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History of the World, Part I

What, is that painting not accurate?

Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” Which explains why he made a comedy about people suffering throughout history, some much more than others. The title is a joke, there was no planned sequel despite the ‘coming attractions’ skit at the end. The movie is comprised of five segments set throughout history, told with your typical Mel Brooks humor and offensiveness. It takes balls for anyone, even a Jewish man, to do a cheerful musical segment about the Spanish Inquisition complete with synchronized swimming nuns who end up being the candles on a large menorah…it’s pretty ridiculous. Other than that there is a segment on cavemen, a short segment of Moses bringing the 15 10 Commandments down from the mountain, the Roman Empire, and the French Revolution.

My personal favorite is the segment on the Roman Empire, Empress Nympho has long been my favorite character of the movie, even when I was too young to know what a nympho was. My brother and I also used to often try to act out the ‘count the money’ flipping the bird scene, the problem was neither of us could flip the other off before they turned around so it just resulted in a lot of laughing-until-you-cry rolling around on the floor and asking what fool put a carpet on the wall.

Mel Brooks movies are definitely a relic of a time in cinema that has passed, so if you are easily offended I don’t recommend you watch this or Blazing Saddles (but his other stuff might be okay).

Narrated by Orson Welles and starring Mel Brooks in five roles, and frequent collaborators Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, and Cloris Leachman.

For the menu, I wanted to go with something from each time period, except the cavemen because i’m not doing paleo anything (feel free to harvest wild berries, I guess). After spending 30 minutes finding out that ancient Roman recipes all include honey, fish sauce, both, and ingredients that we do not use in the modern world, I gave up on being that specific.

Entree: During my headache-inducing search, I read that minestrone has roots in ancient Rome, which is good enough for me! This Farro Minestrone works well because Farro is an ancient grain.
Side: I thought this Tortilla Española would go good with the soup, you can call it Torquemada Española.
Dessert: Make this Peach Napoleon while talking like Maurice Chevalier. Au haw haw!
Drink: Miriam, wine!

posted: September 25, 2014
under: 80s, comedy, period piece
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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
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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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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
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Dazed and Confused

 

AIR RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAID!!!

Dazed and Confused is about the last day of school/first day of summer break in 1976, that focuses on the new group of seniors and some of the incoming freshmen. Even though there’s a 20 year difference, some of the movie reminds me of my teenage years. Driving around, listening to…probably the Dazed and Confused soundtrack…being a pothead, looking for a field to drop a keg in. What, did you think I was going to say I was covered in mustard and ketchup and/or chased down and beaten by seniors?

The thing with the initiation, which one of the characters even comments on as they’re watching it (“They clearly have permission to use the parking lot, they’re selling concessions…”) is that it seems to be a totally sanctioned town activity for older teenagers to drive around, capture, and beat the younger ones with wooden paddles all summer long. The girls have it much easier because not only is their hazing being yelled at, having food dumped on them, and a drive through the car wash, but their hazing lasts for one day and it’s voluntary.

It’s weird to say this, but Dazed and Confused has two of the best ‘perpetually high’ performances ever: Rory Cochrane and Matthew McConaughey really nail the body language of people who are stoned so often that you can’t even tell when they’re not. Matthew McConaughey explains his character inspiration briefly here.

Starring Jason London (Carrie 2, The Man in the Moon, his twin was the one in Mallrats and Party of Five), Adam Goldberg (crazy Eddie on Friends, The Hebrew Hammer), Anthony Rapp (Adventures in Babysitting, Rent), Matthew McConaughey (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Tropic Thunder), Cole Hauser (Good Will Hunting, Pitch Black), Milla Jovovich (The 5th Element, Resident Evil and other ass kicking roles), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy, The United States of Tara), Parker Posy (Party Girl, Scream 3), Nicky Katt (Planet Terror, Boston Public), and some dude named Ben Affleck as the poofy-haired asshole that no one actually likes.

Entree: Sunflower Mac, Zig Zags are optional.
Side: There’s a lot of beer in this movie, so take your pick: beer battered pickles,onion rings, or zucchini.
Dessert: Why climb the Moon Tower (and possibly fall off, smacking your head on every beam) why you can just make and eat moon pies?

posted: September 25, 2013
under: 90s, comedy, drama, period piece, teen
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Fanboys

Who’s ready for a road trip to 1998?  Remember that year, before you knew who JarJar Binks was?  That was truly the age of innocence.  Unfortunately, we can never go back.  Fortunately, I was never that invested in Star Wars to begin with so I was able to say ‘that sucked’ and move on with my life.

In case you didn’t know, Fanboys is about a group of friends who decide that they’re going to drive to the Skywalker Ranch and break in so they can see The Phantom Menace before it’s released in theaters.  Why?  Because one of them has cancer, and if your friend has cancer you help him break into George Lucas’ home.  If I had cancer I would hope that all of you would join me in a van stuffed with bags of vegan marshmallows, destination Rob Thomas’ house.  As you can guess, many wacky hijinks ensue and many cameos are to be had.  I think the nerd van is AMAZING.

This film isn’t without issues, though.  My biggest one is that Kristen Bell, who packs a whole lot of funny in a tiny person, is sorely underused and misused as the token female who is only there to get the stupid guys out of trouble and serve as a love interest.  I’m not very fond of the ‘oh we’re in a gay bar so your threat of anal rape is a total joke on you’ thing either.  The threat of man-on-man rape as an emasculating joke is really tired in general.  Also the sheer amount of Rush.  Although I guess it makes sense that the character who reminds me a lot of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds would be a Rush fan.

My favorite part is when a guy covered in Star Wars tattoos, and a costume-wearing Trekkie, both played by Seth Rogen, meet in the middle of a giant brawl and fight each other.  I believe this is what they call a metaphor.  Although do Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans really hate each other that much?  Everyone I know likes both or just doesn’t care that much about Star Trek.  Although the characters make fun of the Trekkies a lot, they also take a few jabs at the Phantom Menace, including ending the movie with one of the characters asking the others, “What if the movie sucks?”

Starring Jay Baruchel (Undeclared, Tropic Thunder), Dan Fogler (Take Me Home Tonight, Balls of Fury), Sam Huntington (Being Human, Detroit Rock City), Chris Marquette (Freddy vs. Jason, Joan of Arcadia), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes, loving sloths), and honestly so many cameos that you can read the list on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

So you can guess that this will be a Star Wars themed menu, right?  I was hoping to find veganized versions of the recipes that appear in the Star Wars cookbook, but unfortunately there isn’t much.  However, I found two posts with many pictures of Star Wars themed parties that include simple-yet-awesome themed foods here and here.  I mean, come on, Jabba the Hummus?!  How could you not.  The second link is a family who doesn’t eat red meat so they had Chew-Boca burgers.  Vegans, how did we not think of this stuff first?  Do we need to go stand in a corner?  Maybe it’s because i’m so easily impressed by anything punny.

 

 

posted: September 12, 2013
under: 2000s, comedy, period piece
1 Comment on Fanboys

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
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200 Cigarettes

 

200 Cigarettes is a movie with an ensemble cast (all of whom are pretty famous now so I can’t even remember their characters names half the time) about various pairings of people on New Years Eve in 1981, in New York City.  What they have in common is that they’re all eventually going to go the same party, and are all at some point going to get in a cab driven by Dave Chapelle.  Occasionally, we’ll flash to the party hostess (Martha Plimpton) losing her friggin’ mind because no one is showing up to her party because they don’t want to get there too early.  I always hated hanging out with people like that, who insisted that we had to sit around their house until 10 pm before going to a bar or a party because ‘no one would be there yet’.  But I turned 50 before I was even old enough to legally drink so what do I know.

My least favorite group is the ‘artist group’ which is a guy, his girlfriend, and her friend who hits on the guy on the sly.  They’re just all annoying and boring.  My favorite is Paul Rudd and Courtney Love being mean to each other and in general being sarcastic assholes.  My favorite single character is Guillermo Diaz because this:

The common theme in each of the stories is that at least one person in each pair/group is having the most dramatic issues ever, Paul Rudd got dumped and it’s his birthday, Kate Hudson is the clumsiest and unluckiest girl in the world, Gaby Hoffman is convinced that she’s going to die in the big bad city, etc.  Then, naturally, they run into problems throughout the night as they navigate their way through the city as Martha Plimpton slowly unravels and eventually decides to drink her part fail sadness away, until she passes out shortly before everyone arrives.  So what happens at the party?

Well, they hilariously skip that except for some polaroid-esque freeze frames, and at the end of the movie we get to see who ended up going home with who.

This is my favorite kind of movie because it’s a comedy, but it’s not full of purposeful jokes so there’s no ‘whomp whomp’ moment if you think a joke isn’t funny.  It’s light-hearted and fun for the most part, and the perfect movie to eat food while watching with friends.  If you talk over a lot of it you’ll obviously miss some of the dialogue, but the plot is pretty easy to follow so no one is going to get lost.

 

I wasn’t kidding about that famous cast!  Most of them weren’t super-famous when the movie was released, but if they weren’t then they are now.  Imma go clockwise from the top left in this photo:  Guillermo Diaz (Half Baked, Weeds, Scandal) Jay Mohr (Jerry McGuire, Suburgatory, stand up) Courtney Love (those movies I mentioned and also a small part in Sid and Nancy where she was actually pretty terrible), Ben Affleck (everything, ruining rage/faux nerds lives right now), Angela Featherstone (The Wedding Singer, the girl on friends who caused Ross to say ‘we were on a break’, Con Air), Paul Rudd (Wet Hot America Summer, 40 Year Old Virgin, Clueless), Martha Plimpton (Goonies, Pecker, Raising Hope, being a badass feminist on twitter), Casey Affleck (yes they’re brothers, he’s also Joaquin Phoenix’s brother-in-law, yes he’s vegan, The Last Kiss, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Christina Ricci (Addams Family, Pecker, Monster), Janeane Garofalo (Reality Bites, Wet Hot American Summer, stand up), Dave Chapelle (Half Baked, Con Air, his own tv show, giving the finger to Hollywood),  and down in the corner is Kate Hudson (Almost Famous and a bunch of chick movies i’ve never seen).  Not pictured for some reason is Gaby Hoffman (Uncle Buck, Crystal Fairy, soon the Veronica Mars movie!!!!), and Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food [tv series], Boogie Nights).  The actors who played Hilary and Eric haven’t done much else worth mentioning.  Phew!  Onto the food!  No one eats a meal at a New Year’s Eve Party, so let’s snack!

 

Snack 1:  I recommend just eating this vegan crab dip with crackers instead of licking it off of Elvis Costello’s glasses.  I’ve never eaten crab dip but since the person who made it isn’t vegan i’ll trust their opinion that it’s similar!

Snack 2: Nothing says ‘I want you to sleep with me, bartender’ like drunkenly demanding (smoky boiled) peanuts.

Snack 3:  Because I have also eaten a huge chili because I thought it was okra, I deeply sympathize with Kate Hudson.  Let’s avoid any possible burning confusing and eat this Bhindi Zunka.

Dessert:  It’s not New Year’s Eve without champagne cupcakes.

 

 

 

posted: September 6, 2013
under: 90s, comedy, period piece
5 Comments on 200 Cigarettes

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

Mermaids

Artists rendering of my typical Friday nights.

Mermaids is probably written off by most people as just a chick movie, and if you’re one of those people you’re missing out on a really funny movie. Although there are some tears, and a few moments where vaginas all hug each other, Mermaids is way more comedy than dramz. Our narrator, Charlotte, tells the story of her ‘free-spirited’ mother (Mrs. Flax) who moves them every time she breaks up with a boyfriend, never serves anything that isn’t a finger food, and dresses like a teenager. Naturally, Charlotte rebels by aspiring to be a nun and being so uptight, she could swallow coal and crap out a diamond. Her little sister, Kate, takes all of this much more in stride and seems to largely ignore the clashes between her mom and her sister. Of course, Charlotte falls in love with Jake Ryan and this really conflicts with her desire to be the polar opposite of her mother. Meanwhile, Mrs. Flax catches the eye of a local shoe salesman who is way more into her than she ever lets herself be into anyone. And Kate holds her breath a lot. For a brief while, everything seems to be going well, which can only mean things are going to get fucked up, and HOW.

While Mrs. Flax is presented as a cool, hip lady it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that she’s actually a big coward who runs from her problems and truly growing up. Charlotte is a total spaz and her inner monologue of telling herself to shut up while she word vomits to Jake Ryan about nuns taking showers is something I can relate to. In the end, the two manage to rub off on one another, and the movie ends with them dancing and singing Jimmy Soul. Awwwww, vaginas.

This movie also produced one of the few covers that I think blows every other version out of the water (sorry, Aretha).

Starring Cher (Mask, Witches of Eastwick), Winona Ryder (Heathers, Reality Bites, all of those Tim Burton movies),Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook), Michael Schoeffling (Sixteen Candles), and itty bitty Christina Ricci (Addams Family, Pecker, The Opposite of Sex, on and on) in her film debut!

Entree: Get yourself some star-shaped cookie cutters and make some unmanly sandwiches! Charlotte just makes boring meat-cheese-mustard sandwiches which you could easily recreate with tofurkey slices and vegan sliced cheese, or you could make some fancy-ass Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches.
Side: Remind Charlotte that she’s Jewish with these latkes, that can be finger foods. Also they have FLAX seeds in them lol/puns/I am hilarious. Alternately/also, you can make swedish meatballs.
Dessert: Usually I try to keep specific products out of my dinners with movies, but I think we can all agree that it’s marshmallow kabobs or GTFO. Get yourself some Dandies or Sweet and Sara marshmallows, a box of Dots, maraschino cherries, and if my eyes are telling me right, some cut up vegan candy bars (like Go Max Go) and some spearable cookies and put them all on kabob sticks. Then say “Ugh, I am going to die.” And then eat them anyway.

Bonus: I found an awesome Pinterest board that’s all vegan appetizers!

posted: October 18, 2012
under: 80s, comedy, drama, kid friendly, period piece
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