Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strange Guy, But I Like Him

THIS IS IN NO WAY the lunch of the day. This is my take on KFC's Failure Pile in Sadness Bowl, which, as I predicted, years ago when they first brought the product out to market, is really pretty good if you make it yourself. It's a layer of mashed potatoes coated with sweet kernel corn and then adorned with chicken nuggets and drizzled with brown gravy, so kind of like a variation on shepherd's pie, and frankly not far from a version of bangers & mash. Which still makes it basic knuckle-head food. I mean, boeuf bourganion it ain't. But it's brown, it's hot, it's tasty, and it'll fill the void, as we're fond of saying. (Not that I really sought it out; it more or less came together. About half the ingredients were acquired on the grounds that they were on sale last week. Like I say, I first thought about doing this some years ago. Not something anyone ought to go out of their way for.
Which Patton Oswalt did. In one of his stand-up bits, again, years back, he referred to this as a sadness pile in a failure bowl-- or the other way around, it doesn't seem to make alot of difference to me-- where the actual KCF product name is the Flavor Bowl or something else equally fictitious/fatuous, and, really, who gives a dry gray fuck. Later on down the line, after he struck up a friendship with some of the folks over at the Onion AV Club, they challenged him to actually eat one of these things and write about the experience for them. He did, and the results were predictably amusing, but in the process he made the ultimate rookie mistake. He bought the failure bowl and-- get this-- got it TO GO. He took it away, took it to his house and ate it. Any fool knows that, with this type of product, you have to eat it right then and there, while it's hot, for it to have any chance at being palatable in any way at all.
(Which, as the Wifey is fond of pointing out, is bullshit. It's still KFC. It'd always suck, hot or cold.)
(Today's lunch was an omelet. See picture heading previous entry. Same thing. Same glorious, lovely thing.)

This is not the movie of the day. I got this via Netflix last week, firstly on the strength of it's being written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, and secondarily on the strength of Martha Plimpton playing the lead-- secondarily because, God bless ya, Martha, you don't always pick material I like-- and watched it over lunch. And I am still sussing out my reaction. It's an extraordinarily well written version of an often told tale, with bits and pieces twisted about for effect, and absolutely studded with sublime performances, and aside from one bit of stunt plotting involving an unexpected glass eye-- I ask you, a glass eye?-- pretty much everything rings true. Especially since I am usually a stickler for the proper use of Southern stereotypes, and Tim gets just about everything about the Oklahoma setting reasonably right. But I think what it boils down to is I appreciated it more than I liked it. Maybe. I dunno.

In other news, Jerry Lee has seen Paul. Which, well . . . I caught this fifteen minutes in, watched most of the middle of it, ended up missing the ending, and caught it during a later showing (after watching the re-run of the F1 racing at the Hungaroring from last July, which was a helluva great race). And it seems like what everyone else said about it after it first came out was pretty much correct. It's cute, it's inventive, it's about what you would expect from a movie that casts Seth Rogan as the alien. But on the other hand, there were more than a couple of the plot culture gags that made me laugh out loud. (So tempted to soil a couple of 'em. Won't.) So I will watch it again, at some point, I am sure. It just entered the rotation, and even though it came in deeper in the HBO roster and on at an odd time interval, assuredly it will be on again, and I will sit it out, just so I can say I have seen it. Jerry Lee needs to take the ferry.

So no, I wouldn't recommend it. It's way better at home, and if you happen to have a mega-bag of chicken bits laying about the house, it kind of makes sense, But I can't recommend it. I'll eat it, but there's no compelling reason you ought to. Tim Blake put a ton of work into this, and the love of his labor shows, and Martha et al requite themselves magnificently, but when you get right down to it's it's kind of like mining for dirt. What I saw of Paul was fun and funny, but it's really meant for pop culture geeks with an obscenely wide base of knowledge. So I can't really recommend it. Hell, I don't even KNOW you! (Then again, if you're actually reading this stupid blog, it's probably right down yer damn geek alley. Ya damned geek.)

PS: The title of this blog refers to a Kids in the Hall sketch, but whether that makes any of this any funnier, I dunno. Also, Paul is on Cinemax, not HBO right now, and although it was on MaxWest this morning, it will be on Cinemax proper tonight. At 8:15. Really, Cinemax, WTF?

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Nothing Personal, But I Hate That Guy

NOT JUST in con-sideration of the fact that eggs have officially been put on the Clean List again-- they don't cause heart disease! DOCTORS do!-- but also the fact that they are now being made to contain a surfeit of omega 3 fatty acids, today's lunch was an omelet. A glorious, glorious omelet, with Mexican blend shredded cheese and a slice of American and a thumbful of chopped shallot and diced cracked black pepper turkey and, of course, two strips of thick sliced bacon slung in right before the fold. Hear me out, folks: strike while the iron's hot. Quick like, before they switch up the voodoo on us again. And God bless the people at Saranac. Just God bless 'em.

The movie of the day is something that is, simply put, far better than it had any right to be. I have not read, and will not ever read, the novel it's based on, for the same reason I don't read Cormac McCarthy or David Foster Wallace anymore. (I have had many, many people tell me they find the novel Infinite Jest to be a work of unspeakably funny genius. I found the first fourteen pages (estimated, whatever I got through the coupla times I tried reading it) to be fourteen pages of world class chain yanking.) (And, as I have said of Spielberg, at least he puts on a velvet glove before yanking your chain.) This one, I remember when it came out, was acclaimed as genius, based on the premise, which is a man suffering from Alzheimer's writes his memoirs, which is then corrected by the son who feels betrayed by him, and thus you have dueling unreliable narrators. Two! Two of 'em! Huh!? HUH!?! CLEVAHHHHH!!!

Which, my initial response to the use of the unreliable narrator is: quit screwing around and tell the @#$%ing story. My response to the use of two of them is: screw you, Jack. Who said you got to talk anyways?

So I have no idea how much of the little twists of humor, sweet chunks of dialogue, cruel twists of fate, or extremely well earned bouts of bathos belong to the source work, and never will, so I am probably being a bit mean and disingenuous in claiming the film has no right being as good as it was, but I am maintaining that viewpoint, if for no other reason than to justify my continued insistence that I just don't ever want to have to read the book. But what comes out is a work of lovely genius, the story of a man's life which, told by others, would easily make him out to be an unbelievable bastard, a selfish lout and cad who had every advantage and squandered them at every turn. But if you were to see it from Barney's point of view, you'd see that he really did mean well, and that it wasn't all his fault.

So do I recommend it? Yes, and pronto, folks. Next thing you know, they'll be telling us we ATE our way into that unfortunate case of leprosy. (Although, if you'd asked US . . . )

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