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


Warner Home Video


Summary:  A world-wide pandemic erupts when a new
and deadly form of the flu infects people across the globe.


Review: Being
a card-carrying hypochondriac, I also must be a bit of a masochist to have
actually wanted to see this film. And yet, there I was, begging my husband to
take me to the theater on “Contagion’s” opening night. I have a
weakness for end-of-the-world infection stories.

While “Contagion”
was riveting, it was not the film I anticipated. But that turned out to be just
fine. It was more of a character- and dialog-driven drama than an actioner with
a main, heroic figure who battles both flu bugs and bad guys, winning the war.
In fact, there were no battles requiring any CG-prowess, nor was there even a
main character.

The cast was star-studded: Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude
Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet (who did an awesome job). Each of these
characters carried nearly equal weight in the film. And it worked. Of course, I
had to fight the urge to floss Jude Law’s horrific fake teeth every single time
the man was on screen. Those things grossed me out more than the dead bodies.

But I digress.

“Contagion” did spark fear, but it also uncovered
answers and more questions. It explored the nature of what a real-life pandemic
might look like, both from the human side and the scientific one. Truth and
fiction blended together in this film, making it an entertaining,
quasi-educational experience. I found it fascinating. Especially the part where
it was revealed we touch our face a bazillion times every day. Ew.


Extra highlight:
“The Contagion Detectives”


What to serve for dinner: Cook up something soothing and nourishing, like
what Mama would make when you were home sick from school. Chicken noodle soup
with soft garlic breadsticks.


Soup (


2 1/2 cups wide egg noodles

teaspoon vegetable oil

cups chicken broth

1/2 tablespoons salt

teaspoon poultry seasoning

cup chopped celery

cup chopped onion

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup water

cups diced, cooked chicken meat


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg
noodles and oil, and boil for 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and rinse
under cool running water. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine broth,
salt, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Stir in celery and onion. Reduce
heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water
together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to soup,
stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.


Breadsticks (


1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)

tablespoons olive or canola oil

tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

tablespoons sugar

teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil

cups bread flour

teaspoons active dry yeast

tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted


In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in
order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5
minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When
cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 20
portions. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-inch rope. Place on
greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or
until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove to wire racks. Brush warm breadsticks with butter.


What to talk about over dinner: What do you fear most? Nuclear attack or biological
warfare? Are you afraid of getting sick? What’s the sickest you’ve ever been?
How can we stay healthy? Do you believe in vaccines, or homeopathic remedies?
Who was your favorite character and why? What would you have done if you were
in the middle of a pandemic? Do we over-vaccinate? Is the flu shot worth it?
How many times a day do you touch your face?