You Need To See: Blue Velvet

by dawn on August 27, 2014

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In his excellent deconstruction of David Lynch for Premiere magazine in 1996, David Foster Wallace attempted to define the term “Lynchian”:

An academic definition … might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment with the latter.” But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Potter Stewart-type words that’s definable only ostensively — i.e. we know it when we see it. Ted Bundy wasn’t particularly Lynchian, but good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victim’s various anatomies neatly separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian.

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Food: DIY Red Curry Paste

by dawn on August 26, 2014

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So this week I finally got tired of buying insanely overpriced envelopes of red curry paste at the supermarket. Yes, I know – typical American foodie problem. Shut up.

I used to have red curry paste in the fridge all the time, because I bought a quart-sized container of it at the wholesale grocer. But since you only use a tablespoon or two at a time, unless you’re a restaurant there’s no earthly reason to have a quart of red curry paste. I mean, I love curry, but come on. A quart of curry paste.

A couple of companies sell 4 oz. jars, but I never see them where I shop. The other option is to buy those envelopes, which have four tablespoons of curry paste in them at a price that works out to about $14,000 a pound (NOTE: I am bad at math) so it just pisses me off every time I buy it. Then I use half the envelope, put the rest in the fridge, and forget that I bought it so I get a new one the next time, until I have six folded-over, half-envelopes of curry paste that I throw away when I clean the refrigerator.

There has to be a better way, I reckoned, thinking as I was about making Thai chicken curry in the crockpot and getting unreasonably angry about the curry paste situation. And lo, did I realize that I could make my own red curry paste, and all was right with the world again. [click to continue…]

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Episode 237 – Eat Your Art

by admin on August 25, 2014

Dawn’s been thinking on the ways she could be a more well-rounded sort of person. And this isn’t all about food – although food does come up. This week’s Ham-Fisted is all about making things, and figuring out how to wedge a little enrichment in your life, whether it’s setting aside an hour to paint your Warhammer figures, or putting on the headphones and trying to really listen to some Coltrane, or reading that classic book that’s so classic it’s never occurred to you that it could speak directly to your soul in ways no facebook argument ever could. It’s not so much about chasing your muse as it is having quality snuggle time with her.

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You Need To See: The Cowboys

by dawn on August 20, 2014

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As a movie star, John Wayne was in a class by himself. By 1971, he’d played every type of manly hero imaginable, from frontier gunslingers to two-fisted G.I.s, and his image was larger than life. Mark Rydell, on the other hand, was a self-described “Jewish kid from the Bronx” who’d started out as a soap-opera actor and segued into a director of pictures like The Reavers. He’d signed on to make a unique western called The Cowboys, based on a novel by William Dale Jennings with a script by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr., but he resisted casting Wayne despite pleas from the studio. [click to continue…]

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Episode 236 – You Appropriated My Boob Cape

by admin on August 18, 2014

A thick slab of ham-fisted goodness served up on a giant plate, encompassing all manner of conversation, such as sexism in the geek world, the politics of cosplay, breastfeeding in public, why women can’t have male friends on a tv show without being punished for it, whether shows in the future will be a lot less hung up on the John Hughes B.S. we’ve been hung up on since John Hughes was making movies, and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and how it prompted Dawn to look back at the choices she’s made in her own life. Also discussed – the lifecycle of a Cadbury bunny.

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Review: The Expendables 3

by dawn on August 15, 2014

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The Expendables 3 is a supremely self-assured movie. It’s made by people who know what their audience wants and needs from the film, and have carefully, lovingly crafted it to those specifications.

The title, for starters: The Expendables 3. This is the third movie about The Expendables. There’s no need for some colon and a girly subtitle! It stands its ground, and says what it is! It’s The Expendables, dammit. Number Three. If you saw the first two, and you’re willing to pay money to see the third, all you need to know is that it exists, and you will buy that ticket, because there will be manly men, and guns, and explosions. For the third time. [click to continue…]

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You Need To See: Ace in the Hole

by dawn on August 13, 2014

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For reasons lost to history, Billy Wilder broke with his writing partner Charles Brackett after their collaboration on Sunset Boulevard (1950). Wilder never publicly explained his reasons for breaking off the partnership, and many years later Brackett told an interviewer that he didn’t know why Wilder, who’d worked with him on 13 films including Ninotchka (1939), Ball of Fire (1941) and The Lost Weekend (1945), dissolved their team. Some film historians theorize that Wilder was tired of fighting with Brackett over the tone of their screenplays — of the two, Brackett was the kinder, gentler writer, and many of their legendary creative clashes were over Wilder’s almost morbid fascination with darker subjects.

There may be some truth to that, given that Wilder’s first post-Sunset picture was his acidic look at media and American culture, Ace in the Hole (1951). [click to continue…]

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Food: SNAP benefits, and eating while poor

by dawn on August 12, 2014

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Last week, I had an interesting conversation with a Facebook friend. He’s a good guy, and I’ll leave his name out of this because I have no intention of shaming him. But, unaware that I’m a grateful beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), he shared the following opinion of “food stamps” in the comments section of a mutual friend’s page:

I have yet to see any one of these card holders struggling when it comes to their purchases. They eat better than I do. There are the select few that humbly let you know they have an EBT card but the majority flash it like they are entitled. And if their card only covers $275 of their purchase, they flip past their various credit and debit cards to hand you a few hundreds out of their stack of plenty.

It’s all a scam. On both sides of the card. And the ‘scarlet letter’ hasn’t changed. It’s only shifted. Having never been on food stamps I can’t imagine what it was like, but with this EBT card, the majority of the holders I see flaunt it and wave it like it was their god given right. It is a select few that hide their card and flash it quickly and put it away as if embarrassed … There are the select few who do use it for its intended purpose, but the majority of the ones I see don’t. And the amount of money they spend weekly, baffles me.

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The first ever Ham-Fisted commentary, featuring Eric D. Sinder of MovieBS with Bayer & Snider. He plays Snider. We watched 1979′s “Mad Max,” starring young Mel Gibson in leather pants. It turns out it’s not so much a sci-fi dystopia as it is a mildly fetishistic revenge flick. But there’s also a lot of car crashes and some stuntpeople get wrecked in horrifying yet entertaining ways.

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As a lover of movies, I believe the absolute worst thing is when a film is mediocre. It’s even worse than when a movie is flat-out bad, because at least the rage one feels at having to sit through two hours of insulting crap can inspire a creative outpouring of bile. But a movie that’s just … meh? It leaves you feeling sad and dissatisfied, but without enough ire to get worked up about it.

This is the problem with two films hitting theaters this weekend, The Hundred-Foot Journey and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, very different sorts of pictures, aimed at widely disparate audiences, but sharing the common trait of being tired, uninspired, and utterly pedestrian. [click to continue…]

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