proved to be very uneventful. I’ve watched absolutely too much reality TV and not any good content whatsoever. I don’t think I watched a single movie at all. However, it’s time for another blatant class-assigned blog post. I made a video this weekend where I show you how to make a hot toddy using ginger tea and honey whiskey. Please disregard the barely there headroom. Here it is:

I didn’t really give a critique in the video, but the drink turned out really good. The ginger flavor was strong and paired really well with the honey whiskey. I normally put honey in that tea anyway, so it was really nice. Also, the lemon gave it a nice kick. I will be doing these a lot once the weather finally cools down here.

This video was assigned for my class, but I really would like to start doing a lot more videos to gain more of a presence online, so expect to see more in the future! That’s all I have folks, tune in later this week for an actual food and movie review!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Mac-nificent Seven

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did, and I made something great for one of my Friendsgiving gatherings which gave me great ideas for this post! This recipe is one that I really wish I would have made again for actual Thanksgiving, but Christmas is just around the corner so I’ll have more opportunities. I’ve been craving mac and cheese and wanting to experiment with gluten-free noodles at the same time, so I decided to test this dish out on a bunch of unsuspecting people at my friend’s Friendsgiving dinner party! Normally, I try and come up with a movie first, but since I settled on a food beforehand, and a very generic food at that, I didn’t know what to pair it with. A friend suggested “Mac and Me” Mac and Cheese, apparently a knock-off of E.T. and a cult classic. However, it wasn’t enough of a classic for my local movie rental place to have it, so I spent my time in the store perusing the “M”s looking for anything that would make sense, or at the very least, sound good paired with mac and cheese. The Magnificent Seven was there, a movie that I knew nothing about, but it seemed like a classic that most should see, and so I figured I could be pun-ny with it and do that. Here goes!

The Food:

I’ve only tried a few macaroni from scratch recipes in my life. I don’t want to say that I prefer the box, but as a carb loving college student, you really can’t go wrong with the box. I’ve made a fancy mac before that ended up being way too rich (it’s a recipe from Giada on Food Network), it had about 5 different cheeses in it and didn’t really rub everyone the right way. And then I’ve made a simple mac using Velveeta, cheddar and a roux base. The second is the one that I would stick with most often because of how easy it is, but nothing beats the ease of the box. Until now!

I absolutely love creamy mac and cheese. You know, the kind you get from fried chicken places and cafeterias (like Furr’s or Luby’s). I never knew how to execute that style though. Everything that I’ve cooked in the past has been semi-creamy but not how I like it. I found a recipe for this gluten-free mac here. Since I was going to a potluck, though, I doubled it the best I could, but I’ll post the original measurements below. Here’s what you need:

3 cups uncooked gluten free pasta (I used the Quinoa brand)

2 1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk to make it extra creamy)

2 1/4 cup water

1 tsp. salt

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pepper to taste

IMG_3322

Put your noodles, milk, water and salt in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and lower to a simmer until pasta is cooked, but still firm (al dente) and the sauce is slightly thicker. Add in your cheese slowly and fold in until fully melted and incorporated throughout.

IMG_3324IMG_3325IMG_3326

This is when I really started to taste and add salt and pepper. Of course, I ran out of salt completely and used seasoned salt for this. Just add seasonings until it’s good for you. Serve hot from the stove top, or do what I did and put in a dish to bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, with extra cheese on top, of course!

IMG_3327IMG_3328

The Critique:

Tasting this before I transferred it to my dish to bake in the oven, it was absolutely perfect. The recipe says to serve it hot from the stove, and from what I experienced this weekend, that’s really the way to go. Since I had to take this over to a dinner party, I figured baking and taking would be the easiest. Baking it dried it up a bit, but it still tasted great. Then sitting on the countertop patiently awaiting dinner time, it cooled to a room temperature. Still really good, but it was knocked down a couple of notches from its original awesomeness. Of course, the other guests didn’t know any different so they all had good things to say about it. I know the truth though, and this is definitely meant to be served straight from the stove top. Also, the gluten-free noodles stick to the pan really easily, so constantly stir while it’s coming to a boil. The flavor was good, almost just like the taste of whole wheat noodles if you’ve ever tried those. All in all, definitely trying this again, with maybe some tweaks to the seasoning. I’ve heard mustard powder adds a great tang, which I like that in my creamy mac and cheese, but seasoned salt was actually a great way to go.

The Movie:

the-magnificent-seven-denzel-and-fuqua-to-remake-classic-the-magnificent-seven-1960

The movie I chose was 1960’s The Magnificent Seven directed my John Sturges. It’s a western about a Mexican farming village that is being tormented by a group of Mexican bandits that often raid them for food. Starving and scared for their crops, three elders from the village travel toward a nearby town to find help. They come across a gunmen who agrees to help them and soon assembles a group of seven others who will travel to the village and watch over them until the threat is gone.

The Critique:

I did not realize this movie was a western from the 60s. I was thinking it would be somewhere along the lines of Tombstone and have a cast that I knew and liked. I was wrong, but it was still very good. I was surprised because the plot seemed very progressive to me for the time period being shown. In the beginning of the movie, there was a big racial issue that kind of set the mood for what kind of a town these gunmen are coming from. The townsmen refused to bury a body in the cemetery because the dead man was Indian. And yet, these seven guys are willing to help this Mexican village, no questions asked. I just thought that was really kind of cool. The bunch that call themselves the Magnificent Seven are just some really laid back and forward-thinking fellows.

article-2650096-1E81F27200000578-531_634x379

I was also surprised at how graphically violent the movie got in the last big battle. You saw hatchets in the backs of men and blood everywhere. Now, it wasn’t gross or anything, in fact it really wasn’t bad at all and added some realism where there wasn’t a whole lot. It was like every time one of seven shot at someone, they never missed, so it was nice to see some injuries in the end. And, this wouldn’t have surprised me in a movie today, but just the fact that this is an older movie it caught me off guard.

I won’t lie, it took me two days to finish this movie. I honestly thought that older movies generally had a shorter run time than movies today. I was very wrong. This movie was two full hours long, and I don’t think I mentally prepared myself for it. The content was great, it really was, but there are scenes that definitely could have been skipped. I think that might be one of the major differences in movies from then and now. For one, more action now. Not saying that this wasn’t fun to watch, it had a good amount of action. Another thing is just that, pointless lulling scenes have no place in today’s movies. This particular director really should have cut some 3-5 minute scenes that were dragging into a quick and simple 30 second- 1 minute explanation of what’s about to happen. That’s just me though.

All in all, this movie threw me some curveballs that I was thankful for. I thought that I knew what this movie was all about and it proved me wrong. It was a very good movie, and a classic that everyone should see!

m7 shootout 2

 

Check in soon to see what’s in store!

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Food, movies, reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Hi all! So, we’re doing something a little different today. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and I was wanting to take it easy this weekend. Chow, on the other hand, loves pumpkin pie and bought a fresh pumpkin to make a homemade pie for himself, so I figured I’d document that with a slideshow (this is another one of those posts that’s a blatant reminder that I have this blog for school, so that’s my excuse). Plus, it’s on a gluten-free crust, so it’s a win, win for the both of us! There’s no movie review, but expect a normal post soon!

We bought a pie pumpkin from the grocery store, it’s smaller than a pumpkin you might imagine buying for Halloween. Anyway, you pretty much follow the same recipe that you would from the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree in a can, except you will make the pumpkin puree yourself.

Cut the pumpkin in half, set on cookie sheet open side down (line your pan with parchment paper for less mess) and bake on 400 degrees for about an hour or until tender. Once you pull the done pumpkin out, let it cool and then pull the skins off. Use what you need for the pie (we only needed about half of the pumpkin) and puree that with a blender stick or a food processor. From there, you can follow the rest of the recipe like this:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2  large eggs

Pumpkin puree (15 oz)

12 oz can evaporated milk

1  unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, that pie is hot and we’re waiting for it to cool over night before we try it, so I can’t tell you how it it, but it looks and smells amazing! You can check out Chow’s take on it at his blog right here along with other cool movie reviews! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check in later this week!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Mother of All Movie Reviews

Hi everyone! So I skipped a week, and there was really no reason for it other than the fact that school and work are starting to get hectic. So, sorry to everyone that tries to keep up with me. Because I skipped a week, though, I’ll be doing something a little different. I’ve watched about four movies since I last posted and made one kick-ass meal, so instead of focusing on one movie, I’ll be doing short reviews for all four movies and talking about my dish.

The Food:

Like any other college student, I’m constantly broke and, with as busy as I’ve been, lacking the motivation to make something out of the ordinary. Luckily, the weather has been getting cooler and my pantry was stocked full of canned and fresh veggies, so I decided to make a vegetable stew. I was nervous about the flavor though, since I’ve tried this whole tossing together random vegetables before with the outcome being seriously bland and boring. That being said, I read a few blogs and articles and got some ideas on how to do it the right way. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 medium potatoes diced

4 celery stalks

1/2 large white onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 14oz can diced tomatoes

2 cans worth of water

1 can green beans

1 can pinto beans

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

3/4 cup red wine (I used a cheap cabernet)

1 tsp seasoned salt

1 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

IMG_3178IMG_3179

In a large stock pot, sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions become translucent. Turn down the heat and add the majority of your wine, saving a splash to throw in before serving. Cook the wine down for a few minutes then add all other ingredients. Cook on low heat for about 4-5 hours. Mix in the last bit of red wine to it and serve.

IMG_3182IMG_3184

The Critique:

I was really worried that this wasn’t going to turn out. I got tips from other sites, but didn’t follow a specific recipe, so I was nervous that it was going to be bland. I was totally surprised with how good it was! I cannot wait to do this again, and it’s perfect that it’s getting colder. It’s one of those dishes that you can just prep and forget. I went home on a lunch break from work to throw this together and it was ready by the time I got home later that night. The Boyfriend was also impressed. I really think that the wine had a lot to do with it. I’ve always wanted to cook with red wine, but never found a recipe that stuck out to me, so it was nice to just experiment. And it’s an experiment that turned out for the better. With all of the vegetables and how thick cut they were, it was really hearty and just perfect for a lazy cold day to watch movies. Once again, I’m so excited to do this again, and it’s an extremely cheap meal that made enough for a few days worth of leftovers.

The Movies followed by The Critiques:

1. The Thing – I thought it would be appropriate to follow up my last post where I watched The Thing from 1982 by watching The Thing from 2011. This is a prequel to the original where it explains the finding of the alien organism and what happens to the Norwegian scientists who find it, all leading up to the events of the original movie.

the_thing_02

The Critique: I thought this was a very good installment. I prefer the original, though, and I’ll tell you why. Other than the fact that John Carpenter is a better story-teller, I like the original because the fact that the movie could start after this major happening and just jump right in, but still give you the information you need as the story progresses is far more interesting to me than the story that we’re given in the prequel. I think that the prequel did a fine job, especially set and continuity-wise, there was nothing cheesy or stupid about it, except for one scene that makes me cringe. There’s a scene where Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character is discovering that the cells of the parasite have the ability to replicate normal human cells. I don’t blame the director, because I don’t exactly see any other way to do it, but the looking-through-the-microscope “health class” film animation along with a bad execution of dialogue on top, just makes me cringe. I just wasn’t a fan of how the story was told, because it’s a story I’ve seen a thousand times before. Group discovers thing, thing causes chaos, horror ensues. Yes, the original was almost exactly the same story, however there was more complexity to it. Still a good watch though, I recommend it.

2. The Fault in Our Stars – A drama about two teens who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. They deal with the typical troubles of young love with the added stresses of sickness and being in the grips of death.

Fault-In-Our-Stars-467

The Critique: I was in the mood to watch a romantic drama or a romantic comedy. It’s been forever since I’ve sat down to watch one and I just felt like I needed that cheese in my life. This movie definitely delivered. I’m not saying it was cheesy. As with most movies largely focused on romance, I find that the first chunk of the movie is almost unbearable to watch. This movie was no different. When the two main characters meet – God! I almost couldn’t watch, there was so much awkwardness surrounding their introduction. I get that they’re teens and that life is awkward in general, but come on! I liked that there were surprises throughout, I won’t spoil anything, but it kept me interested the entire time. All in all, this movie was good. I have not read the book, so I don’t know if it’s a really easy read, but this movie turned out to be a movie that I didn’t have to do a lot of thinking during. I could just shut my brain off and let the sadness surround me, that was great for what I wanted. And, yes, I bawled at the end.

3. Life After Beth – This is a comedy that focuses on a guy mourning the death of his girlfriend, when one day she miraculously comes back from the grave. Hilarity ensues.

life-after-beth

The Critique: So, if you’re looking for an unconventional zombie movie, then look no further. This is so much different than I thought that it would be, and so much funnier. It stars Aubrey Plaza as Beth, Dane Dehaan as Zach (the boyfriend) and John C. Riley and Molly Shannon as Beth’s outrageous parents. I like all of the components of this movie, and it honestly surprised me that it turned out to be a full-fledged zombie movie. My only disappointments were that if you like questions to be answered, then forget it. It didn’t upset me that much, because everything else really distracts you from the fact that the “Why?” is never answered, but I would still like to know, and I’m sure you will too. Definitely recommend watching this, though!

4. Sex Tape – Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz play a married couple in this comedy who’s sex life is on the decline since the birth of their kids. They have an idea to spice things up, and make a video of themselves having sex that they plan to delete immediately. Of course, there wouldn’t be a movie if the video didn’t get shared with all of the couple’s friends, family and acquaintances, which leads to a race against the clock to keep their personal and professional relationships from being ruined.

1405608902000-2SEX-TAPE-MOV-JY-63674218

The Critique: This movie is garbage. Plain and simple, I did not like it. I rented it despite the less than great reviews that I had heard, because I love Jason Segal and in my head, I thought that if he was in it, there’s no way it wouldn’t be funny. It is so not funny though! The writing is bad, beyond bad, and I feel like the whole movie is just an excuse to get Cameron Diaz naked as much as possible. I have no problem with crude humor by any means, but none of this was executed well. The only part of this movie that I actually liked was the fact that Rob Lowe is in it and he basically plays the same character that he plays in Parks and Rec, which is such a likable character. The scene where Diaz and Segal go over to Lowe’s house it probably the only part of the movie that actually made me chuckle. And I would probably just watch that scene again, because it’s ok. Other than that, don’t waste your time. Everything you’ve heard is correct, it’s just plain bad.

All right, there will probably be another post during this week, so check in and see what’s cooking!

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Food, movies, reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment