One Kong To Rule Them All

Crash down. Tropical Island. World War II. American vs. Japanese pilots are fighting in the jungle after they jump out of their planes.. Kong breaks up the fight but scene ends before you know what happens & you will spend 86 minutes wondering if the only reason this scene existed was so they could show you the monster right away. Fast forward 20-ish years to the 70s & now we care about satellites and Vietnam!

A car pulls up in Washington, and in a line almost certainly added in re-shoots after November 8th, John Goodman gets in a “most messed up time ever in Washington” and we laugh but really we cry because we know that we can no longer truly believe in our shattered joke of a government. John Goodman and the guy from the new 24 (who’s trying to pretend he’s a nerd. We’re not buying it Young Dr. Dre) believe in some weird stuff (like monsters) and want to explore this new island some nerds found. They convince “Senator” to let them piggy-back on a mapping expedition but also they want a military escort. Why is there always a senator in charge of just unilaterally OK-ing harebrained schemes?

Cut to Vietnam & the end-ish of the war there. ENTER SAMUEL L JACKSON, who must appear in at least 1 of every 3 movies that features guns or explosions, by law. In Kong, Sammy gets to play “shortsighted old white man with misguided chip on his shoulder.” It’s weird, cause as we all know, Sammy is a proud black man. Sammy L decides his crew of helicopter pilots–whose well being he is def responsible for–should not go home tomorrow from their long and harrowing stay in Vietnam like they are s’posed to; but instead will be the escort on this ill-advised mission. Have we mentioned there is no intel yet? He just agrees to this, because Sammy L is Not Done Soldiering. Men need tasks. They need to Soldier. Or they waste away and bother everyone with things like Infinite Jest.

ENTER BRIE LARSON who somehow has found out about this expedition and even though she is V high-status photographer who has been “in the shit” in Vietnam, wants to go on this expedition because who knows & art & necessary post-oscar action-movie wage-bump. And thank god she does because Brie Larson is actually great in this movie and you can almost HEAR her being like “how bout we don’t make the women stupid?” But more important than ANYTHING is that Brie Larson’s Hair is goddamned fantastic this entire movie and it is the height of improbable that women’s hair stays nice in disaster movies but that’s the patriarchy for you. Before Jungle Trouble she’s giving you modernized Farah Fawcett and mid-Jungle Trouble it’s all ‘tousled side-swipe never in need of a hairtie. (Why do women in action movies NEVER have hairties? It is literally the first thing I would bring on an adventure.) Anyway, she’s there, and the sneaky science dudes (John Goodman and 24/Dr. Dre) recruit Tom Hiddleston who beats up some dudes in a bar and has a legit FLAWLESS tan so you know he’s worth it.

Everyone gets on a large boat. We have the obligatory “This is The Plan” scene where we learn the island is surrounded by a storm system at all times which seems really ominous, but who cares this whole scene is just foreshadowing what absolutely all of us know already so you’re forgiven for tuning out. Brie Larson’s Hair and Tommy Hiddlecool have a meet cute in the bomb shelter of the boat & honestly if there’s a flaw in this movie it’s that those 2 never kiss because their tans deserve each other. The boat reaches the “storm area” and one Science guy tries to back out & it’s like you already said the whole island was surrounded by storms so why are you surprised? But also because you’re a coward you will for sure be one of the first to die horribly and he for sure does. The copter pilots fly everyone through the storm, which is sort of unnecessary except to establish pilot bromance between Easy E and the guy who will play Lieutenant Dan if Forest Gump ever goes to Broadway. (remember their bromance, it will be sad later.)

So of COURSE they drop these “geo depth charges” which is literally just “drop bombs all over the island and get “readings” and this naturally pisses off Kong who is like “I was NAPPING and now you’re KILLING my island-mates and waking up the underground-dwelling DemonLizards that literally ONLY I can protect the island from and fuck you guys!” Kong DESTROYS all the helicopters and TBH it’s pretty badass. If you’re gonna show us the monster you better nail it and they do. Now the survivors are all split up.
We’ve got group A) The Ferngully’s. Which is Sammy L, a scientist who is an asshole and legit has no narrative purpose, John Goodman who very much believes in monsters and wants to kill them because that is the only way to deal with anything you don’t understand god men are stupid, and most of the leftover soldiers/pilots. The Ferngully group does not respect the island or nature and the island can sense it. Like how a horse knows when you’re afraid to ride it, and the island is jacking their shit up for the rest of the movie. Most notably there is a giant BambooSpider with legs that spear the unsuspecting and it is dope. The Ferngullies are hellbent on rendezvousing with their other fallen comrade where the copters full of bombs crashed because they are men with chips on their shoulders (Sammy L) and they are going to blow up Kong come hell or high water.

Group B) just one soldier who writes letters to his son and he’s stranded by himself and is trying to get back to his platoon but he gets GOBBLED by a demonLizard just after we started to get invested and sympathize with him and he shouldn’t have even BEEN ON THIS MISSION. His tour was up and he should have been home with his family & it’s all Sam Jackson’s fault.

Group C) the only one with women in it and thus is the “take only pictures (BL takes so many pictures it’s like, we get it) leave only footprints” philosophy. Brie Larson, Tom Tracker Hiddleston, the Asian Woman Who Is A Scientist But Doesn’t Get to Actually Do Anything, Black Guy Who Is Also Scientist and Kind of Predicted the Earth under the Island was Hollow and That’s Where Monsters Live?, and one last pilot soldier. The island digs their vibe and they have an amazing journey and see GIANT water bison the size of tiny islands and the aurora borealis and meet some native peoples and discover that JOHN C MUHFUCKIN REILLY was lurking on this island the whole time!

Turns out JCR is the pilot from the opening scene & we’re like “ooooh, now it makes sense.” and he is 100% the best part of this movie that isn’t Brie Larson’s hair. He says things like “The war’s over, did we win?” and they go “which one” and he ZINGS back “That makes sense.” Which is honestly too real because the world is a nightmare and humanity is the root cause. ANYWAYS, JCR has a boatplane and they all heave-ho to get it working. There is much turning of gears and sparking of wires like how in movies when you have to make it seem like everyone is working but if you actually understand mechanics or engineering at all it’s just nonsense movements but you don’t mind because all of these gentlemen look great in rolled up sleeves.

JCR explains that Kong is actually a really dope guy who would be totes chill if these morons hadn’t come onto the island dropping literal bombs. Kong is “god of the island” and, as mentioned, protects everyone from being gobbled by demonLizards. I cannot stress enough how scary these demonLizards are, but apparently they just nap mostly unless you bomb their roofs which pretty much makes sense. The Eat Pray Love group gets the boat working and putt-putt up the river. They get attacked by a demonLizard but Kong saves them. Brie Larson has a Black Beauty hand-nose-touching moment with Kong and is like “I get you. I am a fantastic actress and somehow I am pulling off this scene.”

Group A & C finally meet up and everyone is happy and making a plan to get to the “off the island” point–disaster adventure movies always have a magic map spot that if you can just get to, the audience knows the movie will be solved and we can fast-forward to the credits–but Sammy L is like “NO! I’ve realized my foolhardy selfish quest for adventure has gotten many of my men killed, and I need to assuage my guilt by hurting things because testosterone.” And takes his soldiers to go get the bombs to blow up Kong & won’t listen to anyone. And Kong DOES show up and Sammy tries to Burn him alive and it is legit sad and dark and OF COURSE the “big lizard”–the one the native islanders were like, don’t wake up the big one, whatever you do–arrives and it’s like see Sammy? We told you Kong needs to stay alive because he’s not the monsteriest monster, THIS IS. John Goodman gets chomped. Not Lieutenant Dan tells everyone to run and holds grenades in his hands to sacrifice himself as a booby-trapped snack but it doesn’t work at ALL and Easy E cries. It’s V touching but there’s no time. FINALLY Sammy’s like “Oh shit, I have miscalculated but will cling to my plan because I am too proud! Open Fire!” DemonLizards care nothing for your paltry human fire-power. There’s a giant monster fight scene because mere fire cannot defeat Kong and Brie Larson helps by shooting the demonLizard in the ear with a flare gun (Seriously, Brie, how’d you learn to shoot you haven’t even touched a gun all movie) and Kong kills the lizard and stops BL from plummeting to her death. Sammy L dies because he for sure should. Everyone else makes it to the rendezvous point and JCR goes home to his wife who thought he was dead for 23 years but I guess is totes chill & never remarried but his son has stupid sideburns so you can’t win em all.

The End

Mother’s Day: a Spider Web of Terrible

Sure, everyone likes mothers. They work hard. Rarely get to play hard. And deal with your shit for a MINIMUM of 18 years. Sure, we complain about them to our therapists at a comically steady clip. In our heart of hearts, we know that being a mother is as difficult and as thankless as being President of the United States. Everyone has an opinion on how you should do your job, they bitch and moan about every single decision you make–some, for their own good, and some…hey, no one’s perfect–and only when you’re no longer in a position of power does anyone deign to say “well, uh, thanks for the healthcare or whatever.”

BUT GARRY MARSHALL* loves moms! Or so he wants to you think. Mother’s Day is the latest (and dear God, please last) installment in what we’re (hopefully ironically) referring to as the Garry Marshall Holiday Trilogy. First, we “enjoyed” some extremely limited and stereotypical views on love in Valentines Day. Then, feasted our hungover eyes on the comically bland New Years Eve…which is well documented as the worst day in the calendar year, so can we not? But Garry Garry Unnecessary didn’t stop there. “OH NO” he said! “THERE ARE SOME PAINFULLY MEDIOCRE ONE-LINERS I NEED TO MAKE HECTOR ELIZONDO SAY!” And now we’re faced with Mother’s Day, a truly candy-coated garbage-fire of a movie. A movie that manages to be both painfully tone deaf, and immensely self-congratulatory by thinking that it faces “hot button issues.” PLUS, in classic huge-ensemble-cast form, there are 5 main story lines that all “hilariously intertwine!”

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  1. Jennifer Aniston is divorced from Silver Fox McChill (Timothy Olyphant). But what’s this? Two divorced people who get along and co-parent well? HOW AVANTE GARDE! In a heartbreaking moment of “this is how women think” Tim pays Jen a compliment, and she assumes they’re getting back together. NO JEN. Turns out the guy you’re really close with up and married a 22yo model and didn’t even tell you. She’s gonna try and bond with your kids, and you’re gonna be predictably fussy about it, but then your son has an athsma attack and WHO DOES SHE TURN TO? THAT’S RIGHT, SHE TURNS TO YOU JEN! So you forgive her. And everyone tries to live their goddamn lives.
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  2. Kate Hudson, who we’re meant to believe is the type of woman who eats “a whole coffee cake!” lives across the street from her sister & sister-in-law (Sarah Chalke & the woefully underused Cameron Esposito). You can practically HEAR the creative team parading around the set going “see? They’re lesbians but we’re treating them like it’s normal and no big deal, aren’t we hip!?” But guess who’s NOT hip!? Margot Martindale & Robert Pine, Kate & Sarah’s Texan parents! They don’t know Kate is married to an Indian man (Aasif Mandvi), or that Sarah is gay, and are written so ridiculously backward and bigoted I fully expected their shirts to say “Trump 2016.” Margot & Rob surprise their daughters, everyone finds out everyone has been lying for about 6 years, the Lesbian’s kid messes with the RV, Indian husband gets (justifiably) mad, Redneck father SERIOUSLY endangers everyone’s life by PRETENDING THE BRAKES OF THE RV ARE CUT, and then they all make up. Sounds stupid? It is. This is a world where we’re meant to think there’s a competitive Mother’s day parade.
  3. It is also a world where HSN is on ALL. THE. TIME. Like, the Irish pub in Atlanta is playing HSN. Julia Roberts is the Queen of HSN. She sells many books and bangles, and wears a truly misguided wig. Jen Aniston is interior designing her event. It’s not important. It just happens. Julia’s character is meant as the “this woman chose a career and NOT children” flavor of woman, which is slightly undermined by the fact that a) she has a kid & it’s Brit Robertson. and b) she visibly stops to berate herself and consider her life choices anytime someone so much as says the word “child.”
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  4. Thankfully for Julia, she arrives in Atlanta to sell some crystal mood pendants just in time for her long lost, previously adopted daughter, Brit Robertson, to deal with her mommy issues. You see, Brit has a new infant, a job that’s cool with her bringing the baby to work, a loving and lovely British BoyFriend who is a wonderful father who she loves very much and he just wants to marry her if she would pretty please, but Brit has a SECRET. She won’t marry BBF because she hasn’t met her mom. She was cool with having a kid. BUT NOT MARRIAGE. She tracks Julia down, gets accused of fortune-hunting by Hector Elizondo, then Julia comes to her house to say I knew it was you, because I HAVE A SHIT TON OF PICTURES FROM AS YOU GREW UP. Forget the fact that the having a baby thing might hit the mom button harder than the marriage thing, this is also a missed opportunity to give this chick any kind of relationship w/ her adoptive parents, who seem like they were probably fine & maybe would want to be invited to her wedding. Julia Short hair don’t care. They cry into each other’s arms and Brit proposes to BBF on the Home Shopping Network. Really. That happens.
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  5. The final cog in this wheel of disaster is Jason Sudeikis. A widower with 2 daughters who coaches soccer, runs a gym, and is 1967-level embarrassed about buying tampons for said daughter. He kind of has a movie-long flirt going with Jen Aniston, but literally no one cares, even Jen. Again, we completely avoid an opportunity: to see a dad make life work for his 2 girls, and instead he mopes while his eldest handles everything; pretending Mother’s Day isn’t a thing until he decides it is and buys a karaoke machine to celebrate. Sometimes Loni Love gets to come in and deliver 3 of the 4 humorous moments of this entire movie. Other times though, she is depressingly relegated to what I think Kansas refers to as “stuff big black ladies do that’s funny, right?”

The film is essentially a 118min Fabletics commercial. It also assumes you are very, very stupid so the actors get to repeat the plot, exposition, even their own character’s subtext, a LOT. If you love your mother, you won’t let her see this movie.

*I will make the disclaimer here, that I really do like Garry Marshall. He’s done a lot of wonderful things, and thus earned himself the right to make a stink bomb or four. So really, Garry, I hate this for your own good, sir. I want you to grow with the times.

The Plot of Allegiant, Until I Got Tired

I’m not an idiot. At least not about movies or food. I knew I wasn’t buckling in for a quality piece of Cinema when I sat down with my comically large popcorn (and secret bag of celery, because balance) to watch Allegiant: the 3rd installment in the Shailene-Wears-A-Leather-Vest Series. But hey, I had a morbid curiosity, a weird 2.75 hours to kill in Manhattan, and needed to use my MoviePass. Plus, I’d seen the last one and kinda figured that was a baseline for mediocrity. BOY OH BOY I WAS WRONG. Allegiant is 2 hours and $110 million worth of dropping the ball; made worse by the fact that the entire team, from cast to costumes, is not untalented.

I don’t want you to have to see this movie. Seriously, if your boyfriend/girlfriend/niece wants to go: break up with them. So here it is. The “plot.” Help me help you.

RIGHT OFF THE BAT we jump into the movie and IMMEDIATELY are just murdering former members of other factions, executioner style. This is one of the biggest legitimate problems with the entire franchise. You have adults & youths alike claiming to fight for all people being valuable, to hunt for justice, but it devolves with minimal prompting into murdery Lord Of the Flies without any of the earned development and horror of that type of story.

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Mekhi Phifer, right before he gets shot in the back of the head. Seriously.

Tris, Four, and a bunch of other people too famous for this crap, have overthrown Kate Winslet’s Ravenclaw. Now, Tris–who has not a charismatic bone in her body, and who started this whole fucking thing–wants zero to do with the hell she hath wrought. All she cares about is chasing down the message from beyond The Wall that says “hey guys, good job on healing human nature! Come on home!”

Her brother is literally trapped in a cage and she’s all “a Lannister never forgets. I s’pose he has to be murdered too.” Thankfully, Four, AKA Deep Voice McHotterface III, sees through her bravado & rescues her bro to come on their unsanctioned field-trip beyond The Wall.

So we’ve got Tris, Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, and Shailene Woodley’s former love interests from every other movie*, leaving for what could potentially be the rest of their lives, and crossing uncharted wasteland about which they know literally nothing. They bring 4 guns and 3 messenger bags.
NO WORRIES THOUGH. The kids make it to technicolor Mars & get picked up right away by totally trustworthy people with IMPOSSIBLY ADVANCED technology that literally no one bats an eye at. YOU’VE BEEN IN THE TRUMAN SHOW FOR 18 YEARS AND NOW THERE ARE SPACE-SHIPS AND YOU’RE LIKE “COOL, MAKES SENSE, UNFAZED.”
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The movie wants you to feel like the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. But forgot that for audiences to buy that shit you need to have some sort of OTHER stakes backing up what you claim to be huge life-and-death stakes. But nope, NOT IN CHICAGO!

Worried about being exposed to crazy radiation your body can’t deal with? We’ve got fancy showers.
Never used this tiny drone weapon before? Figure it out in LITERALLY 3 minutes and now you’re cleared to come with life-long soldiers on frontier missions.
Need to escape from Buzz-Cut Jeff Daniels? Just jump in his flying space-car because he totally won’t even try to stop you and you’ll figure out how to fly it while trained pilots chase you through the sky.

So the rag-tag bunch of dreamers go with these new people, and everything seems hunky dory. They’re learning about the world & it turns out Tris is vair vair special (oh, who could have seen THAT coming?!) because humanity is flawed but she is the first generation of normal to come through the “human nature” experiment. But oh what? Jeff Daniels is a secret genetic dictator and everything isn’t great out here? QUELLE SURPRISE!
519583984_5_570_411Now we’ve gotta go BACK to Chicago to stop Octavia Spencer & Naomi watch from bitch-slapping each other into extinction. See, without Tris, this inarticulate 18-year old wunderkind, all the people of Chicago don’t know who’s side they’re on and fall, within weeks, to an all-out civil-war. Jeff Daniels doesn’t WANT Tris to go back! It is explained unbelievably poorly, but basically she’ll mess up the control group of his experiment. And if we know two things, the first, is never get involved in a land war in Asia, and the second is NEVER mess up a nerd’s control group.

Four goes back first without Tris, because boys be trekkin’. And also because Naomi Watts is his mother (REALLY HOLLYWOOD AGE-ISM?! She’s 16 years older than him.) and they’ve got a real Bate’s Motel thing going on. Unsurprisingly, because no one can accomplish ANYTHING without Tris, Deep Voice McHottface III gets his ass kicked and then is just thrown into a cement cell with zero medical care by his mommy dearest, even though she keeps saying “I’m doing this for US! For YOU!” Not the best parenting, but hey, kids are tough.

OH RIGHT ALMOST FORGOT: Miles Teller is flitting around the background of this movie being super evil but also charming and has cut a deal with Jeff Daniels. He’s going to convince Naomi to memory-gas everyone, MIB-pen-style in order to win the war. WHY she thinks releasing a poisonous gas will affect only the enemy troops and not her own troops is completely absurd. But if you ask me it’s a real failing of the New Chicago Faction’s education system.
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It is amazingly convenient that this secret gas is just tucked away in a fancy lab room in New Chicago that apparently no one has ever checked before. Of course everyone’s gettin’ double-crossed, including Miles Teller.
main-cast-in-allegiant BACK AT THE RANCH, Tris, her bro, and lil’ Kravitz steal Jeff Daniel’s plane-car and escape to go save Chicago. There ensues possibly the most predictable and uninventively choreographed action scenes in recent memory, and of course Tris & her bro save the day JUST IN TIME by hacking into a computer system the style of which they’d never even heard of 2 hours ago. Also just in time for her and Four to heavy-breathe into each other’s faces because even though everyone’s about to die and he’s sporting several life-threatening injuries there is ALWAYS time for heavy-face-breathing in a Young Adult Dystopia.
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The movie ends. But NOT BEFORE Tris finally makes her big speech, effortlessly quelling weeks of bloodlust & violence. “Hey guys. Every human is important. Let’s not be divided. The real enemy is beyond the wall.” OH MY HOW GROUNDBREAKING. I AM CONVINCED.

Everyone lays down their weapons and then picks them back up again because of course we have to fight one more battle against the People Beyond The Wall because why on earth would we not try to squeeze more blood out of this dry stone? If you listen closely, you can hear everyone wishing they had not signed on for this franchise.

*Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now
Ansel Elgort, Fault in Our Stars
Theo James, Divergent etc.

 

Grandma isn’t perfect, but it IS the best movie I’ve seen this summer

Bold statement. I know. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong quite soon…BUT I DOUBT IT SUCKAS.

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Before we even get into it though, I shall provide a list of all the movies I’ve seen this summer (starting in June I guess, and also at the bottom of this post cause putting it here would be annoying?) so we can have some context.* And also so you believe I’ve seen many much movies and when I say Grandma was dope, you get that I mean it.

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Read the list? Cool. So: Grandma was dope. The thing is, it was great for multiple reasons. It had LAYERS dammit, and so few movies successfully execute on multiple levels. You’re pleased with a level and a half. Don’t believe me? Jurassic World was awesome…but not because it had a great story, or fully formed protagonists. Nope. It was awesome cause the action was baddass and it played (more like relied) on a deeply ingrained nostalgia for JP1. That’s ok. But that does not a Good Movie make.

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Now, about those layers, what are they you ask? Welp, Grandma is many things. It is a road movie. A coming of age tale. A moral turning point confront-your-past-bullshit journey. A family/generational bonding comedy. And yes, it is also an abortion movie. Really, Grandma tackles a lot of seemingly cliched tropes, without feeling stale, or straying too “over the top.” It also, shocker of shockers, boasts an almost entirely female cast. Perhaps this isn’t surprising for a movie called “Grandma” about a lesbian grandmother going on a money-hunt with her granddaughter, but statistically, it is incredibly rare for a cast to be more than 50% women. I’m telling you. Google it.

And these women, hot damn. Lily Tomlin is everything you ever wanted, but Grandma is getting solid, nuanced, fully 3 dimensional performances out of Judy Greer, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden…everyone. Nat Wolff and Sam Elliot do an admirable job holding it down for the men as well.

The nice thing about Grandma, is it’s not trying to impress you with things that are Important, or prove it’s the funniest kid on the block, and in not trying so hard, it let’s you have everything just enough. Feel some feelings, laugh some laughs, realize some human moments. What more do you want?! Basically, see this movie. You’ll probably like it. If not, you probably won’t like me, so who cares what you think?!
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*essentially, don’t come at me with “Dogwalk On The Moon was great you’re an idiot!” I don’t care. I didn’t see Dogwalk On The Moon.

  1. Shaun the Sheep
  2. Ricki & The Flash
  3. Straight Outta Compton
  4. Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  5. American Ultra
  6. End Of The Tour
  7. Magic Mike XXL
  8. Ant-Man
  9. Trainwreck
  10. Vacation
  11. Entourage
  12. Spy
  13. Jurassic World
  14. Dope
  15. Inside Out (if anything, Inside Out is better than Grandma, but I daresay that is an apples vs. oranges situation)
  16. The Overnight
  17. Ted 2

I Wanted to Enjoy Ant-Man So Bad But My Vagina Wouldn’t Let Me

Women. Right? One minute you let ’em out of the kitchen and the next thing you know they want to be in motion pictures!

Let me say this first, Ant-Man is not a bad movie. I’m no die-hard comic book fan, but I’m a pretty faithful sci-fi/action/superhero movie nerd, and I respect the player respect the game. In other words, I know what I’m getting in my Standard Marvel Meal, and for every Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, I know I’ve gotta slog through an Iron Man 2, and another goddamn try at the Hulk. Ant-Man is pretty decent. The science is baffling bullshit (but really, are you in this for the science?), and it falls short of the whimsy of Guardians, and the fast-talking ease of Downey’s Iron Man 1. Yet some creative effects and a hugely enjoyable end fight sequence, along with Rudd and Pena’s overflowing charisma, save the weakest points and make the whole thing a pretty solid addition to the Marvel Beast. No mean feat when you consider the fact that Ant-Man is a middling hero at best, and the biggest piece of garbage Avenger at worst.

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Lilly, throwing some well-deserved shade.

So. I wanted to like it. Really, I DID mostly like it. But goddamn, if I have to see one more (superhero) movie with grossly underserved female characters and protagonists I am going to rip my vagina out, fill it with nickels, and beat a studio exec to death with it. ….Or I’ll get an old sock. The point is: C’MON GUYS IT’S 2015 AND I’M SO FUCKING OVER THIS SHIT.

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It’s like a comedy show with 10 white dudes in zip-up hoodies over button downs and one black female comedian and everyone thinking they Did Diversity. 10 points to Slytherin if she’s gay as well!  You can’t just make Evangeline Lilly “good at punching” and then circle-jerk-congratulate yourselves on the strong female roles in your movie. Your movie had 2 women and a 5 year old girl. (Minus the VERY brief Peggy Carter in the opening flash-back.) Your movie cast was in the multiple dozens. Are you telling me not one police officer, scientist, security guard, evil world-ending-weapons buyer couldn’t have been a woman? Really? Not one? I’m not even asking you to make one of Paul Rudd’s old heisting buddies female, though there was no reason they couldn’t have been.

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I’m just exhausted. Exhausted that for whatever reason, on this day I chose to sit back and take in some pure Marvel popcorn schmaltz, I happened to notice this and couldn’t UN-notice it for the rest of the movie. C’mon guys. It’s honestly not THAT hard.

Goey Almond Cake with Bourbon Chocolate Ganache

You. Heard. Me.
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Forget your summer diet. Forget those shorts that aaaallmooost fiiiiit and they would look so GOOD in .56 lost inches. Forget the “fruit with lite whipped cream” dessert you were having. Forget going out with your friends, because you are going to lock yourself in a dimly lit room with this cake and show it a good time. You’re gonna eat the whole damn thing and then you’re gonna lick the ganache remnants off the plate like an animal.
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But enough about me. This is about YOUR cake adventure. Cakeventure.

This cake is delicious and moist and almondy without being too overpowering. It is also made up of some pretty simple stuff you likely already have in your pantry/kitchen/apocalypse bunker. Just head out for a can of almondIMG_4750 paste and you’re set!

Ingredients: CAKE

  • 1c sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1.5c sugar
  • 7-8oz (1 can) almond paste
  •  2c flour
  • Dashes sea salt & cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  1. First things first! Preheat oven to 350 F and butter a 9″ cast iron skillet….or 2 smaller round pans…or a cupcake tin. WHATEVER you gotta put the cake in SOMETHING.
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  2. Second things second: combine the sour cream, b. soda, and extract in a bowl & set aside. Put the almond paste in a food processor and give it a chopping until it resembles coarse crumbles. (Don’t fret overmuch about this, you’re just making it easy to incorporate.) Combine the flour, salt, & cinnamon in a bowl & set aside.
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  3. Cream together the butter & sugar till fluffy (first pic). Add the almond paste (not all at once!) and mix it in (second pic). You have to beat a little longer than you think, just make sure you’ve got the paste well incorporated. Small lumps are inevitable, big lumps will be weird. (That’s what she said?) Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each one (third).
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  4. NOW it’s time for the sour cream! You got that bowl? Isn’t it all delightful and floofy poofy now!? MMMM. Fold in the sour cream mixture.
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  5. Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing to juuuust incorporated. Spoon the batter into pan & bake for about 40-50 minutes–until center isn’t too wobbly, but sides haven’t burned. Center can have a bit of wiggle. It will set up when it cools…and frankly, I like my meat rare and my desserts underbaked. Your call.

While the delicious cake is cooling and the smell is wafting it’s time to make the bourbon ganache! Honestly, this part is stupid easy.

Ingredients: GANACHE

  • 12oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 c whipping cream (or really any cream, i’ve even used milk)
  • 3 Tbsp Bourbon
  • 3Tbsp soft butter

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  1. Microwave (or double boil…i dunno how fancy you’re feelin’ bro) the chocolate and cream together in 20s bursts. Stir until all melted. Then stir in the butter & bourbon.
  2. POUR ON CAKE AND FACE AND ENJOY!
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Hot Sweet Nuts!

Get your damn mind out of the gutter and get these nuts in your mouth!

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Some days are Snacky Days. Days when you’re just always a bit peckish. Do you want salt? Do you want sweet? Crunch? Fats? Protein? WHAT WILL FILL THE VOID?

Allow me to present Hot Candied Nut-Crunch. It requires few ingredients, fewer skills, and you can make it with pretty much any kind of nut–almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc. For this batch I used macadamia & hazelnuts. Because they are round & aesthetically coordinated and also because I don’t have to explain myself to you! These endlessly snackable lil’ duffers are full of protein & good fats (again, depends on your chosen breed of nut) and are also super portable. They are also sweet, salty, and have a pleasantly spicy bite. Snack strong America.

Now, let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns). You will need:*

~1-1.5c macadamia & hazelnuts (or whatever you want)
~Cast Iron skillet–YES, you can do without. but C.I. is just better.
~1-2 tsp coconut oil
~1/4c+1 Tbsp sugar
~1Tbsp water
~2Tbsp butter
~Cinnamon, Chile powder, & salt on hand for dashing. (I used “Slap Ya Mama” which is the best, and also has salt in it, so 2 birds one cup…)
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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375. On the stove put the coconut oil in the skillet (a doy) over med-high heat. Toss the nuts in there and let them roast a bit, until they are fragrant and maybe juuuuuust splitting. This should really only take 4ish minutes. Then remove skillet to warm oven. You can probably even turn the oven off at this point.
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  2. While the nuts are a-nutting in the oven, put the sugar, butter, and about 1Tbsp water in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Let that shiz dissolve & bubble. Once it’s frothing & bubbling give it 45sec until just BARELY caramel-colored.
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  3. Then–and this is the only hard part–whisk the nut-pan out of the oven and pour the sugar mixture over the nuts. Quickly add a few hearty dashes of cinnamon, healthy sprinkle of salt, and chili powder (that amount is your call). Stir everything well–get it all nice & coated–then pour onto wax paper to cool. It’s best if they’re in a single layer, not a mountain, so they don’t form a solid rock.
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  4. THAT’S IT! You’re done! Don’t you feel special?
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*Director’s commentary: You can modify this recipe a bit by using brown sugar instead of white, and doing away with the butter. Add a tiny bit more water, and while it won’t “froth” the same, you basically heat it for about 1.5-2min on high, and it WILL bubble nicely. This makes a darker, more hard-candy-caramel like coating.

OM NOM your VitiMONS!

Zucchini Pesto Pasta with Pancetta

It’s summer. By now you’ve seen 467 ads that go something like this: 7357b460-ecde-11e4-ac71-9fcad2d38721_Protein-World-Are-You-Beach-Body-Ready-ad
And, once you’ve crawled your way out of that chick’s massive thigh gap, you probably feel something like this: images

So now it’s lunch time, and what the fuck are you gonna eat? your heart says this:
imgres but your fear says this: imgres-1

I GOT YOU BAE. We’re gonna make this:

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IF you have a veggie spiralizer, keep reading. If not, go buy one and come back. Seriously. …..got it? great. I broke this meal down into lots of little steps, so even a caveman can do it.

YOU WILL NEED:
1 med/large zucchini
1oz Pancetta or Bacon
1-3 cloves garlic (choose your own adventure) chopped
1 med tomato
1 egg
pesto (premade, packaged, make it yourself, WHO CARES…you probably…)
Parmesan cheese (garnish)

1) Spiralize the shit outta that zucchini! Put ribbons in a bowl with a liberal dash of salt to leech the water out a bit.
2) meanwhile toss garlic into small pan w/ a bit of EVOO. Heat larger pan w/ a bit more EVOO.
3) dice up tomato
4) Drain/pat with paper towel zucchini and add to (now hot) large pan. Add pancetta to garlic pan.
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5) you’re doing great! let zukes cook down a bit, turning occasionally. Add tomatoes to garlic/meat pan. Let them sizzle for a minute then lower heat & scooch everything to the edge & crack the egg in there. Swizzle it about.
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6) remove zukes (drain if needed) and toss into bowl. Top w/ pesto & toss to incorporate.
7) scramble up the egg pan & add it to the zuke pasta when fully cooked.
8) give it a turn to get everything all coated and top w/ grated parmesan.
IMG_4637LOOK! YOU MADE A SALAD.
Nom nom bitches.

All the Feminist moments in the Entourage movie you were too Dumb to notice

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The Entourage movie happened you guys. There is no taking it back. It already made $19 million! That is SO many dollars, and it only cost $30 million! I’m no economist, but that’s pretty great. And yet SOME complainy ladies STILL insist on calling it a garbage movie.

Are you forgetting that the movie had famous people in it?! Like, a whole BUNCH of famous people were in that movie for at least 30 seconds or MORE. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of paying to see movies with only a few famous people in them. Plus, the plot of the movie is SO easy to understand. They need money for their movie and also love banging chicks. Clean & Simple! I, for one, am sick and tired of going to movies where I have to constantly think about plot arcs, narrative tension, and character motivations. YAWN. What is this, movie school? *

But NO ONE is satisfied with this textbook cinematic success. No, all I hear is Womyn crying from their vaginas about how Entourage is just one long, misogynistic, Barney Stinson joke. Uh, have you heard of HIMYM? It was a big hit on America’s funniest network: CBS. And it was about meeting a mom. Mom’s are FEMALE. Yeah. So for all you uptight nay-sayers out there, I’ve compiled a list of all the awesome feminist moments in the Entourage movie that maybe you missed while you were adjusting your boobs.1362700444988600_animate

“I might have to jack off before we even get there”|
Oh man. Right away, the first line of the movie let’s you know that hey, this is gonna be a good time. And also, these dudes like hot ladies so much that they might blow their penis-loads before they even land on the boat full of hot women. That’s a pretty serious compliment.

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“Fun is forgettin’ a girl’s name while you’re fuckin her.”
You guys these zingers just won’t stop!

Ronda-Rousey

When Ronda Rousey is in the movie.
Ten points to Slytherin!

When Turtle asks Ronda Rousey out.
He is skinny and she is a very very muscular professional athlete, so it is pretty selfless of him to be with a woman who’s thighs are maybe a little bigger than his. Could we GET more progressive? The answer is no.

rousey-entourage.0.0When Turtle lets Ronda Rousey break his arm.
Um, obviously this means that ladies can break arms and glass ceilings are way more delicate than arms.

entourage-1 When there are a LOT of ladiez invited to the movie screening/pool party.
Guys who didn’t like girls wouldn’t invite so many girls to a party. Much less a super cool pool party where the guys have to be embarrassed by wearing revealing bathing suits. Um hello, girls b-suits have tops.

When all those ladies form an orderly queue to fuck Vinny, but are also willing to settle for his uggo brother.
Look at all these ladies having sexual agency! Also, only open-minded sex-positive ladies would bang someone who lives WITH his millionaire famous brother once they can’t get with his millionaire famous brother.

imagesWhen Drama roofies E at the pool party
HelLO! Equality! E is a BOY. Boys can get roofied by friends they thought they trusted too!

4622874252_79f8f340c7_oWhen Ari has a wife who’s character name on IMDb is “Mrs. Ari.”
Being a wife is the highest compliment, dummies. Ari is SUPER rich and SUPER angry, but stays married to Mrs. Ari even though she makes him do dumb shit like counseling.

giphyWhen E gets taken to lunch by two women he banged on the same day.
These women talked to each other about having sex with E, and then planned an elaborate caper where they both go to a restaurant. Move over Melissa McCarthy, there are some new queens of comedy!

When Haley Joel Osment is a turd bucket to Vinny because Vinny is dating a girl he likes
If girls were just objects to be bartered like goats in the bible, would HJO withhold money from a business transaction over one particular goat that is just a popsicle stick with lips? Nope. Boom. Lawyered.

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When E offers to have sex with Sloan.
Sloan is preggo you guys! Pregnant ladies are gross. This basically makes E Mother Teresa.

When Sloan has a baby
Only women can have babies you dumb dumbs! This whole part of the movie was put in JUST for ladies! Uh, you’re welcome. Good Night.

*If you haven’t seen it, the plot is as follows: Vincent Chase is bored of just banging so many bitches and being so rich and hanging with his friends. So he decides to keep all of his life the same but also direct the next movie he’s in. His old agent, and professional Rage-Haver Ari Gold says “OK buddy! But now we’re out of money.” Ari goes to Texas to get more money from Billy Bob Thornton & “Seen better days” Haley Joel Osment. (This is a 3 name family.) HJO comes to Hollywood to crap money out of his butt and also get jealous that the hottest boobs at Vinny’s pool party seem to like Vinny. So he says “no more money for you guys.” But then Ari yells at him so much that Vin & his movie get all the money they need and then the movie is a big hit. At one point E (a Leprechaun from Queens) bangs a few exceptionally hot chicks and has a baby. Turtle (proof that weight loss is an aphrodisiac) gets punched & then kissed by Ronda Rousey. Drama (brother-ish of Vinny) makes hilarious jokes about vaginas then jerks off on an iphone and wins a golden globe. FIN.

Cha-che-che-CHIA Pods!

I know. I know what you’re thinking. Chia Pods? FUCK YOU I WANT PUDDING AND CHOCOLATE! And yes, I understand the sentiment. But you can’t ALWAYS have pudding and chocolate. Some days you need other nutrients, and Chia is SUPER hip right now. Doesn’t everyone always want to be hip?

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The point is, these lil’ duffers are insanely easy and cheap to make, and they are also REALLY GOOD for you. Each “pod” is packed with fiber, omega 3’s, protein, and a ringing sense of moral superiority and self congratulation. You can buy them at the store for $2-4 but what are you, a Rockefeller?! No. No you’re not. Make that shit yourself.

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Glad that’s all settled. Now, on with the show.

For each “pod” you will need:
~2 tbsp chia seeds
~1/2cup almond, coconut, or cow milk
~dollop of cottage cheese
After that the flavor is pretty much up to you, I made mocha vanilla cinnamon. Because I am the best, I will detail only how to make mocha vanilla cinnamon. But you do whatever the hell you want. You’re free to make your own mistakes.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is stir the chia seeds with the milk. Add 1-2tsp honey, hearty dash cinnamon, 1/2tsp vanilla, and tbsp cold-brew coffee. Let the whole thing sit for at least 2 hours, but can be as long as overnight. Dollop on the cottage cheese and eat. Garnish with nuts or praline pumpkin seeds if you like.

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YOU’RE ALREADY DONE. YUMZ BITCHES.