Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello, Dick! (errr...Dolly)

Today marks the forty-first anniversary of the Watergate scandal. And sure, you can watch the four time Oscar winning film "All the President's Men" to commemorate the event, but you know you really want to watch some "Dick" while eating Holly Dollys.  If you haven't seen or heard of "Dick," go watch it now.

It is a coming of age story (no, really, it is) about two teenage girls (Arlene and Betsy) who inadvertently cause the Watergate scandal to be discovered. After befriending President Nixon by way of becoming Checker's official dog walkers, they accidentally listen to Nixon's tape recordings and become Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's informants aka Deep Throat. 

Some of you who haven't seen the film are probably still wondering, "Where do "Hello, Dollys" come in?" For one of their visits, Arlene and Betsy decide to make a batch for Nixon, and well, he and Leonid Brezhnev get high. 

It is a hilarious movie with great cameos (Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch make a great team as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein) and a creative take on who Deep Throat was (this was made before the real Deep Throat was revealed, obviously). 

If you are further interested in not just the Watergate scandal, but a sort of behind the scenes of All the President's Men, I would suggest you check out All the President's Men Revisited on Discovery Channel's website.

Recipe after the jump

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Help and a special kind of chocolate pie

Like most people, I have a habit of eating food while watching movies and most of the time I like that food to somehow correlate with the movie I am watching. Before I had even seen or read "The Help," all I heard about was that chocolate poop pie that gets served to one particularly bitchy character. When I happened upon this chocolate fudge pie via Chocolate-Covered Katie I knew I had to make the pie while taking in a viewing of the movie. Why might you ask? Well, if you did not click the link already, you will see that one of the main ingredients in the pie is tofu. Sure, it isn't poop, but it is definitely something you wouldn't expect in a chocolate pie.

Let me tell you, as someone who loves their chocolate, this pie is amazing and not as bad for you as other chocolate fudge pies. And there's no poop!

As for the movie, I did like it. I can definitely agree with the problems of the story (just Google "The Help problematic" and you will have plenty of articles to read through), but as a film, it was done in such a simple way, no over dramatic angles or montages and the actors were cast perfectly (with the exception of Emma Stone, who I normally love, but she was a bit forgettable for me). It was a nice movie to sit down and watch on a Sunday night with a big piece of chocolate pie.


I will say the one problem I had with making the pie was baking the crust. I tried three different recipes and each one ending disastrously, including, but not limited to, extreme shrinkage (go ahead and laugh, I am too at my choice of words), puffiness (even with the use of pie weights) and unevenness. I gave in and bought pre-made crust to bake. Not as good as from scratch, but it got the job done.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Deep, Deep Blue Sea

It seems whenever a book is made into a movie, particularly a well-received book, fans and critics get nervous and automatically assume the movie will be terrible. I will admit, I am one of those people. I try not to be. I do not even read that much (slowly, but surely trying to change that). But when you read a book, even if the author describes the characters looks, their homes, their idiosyncrasies, you can't help but imagine them in their own special way. You essentially become the director of the film version in your head, picking camera angles and the way the characters deliver their lines. That actually makes me nervous for any director who takes on an adaptation.

I have recently become enamored with Tom Hiddleston (I know, I know, I'm late to that bandwagon. But while he was fancying himself as Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, I was distracted by Corey Stoll as Hemingway and while he was parading around as Loki in Thor, I was anticipating Jeremy Renner's tiny cameo), and decided I had to see everything he was in. NOW. RIGHT AWAY. One of those projects was The Deep Blue Sea, based on the play of the same name. Or it is a remake of the 1955 film which is an adaptation of the play. Depends what you read.

So I decided to set myself up for disappointment and read the play first. It's a quick read, but I loved it.

Here's the gist: Hester (get it? like The Scarlet Letter? so you already know she's an adulterer) attempts suicide, she is confronted by both her boyfriend and her husband, she wants the boyfriend, he doesn't want her, the husband wants her back, she doesn't want him, just when she is about to attempt suicide again, she bonds with the fake-but-not-really-fake doctor and she decides to live.

Once I was done with the play I went to Netflix instant (can I get paid for this?) and couldn't wait to see how Hiddleston and this movie was. I didn't like it. It seemed to get great reviews, but it was blah for me. The music was good though.

In the play we are not given too much background on the characters. Freddie (the boyfriend; Tom Hiddleston) is a former RAF pilot/WWII hero. Twice, I believe. Hester's husband, Bill, is a judge, about 10 or so years older than her. Hester is a painter who seemed to lost her natural skill early on. Her being a painter and the encouragement from the doctor (actually, the whole relationship she has with the doctor is almost non-existent in the film) to start over on her terms, is never even insinuated in the film, which is sad, it makes me relate to her less. She does have a conversation with her neighbor who is caring for her dying husband about true love. Hester's reaction to that conversation makes me assume that after the movie ends, Hester looks for another man, as if to validate her life, when really, like in the play, she should be concentrating on loving herself first.

I do wonder if I would feel this way if I had seen the movie first. Because I already had the ending of the play in my head, I had certain expectations and interpretations, and when the film didn't meet those, I just wrote it off. Maybe if I had seen it with an open mind I would have understand the director's choice to cut out the storyline/ending with the doctor. Next time I decide to see a movie based on a written piece of work, I have to ask myself if I'm willing to keep an open mind.