Rosanne and I try to take in a movie every Saturday night.  We don’t do pure adventure or pure chick flick together and we scour reviews for suitable dramas and comedies that leave chickflicks to her and my adult daughters and leave adventure, scifi, and mysteries to me and my male friends or me and my son.


Our last three weeks of flicks: Boyhood, A Most Wanted Man, and The Hundred Foot Journey.

The presence of Phillip Seymour Hoffmann in his last film aroused enough curiousity in Rosanne that she readily agreed to watch that spy movie.  Predictably, it was my hands down favorite of the three and her least favorite.  I had read the novel.  PSH was so good in the role that he changed my imaginary perception of the character for the better.  I wonder if LeCarre himself had that impression?

The other two movies were entertaining and by no means a waste of money.  Boyhood leaves you with enough to talk about over drinks afterward and the sense that the movie captured a slice of life very well, but it neither leaves a lasting impression nor requires revisiting.  However, because it was actually filmed over 12 years with the same actors naturally aging it will be a film school subject, I am sure.

The Hundred Foot Journey, like Chef, is at its heart a celebration of food.  A feel good movie, dressed up as a dramady, with terrific actors.  Chef, btw, was a feel good movie dressed up as a travelogue with good standup comics.

You may have noticed I am not, here, a harsh critic.  I could be.  I am capable of pointing out the flaws in three of the four movies I have mentioned so far, and if I did you would think I did not like them.  Let it be said that the best movies I ever saw were not coextensive with my favorite movies, and I am not writing here to prove my chops as a critic, if indeed I have any.

Finally, my first cousin’s daughter just starred in this Grade B horror flick.

I am required to watch it, probably today.  Wish me luck.




25 Responses

  1. FRIST!

    My favorite movie ever was The Great Escape. I watch it at least once a year.

    I know there have been many, many “better” movies. For instance, lots of Hitchcock, Lawrence, and Chinatown; never mind the foreign stuff.

    My faves run toward either big adventure, or suspense, or mysteries, or scifi. I have never liked any horror movie. But I was a kid in the late forties and went with my dad to see westerns and war and spy flicks, and in the fifties biked to the movies with my friends for Saturday morning serials. So why should I like 8 1/2 as much as High Plains Drifter? Because it is a better movie? Not a good enough reason.


  2. My faves run toward either big adventure, or suspense, or mysteries, or scifi

    Me too and I fell in love with Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, I could easily watch it once a year along with a few other classic movies.

    I’m still mad at PSH for dying but I do want to see A Most Wanted Man. Glad you liked it.


  3. Forgive me for getting up on that soap box but really, you guys need to cut way back on meat!

    Red meat is bad for your health in any amount. (4,5) A long-range study from the Harvard School of Public Health (6) of 110,000 adults over 20 years found that adding just one three-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat to their daily diet increased participants’ risk of dying during the study by 13 percent. Adding a hot dog or two slices of bacon increased their risk by 20 percent. On the other hand, replacing beef or pork with nuts lowers your risk by 19 percent, and replacing them with poultry or grain lowers your risk by 14 percent.


    • lms:

      Forgive me for getting up on that soap box but really, you guys need to cut way back on meat!

      You may be interested in this take down of the study in question. And, aside from the methodological problems, even assuming the conclusions are justified, I thought this point was most notable.

      Those numbers thrown around in the fear-mongering news clips—20% increased risk of death from all causes for processed meat and 13% increased risk of death from all causes for unprocessed meat—are classic examples of how even the most ho-hum findings can sound dramatic if you spin them the right way (and remember to attribute them to Hahhh-vard). If your risk of dying from a particular disease is 5% to start with, a “20% increased risk” only bumps you up to 6% in the grand scheme of things. That’s a lot less scary. Especially when delectable foods are involved.

      I think I will have a steak tonight.


  4. Nothing will ever live up to seeing Star Wars in 1977 as an under 10 year old. Saw it over 20 times the first time around in the theater.

    lmsinca: Eat well, stay fit, die anyway. For myself, I’d rather enjoy a good steak once and a while, especially with a good red wine. If I die earlier than I would have if I had only subsisted on tree bark and grass, then so be it.


  5. I was 11 and saw it at the Cine Capri in Phoenix. I had the soundtrack on 8-track tape and had every word memorized.


  6. jnc

    if I had only subsisted on tree bark and grass

    The usual answer I get when I discuss eating meat……………LOL. I’ve never tried either tree bark or grass. You’re young still, by the time you realize what all that meat has done to you over the years you’ll wish you’d cut back at least. I just like to remind people periodically how bad it is for you.

    I’ll never forget seeing Star Wars either even though I was older than both of you.


  7. Saw Star Wars with my then 3 1/2 YO daughter and her best friend, also 3 1/2. An unforgettably great experience.

    Until I was 65 I ate beef at least ten times a week. My Medicare doc immediately had me tested for living death but found my arteries were fine. He told me to go cold turkey on beef for six months, then not eat beef more than three times a week. I followed his advice.

    So last night was a beef night. I cooked a bone-in ribeye medium rare and we ate it with a spinach salad [spinach, red onion, campari tomatoes, and marinated baby bellas]. A fine night. Sigh. must wait now for next opportunity…must wait…must wait.


  8. I think I will have a steak tonight.

    Figures…………..LOL. My husband used to say that too when I occasionally lectured him (I know better), but all of a sudden he’s wishing he’d listened to me. I’m sure the study isn’t perfect……………which ones are?


    • lms:

      I’m sure the study isn’t perfect……………which ones are?

      I was more focused on the fact that, even if the study was perfect, a 20% increase in your chances of dying in a given period of time is actually a pretty small increase in absolute terms. Think about it this way: Your chances of getting eaten by a shark are infinitely higher if you swim in the ocean than if you don’t, but that isn’t enough to compel you to stop swimming in the ocean if you really enjoy doing it, is it?


  9. “a bone-in ribeye medium rare ”

    That would be the ideal piece of beef.


  10. Scott, I got it and if you want to keep eating the slimy gross stuff, please be my guest. Every now and then I like to remind people that there are healthier ways of eating and that we’re being duped to a certain extent to believe we need to eat meat to survive. Nobody dupes me into swimming in the ocean…………..I know the odds up front and you’re right I don’t care for the most part. So eat your steak and I’ll take my chances in the ocean! 🙂


    • lms:

      …and that we’re being duped to a certain extent to believe we need to eat meat to survive.

      And by “we” you mean not you, but other people, right?

      I think people eat meat almost exclusively because they enjoy it, not out of a sense of need. I don’t know anyone who eats meat because, although they don’t like it, they think they can’t survive without it. On the other hand, I know lots of people who avoid eating meat even though they like it because they think it will kill them. So I wonder just who it is that is getting “duped”.


  11. Lmsinca, are you familiar with the new Arby’s Mountain of Meat?

    “Arby’s faced a key problem as it moved to attract customers: People thought the restaurant served mainly roast beef. To change that, the company made this poster showing a tall stack of every meat on the menu, from bacon to brisket.

    And then something unexpected happened.

    “People started coming in and asking, ‘Can I have that?’” said Christopher Fuller, the company’s vice president of brand and corporate communications. So Arby’s began granting their wish.”

    It joins the McRib and the KFC Double Down as one of the more effective gorilla marketing efforts recently.

    But of course, nothing comes close to the Turf & Turf.


  12. jnc, I’ve never eaten at an Arby’s and haven’t noticed the commercials but it doesn’t surprise me. I grew up in a family of butchers so I know all about meat lovers.


  13. Scott it would be interesting to find out how much money the meat industry spends on advertising a year versus say……..the whole grain industry or the vegetable or fruit industry.


    • lms:

      Scott it would be interesting to find out how much money the meat industry spends on advertising a year versus say……..the whole grain industry or the vegetable or fruit industry.

      More to your original point, I wonder how much the meat industry spends on advertising duping people into thinking that you need meat to survive.


  14. Scott, actually my original point was just to “suggest” that some of you might want to cut back on your meat consumption. After reading some of the ways beef, in particular, is raised, fed, and slaughtered I can’t help but make the suggestion occasionally. You could always just tell me to mind my own business.

    However, even I remember this slogan along with “Milk it does a body good”. I can’t recall any advertising like that for brown rice or soy.

    “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” is an American advertising slogan and campaign aimed to promote the benefits of incorporating beef into a healthy diet. The campaign is funded by the Beef Checkoff Program with the creative guidance of Leo Burnett Worldwide.

    Launched by the Chicago based National Livestock and Meat Board through a promotional arm, “The Beef Council” (aka “The Beef Industry Council”),[1] by the advertising firm of Leo Burnett Company the week of May 18, 1992. The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign was established through television and radio ads that featured actor Robert Mitchum as its first narrator,[2] and scenarios and music (“Hoe-down”) from the Rodeo suite by Aaron Copland,[3] followed by a large magazine campaign that was rolled out in late July and early August.[1]

    The initial campaign ran for 17 months at a cost of $42 million.[4] It featured the tag line: “Nothing satisfies so many people in so many ways”.[2]

    The new campaign replaced the slogan “Beef. Real food for real people” from the San Francisco firm of Ketchum Advertising. Leo Burnett beat out Ketchum, GSD&M Advertising, and DDB Needham.[1] Mitchum replaced such spokespeople as James Garner, Cybill Shepherd, Larry Bird, who had appeared in recent beef campaigns for The Beef Council. The previous campaigns had featured these stars in front of the camera, but the new one only used voice-over narration and highlighted the prepared beef itself.[2]

    The Beef Checkoff promotion was funded by collecting a dollar on every cow, steer, and bull sold in the United States.[3]

    22 spots ran during the 1992 Summer Olympics broadcast from Barcelona, Spain.[5] For the Lillehammer, Norway based 1994 Winter Olympics 34 spots were run at a cost of $2 million.[6]

    In May of 1993, Dairy Management Inc. and the Beef Industry Council created a promotion called “Double Cheese Cheeseburger Days”.

    After the death of Robert Mitchum on July 1, 1997, the campaign let the existing ads that were scheduled play-out through their contract over the next few months. The campaign was already set to switch to new ads featuring anonymous narrators with the new campaign and slogan: “Beef. It’s what you want”.[7] But the new campaign was less favorable and “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” was brought back in the fall of 1999 with Sam Elliott now doing the voice-over in place of Mitchum.[8]

    “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” is recognized by more than 88 percent of Americans.[9]


    • lms:

      “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” is recognized by more than 88 percent of Americans.

      Count me among the 12% minority. To be fair, though, I was out of the country from ’92, when the campaign apparently began, until 2006, so I guess that is my excuse.


  15. Even before that, 30 years ago, our then 5 year old daughter sat down at a restaurant table and asked in her loudest Louis Armstrong voice “Where’s the beef?” The entire restaurant cheered…………………. 🙂


  16. Ah well. I can’t undo that delicious steak tartare that I had last night. Can’t say as I regret it either. At least I won’t be loading up on nitrosamines. Incidentally, Brabo in Old Town Alexandria has an excellent happy hour. $5 glasses of wine (last night was a really good Pinot Grigio for her and a Merlot for me). My better half went for the cheese plate. I don’t usually go for a cheese plate as I’m paying too much for somebody to slice up some cheese. I’m OK with one or two types.

    Currently, I’m going through a duck phase. The local Giant near us has some nice duck breasts at $10/pound. A few ounces of that sliced with some sweet potatoes and berry sauce makes a nice dinner. I picked up a whole duck recently. A six pound duck doesn’t have a lot of meat to it (about 1 pound after taking off the skin and bone), but you get several cups of duck fat after rendering the skin. And the dog got some great duck cracklings for her Scooby snacks. Just after I bought the duck, my local store was half pricing duck legs. I grabbed the bunch and am making confit tonight. I’ll have to save that for a future Bites & Pieces if it works out.



  17. Back on the original topic, I’m not surprisingly one for food movies. Babette’s Last Feast is a bit over-rated in my opinion. I’d take Big Night or Ratatouille over it. Even though it’s in German, Mostly Martha is a sensational movie. Too bad it got remade as the warmed over No Reservations.

    I’d put Chef in the Netflix category. Not worth a night out, but worth a night in.



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