Photo #12

Film (with rating): 2012 (PG-13)


Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Summary: People struggle to survive when a series of
circumstances bring about the end of the world. 

Review: I’m a sucker for end-of-days fare. Movies or
documentaries, I’m there. The subject both terrifies and fascinates me. While
“2012” is not the most gripping, apocalyptic film I’ve ever seen,
it’s high on the list. Yes, I pushed aside the fact that the science of the
film is pretty flawed (okay, extremely flawed), as I did most of the
emotionless characters like Amanda Peet’s Kate Curtis. I kept waiting for a
decent emotion out of that woman. Heck, any emotion!

John Cusack who played
struggling-novelist-turned-hero Jackson Curtis, was an exception. As always, he
impressively played the intense guy next door mixed with a good dose of wit to
create a likeable, believable, multi-faceted character. As a quirky surprise,
Woody Harrelson showed up in “2012,” and while his character was a
total stereotype, he still played it well, smoothing over the rough edges.

the plus side, “2012” boasts of the most incredible special effects.
It’s reported to have cost a mind-boggling $260 million or so to create these
scenes of global destruction, and it shows. The movie runs a bit long (2.5 hours),
and the end feels stretched.

But despite all of it, “2012” is a good
choice. Just watch the film for the high-impact images and adrenalin-pumping
rescue scenes, and try to forget about the flat characters, implausible story
foundation, drawn-out subplots…But hey! We’ve got explosions! The pancaking of
the Los Angeles freeways system! The melting of national parks! Nothing like
some good explosion-and-destruction cinema to take your mind off of your day.

Extra highlight: “Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar”

What to serve for dinner: Try out a Mayan dish, like the Flying
Mayan Burrito

    * Flying Burrito Black Beans (see below)

Flying Burrito Mashed Sweet Potatoes (see below)

6 (12-inch) flour tortillas

1 1/2 cups salsa

1 1/2 cups guacamole

3/4 cup sour cream

Warm the black bean and sweet potato mixtures in separate
saucepans. Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in a 300 degree oven, or heat each
tortilla on both sides quickly in a heavy skillet over medium heat. In each
tortilla, place about 1/2 cup black beans and 1/2 cup sweet potatoes. Fold one
side of the tortilla over the filling and then fold in both sides, and roll up
into a burrito. Place on a plate and top with generous spoonfuls of salsa, guacamole
and sour cream.

Variation: You may fold grilled chicken, steak or any other
grilled meat into the burrito as well.


Flying Burrito Black Beans

1 pound dry black beans

2 onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups water

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red wine

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy saucepan, combine beans, onions, garlic, olive
oil and water. Bring to a boil and simmer approximately 1 1/2 hours. Add the
tomatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Simmer another 30 minutes or
until beans are very tender. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the
beans slightly. Leave some beans whole. This mixture should mound softly and be
moist but not watery. Adjust by cooking longer or by adding water. Yield: 6


Flying Burrito Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large)

Olive oil, as needed

4 ounces roasted green chiles

4 ounces (1/2 stick) sweet butter

1 ounce tequila

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes but
leave the skins on. Rub with olive oil and bake until very tender, about 45
minutes. Cool the potatoes until they can be handled and remove skins. Place in
a heavy saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Mash the mixture well,
taste for seasoning, reheat, and serve. Yield: 5 cups

What to talk about over dinner: Do you fear the end of the
world? Do you think it will happen in 2012? If not, when? How? Do you think it
will look like it did in the film? What would you do if you knew the end was
near? Where would you go? Who was your favorite character in “2012?”
Why? What was your favorite scene? Do you have an urge to learn any disaster
training now? What is one skill you have that will help out in an end-of-days
type of situation? Recite one line from John Cusack’s “Say Anything.”
What is your favorite end-of-the-world movie? “Armageddon?”
“Independence Day?” “End of Days?” “Freddy Got
Fingered?”(Oh, sorry. Watching that just felt like the end of the world.)