Posts Tagged review

Something Borrowed

(Image: Warner Bros)

DVD (2011)  Written by Jennie Snyder/Directed by Luke Greenfield    STARRING: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski

Beautiful, self-absorbed Darcy and meek and mild Rachel have been BFFs since childhood. Despite Darcy’s relentless attention-seeking dramatics (often at Rachel’s expense), there is a strong bond between the two women, sealed by the fact that they can break it down 80’s style to Salt-n-Pepa’s Push It. But everything’s called into question when Darcy announces she is engaged to Dex — a man Rachel has been secretly in love with since her college days. When Rachel discovers that the handsome and good-hearted Dex (Tom Cruise-esque Colin Egglesfield) has always had feelings for her too, she and Dex start down a path that can only lead to someone getting hurt. The question is: who will that someone be?

It’s a 7.5  Something Borrowed fulfills most of my rom-com needs: twists and turns, a rich cast of characters, and several trips to a beach house in the Hamptons. The lustrous Kate Hudson is always fun, and only she could make you care about a heinous little minx like Darcy. If you like romantic comedies, you will have a good time with this one. Though I felt unsatisfied with the ending, it was realistic and I can appreciate that.

Sweet extras  The supporting cast is pretty fab: John Krasinski plays Ethan, Rachel’s long-time pal and a reluctant member of the group of friends. Ashley Williams (known to me as the lovely “Cupcake” from How I Met Your Mother) is hilarious as a straight-up crazy girl.  We also have the funny Steve Howie within the circle of friends, though I thought the actor was Brian Austin Green until just five minutes ago.

Good for who?  This is a great movie for a GNO (perhaps followed by a little badminton?). This will make a super rental one day — great for having the girls over on a summer evening for supper and a movie.  Something Borrowed is rated PG for sexual references and a bit of language. Too much dirty talk for the Baptist minister’s wife, I’m afraid.

Something Borrowed is based on the 2005 best-seller of the same name, written by Emily Giffin.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! badfriend-minton: let’s make it a thing!

Wanting to out the secrets being kept by members of the group, the ever-bitter Ethan turns a friendly game of beach badminton into a vendetta. When a team scores a point, he says, someone on that team is permitted to tell a secret about someone else. This is a great game for angry and self-destructive sorts. If badminton is not available to you, try ping pong or shooting baskets from the free-throw line. It doesn’t matter which game you play, as long as you’re hurting someone!

“But Paula,” you say, “I have a badminton set and I like games but I’m not 100% sold on the idea of destroying any of my current friendships. What do I do?” Try a friendlier version of the game: turn it into a game of Truth or Dare, with the point scorers asking their opponents to either accept a dare or reveal a harmless truth about themselves.  Badminton doesn’t have to hurt, people, but the great news is that it can if you want it to!

Paula Jane

(image of Kate Hudson: celebsinstyle.com)
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The Philadelphia Story

DVD (1940) Written by Donald Ogden Stewart/Directed by George Cukor           STARRING: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

(image: MGM Studios)

The story  A writer and photographer for a tabloid magazine concoct a plot to sneak into the fabulous and private wedding of Tracy Lord, a member of one of Philadelphia’s oldest families. The young and beautiful Tracy is a cool, self-righteous socialite who is determined not to marry another husband with as many flaws as her first one (she and her first husband C. K. Dexter Haven had “married on impulse and divorced in a rage” two years ago). Refusing to ever let passion control her again,Tracy thinks she is very much in control of her world now. But when the tabloid reporters — along with her ex-husband and her estranged father — show up at the Lord Mansion just 24 hours before the nuptials, the cold and seemingly unfeeling goddess finds her marble exterior is starting to crack.

This is the role that made Katharine Hepburn’s career (prior to this she was referred to as  “box office poison”). Hepburn as Tracy Lord is the master of aloofness as she floats about the great Lord mansion like a partial deity. Her home is full of classical Greek and Roman statuary and architecture which seem to add to her mythical force. Katharine is brilliant as she slowly softens throughout the film. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant on screen, this is the exact right film in which to do it. Both are super charming as C.K. Dexter Haven (Grant) and tabloid writer Macaulay Connor (Stewart).

The Philadelphia Story is more than 70 years old, but it feels very fresh. Despite the annoying depiction of two female characters turning a blind eye to their man’s infidelity, it’s a wonderful comedy and a strong female role for 1940s Hollywood. And there’s nothing like 1940’s film dialogue, is there? “Oh, Dext,” despairs Tracy Lord, “I’m such an unholy mess of a girl.” In romantic comedies like The Philadelphia Story, the dialogue clips along at a wonderfully entertaining pace. Some of the greatest dialogue in film history comes from films of this era.

The envelope, please The Philadelphia Story was nominated for six Oscars, and won two: James Stewart for best actor, and Donald Ogden Stewart for best adapted screenplay.

Sweet extras Best opening scene of a rom-com ever. Forty seconds of genius. 

Good for who? Call up the Baptist minister’s wife! The language is clean, and although there are numerous adult themes, this is 1940 filmmaking so sexual innuendos are heavily veiled. Children wandering into the room while you watch won’t be a problem either: they won’t have a clue what’s going on. This is an excellent choice for any adult, as long as he or she likes classic films (be mindful that it’s black and white, which drives some people to drink).

Where can I get it? Netflix doesn’t carry it yet, but you can buy from Amazon or rent the DVD from a place with a good classic film collection. In Halifax or Bedford, Nova Scotia, you’ll find it at Video Difference.


Love this movie? Live this movie! Bathing baldies … I mean, beauties. 

“My, she’s yar!” Tracy Lord says of the model yacht True Love. Well yar swim cap is pretty yar too, we want to say in return! It’s true, ladies — bald can be beautiful. If you too want to be a stone-cold retro goddess,  a bathing cap is where it’s at. Here, Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord takes a dip in the large pool on her estate, sporting a plain white cap.  Keira Knightley showed off the same look (with chip strap) in Atonement, a 2007 film set in 1930’s England. Similar caps can be purchased at Amazon.com and Speedo.com.



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Notting Hill

(Image: Polygram Filmed Entertainment; from HookedonHouses.net)

DVD (1999) Written by Richard Curtis/Directed by Roger Michell         STARRING: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant

Poor William Thacker! The handsome but lonely bloke lives in Notting Hill, London with a perpetually semi-nude roommate and no hope of ever giving himself to love again. He was once married, he tells us in the opening narration, but this woman left him for someone who “looks exactly like Harrison Ford.” William (played by Hugh Grant)  is content to work by day in his travel bookshop and spend his evenings at home. Life is uncomplicated for William — uncomplicated, that is, until American actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) walks into his shop. What follows is one of the best romantic comedies of the past 20 years.

I watched 10 Hugh Grant films back-to-back last June.  I began with Notting Hill, and in hindsight that was an error as I had set the bar too high and the likes of Nine Months and Bridget Jones (both one and two) could not compete.  I have not been a Julia Roberts fan since after Pretty Woman, but Notting Hill reminds me of Julia’s strengths as an actress. She and Hugh present the tale of a rather charming relationship yet there are moments of extreme emotional intensity which play out in a very real way. The final act of Notting Hill includes a scene reminiscent of the end of Roman Holiday (Gregory Peck could even rival Hugh for floppiest hair if Gregory hadn’t greased it back like that).

A few questions arose for me while watching Notting Hill: How does William make a living in a bookstore that nobody frequents? Why doesn’t his naked roomy catch cold? Why did William’s wife leave him for someone who reportedly “looks exactly like Harrison Ford” when William looks exactly like Hugh Grant? Equally as cute, I should say.

Sweet extras William brings home actress Anna to supper in one of the best meet-the-family scenes in all of film.

Good for who? This is rated PG-13, so it’s not for kids at all. There are several sexual references and some colourful language. It’s Hugh Grant and it’s a British film so what can I say, people? The f-bomb drops twice. I would not watch this with my 13-year-old daughter or the Baptist minister’s wife. For a content review, visit Screenit.com: Notting Hill.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Marc Chagall

William Thacker has a print of a Marc Chagall painting hanging on his kitchen wall. Anna Scott admires it. “It feels how love should be — floating through a dark blue sky,” she says.

“With a violin playing goat,” adds William.

“Well, yes,” says Anna. “Happiness is not happiness without a violin playing goat.”

The colourful painting is La Mariée (The Bride), a now-famous work by Jewish-Russian artist Marc Chagall. The image depicts a young bride, her husband, and yes a violin-playing goat (although let’s not overlook the lovestruck fish, leaping over houses as he celebrates either the marriage or the fact that he has been granted human arms.)  Much of Chagall’s paintings, lithographs, and stained glass work contain images of, or were inspired by, his love for deceased wife Bella Rosenfeld Chagall who died in 1944 of an infection. This fact makes Chagall’s work both beautiful and haunting, as well as deeply romantic.

A reproduction of La Mariée was made for the film (the original painting by Chagall is in a private art collection in Japan). To avoid the reproduction one day being mistaken for the original, the fake Chagall was destroyed after completion of Notting Hill. But don’t despair! You can have your own fake Chagall with just a few quick clicks at Allposters.com.

My favourite work by Marc Chagall is Les Amants au ciel rouge (Lovers in the red sky), 1950.



Paula Jane

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Housesitter

DVD (1992) Written by Mark Stein / Directed by Frank Oz                               STARRING: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn

(Image: hookedonhouses.net)

Housesitter is a movie I always recommend to those who want a rom-com that’s heavy on the “com” and not so much the “rom.” This movie is sort of the antithesis of Sleepless in Seattle, which we all know is a masterpiece of ooey-gooey emotional goodness.  That’s not to say that Housesitter is not moving or romantic, because it is. But the development of the relationship between the lead characters sort of sneaks up on you in a conclusion that’s cute and satisfying yet relatively painless for the viewer who gets wigged out by heartfelt monologues or too many girl tears.

Steve Martin plays architect Newton Davis, a man who has been in love with the same woman since the 9th grade. Now he is  finally popping the question — not with a diamond ring but with a beautiful house he designed and built himself, wrapped in a huge red bow. “You are so nuts!” Becky exclaims upon seeing the house, to which he replies “And you are so sane! It’s perfect!”  But will she marry him?  “No!” she retorts, and three months later, Newton is still broken-hearted and the engagement house sits in the country, unlived in and empty.  But after a one-night stand with a fakey Hungarian waitress named Gwen (Goldie Hawn), Newton decides it’s time to move on and he heads to his hometown to put the house up for sale. Much to his surprise, the house is now being  inhabited by the one-night stand, and she’s been presenting herself around town as Newton’s wife. She is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, Newton is certain, but he allows Gwen to stay when he realizes he can use her to win Becky’s love once and for all.

Goldie Hawn is  funny and beautiful, and quite a different physical specimen from the rom-com leads of the past decade or so. Housesitter was made in 1992, back in the days when it was okay to have some junk in the trunk, and Goldie strikes me as a cross between Jenn Aniston, Madonna, and perhaps a half-baked aunt we like to visit every summer. Gwen seems to be a con-artist at first glance, but when we  realize that all she wants is a place to belong,  it puts a soft edge on an otherwise manipulative character.

As for Steve Martin, I could sing his praises all day (brilliant comedic banjo-plucking art-collecting writer/actor/Renaissance man) but for now I will stick to the subject at hand and say that no one but Steve Martin can slide back and forth between gentleman and supreme nitwit with such ease. If you like Transition Steve (post-Jerk but still maintaining a healthy dose of goofball), you’ll like Housesitter.

Sweet extras Steve singing “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral.” You can’t live without it.

Good for who? This is a funny one for both guys and girls, and will make a great rental for a date night at home. For the content conscious among you (you know who you are), there’s a bit of mild language and a few sexual references but nothing graphic.

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Wrapping it up with a big red bow

The big red bow is great for unwrappable gifts like a car or a piano or Newton’s engagement house to Becky. But many of us can’t afford to give the gift of shelter or transport, so does that mean we’re doomed to never partake in the gentle beauty that is the big red bow?  Nonsense! I recall the last time I bought a shower gift: the gift was $20, and the wrapping paper, tape, and ribbon came to $15. Obscene, but what are my choices? Re-using old paper or giftbags is a great idea, but sometimes they can look too worn. I like the idea of presenting a small gift with all of the splendor of a huge one — tied up with nothing but a red bow.  It’s cheap and stylish and it looks so cool that others will assume they should be doing it too. Yes, it can be said that giving an “unwrapped” gift is ruining the surprise, but chances are the person has demanded the gift through their registry or Christmas list and already knows what’s coming. Not only does a red bow scream class, but it also says “I know you already knew what this gift was going to be so let’s just cut the crap. Happy wedding shower, your majesty!”

Below I demonstrate with household items just how great a red bow can look on a little gift.

Books are perfect for this simple yet classic treatment.  Adorned with this fine red bow, painter John Singer Sargent’s Madame X looks even more stuck up than she apparently already was.

No, that’s not a gemstone from King Tut’s burial collar. That’s a yard-sale rooster.

You ask: “What on earth IS this?” I say: Who cares! It’s wrapped in a big red bow so it MUST be valueable!

Even a week-old container of red onions looks like a gift from the Queen when presented with a velvet red bow.  If you hand over this gift and the receiver says “Snooty much?” before sauntering away, you’ll know you’re working it.

Try the red bow idea at the next birthday or shower you’ve been invited to. If you are a clutz and absolutely cannot tie a decent bow, check out this great little quickie tutorial.

Paula Jane

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Sleepless in Seattle

DVD (1993)  Written and directed by Nora Ephron                     STARRING  Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Bill Pullman, Rosie O’Donnell

Are there any rom-com lovers out there who haven’t seen Sleepless in Seattle? I suppose not. That would be like an art history student who wants nothing to do with the Louvre, or a Los Angeles police officer never spending time with Charlie Sheen. Sleepless in Seattle is required viewing. What’s unique about this movie as a romantic comedy is that the would-be lovers don’t say more than a few words to each other throughout the film. We don’t even see them kiss. It’s magical and romantic to the Nth degree. If you love love and want to believe there is a man out there who will remain lovesick and devoted to you long after you’re dead, then hurry off to the video store and indulge in this rom-com gem once again.

Tom Hanks stars as Sam Baldwin, a Seattle architect whose wife has died.  It’s a year and a half later and he is unable to move on. Out of concern, Sam’s 8-year-old son Jonah calls a radio talk-show on Christmas eve and tricks his dad into getting on the phone with the radio psychologist — where Sam eventually begins sharing about his wife and his grief. Across the country  is Annie, engaged to be married to a very nice man played by Bill Pullman (does Pullman ever not play a nice man?).  Annie listens to Sam’s story on the radio that evening and feels an immediate connection with him. She soon discovers that she can’t get Sam out of her mind and sets out to find him. Even dressed as a stylish bag lady (this was cute in 1993), Meg is adorable and a perfect match for Tom Hanks who is a true sweetheart.

Sweet extras  Watching this movie sent me back to a happier time, when Rosie O’Donnell was funny and elastic-cuff sweatpants were acceptable cozywear.  Also look for Tom Hank’s real-life wife Rita Wilson as Tom’s sister Suzy.

Good for who?  If you have a boyfriend or a husband who relentlessly mutters about hating “chickflicks” (a term I detest), then this movie is not for him. But it’s perfect for a girls night or a night alone.  For those concerned about content, it’s a rather clean movie but has a few scenes with words and phrases like “get laid” and “orgasm” chucked in to take away the movie’s sugary sweetness and bump it to a PG rating.

If you liked this movie you’ll also probably like You’ve Got Mail (which once again pairs up Tom and Meg).

 

Love this movie? Live this movie! Bringing back sweatpants and a warning to Zac Efron

“You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.”  This is what Rosie O’Donnell’s character says to her best friend Annie, and Annie knows it’s true.  Watching the super romantic film An Affair to Remember, Annie is inspired and decides to pursue Sam.  In essense, what Annie is doing is loving the movies and then living the movies. So if I were to tell you to live this movie, I could suggest that you live this movie by living this movie by living this movie. It could be a never-ending chain that blows the mindhole, but in all fairness to the exercise, of course, Annie didn’t live this movie, but rather she lived An Affair to Remember.  So you would live this movie by living that movie by perhaps meeting a lover at a secret location in 6 months time, or, if you’re adventurous, getting yourself struck by a car and nearly killed. Although, technically, to live Sleepless in Seattle, you could choose any of your favourite movies to re-live — you wouldn’t have to live that one. But be careful which one you choose because if you pick a movie like Groundhog Day, you will end up living this movie by living that movie by re-living that movie, over and over, until you learn to love unselfishly. As you can see, the levels of this exercise could go deeper and deeper until the more weak-minded of you spiral to your psychological deaths.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Zac Efron said he lives out his fantasies through the movie roles he plays. So, in playing a role,  Zac Efron is simultaneously living his life. So if he chose to live this movie, he might live one of his own movies in which he is already living his life, therefore creating a rift in the space-time continuum and either creating a duplicate version of himself or negateing himself and ceasing to exist! This is not bogus science. Zac Efron, don’t live this movie!

If this whole thing frightens you, dear reader, how about you just live this movie by renting An Affair to Remember and watching it with a girlfriend? (Don’t forget the baggy elastic-cuff sweatpants — there’s nothing comfier!) 

Paula Jane

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17 Again

DVD (2009)  Written by Jason Filardi / Directed by Burr Steers

Mann and Efron in “17 Again”   (image: New Line Cinema) 

A 37-year-old is thrust into the body of a 17-year-old. No, no, that’s not a description of the photo above — it’s the plot of 17 Again, one of my favourite movies from last year.  Many of you probably haven’t seen the movie because you think it’s for kids, but it’s not.  Nor is it a tale of cougar angst, or a lame vehicle for Disney-grown prettyboy Zac Efron.  17 Again is very much a story for adults (and older teens), and it’s so much fun from start to finish. If you can accept that Zac Efron is going to look like Chandler Bing in 20 years, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Matthew Perry plays 37-year-old Mike O’Donnell. He works at a dead-end job, he’s just weeks away from finalizing his divorce, and his teenaged kids want nothing to do with him. Life is terrible, but with a little help from a mystical high-school janitor, Mike is given the chance to re-do the last 20 years of his life.  He arrives back in 1989 — not to the year, but to the body he inhabited during his senior year in high school. The grumpy and tired Matt Perry turns into the delish and energetic Zac Efron, and once again Mike O’Donnell has life by the tail. Within a day, he’s back as the star of the basketball team and just a scout visit away from a full college scholarship. Plus he can Hammer Dance like there’s no tomorrow. Mike soon realizes, however, that he’s been sent back to high school not to salvage a lost basketball career, but for a greater purpose, and he sets out to save his kids and his marriage to his high school sweetheart Scarlett (Leslie Mann).

This movie contains shades of everything from Big, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and even  Back to the Future. It’s not really a new idea, but what sets this one apart is Efron’s performance. He channels a 37-year-old man with such authenticity and a lot of the film’s humour is built on this. Efron is a true multi-talent, and in 17 Again he proves he can act, do comedy, and probably also steal away some of our moms if he tried. There is a courtroom scene where he reads a letter to Scarlett, and it’s so well done and so sweet that we suspend all disbelief and feel for this lonely body-transformed man-child who wants so desperately to have a second chance with his wife.

Lovely moments like that aside, 17 Again is a great date movie and it’s both male and female friendly. I imagine there are a lot of you out there who would rather have Jack Bauer cut a cellphone memory card from your stomach than watch a movie starring one of the High School Musical cast members. I urge you not to dismiss this movie because you think you’re too good for Zac Efron (you’re not). If for no other reason, watch this movie for  Thomas Lennon, who plays Mike O’Donnell’s best friend and faux-father. He’s hilarious plus his house of sci-fi memorabilia will keep you drooling for the duration.

Sweet extras   A bit of trivia: at one point in the film, Thomas Lennon claims to be speaking “Elf”, implying it is Elvish, the language created by J.R.R. Tolkien. What Lennon is actually speaking is a form of Gaelic — Elvish is a registered trademark of the Tolkien family and you aren’t allowed to use it without special permission.

Good for who?  I recommend this for 14+ teens and adults. This is definitely not appropriate for little kids (and would probably make the baptist minister’s wife a little uncomfortable). You can find a detailed content description of 17 Again at Screenit.com, a site I highly recommend for parents with movie-loving kids.  I let my 12-year-old daughter watch 17 Again because I liked the movie’s message and because I knew she could handle the content — it was nothing I hadn’t already discussed with her for the most part.  

 

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Hammertime

Did MC Hammer ever stop to think that maybe we don’t WANT to touch this?  In case, however, you’ve got the godforsaken urge to bust a move after watching 17 Again, you can review the dance steps in the basketball court cheerleading scene near the beginning of the movie. In a special feature outtake included on the DVD, you can watch Zac Efron learn to Hammer Dance as well as do The Running Man, The Prep, and The Roger Rabbit (“What IS that?” he asks, after watching the choreographer demonstrate).

If you just can’t wait to rent your DVD before having your own ’80s-dance refresher, watch my favourite description of the Hammer Dance from Howcast.com and get started right now!  The video says Hammer pants are optional, but I think we both know they’re a necessity!

 

 

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Something’s Gotta Give

DVD (2003)  Written by Nancy Meyers / Directed by Nancy Meyers     STARRING: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Frances McDormand, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet

(McDormand, Keaton, and Peet in “Something’s Gotta Give.”   Image: Columbia)

We first see the house of our dreams as the male lead and a female secondary character pull into the driveway. “The perfect beachhouse,” he says, in awe of the expansive cedar-shingled oceanfront home. We too are in awe, and giddily await the architectural delights beyond the front doors. The characters say a few more things — things that are probably pertinent to the plot — and then enter the “fabulous two-storey livingroom” which oozes both comfort and New York chic. We ooo, we ahhh, we don’t notice that the female character is removing her pants. 

Okay, yes, we do notice she’s removing her pants, but I just wanted to stress how gorgeous this beach house is. Just being able to admire the film’s set and settings for 128 minutes was, for me, worth the theatre ticket price for Something’s Gotta Give.  The script and the cast in this sophisticated romantic comedy by Nancy Meyers are unbeatable to begin with, and the addition of such a glorious set is like warm caramel sauce on an already delicious bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s borderline indulgent, but I love it.

This Hamptons beach house belongs to divorced 50-something playwright Erica Barry (Diane Keaton).  Erica and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand) had hoped to spend a quiet weekend at the beach, but that plan goes out the window with the unexpected arrival of Erica’s daughter Marin (Amanda Peet) and her 63-year-old boyfriend Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson).  Erica is put off by the age difference between her 30-ish daughter and the new boyfriend, and she and Harry clash. Things get weird when Marin and Zoe must return to the city, leaving Erica to spend a few days alone in the house with the cigar-smoking rap-pushing girl-chasing Harry. The situation is so tailor-made for laughs and romantic encounters that only a couple of chumps like  J-Lo and Alex O’Loughlin could screw it up.  The fact that Jack Nicholson’s charm is in the mix makes Something’s Gotta Give my top-of-the-heap romantic comedy favourite.

My friend J. says she doesn’t usually like Keaton because she is just so over the top when she’s acting. Yes, Keaton has really rubbed me the wrong way a few times, like in 2007’s  Because I said So, but in Something’s Gotta Give she seems to be in the zone. Keaton is at her best when she seems to be playing herself, and it’s been said by critics that she’s doing that here. I’m not suggesting Diane Keaton should be a one-trick pony, but if the saddle fits…

Anyway never mind all that. Did you get a load of Erica’s freaking kitchen? And her office. My lord, her office.

Sweet extras  Two words: Keanu Reeves. He appears throughout the movie as Dr. Julian Mercer, and as a love interest for Diane Keaton. Also to note is Frances McDormand: she’s the coolest romantic comedy sidekick, and I wish there had been more of her in the film, but alas, more time given to her would have probably meant less time for Keanu, and that is unthinkable.

If you liked this movie, you’ll probably  like  It’s Complicated, also written and directed by Nancy Meyers.

Good for who?  If you’re any kind of adult and you don’t enjoy Something’s Gotta Give, then you should have your head examined by the handsome Dr. Julian Mercer. I will just note that sexual references and scenes are numerous although not graphic, and the f-bomb drops two or three times. I know these things bother a few women who frequent this blog (no matter how artfully placed the cussin’ is), so I’m just issuing a little warning for you, ladies.

 

Loved this movie? Live this movie! Late night pajama-and-pancake party

(Keaton and Nicholson, sharing a late night snack.  Image: Columbia Pictures)

Erica and Harry are night owls and meet up in the beach house kitchen one evening for pancakes and conversation. It’s here in the smiles and looks they exchange that we realize these two really are attracted to each other. Before it can amount to anything (not even the pancakes come to fruition), Marin returns from New York and her lively presence and attention to Harry has a disappointed Erica saying she’s going back to her bedroom to write.  “You don’t want pancakes anymore?”  Harry asks — perhaps the saddest and most sweetly pathetic question ever uttered in rom-com history.  “No,” replies Erica quietly. “I don’t.”  Ouch. Shot through the heart.

Well, Erica Barry may not want pancakes anymore, but I do!  The movie gave me new appreciation for the idea of pancakes as a late-night snack. They’re delicious, filling and easy — plus the world is quiet after midnight and a little cooking and chatting is a great way for you to get to know or re-connect with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, roommate, child, neighbour, or anyone you might find  hanging around your yard at that time of night.  Keep the work to a minimum by using a good pancake mix instead of cooking from scratch. I use Aunt Jemima  buttermilk mix.

If pancakes seem too cheap and low-brow for your bourgeois tastes, don’t knock it until you try it. Hey,  Erica and Harry shunned leftover coq au vin for pancakes. Plus some toppings can turn pancakes into more of a highfalutin dessert than a breakfast staple.  Here are some quick and easy topping suggestions that require minimal effort (there are lots of fancy homemade syrups and sauces you can make, but the idea is to make it easy — no intensive cooking and boiling and fussing. It’s freaking midnight, afterall). Have the toppings alone, or mix and match with others from the list:

  • Maple syrup, of course
  • Blueberries (that’s what Erica was planning to use)
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Whip cream
  • Milk chocolate chips (on top or cooked right into the batter)
  • Chocolate or butterscotch syrup
  • Sugar with lemon juice (recommended on several sites online)
  • Applesauce
  • Jam (spread cold with a knife or warm in the microwave)
  • Yogurt
  • Powdered sugar
  • Peanut butter (cold or warmed and melted over the pancakes)
  • Ice cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Caramel
  • Honey
  • Bacon (quickly cook in the microwave and then crumble either on top of the pancake with syrup, or sprinkle the bacon pieces into the uncooked side of your pancakes while they’re in the pan. Top with a little maple syrup afterward.)

Do you have a favourite quick-and-easy pancake topping that I haven’t listed here? Let me know and I’ll include it in the list.

Paula Jane

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