Posts from the ‘Movies’ Category

Guess Who?

This past Friday was our second date night. It was another success. We watched ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ and made Apple Bacon Pancakes, Mimosas, and Classic Coffee Creme Caramels.

The pancakes were heaven. I made them with whole wheat pastry flour and they were wonderfully hearty and filling. Whole wheat flour has always added more of a nutty flavor to foods and when combined with the apple- HEAVEN!!!

The coffee cremes came from the ‘Chocolate and Coffee Bible’. I wasn’t crazy about them. I loved the texture (like a custard) but it had a very strong coffee flavor. Too strong for me. The hubby loved the coffee flavor but wasn’t jazzed about the custard texture. So we will probably not be making these again.

The movie was great. Ryan felt that there wasn’t enough action (go figure) but I enjoy ‘talking’ movies (as my younger siblings termed dialogue-driven dramas many years ago) and thought it was very well-paced. To me, the movie’s biggest strength is that it took a large concept (an interracial relationship at a time when it was still illegal in many places) and restricted the setting, time frame, and characters in order to tell the love story of the parents for each other and for their children. By the end of the movie, the couple’s relationship became the backdrop for them learning about their parents in a way they never had before.

It was also interesting to watch the movie with a contemporary eye, considering that the topic (an interracial couple) is no longer controversial. It was somewhat uncomfortable because, to have been so advanced for its time, it is very politically incorrect for our time. And when you add a viewing of ‘The Help’ to the mix, the character of Tilly, the housekeeper, takes on a whole new dimension. It is also a teensy bit vindicating to me, a Southern girl, to know that Southerners were not the only ones to have help that they genuinely did not ‘see’. Wealthy, west coast liberals did too.

This is another movie that I appreciate because of its optimism and because I can watch and see how far we, as a society, have come. Even in ways the movie did not intend- like understanding the role of the help. Sometimes you see something from a past era and think, “Goodness things have changed. How on earth did we get here?!” and then other times you see something that reminds you that not all movement forward means something valuable is lost. Sometimes, every so often, you get to see what we have gained.

It is further evidence that things to do not have to be grim and angry in order to be serious and valuable. The subject of race, romantic relationships changing over time, children growing up and gaining their own lives, etc. are all very serious matters that all human beings have to confront. And I think the movie allows viewers to appreciate the seriousness of those matters against an open, sunny, beautiful backdrop. Nothing in the setting or cinematography makes the viewer feel cornered or edgy. The movie allows the viewer to see the optimism of the Joanna Drayton (the soon-to-be bride) and the eventual happiness of the parents to know that they have helped pass on something beautiful and lasting to their children- even though the world is changing around all of them.

I am that Yankee Doodle Boy (Girl)

Friday night is date night at home at our house. We decided to start the tradition in order to give ourselves something specific to look forward to during the week, have a chance to make some of the awesome internet recipes that I have found, and to start actually watching some of the movies that everyone says are so great.

This past Friday night was our inaugural date night. It was incredible. We made BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, Bruschetta, Cheese Fondue and a Simple Chocolate Cake. We also had a delicious Chianti- Ruffino Superiore, I think. I know that sounds like a hodge podge but it was like having a super indulgent appetizer sampler platter along with yummy wine and chocolate.

I LOVE How Sweet It Is! I have never had a recipe fail from her site. We are going to be making at least one of her recipes each week and our desserts from the ‘Chocolate and Coffee Bible’ linked above. I would recommend all 4 of the dishes we prepared. They were both simple and indulgent. The best thing about the food was that we splurged on cheese, chocolate, and wine- all in the same meal. Three of the most oft-overlooked food groups.

Our movie selection was ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ which is based on the career of George M. Cohan. The movie was number #100 on AFI’s 1997 list ‘100 Years, 100 Movies’. I had seen this movie before and happen to love it. I have a weakness for musicals, films from the 1940’s, and patriotic songs and stories. I was sorry that it was removed from AFI’s 2007 list, but it will remain on my lists of “Favorite Movies” and “Best Movies Ever Made”.

I think one reason it is both to me is because it is the exact opposite of American film noir, both in style and content. It is very light-hearted, inspiring, patriotic, and optimistic. I appreciate film noir but I do not believe that something must be dark or cynical (to put it very simply) in order to be profound or have value. This is a country of legitimate success stories and, in spite of what some people think, actually has a genuine culture. This movie embodies a lot of that. George M. Cohan grew up as a traveling vaudeville performer and became one of the greatest composers and performers in our country’s history. And he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his songs ‘Over There’ and ‘You’re A Grand Old Flag’. Both of these songs embody and have continued to nurture our culture’s desire to be strong, moral victors who celebrate liberty, attempt to unite under a symbol that represents ideas (not race or status), will fight for our freedom and fight in order to finish and leave (not amass land or property).

Also, I am a fanatic for anything historical that is also accurate and well put- together. This movies succeeds on all accounts. The details are mostly correct, the sets and costumes are well designed, and the song and dance numbers are lavish and inspiring. This movie serves as a good picture of the career of George M. Cohan, and because of its age, as a source regarding film styles in the early 1940’s.  

Just like I believe that certain songs and albums are worth carving out time to experience before you die, I believe certain films are worth it also.