Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Half Nelson

I am bad at Netflix. I had Half Nelson sitting at home for almost a month before I watched it. Good thing there are no late fees (thanks, Netflix).

I didn't hate Half Nelson, but I didn't love it. It was very well-acted, and for a movie without a real plot, I found it interesting, but it made me uncomfortable. Maybe that's the point - it's about a crack-smoking teacher, after all - but I found the teacher-student relationship inappropriate to the point that I was distanced from watching the movie for the movie's sake. I could only think "A teacher would never do that, even if he's a crackhead." The unrealistic parts sort of overshadowed the realistic parts for me.

Half Nelson - B

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I made a quick run to the grocery store this morning to pick up quarters for laundry, half and half, and some breakfast meat. While wandering the meat section, I discovered that this weekend is Special Meat Days at my grocery store. Yay for Special Meat Days. It's nice when something you don't buy very often is relatively inexpensive. But I digress. To entice people to buy more meat, my grocery store was getting all gimmicky, with a tiny TV set showing some western movie, and... playing the "Beef-It's What's For Dinner" song on a portable CD player over and over again.

Ah, the "Beef-It's What's For Dinner" song. How it distresses me. It's not actually called "The 'Beef-It's What's For Dinner' Song," and yet millions of people only know it as such.

I'm here to set the record straight. Please, for the love of everything holy, call it Hoe-Down. It's called Hoe-Down. It's the last section of a wonderful ballet by Aaron Copland called Rodeo. And I hate that it's been corrupted by the beef industry. Yes, they've used it well, and I bet lots of beef has been sold and consumed because Hoe-Down is such a great piece of music, but can we go back to Hoe-Down? Please? Classical music fans everywhere with thank you.

Hoe-Down - A
excellent usage by the beef industry - A-
people not knowing what this cornerstone of 20th century American music is actually called - D

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Reason Why I Love Canada

The front of their sign reads "Just Married."

Canada - A+

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Here's your slightly inaccurate history lesson for the day: about a gazillion years ago, King Leonidas of Sparta defended his little slice of Greece with a scant 300 soldiers, clad only in leather Speedos and shin guards, against the enormous Persian army, led by drag queen King Xerxes. Sounds fun! I bet in real life it wasn't nearly as awesome as the movie 300. How could it be? The movie was awesome. I loved basically every second of it. To all the naysayers who say they didn't like certain aspects - you are lame. It's a movie based on a graphic novel (or "comic book," if you will). It's not a historical retelling! So what if the Spartans really wore full armor? I'd much rather look at rippling abs, pecs and thighs wiht just a hint of armor for effect. And you know what? Who cares if the blood disappears before it hits the ground? It is a movie based on a comic book. Get over yourselves and get into the fantasy!

Gerard Butler was awesome. I will pretend he never appeared in The Phantom of the Opera. Rodrigo Santoro was not awesome, he was just hilarious, but truly strange as the homoerotic, eight foot tall King Xerxes. But hey, an actor's gotta branch out every now and then. And Dominic West, and Lena Headey, and the guy who plays Faramir - all great.

See it now - go! Your boss/spouse/kids won't mind! GO!

300 - A

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dunkin Donuts

I don't feel bad telling you that the FILs hardly ever have "food" in their house. By "food," I mean "items naivehelga considers staples," like peanut butter, cereal, bread, milk, and Campbell's Tomato Soup. Eating breakfast there is either an extravaganza, with pancakes or poached eggs, or nothin' at all - and Friday was a nothin' at all. We began our wedding venue shopping fueled only by coffee, so around 11 AM, we were cranky and hungry - so what better place to eat a hearty breakfast than Dunkin Donuts?

Right. That shit was nasty. We tried to do the right thing by not eating only donuts, so we both got breakfast sandwiches. Never again. There's a reason the place is called Dunkin DONUTS, not Dunkin Sausage-Croissants. My chocolate-frosted donut was delicious, but my sandwich was super gross. Nate says his was gross, too. And the coffee was too hot. Yes, there is such a thing as coffee being too hot.

While we're at it, let's discuss DD's slogan: America Runs On Dunkin. Really? This is something to be proud of? No wonder we're all fat and pasty, if we fuel up on nasty breakfast sandwiches and gross coffee.

Dunkin Donuts - D- (saved from failure by the donuts)

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Nate and I ventured up north this weekend to do a little wedding planning, and the FILs took us out to dinner at Amical on Friday night. Amical is a little bistro that specializes in French country cuisine - they make excellent bread - but sometimes the ingredients scare me. I don't especially like capers, Herbs de Provence, or lamb - so what should I eat at a French restaurant? I ordered some ravioli (ah yes, French ravioli) with mushrooms, pancetta, and little bit of bacon, and it was heavenly. I also had a chocolate raspberry torte-y thing, and it was awesome, too.

Often, when I go out to eat someplace a little fancy, I misorder, and I walk away disappointed and incredulous that people like said fancy restaurant. But not this time!

Amical - A-

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

NOT the best movie of all time. In fact, one of the worst movies I've seen in a while. Yes, the special effects were pretty spectacular, but the plot, character, dialogue etc. were all totally dumb. Kudos to Bill Nighy for acting through that ridiculous squirmy beard, but basically everyone else involved with this film should be put out of their misery. The whole thing was just a vehicle for the third one - which I'll see, of course, and hope that it's better than this one.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - D

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

This movie was brilliant - but totally weird. Daniel Johnston was this young man, artist/filmmaker/singer-songwriter, a little wacky but that's to be expected from an artist, and then he developed symptoms of... manic depression? Schizophrenia? Hard to say. But, he jacked up his career, went in and out of mental hopsitals, preached against the evils of demons, did some other things that I won't tell you about in case you see the movie, and now he's a middle-aged heavily medicated fat guy living with his elderly parents, singing songs that I just don't get. That's the story in a nutshell, and it certainly doesn't give you all the tragic nuance that is this film, but I guess I "didn't like it" because I don't think Daniel Johnston is a brilliant musical genius. I'd say he's clever, and talented, but I think he'd be just another guy who didn't make it as an artist if he didn't have such a major break with reality as he was finding a little local fame. The whole movie was painful, partly because of the subject matter, but partly because Daniel's music struck me as not that good.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston - B-

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Music and Lyrics

Well, that's an hour and a half I'll never get back.

Music and Lyrics could have been good. In fact, some parts of it were good. All who saw it with me agreed that there was some "snappy dialogue," and the '80s music video at the beginning was, like, totally rad. But I never really felt a connection between Hugh and Drew. He's so cute in romantic comedies, and so is she... maybe his cute repelled her cute, acting like a similarly-charged cute magnet.

There are so many better romcoms starring one of these two: Four Weddings and Funeral, 50 First Dates, Fever Pitch, and Notting Hill (one of my all-time favorites). Just rent one of those instead of sitting through this one.

Music and Lyrics - D

Friday, March 02, 2007


Oh Christina! You are awesome! This video is fabulous. Having a '20s/'30s/'40s vibe is one thing, but to totally go for it and have a full-on '40s video is excellent. And I love that she is singing all three harmony parts, with three different hair colors. Very smart.

And then there's the dirt factor. This song is DIRRRTY. I mean, come on. "He's a one-stop shop, makes my panties drop?" That's dirtier than Dirrrty - and we all remember that.

Christina, keep it up. And go brunette more often - you look fabulous.

Candyman video - A

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Seva is Ann Arbor's home of delicious, slightly fancy vegetarian fare. They have all sorts of vegan choices or choices with no wheat, and lots of fresh vegetables and expensive beer. Last night, Nate and I went on a mid-week double date with some of our buddies, and Seva was the choice.
What's most disappointing about Seva to me is that I find it disappointing. Practically everyone in town loves it, and I don't. I've eaten there three times, including last night, and every time I've been there I haven't loved my food choice, while the people I eat with rave about theirs. The first time I ate there, I had some sandwichy-wrap thing, and I remember being unimpressed. The next time I ate there, I had a pasta dish with soy sausage (yep, it was "soysage") and it was kind of gross. Last night, I had the eggs rancheros, and the beans, eggs and tortilla were good but there was just way too much salsa and cheese, and everything turned into this orange soupy mess. I like my huevos rancheros a little drier. My dessert was super yummy, though, so the meal ended on a high note.
But like I said, practically everyone in town loves it, and I'm willing to give it another chance and try something I haven't had yet, like maybe the spinach enchiladas. One more chance, but that's it.

Seva - C