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Johnny Mnemonic

Today is my husband’s birthday, and I promised he could post this. Whenever I mention looking for movie ideas, he tells me to do Johnny Mnemonic as a joke and finally I said, “Why don’t YOU do it?!” And that is why you should never blurt things out in the heat of the moment.

William Gibson is a fantastic author. He’s practically the creator of the cyberpunk genre. Neuromancer is one of my favorite books of all time, and William Gibson wrote it, and he wrote the screenplay for Johnny Mnemonic. In many ways, Johnny Mnemonic does not do William Gibson justice. However, I can’t help but appreciate the many ways that it tried.


Johnny Pizza

“Double cheese, anchovies?”

The world is run by giant megacorporations, constantly fighting each other for world domination. Johnny is a mnemonic courier, a human with a hard drive in their brain who is hired to smuggle sensitive data.  Johnny is played by Keanu Reeves, four years before he found serious commercial success in the cyberpunk genre for his role in The Matrix. Johnny’s in deep crap. He’s forgotten all of his memories, and he wants out of the courier game, but he can’t afford the surgery to get the hard drive taken out. He takes one more big-risk job to try to get out for good. There’s just one problem: his hard drive is overloaded by the data and will kill him if he can’t get it out soon. And then the Yakuza massacre his clients and destroy the key to getting the data out of Johnny’s brain. From there, he’s off to Newark to find out what’s inside his head, and how he can get it out.


Snatch back your brain, zombie, and hold it!

“Snatch back your brain, zombie, and hold it!”

This movie’s got Keanu Reeves. It’s got Ice-T, Henry Rollins, and Dolph Lundgren. It’s got Yakuza, low-tech hackers, cyborg street preachers, and cyberspace. None of those things can save this movie. The dialog is bad, and it’s delivered poorly. Some characters are changed from the original short story and they’re not improvements. Jane, in Dina Meyer’s first role, is particularly bad in performance and in poor story adaptation. But it gets so much right, like the set design, and the pace. It’s constantly moving, and it nails the cyberpunk atmosphere.


"I need to go online"

“I need to go online!”

So what do you eat when you watch Johnny Mnemonic? There are a number of bad options, but at one point Johnny shouts, “I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer, I want a $10,000-a-night hooker!” And that made my job dead simple. So here’s a recipe for a vegan club sandwich, featuring chicken-style seitan and tempeh bacon. I’m not a beer person, but according to Barnivore, Grupo Modelo beers are vegan, so grab a Corona and you’re good!

posted: September 3, 2014
under: 90s, sci-fi, so bad it's good
7 Comments on Johnny Mnemonic


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

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


Nothing says 80’s like the parents of the film getting high and reading books about Reagan.

Poltergeist is one of the classic horror films of the 80’s, and i’m hard pressed to think of a ghostly movie that even comes close. A happy family in the burbs, la la la, chairs are moving around, la la la, holy shit there’s something living in the tv! While it’s true that the effects really don’t hold up (peep the face peeling scene on youtube), there are still some things about this movie that are still great. The movie goes back and forth from things being safe to things being terrifying, so you can never really get comfortable. I always get choked up when Diane smells Carol Anne in her clothes, and I will always and forever be terrified of clowns. This is the movie that had me leaping from my bed to the door when I was in kindergarten.

Poltergeist II takes place one year later (even though it had been four years and you could tell by how much Carol Anne and Robbie had grown), and though the family has moved in with the grandma and things have been quiet for awhile, that’s about to change. I actually had to watch this today because I couldn’t remember a thing about it, and while it loses its steam at the end, the villian is TERRIFYING. I mean, look at this dude. Keep in mind that the actor died from stomach cancer while making it so that’s why he looks like a skeleton. Fun fact: H.R. Giger helped design a beast version of Kane to fill out the scenes at the end of the movie since they were unwilling to pull a Weekend At Bernie’s.

There is a third one that is a total piece of crap, no one but Carol Anne and Tangina appear in it, the new Kane isn’t nearly as scary, and it has god damned Lara Flynn Boyle in it.

There is supposedly a curse associated with the movies, a lot of people died right after/during the making of the films, but none of the deaths were anything related to the movies, like accidents on set.

Craig T. Nelson (Parenthood [the tv series], Coach) and JoBeth Williams (Private Practice, Rita’s mom on Dexter) play the parents, and sadly most of the other cast either died too young, or were pretty old to begin with and have since died.

Entree: For our fair-haired Carol Anne, angel hair pasta in a cream sauce (recipe below).
Side: Take your favorite seitan recipe, cube it and pan fry it in a little oil to make seitan steak bites that WON’T crawl around on your counter. Hopefully.
Dessert: Like Diane, you can hang out with a bunch of Muddy Buddies, but these are the kind you can eat and not skeletons in the rain-filled hole where your pool should be.

Pasta with Asparagus in Lemon Cream Sauce, from The Vegan Girl’s Guide To Life, posted with permission from Melisser Elliot

1 pound angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Cream Sauce:
1 cup raw cashews
1 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions; drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the lemon cream sauce. In your food processor, add the cashews and puree for a few minutes until a smooth paste forms. Add the zest, salt, and pepper and blend again. Pour in the lemon juice and water in a steady stream; process until smooth. The sauce should be thin.

In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and red pepper, then add the asparagus and sprinkle on the salt. Saute the asparagus until crisp but tender, and 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your stalks. Add the pasta to the skillet, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Pour in the lemon cream sauce; stir to coat. Once everything is coated, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.

posted: October 20, 2011
under: 80s, horror, sci-fi
6 Comments on Poltergeist

Little Shop of Horrors


I don’t think Little Shop of Horrors is actually considered a horror movie by anyone, but when I was trying to think of movies that fall on the lighter side but are still Halloween appropriate, this immediately came to mind.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time, several VHS copies were worn out during my childhood.  I think it has everything:  singing, comedy, suspense, an amazing cast…I really can’t think of anything bad about this movie.

On the off chance that you have never seen or even heard of Little Shop of Horrors, it’s a musical about a guy who is a total loser, until he discovers a weird plant that attracts a lot of attention to the flower shop where he works.  And then he finds out it needs human blood to grow.  Wacky hijinks ensue, with songs!

EVERYONE is in this movie.  Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, and Jim Belushi need no introduction if you liked to laugh in the 80’s.  Ellen Greene is amazing as Audrey, you might recently know her as Vivian Charles from Pushing Daisies, or Sylar’s mom on Heroes.  Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold (from Martin) make up 2/3rds of the girl group that wanders around singing.  Bonus:  their names are Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronette, all famous girl groups from the 60’s.

I think it’s clear that the best food to eat while watching this movie is lots raw vegetables, to exact our revenge against Audrey II!

Entree:  Raw falafel with tahini?  Yes please!

Side:  This root vegetable salad looks amazing, and perfect for fall.

Dessert:  If you want to continue with the raw theme, chocolate avocado mousse is a really popular, easy dessert.  If you want to get fancy, you can make these amazing looking gluten-free cardamom and rosewater cream puffs, since Audrey herself is a cream puff.


posted: October 1, 2011
under: 80s, horror, kid friendly, musical, sci-fi
11 Comments on Little Shop of Horrors