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Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is probably tied with My So-Called Life for ‘most beloved one season show of the 90’s’. There isn’t really one specific reason why it’s so great, it’s got everything going for it: the acting is good, the writing is good, the characters are relatable, the situations are realistic, and it takes place in 1980 so there’s lots of clothing choices to laugh at. And unlike a lot of movies or tv shows that are modern period pieces, they don’t go out of their way to smack you over the head with pop culture references. And even though it’s mostly regarded as a comedy, the overall feel of the show is very muted. The crew actually lit the scenes with green tinted lights to give them a muted, ‘midwestern’ look and they avoided shooting outside as much as possible so the sunny California weather didn’t contrast with it too much.

Freaks and Geeks is about the lives of two groups of students at a high school in a small town in Michigan. Lindsay is a girl who has gone from geek to wanna-be freak, and her brother Sam is a total geek. The show mostly centers around them, but it is an ensemble cast so we get plenty of back story on the other kids. Lindsay has the hots for the cute freak, and even though she clearly struggles with being ‘bad’ she goes along with a lot of stuff to impress him. Which is weird because he has a girlfriend. Sam is in love with a cheerleader and also tries to impress her, but that just ends in him being embarrassed repeatedly.

One episode that I really relate to is the episode where Sam freaks out because his gym class is told that after class showers are now mandatory. he’s a really short, skinny kid so of course he’s self-conscious about getting naked in front of the other guys. I remember when we did the tour of my junior high and I saw the showers, I thought of every embarrassing high school shower scene i’d ever seen a movie and started freaking out. Luckily, I quickly found out that no one showered after gym and even if we wanted to, the teacher gave us less than ten minutes to change. And no one ever ripped off my clothes and pushed me out into the hall!

My favorite character is Nick, because look at this guy. Jason Segel plays obsessive characters a lot and he does it really well, and he’s nice at the same time so you kind of want to root for him to get the girl even though he’s kind of creepy about it.

Freaks and Geeks never stood a chance, it started out on Saturday nights and was often preempted for other programming. They actually shot the finale halfway through the season because they didn’t even expect to get past the original 13 episodes, but NBC ordered another five before cancelling it. They received lots of critical acclaim and even won an Emmy, and the show has a huge following. The only thing I find disappointing is that there wasn’t a ten year reunion movie! What the hell! Judd Apatow is rich, everyone on the show got really famous, they totally could’ve gotten the money to make it!

In case you don’t recognize the people above, starring Linda Cardellini (ER, Scooby Doo, Mad Men), John Francis Daley (Bones, Waiting), James Franco (Spiderman, Milk, General Hospital), Busy Philipps (Dawson’s Creek, ER, Cougar Town), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Slackers), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Zack and Miri, The League), Samm Levine (Inglorious Basterds, Not Another Teen Movie), Martin Starr (Adventureland, Party Down, Veronica Mars movie), plus cameos from everyone to Joel Hodgson (MST3k) to Ben Stiller.

Menu time! Lindsay’s mom is such a good cook that it’s hard to choose one entree, so take your pick. No peanuts are present anywhere!

Entree: Skip the three way date and go straight for the ribs, comfort a hysterical teenage girl with seitan (not veal, ew) piccata, invite your mom over for some Monster Mash shepherd’s pie and maybe to help her hand out candy in dorky costumes, or enjoy Bill’s mom’s pot roast.
Side dish: relive the 80’s by boiling the shit out of any vegetable you want!
Dessert: make some vegan donuts for your French class, and then let people eat them off the floor. Or just make the donuts.

posted: September 16, 2014
under: 90s, comedy, kid friendly, period piece, teen, tv shows
6 Comments on Freaks and Geeks

Radio Days

 

Radio Days is a story about a young boy (Joe) and his Jewish-American family living in Rockaway Beach in the late 1930’s, and the radio programs they love. The story is narrated by adult Joe (aka Woody Allen) and intermingles stories about famous radio stars at the time.

I’m really not sure how I first saw this movie, I know I was very young and I don’t think it was on tv so maybe we rented it because we ran out of new horror movies to watch. To me, the scene I immediately think of when I think of this movie is Ruthie dancing to Carmen Miranda. I’m also pretty fond of the part where Sally, the cigarette/coat check girl who’s trying to break into the biz, witnesses a mob hit and the hit man takes her to his mom’s house so he can get more bullets to kill her with, and they talk about where he’s going to dump her body while his mom feeds Sally.

Starring Mia Farrow (Rosemary’s Baby, The Great Gatsby), Julie Kavner (Rhoda, Marge and her family on The Simpsons), Michael Tucker (LA Law, Tracey Takes On), Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless), and Dianne Wiest (Law & Order, Parenthood). Dianne was also in Footloose with Kevin Bacon, thus our chain is complete.

It’s depression menu time! Luckily, depression-era food is pretty easy to veganize as meat and dairy were the expensive things that people were going without.

Entree: You’ve heard of Great Depression Cooking with Clara, right? Well, the first thing I thought of when putting together this menu was her recipe for pasta and peas (video). She does add parmesan cheese at the very end, but other than that the recipe is totally vegan. I normally don’t want to link to anything that isn’t 100% vegan, but I love Clara’s videos and you can make your own vegan parmesan.
Side: Hot water cornbread!
Dessert: I’m sure you’re thinking of wacky cake, but that’s obvious so let’s go with mock apple pie. I’ve never made one, but Ritz crackers are accidentally vegan (and if you still don’t want to eat them, many health food companies make the same kind of cracker, like Tree of Life).

posted: September 28, 2013
under: 80s, comedy, drama, kid friendly, period piece
1 Comment on Radio Days

Josie and the Pussycats

 

Okay, I think we’ve established that I am no fine art cinema connoisseur.  But there are even movies where I say, “That looks incredibly dumb and i’m not watching it.”  Josie and the Pussycats was one of those movies.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I was alone with my friend’s alcoholic mother, who I was deeply afraid of and who wanted to watch it, I never would’ve seen it.

Josie, Mel, and Val have big dreams of being rock stars, but the reality is that they’re playing in bowling alleys and Alan M, the hottest guy in Riverdale, is clueless about Josie’s feelings for him.  They’re discovered by a record executive who needs to replace a boy band that he just offed, and they’re whisked away to The City to get makeovers, record an album, and help brainwash the youth of Americ–I mean uh, be totally jerkin’.

Josie and the Pussycats heavily makes fun of the music industry, from the amazing fake boy band to the over-the-top corporate sponsorship that goes on these days.  You might see the Hostess sign in the picture above them, or them drinking coffee at Starbucks and think ‘ew, product placement’, but when you look at the Target-themed plane and room, and the McDonald’s themed bathroom, you have to realize the joke (also the movie received zero compensation for all of these product placements).

At times, the movie even makes fun of itself.  When they’re flying to The City, Alexander (the band’s manager, if you aren’t familiar with the comics) looks at his sister (who hates Josie) and says, “I still don’t understand why you’re here.” and she says, “I’m here because I was in the comic book.”

The cast is also quite wonderful, with several award winners.  Alan Cumming (X-Men 2, The Good Wife, more awards than you can shake a stick at), Rosario Dawson (Kids, Sin City, Rent, Death Proof, nominated for many awards), Gabriel Mann (Revenge, The Bourne Movies), Rachel Leigh Cook (She’s All That, Perception), Paulo Costanzo (Road Trip, Royal Pains), and super-funny Missi Pyle (The Sarah Silverman Program, Big Fish, Betty Bee in Pushing Daisies).  Tara Reid, god bless her, has never played a role better than the space cadet hippie who cries over puppies getting old (the quote on my twitter profile is one of her lines from the movie).

I’ll let Seth Green represent DuJour with a single move.

The soundtrack did way better than the movie, and with good reason.  It was produced by Babyface (who also has a cameo in the movie as The Chief), vocals were provided by Kay Hanley of Letters To Cleo, and people like Bif Naked and Jane Wiedlin contributed.

Entree:  One packet of ramen does go a long way, but grilled ramen will go even further because it’s a whole meal!

Dessert:  When the going gets tough, the tough make lemon(ade) cupcakes!

 

 

 

posted: September 26, 2013
under: 2000s, comedy, kid friendly, teen
1 Comment on Josie and the Pussycats

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters:  the title explains the premise.  I love Ghostbusters.  When we were little, my brother and I would act out scenes with his friends in our attic.  I always had to be Dana explaining how the eggs cooked on the counter and I hated it because I wanted a cooler part.  I remember attempting to pull a sheet out from under a bunch of random stuff piled on the dining room table and we couldn’t even get ‘and the flowers are still standing’.  I still have our original Slimer toy and as you probably know, I named my cat Gozer (and then bought a Gozer action figure when it came out and made him pose with it for many pictures).

Ghostbusters is a classic story of boy meets girl, girl gets possessed by a demon and turns into a hellhound…okay, so that’s not even close to the entire story, but sometimes I feel a little silly trying to explain the plots of movies that everyone has seen.  I will say that I enjoy the fact that when Louis is possessed, he becomes an unkempt, drooling mess and when Dana becomes possessed, she gets a flowing outfit and takes the time to heavily contour her face.

As for the sequel, I really enjoy it but it gets pretty mixed reviews overall.  Rick Moranis has been doing interviews for his new album and when someone asked him about Ghostbusters III, he dissed the sequel, which made me sad.  All I have to say to you haters is 1.  Carpathian Kitten Loss and 2.  Peter McNichol.  I will say that the baby-on-the-ledge scene is incredibly stupid.  I will also say that the DOS game that came out for both movies were really hard and ruined my childhood.

Starring Harold Ramis (who is actually more famous for writing movies like this one, Caddyshack, SCTV, and Animal House), Dan Akroyd (SNL, Blues Brothers), Bill Murray (SNL, Caddyshack, Zombieland), Ernie Hudson (Oz, Law & Order), Sigourney Weaver (Alien(s), The Cabin in the Woods, Copycat), Rick Moranis (Honey I ____ed the Kids, Little Shop of Horrors, retired from acting), and William Atherton (Bio-Dome, Die Hard, has no dick).

Optional appetizer:  if you have the ability to find it and the desire, Sophie’s Kitchen makes smoked salmon, and i’m sure the brie won’t be too warm.

Entrees:  Take the last of your petty cash and have a Chinese food feast!

Dessert:  The only specialty baking pan I own is a twinkie pan, in this instance I would fill the twinkies with straight Ricemellow.

Beverage:  No matter what you eat or don’t eat the next time you watch Ghostbusters, you absolutely have to make your own Ectocooler.  A lot of people on the interwebs say that Hi-C’s Orange Lavaburst is almost identical to the original Ectocooler if you mix it with tangerine juice, but it’s yellow so you still have to tint it green to really get the proper ambiance.

 

 

 

 

posted: September 21, 2013
under: 80s, comedy, kid friendly, sci-fi
1 Comment on Ghostbusters

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

Parenthood

 

I get claustrophobic just looking at that many people in one frame.

Parenthood is a movie in which Steve Martin is convinced that he has the most fucked up kids of all time and therefore has very low self-esteem as a father.  Throughout the movie we see that his three siblings all have their own issues with parenting, despite outward appearances. I think the lesson is that raising kids suck no matter who the parents are or what problems the kids do or don’t have.

Also this is the 80’s so there are jokes about vibrators and blowjobs and one of the kids problems is that he masturbates all day (but as Keanu says, “That’s just what little dudes do.”).  Don’t worry, most of those jokes will go right over your kids head!

I know I am kind of phoning this one in but you will have to take my word for it that Parenthood is a very funny movie and even though I watched one whole episode, I can tell it’s way better than the tv show.

Starring Steve Martin (The Jerk, Planes Trains & Automobiles, happy feet), Mary Steenburgen (Back To The Future III, Wilfred), Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys, Edward Scissorhands), Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors), Tom Hulce (Amadeus, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope, Pecker), Keanu Reeves (who?), and Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, Earthlings).

And here is a mini-reunion of the kids in the film:

Entree: Please remember to put your retainer in a safe place, aka not on the table, before you eat a pizza (more cheese is better to properly mimic the kind of pizza you would get at Showbiz, five pounds of grease is optional).
Side: Luckily, no one ever made me play second base…or go to a ball game at all…but I hear that soft pretzels are very popular baseball game foods!
Dessert: Cowboy Gil – as in GUIL-ty – cookies.

posted: September 16, 2013
under: 80s, comedy, kid friendly
2 Comments on Parenthood

Drop Dead Fred

 

Meet Lizzie, an emotionally repressed woman who lets her mother control her life and looks like a life-sized American Girl Doll.  She is so used to submitting to other people that she ends up in a relationship with a man who treats her like dirt, leaves her for Bridget Fonda, and all she wants in life is to get him back.  She moves back in with her mother, into her unchanged childhood room, where she discovers the box that housed her childhood imaginary friend, Fred.  She untapes the box and nothing happens.  End of movie.  Just kidding, he pops right out and declares that he will help Lizzie do whatever will make her happy, which she thinks is getting her douchebag boyfriend, Charles, back.  Throughout the movie, we see flashbacks of Fred and miniLizzie battling Mega Bitch, aka Lizzie’s overbearing mother.

Now obviously, because Fred has Lizzie’s best interests at heart, he really doesn’t want her to get back with Charles and ruins every attempt.  Because Lizzie is stupid, she doesn’t take the hint and instead decides to take her mother’s advice and starts taking pills to get rid of Fred and gets back together with Charles.  Although it’s supposed to be a comedy, this movie is psychological as all get out.  To quote the Entertainment Weekly review, “The creature who is visible only to the woman is like a poltergeist energy of her repressed self, a problematic ego container into which her powers of assertion and creativity were poured and stored.”  Is Fred really real, or is he Lizzie’s way of asserting herself?  You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!  The most important thing this movie taught me is that if someone breaks your heart, you should wipe a fresh booger on their face.

 

If this is making you wonder, “What happened to Phoebe Cates?”, she married Kevin Kline, had two kids, and then retired (save one movie in 2001) to raise her kids and do other things.  Or maybe she really hated Princes Caraboo and it soured her on acting for life.

Starring Phoebe Cates (Gremlins, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Rik Mayall (The Young Ones), Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl, The Middle), Tim Matheson (Animal House, Van Wilder, The West Wing), Briget Fonda (Jackie Brown, Single White Female), and Carrie Fisher (um, you know).

Entree:  I’ve come down with a bad case of cornflake (crusted seitan) disease!

Side:  Lizzie declares she is going to make Charles The Most Romantic Salad Ever.  I don’t know what she was putting in it, but I think something called Aphrodisiac Salad works.

Dessert:  No, we are not making pants pie.  If you like coffee and booze, there’s a recipe for Manhattan Mud Pie in Vegan Pie In The Sky, but for something simple that looks like mud, stick with Chocolate Pudding Pie.

posted: September 12, 2013
under: 80s, comedy, kid friendly
4 Comments on Drop Dead Fred

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

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is just as funny and entertaining as it was when I was a kid.  Unlike a lot of 80’s special effects, toons hold up extremely well!  Okay, time to pretend that someone reading this hasn’t seen it (I guess if you’re pretty young there’s a chance that you haven’t).

It’s the 1940’s, and toons are real!  They act in cartoons just like humans act in human movies.  Humans and toons get along great, until…someone frames a loveable rabbit for murder.  Then shit starts going south.  There’s some guy named Judge Doom (gee, you think he’s a bad guy?) who wants to dip all of the bad toons in…Dip, which is like acid for toons.  Roger manages to attach himself to a private detective who loves drinking and has the opposite feeling about toons.  Obviously there are some bumps along the way, and a lot of wacky hijinks because it’s half cartoon, but it will probably be okay in the end.

Even though the movie is rated PG, Judge Doom scares the paaaaaaaaaaants off of me, to this day.  Specifically this scene.  I try to tell myself that it’s because Christopher Lloyd is such a wonderful actor and not because i’m a huge baby.  But you know who the best characters in the movies are?

 

Aw yeah, look at those fly motherlovers.  The hyenas from The Lion King wish they were that cool and funny.

Starring Bob Hoskins (Mermaids, Hook), the aforementioned Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future, Clue), Joanna Cassidy (Body of Proof, Bladerunner), and Charles Fleischer (Rango, lots of other voice work).

 

Entree:  I actually had a surprising amount of trouble finding a savory carrot recipe that wasn’t just like, glazed carrots.  But look, a carrot cashew loaf!

Side:  The bar scenes with Roger are fantastic, and bar food is delightful, especially without all of the smoke and incredibly drunk people.  Bacon wrapped dates, anyone?

Dessert:  Hopefully no one will take blackmail photos of you while you eat these peppermint patty bars.  Alternately, you can make this peppermint patty cake.

posted: September 4, 2013
under: 80s, comedy, kid friendly
5 Comments on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Uncle Buck’s Breakfast Club

Ain’t no party like a pancake party cause a pancake party don’t stop! Unless you run out of syrup.

For this week’s double feature, we’re taking the literal title of The Breakfast Club and the party that that Buck throws for his niece and nephew and smoosh! Since they’re both 80’s films and semi-family friendly (nudity free and what not), they work well together.

I feel a little ridiculous pretending that you don’t know about The Breakfast Club, or the Brat Pack and who all of those people are. So we’ll talk about Uncle Buck!

Buck is a total slob, slacker, loser, whatever you want to call him. But when his brother’s father-in-law has a heart attack, he has to drop everything to take care of his nieces and nephew for awhile. Unfortunately, his teenage niece is a total moody hosebeast who dates a guy named Bug. Fortunately, Buck is the kind of guy who carries a hatchet around in his car and doesn’t take guff from any damn teenagers. They grow, they learn, they bowl, Buck punches a clown in the face…it’s a warm and fuzzy family movie in the end.

Starring John Candy (Spaceballs, SCTV), Garrett M. Brown (Big Love, Roswell), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, Big Bang Theory), and tiny babies Gaby Hoffman (Now and Then, 200 Cigarettes) and Macaulay Culkin (Party Monster, Saved!, some movie you’ve probably never heard of called Home Alone).

Entree: In an attempt to be a little morre creative than suggesting simple pancakes, I give you a crepe cake!
Side one: “You should see the (avocado) toast, I couldn’t even get it through the door.”
Side two: For Buck’s cigars, or for those potheads in the library, Smoky Maple Sausages.
Dessert…ish: Obviously with a crepe cake you don’t really need a dessert, and this menu is kind of lacking in vegetables, so a green smoothie seems like a good idea.

posted: October 21, 2012
under: 80s, comedy, kid friendly, teen
3 Comments on Uncle Buck’s Breakfast Club

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