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Inglorious Basterds

Say it with me: Naatzees.

Inglorious Basterds is a cross between a war movie and a spaghetti western, and like all Tarantino movies, it’s filled with action and violence, and it’s pretty long. There are two main story lines that meet: A German Colonel dubbed ‘The Jew Hunter’ doing his job and the woman who got away from him, and her cinema being used to show a Nazi film; and the Basterds, a group of American soldiers who are known for ambushing and killing Nazis. It’s historically accurate up to a certain point, and then it is delightfully not. It’s really hard to talk about this movie without giving away major plot points and twists, so bear with me.

Hans Landa, the hunter, arrives on the screen and seems downright pleasant. He charms the people he’s interviewing, makes them feel at ease, and then drops the bomb on them that he knows that they’re hiding something and they crumble. Which is why he is one of the most terrifying villains you will ever see on the screen, that and the fact that he REALLY enjoys his job. I mean, just look at him.

We flash forward three years, to the Basterds being formed by Aldo Raine, and then to them earning their reputation in Germany. We also meet the woman who escaped from the hunter in the previous chapter, quietly living in Paris and running a cinema under a new name. Unfortunately, she catches the eye of a famous German soldier who does not take her polite rebuffs as a hint, and ends up convincing the Minister of Propaganda to host the premiere for his film in her cinema. Emmanuelle literally cannot refuse, and is subjected to an interview with the hunter, who thankfully does not recognize her.

Both Emmanuelle and the Basterds see the premiere as an opportunity to do some damage to the Nazi party, but will they succeed? You have to watch to find out!

I know some people dislike Tarantino movies for a variety of reasons, but no one can argue that his casting is always impeccable. Brad Pitt is a wonderful actor, I never see Brad Pitt in his characters and he provides the comic relief needed to make this movie less intense. Christoph Waltz is amazingly articulate and rightly won several ‘best actor’ awards for his portrayal of Hans Landa.

Starring Brad Pitt (who?), Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Water For Elephants) Eli Roth (Death Proof, director of Hosteland Cabin Fever), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men: First Class), Diane Kruger (The Bridge, Troy), and many other talented bilingual actors.

Since almost the entire movie takes place in France, our menu is French.  Also I think it would be just a tad insensitive to feature German food.  Just a tad.

Appetizer:  France is known for its variety of cheeses, and there are a ton of of fancy nut based cheeses on the internet, so here’s a Buzzfeed list of a good selection.
Entree:  Pot-au-feu is a classic French dish and very simple and easily open to vegan interpretation.
Dessert:  Strudel, of course.  Give Hans the finger and eat it without cream, but you may wash it down with a big glass of (non-dairy, obviously) milk.

P.S. I am sorry for the gap in posts, I made the mistake of watching a lot of movies that I hadn’t seen in a long time a month ago, and now I don’t know what half of my notes mean so there was a bit of a struggle in there. Also video games.

posted: September 12, 2014
under: 2000s, action, comedy, period piece
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The Goonies

 

The Goonies is one of the most beloved 80’s movies of all time that i’m sure you’ve all seen 5-500 times, but for the sake of putting down words:  Some douchebuckets are going to tear these kids’ houses down so they can expand their country club, and after finding a treasure map in Mikey’s basement they decide to go find this treasure because what else are you going to do on what is possibly your last day together?  Play Scattergories?  Not tie your brother to a chair with his own workout equipment?  Pass!

Of course, there can’t be a treasure hunt without a family of murdering criminals and the deformed guy they keep in the basement, older brothers, stupid jocks, and bats.  But it’s all worth it for the badass pirate ship!  Did you know that the pirate ship was 100% real?  All of the inside shots were also from the ship, not a set.  When the movie was finished, it was demolished because no one wanted to take it home.  I have never been so disappointed in the human race as when I learned that no one wanted a FREE PIRATE SHIP.

The song that Cyndi Lauper wrote for the movie was turned into one of her epic, wrestler-filled videos:

 

Starring Corey Feldman (all of those other awesome 80’s movies, Ascension Millennium), Sean Astin (some movies about walking, Rudy), Josh Brolin (Planet Terror, Jonah Hex, Men In Black 3), Anne Ramsey (Throw Mama From the Train, Scrooged), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Sopranos), and Robert Davi (Die Hard, Profiler).

Entrees:  Mouth may have been an idiot, but he had the right idea in asking for (Seitan) Scallopini and Fettuccine.  If you expect to run around in underground tunnels all day, you need to carbo-load.

Desserts:  You can make easy Rocky Road Brownies, or you can make your own Baby Ruths to throw at people.  P.S.  I love it so much that someone made vegan Baby Ruths in homage to The Goonies, specifically.

Normally I don’t ask for specific comments, but please leave your favorite Goonies quotes in the comments so I can quote back at you and we can nerd nerd nerd.

 

posted: September 18, 2013
under: 80s, action, comedy, kid friendly
6 Comments on The Goonies

Machete

 

Just in case you thought he wasn’t serious about his name.

Ah, Machete, the best movie to be based on a fake movie trailer in another movie that’s actually based on a character from Spy Kids.  That’s right, Machete is technically a spin-off of Spy Kids (both are directed by Robert Rodriguez).  Machete is everything that movies like Fastly Furiousest and The Expendables want to be, but fail at, because those movies are full of stupid one-liners and ridiculous stunts that we’re supposed to believe are real.  Also those movies don’t have Danny Trejo, who can kill you with a look.  Like i’m getting really uncomfortable staring at the photo above as I type this.

Tale as old as time:  man goes to save a woman, man finds himself set up and his family killed, man tries to start over in America, man gets set up again and finally says ‘fuck this shit’ and starts to get revenge.  Because this is supposed to be like a 70’s exploitation movie, of course every woman in the movie humps Danny Trejo.  Just because he’s almost seventy doesn’t mean he can’t get his swerve on.  Of course there are lots of explosions, guns, machete fights, gushing blood, and boobs.

If you saw Grindhouse, you’ll notice that they reused some scenes from it, most obviously and purposefully, the scene where Lindsay Lohan and her mom are magically replaced by two completely different women in the pool, that’s from the trailer.  The sequel is due out later this year and I can’t wait!

Starring Danny Trejo (Sons of Anarchy, Con Air, so many things), Michelle Rodriguez (Lost, Fast and Furious, Resident Evil, I am genuinely afraid of this woman), Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, The Fantastic 4), Jeff Fahey (Lost, The Lawnmower Man, Planet Terror), Cheech Marin (Lost, Cheech & Chong, Nash Bridges), Tom Savini (monster makeup/FX legend, Dawn of the Dead, Grindhouse, Django Unchained), and a few other people who are super famous and you don’t need me to tell you who they are.

Music bonus:  the song that plays during the big fight scene is Yo Oigo, by one of my favorite bands, Girl In A Coma.  They’re from San Antonio and Robert Rodriguez directed the video for their cover of As The World Falls Down.

Entree:  When there’s a taco truck in a movie and little else in regards to food, you eat tacos!  I consulted the Taco Cleanse Expert about which tacos would be best given that the movie takes place in Texas and Mexico, and I was given not one, not two, but three choices and I can’t choose so you get them all!  Our TCE also says that homemade tortillas and refried beans are a must.

Side:  Not just because Jessica Alba serves Machete a plate where all you can see is rice, but because I like Mexican rice a lot!

Dessert:  Unfortunately, making a vegan choco taco at home sounds like a lot of work, so instead make these raspberry filled chocolate cupcakes, adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the cupcake batter.  The raspberries represent the blood of the people who have wronged you, obviously!

posted: September 13, 2013
under: 2010s, action, drama
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Super 8

 

A cookie for whoever can tell me how you can immediately tell this is a J.J. Abrams movie!

It makes sense that one of the only movies i’ve done that has come out in the last five years takes place in 1979.  Kids rarely get to star in action/suspense movies, especially these days, and no, Spy Kids doesn’t count.  This used to be fairly common in the 80’s (Stand By Me, Monster Squad, Goonies, Cloak & Dagger, etc.), and then the Disney channel happened and they decided that child actors belonged with them, forever, we all float down here with Mickey Mouse ears on.  I was going to make a joke about Miley Cyrus but then I remembered what Corey Feldman has been doing this year so I guess once serious child actors can also explode into a big burst of What The Hell too.  Anyway!

Super 8 is about a group of kids who are making a zombie movie, and one night when they’ve all snuck out they witness a horrific train accident when a car purposely stops on the tracks.  They see some odd things, but because they’re kids they’re scared about getting caught sneaking out so they keep this stuff to themselves.  They continue working on the movie as weird things begin to happen around town and the military shows up.  It’s hard to say a lot without giving away the plot of the movie, but you will see many shots of people gawking with their mouths open.  P.S.  Elle Fanning is the cutest zombie and I really thought she was gonna eat that kid for a minute.  Someone get her on The Walking Dead ASAP.

Starring a bunch of kids (who, besides Elle Fanning, don’t have much on their resumes) who are supported by Kyle Chandler (Argo, Friday Night Lights), Ron Eldard (Justified, Sleepers), Noah Emmerich (The Americans, The Truman Show), David Gallagher (7th Heaven, The Vampire Diaries), (Bruce Greenwood (new Star Trek, Double Jeopardy), Glynn Turman (Gremlins, The Wire), Michael Hitchcock (Glee, Best In Show), Joel McKinnon Miller (Big Love, American Horror Story), Richard T. Jones (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Judging Amy), Dale Dickey (my favorite daytime hooker on My Name Is Earl, True Blood), and you can spot Dan Castellaneta (aka Homer Simpson) as the guy who owns the car lot.  Lots of famous tv actors!

For the menu, let’s set our time machines (please make your own ‘beep bop boop bip beep’ sounds here) to 1979!  Pop open a TAB or some Fresca or mix up some Tang!

Entrée:  I was born in 1980, but I know that in 1979 Hamburger Helper was super popular and I remember eating a lot of it growing up.  I still miss you, Tuna Helper pot pie!  For something vegan and less disgusting, try Tempeh Helper!

Side:  I’m sure your mom wants you to eat something green with your Tempeh Helper, but I just want to eat some Devilish Potatoes.

Dessert:  When I think ‘late 70’s desserts’, I think of various jello salads as far as the eye can see.  Imagine a world with nothing but shrimp jello salads.  Now, you may think that jello salads are gross but I LOVED those things.  Loved loved loved.  I would buy a box of vegan flavored gelatin and fill it up with canned pineapple, Dandies, and all of that good stuff but if you find that horrifying, Susan’s Red, White and Blue Fruit Terrine is less scary.

posted: September 11, 2013
under: 2010s, action, drama, kid friendly, period piece, sci-fi
5 Comments on Super 8

Romancing The Stone

A romantic tale of Michael Douglas delivering a baby in the pouring rain.  Okay, not really, but that’s what it looks like, right?

Joan Wilder is living the sweet life in New York City: she’s a successful romance novelist, has a cat and a fireplace, and the most impressive mini-booze bottle collection you’ve ever seen. If only she could find love in an 80’s movie with ‘romancing’ in the title…

Joan returns from handing over her latest manuscript to find her apartment has been ransacked and her sister has been kidnapped and if she wants to get her un-napped, she has to bring a treasure map to Colombia. It’s always something.  Of course, as soon as she gets to Colombia shit starts going wrong and who will help her but an attractive guy with a machete?  This guy?

Romancing The Stone (and its sequel, Jewel of the Nile) is one of those movies that was able to cash in on the popularity of Indiana Jones, but with more romance and dancing and a little bit less snakes (but more crocodiles).  For some reason, studio executives were convinced that the movie was going to flop, so they fired Robert Zemeckis from directing Cocoon.  But Romancing the Stone did great, so Zemeckis went off and made a little film called Back to the Future instead.  The sequel didn’t receive as good of reviews as Romancing the Stone, but it’s still okay to watch if you like the first one and don’t mind hearing Danny DeVito saying ‘towelhead’ because it was the 80’s and that was still okay to say in a movie.  A third installment was planned but never went anywhere, but Kathleen, Michael, and Danny all got back together for The War of the Roses.

Starring Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, The American President), Kathleen Turner (Serial Mom, The Virgin Suicides), Danny DeVito (Always Sunny, Throw Mama From The Train), Holland Taylor (Two and A Half Men, The L Word), and Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell, Lethal Weapon Series).

 

Thanks to Joan’s ridiculous expectations of romance due to her career, I googled more versions of ‘sexy food’ and ‘most romantic meal ever’ than i’d care to admit and yes, there were a lot of clams.  Gross!

Entrée:  Most everyone seems to agree that fondue is very romantic/sexy.  If you have Vegan Artisan Cheese, Miyoko has a recipe using the cheeses in her book.  Dip whatever you want in there!

Dessert:  Ignite the flames of passion with this spicy mexican chocolate cake. Or unbutton your pants and pass out in a delightful, carby food coma.  Whichever works best for you!

 

posted: September 2, 2013
under: 80s, action, comedy, romance
8 Comments on Romancing The Stone

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

 

He hates these trees! Stay away from the trees!

I was lucky enough to catch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter at our local drive-in this summer. When you live in the Land of Lincoln, you get kind of numb to all of the Lincoln stuff. I drive past Lincoln’s home all the time, i’ve rubbed the nose of the lucky bust at Oak Ridge plenty. So not only did I find this movie fun because of the action and normal, non-sparkly vampires, but because it renewed my interest in Abraham Lincoln and the time he spent here. I found out that his human cohorts in the movie are all real people, although their roles in his life are slightly tweaked to better fit the movie. Learin’!

The movie doesn’t try to alter the course of history, it simply interjects the idea that from early adulthood all the way up to his death, President Lincoln was also a vampire hunter. It all starts when he seeks revenge on the man who poisoned his mother (in actuality, Nancy Lincoln died from milk sickness, go vegan!) and discovers that he isn’t so easy to kill. And he has fangs and is really strong and whoa boy is he kind of a snarky dick about it. But luckily, Abe meets a guy who wants to train him. Yet you never see this dude kill vampires himself…curious. Anyway, all through moving to Springfield, meeting Mary Todd, and getting into politics, Abe is killin’ vampires left and right. There is killing, war, hijinks, fights on burning trains, and as we all know, eventually Mr. Lincoln is going to take a trip to the theater.

This movie was filmed in 3D, which I don’t like because when you’re at the drive-in you’re like, “God damn, these angles are annoying.” But there is lots of crazy good action and stunts, I half expected Milla Jovovich to pop out at the plantation and start shooting some bitches in the head. You wouldn’t think that Abraham Lincoln and the words ‘thrill ride’ go together, but they do! If you like action flicks but hate the dumbed down dialog, you will like this movie. It has received mixed reviews, but pfffft on what anyone but me thinks.

This is an indie flick so there aren’t any huge stars, but a few very familiar faces: Anthony Mackie (2Pac in Notorious, The Hurt Locker), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Deathproof, Scott Pilgrim), Jimmi Simpson (Always Sunny, Breakout Kings), Marton Csokas (LotR trilogy), and some guy named Alan Tudyk who likes to play with dinosaur figures and talk like a pirate.

If you are going to watch one of the few movies that will ever feature Springfield, you have to eat our one local delicacy: The Horseshoe. I’ve posted about it before, but earlier this year the Illinois Times posted an article about the history of the horseshoe, how it’s changed over the years (now made mostly with gross frozen fries), and the original cheese sauce recipe. I tucked that away in my brain because if you look at the recipe (way down at the bottom), it’s so easy to veganize. So easy that i’m not going to pretend I ‘made’ the recipe by swapping, so here are some step-by-steps:

1. Acquire or make a loaf of white bread, bake if needed. Slice into toastable thickness. Hide the bread from the cat.
2. Slice some potatoes (also if you are doing veggies, those too), dice them, whatever shape you want, if you’re doing wedges I suggest baking over cooking in a pan. I sliced them into rounds that were thick enough so they wouldn’t come out like chips, just crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. I also fried them in a cast iron pan.
3. While the potatoes are cooking, follow the recipe for the original cheese sauce with vegan subs (we used oil, almond milk, PBR, and a wedge of Daiya cheddar). You’ll spend a few minutes just poking the potatoes and stirring the sauce and singing to the dogs.
4. Now is the time to do your ‘meat’. It can be various veggies, a portobello cap, whatever fake meat or soy thing you desire. We used Upton’s seitan because they are Chicago-based (and it’s delicious), so I just waited for my potatoes to be done, moved them to a paper towel, drained the oil, and cooked the Upton’s in the cast iron.
5. Toast your bread.
6. Assemble! Lay 1-2 pieces of bread (ours was pretty small so we did two) down, pile with potatoes and your meaty stand-in, drown in cheesy cheese sauce. Dig in and remember to name your food baby after me.

Obviously this is not a healthy recipe. Lots of places do offer vegetable horseshoes (and you’ll notice that the one pictured in the article is vegetarian), so it’s possible to do it up right and get some veggies in, but you can’t make a fat-free horseshoe. To even try would be depressing. I’m just adding this as a disclaimer. And yes, it is RICH. The portion size of a modern horseshoe is so insane, way bigger than what Brian and I made, and I couldn’t finish mine. Also as a disclaimer, the cheese sauce does not look pretty as it cools down and congeals, so either eat it all ASAP or be prepared to hide your leftovers from the sight of anyone who will go, “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU EATING GROSS VEGAN”.

Dessert: If you have the room, you probably don’t have the desire to make anything fancy. Lucky for you, Mr. Lincoln wasn’t big on food and preferred simple desserts, like a plate of fruit and nuts. So microwave ‘baked’ apples sound pretty perfect for our Abe dessert.

posted: October 31, 2012
under: 2010s, action, horror, period piece
5 Comments on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

The Blues Brothers

Hit it!

The Blues Brothers is one of the greatest movies EVER. Funny? Check. Awesome cameos? Check. Bitchin’ soundtrack? Take that check to the bank and cash it! It was the first movie ever made out of a Saturday Night Live skit, and the most successful (maybe tied with Wayne’s World, most of the others were complete turds). A lot of people don’t know that The Blues brothers was more than a skit though, before the movie they released an album, and still continued to tour after Belushi’s death (although now the only original members left are The Colonel and Blue Lou).

The basic plot of the movie is that after being released from jail and finding out that the orphanage he had been raised in with his brother is in danger of being closed for unpaid taxes, Jake has a religious vision that tells him to get the band back together to save the orphanage. It’s comedy with a conscience! Of course, there are many wacky hijinks. Run ins with nazis, Carrie Fisher trying to kill them a few times, more cars wrecked than any other movie in history (103, which wasn’t topped until they wrecked 104 for the sequel).

I don’t think anyone bills The Blues Brothers as a musical, but it is full of awesome music and cameos out the wazoo! The musical guests include Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Chaka Kahn, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles. And obviously, the band themselves.

Starring John Belushi (SNL, Animal House, rock n’ roll heaven) and Dan Akroyd (SNL, Ghostbusters, all of my other favorite 80’s movies). Other non-musical people include Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), John Candy (Spaceballs, Uncle Buck), Twiggy (60’s supermodel), Frank Oz (Yoda, Miss Piggy and various other Muppets, Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee, Blow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer [the movie]), and some guy named Steven Spielberg is near the end. The bummer about this movie is that a lot of the cast is now dead, mostly from old age, but it’s still a little sad to watch and realize that.

I saw the sequel in the theaters, and while it’s nowhere near as good as the original, I think the musical performances are still great.

The movie takes place in Chicago, was filmed on location, and Dan Akroyd even does an amazing Chicago accent (“We’re on a mission from gad.”), so let’s chow down on some windy city grub!

Entree: I don’t know if I would want to eat the vegan equivalent of four fried chickens along with some dry toast, so instead let’s make a Radical Reuben from The Chicago Diner.
Side: Let’s kill two references with one stone! Sweet Home Chicago AND the cigarettes are both covered with Sweet and Smoky Sweet Potato Fries.
Dessert: There’s only one place we can go with this: Blueberry Pie.
Cocktail: “Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips!” Easily veganized with non-dairy creamer (thanks to Katie for suggesting this). Non-drinkers should, of course, drink a coke.

posted: October 9, 2012
under: 80s, action, comedy, musical
8 Comments on The Blues Brothers

Kill Bill (1 & 2)

You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

So i’m sure even if you haven’t seen Kill Bill (for some unknown reason like you don’t own a tv and you can’t put dvds in your computer and you never go to a friends house who has a dvd player or you just hate movies), i’m sure you know what it’s about. In a word: revenge. Uma Thurman (aka The Bride) wakes up from a coma after being shot in the head. Everything she had before, gone. So she makes a list, checks it twice, and goes on a revenge killing spree!

I believe this movie (i’m lumping both together as one here) is what some random newspaper quotes would call a “non-stop thrill ride”. The blood and gore are over-the-top ridiculous on purpose, as an homage to 70’s martial arts films. I want to keep gushing but we would be here all night so 1. Check out this list for a refresher on why you should watch Kill Bill rightthehellnow and 2. I can’t believe they left off the Pussy Wagon!

Starring Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Batman & Robin), Lucy Liu (Ally McBeal, Charlie’s Angels), Vivica A. Fox (Set It Off, lots of tv), Daryl Hannah (Blade Runner, Splash), David Carradine (Kung Fu and many, many other things) and Michael Madsen (Resevoir Dogs). P.S. If you like listening to Michael Madsen talk as much as I do, he has done a lot of movies and many of them are available on Netflix, I recommend The Killing Jar.

Entree: This movie is a pretty big Captain Obvious as far as menu selection goes, so it will come as no shock as I present a video on how to make sushi. It’s fun, easy, and makes a great party food! If you’re stuck on the basic veggie roll, here are some fun ideas to try.
Entree 2: Udon Noodles with Sesame Umeboshi Sauce and Tofu, a salty dish for the rock salt that get’s shot into The Bride’s chest.
Dessert: My grandma took me to my first wedding when I was a kid, and they served Red Velvet cake. Ever since then, that’s been stuck in my head as THE wedding cake.

posted: October 3, 2012
under: 2000s, action, drama
8 Comments on Kill Bill (1 & 2)

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