Horrible Bosses

Photo #11


Film (with rating): Horrible Bosses (R)

 

Studio:
Warner Home Entertainment

 

Summary:
Three working professionals conspire to murder their “horrible
bosses” when they realize these bullies are standing in the way of their
happiness and sanity.

 

Review: I watched
“Horrible Bosses” with a sense of apprehension. My past has a few
horrible bosses lurking in the dark corners of my memory. Not too many,
thankfully, but the few ass…terioids that did launch themselves into my orbit
left some large craters where they made contact with my terrestrial plane. So I
know the pain of having to show up every day at a job you need only to be
tortured by a boss who holds all the cards.

 

I mean, who hasn’t experienced this at some point in time? A
jerk of a boss?  But what do most
of us do? Gripe, complain, drink too much, pocket some extra Post-it notes and
ballpoint pens, surf Facebook on company time? Who gets together with some pals
and arranges to kill people off? The guys in this film. Nick, Dale and Kurt
(Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) can’t deal with their awful
bosses any longer, and so after a drunken night of fantasy, they arrange to
kill them off. And of course, what ensues is hysterically funny chaos.

 

Unfortunately, “Horrible Bosses” wasn’t as good as
I had hoped. Yes, it’s very funny. And yes, it’s good across the board. But
it’s not the-best-movie-ever-and-ever great. Day’s character, with his whiny
voice and stupidity, begins to annoy early on, and Sudeikis’ character is
totally unbelievable nine times out of 10. But Bateman is once again fantastic
in his role as the pinched and buttoned-up executive who finds himself at the
mercy of his evil boss day after day.

 

Speaking of evil bosses…..they made the movie, hands down.
Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell are absolutely brilliant as
the employee-destroying bosses. Spacey is just so smarmy, you want to shower
after watching a scene with him in it. Although I’m really not a fan at all of
Aniston, I have to admit she was perfect in this role as the sex-obsessed
dentist who sexually harasses Dale non-stop. And Farrell, sporting the world’s
worst comb-over, is horribly delightful. Or should I say delightfully horrible?

 

The writing is, more often than not, witty and quick, while
the fart jokes and physical humor are thankfully kept to a minimum. Some of the
one-liners, especially when delivered by Bateman or Aniston, are laugh-out-loud
funny. I’m thinking of the Dust Buster scene. Classic.

 

So even if you don’t have any horrible bosses in your
closet, you’ll still enjoy this flick. And if you are permanently scarred
thanks to the person who signed your paychecks? You’ll really enjoy it. Just
don’t get drunk with a couple of pals before watching it. 

 

Extra highlight:
Additional scenes, or, for Blu-ray, the “My Least Favorite Career”
featurette

 

What to serve for dinner: Thai Peanut Chicken. Mwhahaha! (allrecipes.com).

 

2 cups uncooked white rice

    4
cups water

    3
tablespoons soy sauce

    2
tablespoons creamy peanut butter

    2
teaspoons white wine vinegar

   
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    3
tablespoons olive oil

    4
skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into thin strips

    3
tablespoons chopped garlic

    1
1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root

   
3/4 cup chopped green onions

    2
1/2 cups broccoli florets

   
1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

 

   
Combine the rice and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to
a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until
rice is tender. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter,
vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

   
Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and
ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden on the outside,
about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and add green onion, broccoli, peanuts and the
peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until
broccoli is tender, and chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

 

What to talk about over dinner: Who was the worst boss you’ve ever had? Why? Are
you a horrible boss? What’s the worst thing any boss ever did to you? Did you
ever fantasize about doing what these three guys did? Who was the most horrible
boss in the movie? How could Dale not have been so annoying? Who was the
funniest of the trio of friends? What was your favorite scene? What makes a
horrible boss, anyway? Are you afraid to go to the dentist now?

Bridesmaids

Photo #17

Film (with rating):
Bridesmaids (R)

 

Studio: Universal
Studios Home Entertainment           

 

Summary:
Thirty-something Annie (Kristen Wiig) has hit a rough patch and realizes her
life is just about rock bottom. Her boyfriend is a dolt, she lost her beloved
bakery, she’s living with these creepy roommates, she’s beyond broke and her
current job stinks. But it gets worse. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph)
is now engaged, and she wants Annie to be the maid of honor. In way over her
head but determined to succeed, Annie leads a hilarious hodgepodge of
bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie
Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to the big event.

 

Review:  Oh, where do I start? The airplane
scene? How about the Brazilian restaurant? The slapdown by “Mike and
Molly’s” Melissa McCarthy? I could go on and on. That’s how much I enjoyed
this flick. I couldn’t wait to see “Bridesmaids” in theaters. My
sister and I went, and it was so worth ever minute I waited for it. This is
definitely one to see with your girlfriends. That’s not to say guys won’t enjoy
“Bridesmaids,” too. But it’s just a bit more fun to let loose with
your gal pals and enjoy the ride.

 

Surprisingly, this film actually lived up to all the hype.
I’m still a bit shocked about that. Never a big fan of Wiig (I couldn’t get
past that crappy “MacGruber” baggage), I did enjoy her for the most
part on “SNL.” But she sold me with her genius stint in
“Bridesmaids.” Paired with Rudolph (who always raises the bar in
whatever she does), Wiig took what could have been a cheap estrogen-fueled
rendition of “The Hangover” and instead turned it into a really
funny, beautifully disgusting, witty film.

 

While Wiig was brilliant in the main role, it was the
supporting cast that catapulted “Bridesmaids” through the roof.
McLendon-Covey, formerly of the late-”Reno 911″ television show, was
beyond hysterical. Her one-liners left me hurting from all the laughter.

 

Yes, there are some very gross scenes involving lots of body
fluids. I had to turn away a couple of times, but that’s the beauty of the
film–I couldn’t watch someone pooping in a sink, but the dialog happening
during the disgusting-palooza could still be enjoyed, even with my hands
splayed across my eyes. The screenwriting is just that good.
“Bridesmaids” is so worthy of being the highest-grossing
“R” rated female comedy of all time.

 

In a (nasty crunchy Jordan almond) nutshell, see it. Grab
some of your besties, crack open the Two-Buck Chuck, tear off the top of a Ben
& Jerry’s and enjoy the show. 

 

Extra highlight: The
gag reel, or if you have Blu-ray, aim for the “Drunk-O-Rama,” featuring
Kristen Wiig’s greatest moments on the plane.

 

What to serve for dinner: A big bowl filled to the brim with those glossy, hard-as-stones Jordan
almonds. Kidding, kidding. Wait until you watch the movie. Then you’ll get it.
OK, well, since the gals went to a Brazilian restaurant for lunch, let’s whip
up some
non-meat entrees. Again,
watch the flick and you’ll so catch my drift. Try Brazilian Black Bean Stew
(allrecipes.com).

 

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

    2
cloves garlic, minced

    2
(1 pound) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

    1
large red bell pepper, diced

    2
(14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice

    1
small hot green chili pepper, diced

    1
1/2 cups water

    2
(16 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

    1
mango – peeled, seeded and diced

   
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

   
1/4 teaspoon salt

 

   
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place the onion in the
pot, and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, and cook until tender, then mix in
the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes with juice, chili pepper, and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, until sweet
potatoes are tender. Stir the beans into the pot, and cook uncovered until
heated through. Mix in the mango and cilantro, and season with salt. Serve with
a spinach salad and brown rice.

 

And for dessert? In honor of Wiig’s “SNL” history,
let’s dish up some of Ben & Jerry’s newest, “SNL” inspired
flavor, “Schweddy Balls.” Eat it right from the carton. No bowls
required.

 

 

What to talk about over dinner: What was your favorite scene? Who was your favorite
character? Did you like the ending? Still singing Wilson Phillips? Why are
there not more R-rated female comedies like this one? Why did this movie
succeed where so many others failed? What did you think of the bridal shop
scene? The airplane scene? “Stove,” anyone? Who else really loved
Officer Rhodes? Let’s see more of that Irish cutie Chris O’Dowd, shall we? What
is your favorite “SNL” skit of all time? Who can recite the
“Schweddy Balls” one from heart? How did they get through that skit
without exploding with laughter? Oh, Alec Baldwin, you gave us such good times
with that “delicious dish.” We just can’t resist. 

The Back-up Plan






Photo #19

Film (with rating):
The Back-up Plan (PG-13)

 

Studio: Sony
Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Summary: A
successful businesswoman (Jennifer Lopez) realizes she can’t wait for Mr. Right
any longer, and so she starts a family by herself. But as soon as she embarks
down that road, she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) and realizes she just may have
found her Mr. Right, but at the wrong time.

 

Review: I’m not a
big J-Lo-the-Actor fan, but I have to admit, she was not too bad in this
romantic comedy.  I’d rather see
her sing and perform than act and speak, but in “Plan,” she proves
she does have some decent cinematic talent. (Just don’t think about
“Gigli”.) This film pretty much nails the “chick flick”
genre, so if you’re a fan, you’ll be thrilled. Even if you’re not (which I am
not), the movie still offers you a few high points. And if you’re pregnant or
ever have been pregnant, you’ll find a few avenues in the flick to really
enjoy, too.

 

Unfortunately, the plot has more than its fair share of
clichs (they meet in a taxi!? In New York City?! Pregnant women are crazy and eat like truck drivers?!), and it is pretty
predictable overall, but there are some really good memorable and comedic
moments. A few of the best involve the gal-pal Mona, as well as the
special-needs dog, who is just so cute, I want to adopt it. Another point in
the film’s favor is J-Lo’s co-star O’Loughlin. Remember him from
“Moonlight” fame? He serves up some well-timed laughs (and great eye
candy) throughout the movie. Makes me really want to tune in this fall to the
upcoming “Hawaii Five-O” series.

 

The on-screen chemistry between Lopez an O’Loughlin just
skimmed the surface, but the latter’s admirable screen presence made me
(mostly) overlook that flaw. The other supporting cast members also do an
excellent job at lending more comic chops to “Plan.” Some of the more
hilarious moments happen when these guys take over and start their own
childbirth conversations and experiences. More often than not, these guys are
the scene stealers, and they, along with the really funny pregnancy quips,
should be why you see the flick. In a nutshell, “Plan” is a decent
movie to watch this long holiday weekend when the sun gets too hot, the BBQ is
heating up and the workweek ahead looks decades away.

 

Extra highlight:
“Belly Laughs”

 

What to serve for dinner: Since, like the main character, I, too, am pregnant, let’s honor the
pregnant woman’s cravings and focus on some of my current must-have dinner
choices: Mexican food.  My latest
fave? Cheese enchiladas, with lots of sour cream. (Bet you thought I’d say
pickles, ice cream and cake, didn’t you? Nope. I did go through a pickle phase
for about two days in the first trimester, but now, can’t go near the things.)
Recipe from SimplyRecipes.com.

 

 

    *
Grapeseed oil (or another high smoke-point oil such as peanut or canola oil)

    *
12 corn tortillas

    *
1 medium onion, chopped

    *
1 clove of garlic, minced

    *
1 cup of salsa

    *
3 Tbsp of tomato paste

    *
1 cup water

    *
1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)

    *
Olive oil

    *
1 lb of jack cheese, mild cheddar or longhorn or any mild yellow cheese, grated

    *
A handful of cilantro

    *
1 cup of sour cream

    *
Half a head of iceberg lettuce

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large fry pan at high heat
add 3 Tbsp of grapeseed oil. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds,
lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook for
2-3 seconds, lift again, both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath.
Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed.
This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. You
do this process to develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown
a little, remove from the pan one by one to rest on a paper towel, which absorbs
any excess fat.

 

Saut up the chopped onion and garlic, then turn off the
heat. Add 1 cup of salsa. Dissolve 3 Tbsp of tomato paste into 1 cup of water,
add to pan. Add 1 cup of crushed fire-roasted canned tomatoes. Taste. If the
sauce tastes too vinegary, add a teaspoon of sugar.  Put some olive oil on the bottom of a large casserole pan.
Take a tortilla, cover 2/3 of it lightly with the shredded cheese, then roll up
the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas
are filled and rolled. Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the casserole
pan. Make sure all are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water.
Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the casserole in
the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

 

Garnish with cilantro and sour cream (lots of sour
cream). Serve with sliced iceberg lettuce that has been dressed only with
vinegar and salt.

 

What to talk about over dinner: Should Jennifer Lopez stick with singing, or should
she continue to try and excel at this second career on the big screen? Has her
image changed since she settled down and had kids? What is your favorite J-Lo
song? Movie? Did you think she was trying too hard in “Plan,” or did
she finally get the comedic timing just right? Why was “Moonlight”
canceled, especially since vampires are hot right now? Will you watch
“Hawaii Five-O”? Who was the funniest supporting character? Mona?
What about that kiddie pool scene? Would you ever have a home birth? Would you
ever get pregnant using a sperm bank and embark on this journey as a single
mom? What was the best part about being pregnant? The worst? Your craziest
craving? Do you think more women are going for the single-mom route? Why or why
not?

Hot Tub Time Machine






Photo #4


Film (with rating): Hot Tub Time Machine (R)

 

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

 

Summary: When longtime pals Adam (John Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson) learn of their friend Lou’s (Rob Corddry)
suicide attempt, they decide to cheer him up by taking a trip down Memory Lane
and vacationing in the hard-partying ski resort they fondly remember from their
’80s youth. But now, the town is dried up and boring…until a fateful dip in
their hotel’s magical hot tub transports them back in time to 1986.

 

Review: One of my favorite movies is “Back to the
Future.” I love everything about it: the characters, the simpler life of
the 1950s, the 1980s “present,” Michael J. Fox, the DeLorean.
“Hot Tub Time Machine” is sort of like a drunk version of “Back
to the Future,” without the classic feel. I guess you could call it a
wayward, dysfunctional lovechild of “Future” and “Hot Dog–the
Movie.”

That being said, I still enjoyed “Hot Tub.” It’s silly,
brainless and peppered with too much vomit humor, but it’s still funny and
memorable. Add to that the 1980′s staple Cusack (one of my favorites from the
decade) and an obvious “Future” nod with the inclusion of side
character Crispin Glover (hello, McFly!), and you’ve got yourself a decent romp back in 1980s
territory.

It doesn’t hurt at all that one scene featuring Cusack and his
newfound reporter friend screams “Sixteen Candles,” the all-time best
1980s film around. The music, silly hairstyles and ridiculous clothing trends
are worth a viewing of this DVD all by themselves (did we really look like
that? Did I really wear a headband–on my forehead?)

 

“Hot Tub” also boasts of an appearance by another
1980s icon, Chevy Chase, whose character is pretty lame, but sort of funny just
because it’s Chase muttering the nonsensical lines. He could read the phonebook
and still be hysterical. The other characters, especially Cusack and newcomer Clark Duke, take
the sometimes-lame dialog and turn it into some really funny fodder. A
highlight? When Craig Robinson’s character lectures his future
wife, now just 9 years old, on the perils of infidelity.

 

So on this holiday weekend, when all you want to do is laugh
and mindlessly enjoy your post-BBQ euphoria, “Hot Tub” my just be the
answer you seek. So take a plunge back into the leg-warmer 1980s, tip your hat
to the McFly factor and wonder what you would do if your tub suddenly transported
you back in time.

 

Extra highlight: None

 

What to serve for dinner: A 1980s food mentioned in the
film: fondue! Start with the classic cheese fondue (gofondue.com). Have crusty
French or sourdough bread on hand for dipping, as well as a variety of cut up,
raw vegetables: broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cauliflower, etc. It’s
also helpful to have a fondue pot for this, as it keeps the cheese warm and
enables you to take your time eating.

 

1/2 lb Emnenthaler Cheese (shredded)

1/2 lb Gruyeye (shredded)

1 clove garlic

2 cups dry white wine

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs flour

3 tbs Kirsch

1/4 tsp white pepper

Nutmeg and/or paprika to taste

 

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove. Add
clove to pot or discard. Heat up the white wine and lemon juice, but do not
boil. Reduce heat to low and slowly add cheese while stirring constantly.
Slowly add remainder of ingredients while stirring. If fondue is too loose, add
more cheese. If fondue is too stiff, add more wine. When at the right consistency,
start dipping your bread chunks and vegetables.

 

What to talk about over dinner: What time would you go back
to and why? Compare this movie to “Back to the Future.” What are the
similarities? What is the best time of your life? Would you revisit it if you
could? What would you change? What would make a great time machine? 

What is your favorite John Cusack
movie? How about one from Chevy Chase? What is your favorite 1980s movie?
Hairstyle? Song? Fashion trend? Me, I was a big fan of neon layers and legwarmers.
How could this film have been funnier and less silly? Anyone else have
flashbacks to Johnny Lawrence from “The Karate Kid” whenever Blaine
the ski guru hit the screen?

And what’s up with the bear?