April 6, 2010
So, apparently KFC is rolling out the Double Down sandwich to everybody, with minor changes. The test version had pepper jack and swiss cheese, but it will now be made with Monterrey jack and pepper jack. Why, I don’t know. Seems like that’s just a doubling up of jacks (maybe that’s the point?).
Anyway, there was a big hoopla when the “sandwich” was first announced last year, and everybody was up in arms about how unhealthy it was. It isn’t particularly. A lot of fat, yeah, but 540 calories is a perfectly reasonable number of calories to be in a sandwich. It’s supposed to be a meal. Just don’t go adding a box of potato wedges and a Coke to it.
The other common complaint was that the ingredients and combination just sounded disgusting. That, I’m not sure I get. If it wasn’t labeled as a sandwich, and was served on a plate, with better quality ingredients, people would be all over it. Think about this:
One chicken breast half is sliced in half, lightly-breaded, and gently fried. Topped with a slice of imported Swiss cheese and a slice of aged Vermont cheddar, sprinkled with diced applewood-smoked bacon, and finished off with a light Hollandaise sauce.
You’d eat that, and it’s not that far a departure from the Double Down sandwich. I’m going to eat one next week, and I might try my concept up there, sometime.
April 6, 2010
Over the weekend, I watched Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. I thought it was pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but I watched the theatrical cut (which was available on Netflix Instant Watch). I’ve heard that the cut made based on Welles’ notes is better, and I’ll have to check that out, because there’s definitely a mind-blowing movie somewhere in there.
I don’t have a lot to say, and the movie really has been analyzed enough, by people far more talented than me. I do have a few thoughts, though:
- The opening sequence. Wow. I am a sucker for a great long-take (which reminds me, I need to watch Rope sometime), and the scene was just masterful. I like how you initially don’t know where you are, and it’s gradually revealed that it’s the Mexican-American border.
- The movie does feel a bit dated, as far as it’s take on drugs goes. For one thing, the way the government wages war on drugs is far different than what is portrayed here, though maybe it was accurate for its time. What I found funny was the depiction of drug use, and how terrible REEFER is. Later in the film, heroin is mentioned, and even though that doesn’t completely forgive how drug use is shown, it’s far better than blaming it all on weed.
- Goddamn Orson Welles was unpleasant in the movie. Not even getting into his character’s motivations and whatnot, but he was just a disgusting film presence. I wonder if it was intended, or just an effect of “fat Orson Welles.”
- Do not confuse this movie with the “Touch of Death.”
March 29, 2010
On Saturday, I went to see the new Paul Greengrass shaky-cam picture, Green Zone. The plan was to see Hot Tub Time Machine, which I would have preferred, but one of my friends promised his girlfriend he’d go see it with her. I think that’s a terrible reason. Hot Tub Time Machine is the kind of movie you go to see with your guy friends! Let’s recap!
The Losers – I was unaware that this was a movie that was going to exist. I am also unfamiliar with the comic is is based on. It looks like it’s a jittery, caffeinated (coked-up?) A-Team. Maybe they’re trying to cash in on some of that sweet, sweet A-Team hype. It looks like it could be a decent popcorn flick, though. One thought: one of my friends referred to Idris Elba as “that guy from The Office.” That’s not how you refer to Stringer Fuckin’ Bell! I was surprised they didn’t call Amy Ryan “that lady from The Office” during Green Zone.
Robin Hood – Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s last collaboration left me cold. Yep, I didn’t like Gladiator. But at least it was able to stoke my interest. Robin Hood looks limp and inert. For me, the appeal of Robin Hood is his roguish charm. Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood looks like another in a long line of brooding heroes. I’ll stick with Errol Flynn, an animated fox, and Cary Elwes.
And now for our feature presentation!
Like I said up top, Green Zone was okay. I enjoyed parts of it, but I don’t think I have much of a desire to ever see it again. It’s another Iraq War movie that just doesn’t work quite right. Then again, the only movie about the actual war that I thought was very good was The Hurt Locker.
There really didn’t seem to be much of a point to Green Zone. What’s the point of making a movie about the Iraq War, anyway? Is it to give the rest of us a glimpse into the soldiers’ experience? The Hurt Locker captured that about as well as I can imagine any movie doing. Is it to shed new light on some of the shady dealings over there? I think that’s what Green Zone wanted to go for, but we already know that we never found any WMDs, and we know that the government used them as an excuse to go over there.
Is it to provide a gripping narrative? I do think there is a good story in the WMD muckup, but Green Zone didn’t capture it. The little they showed of backroom maneuvering, and different shady people on both sides doing shady things were interesting. I would have liked to see more between Greg Kinnear’s military special intelligence character and Brendan Gleeson’s CIA agent. The movie would have also benefited from more of Amy Ryan’s reporter, and exploring the role of the media in the invasion. But the movie focuses on Matt Damon’s soldier who isn’t finding any WMDs, and it just didn’t connect with me. Did Greengrass want to make a “boardroom” (war room?) thriller? Did the studio push him into making a more straightforward action flick?
The Iraq War is hard to give the traditional action movie treatment. I do not think we are removed enough from it to get a charge out of watching these guys fight. And it’s not clear-cut as to who is bad and who is good. We can enjoy The Dirty Dozen because we are sending our underdog anti-heroes to fight Nazis. Nazis are evil dudes, pretty much everybody except the Nazis agrees on that. But Iraq is murkier, and while Matt Damon’s character is pretty easy to root for, the whole situation around him makes it hard to fully get into the movie.
There’s a good movie somewhere in Green Zone. It could be a neat movie about political machinations, but it’s burdened by the soldiers’ acts on the ground.
- Green Zone was not as hilarious as Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon’s last team up:
- I assume that Brendan Gleeson’s CIA chief is supposed to be American, but he didn’t try very hard to mask his Irish accent.
- It was nice of them to employ former WWF superstar Iron Sheik as General Al-Rawi.