SOS

You probably have a list of films that you’ve always meant to see but have somehow slipped by; for me those have included Julia and Julia (about an amateur cook/blogger and chef Julia Child), The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (about memories? I still haven’t seen it) and until recently, Mamma Mia (a musical featuring ABBA songs). Well, the latter film is off my list of Mean To See and onto a new one: Worst Movies I’ve Ever Suffered Through.

MERYL STREEP MM

Mamma Mia is appallingly over-acted, ineptly sung, gaudy (and not in a good way), hideously costumed, nonsensically written, and is almost enough to put an unsuspecting person off the catchy, joyful sing-along tunes of the Swedish pop group, ABBA, forever.

I should have know better when the opening scene was a jaw-dropper (and not in a good way): three 30-something twenty-year olds screeching out a melody I can only assume once made sense while dancing (allegedly) in the Greek countryside. Why Greek? Good question.

The mystifying setting and the stupefying use of Greek people and culture as a backdrop to the nonsense should have at least provided some distraction from the stupidity of the plot, but no, it was just another cringeworthy element of a movie that was so full of cringe that I was almost a crumpled ball of skin by its end.

Sure, Meryl Streep soldiers her way through, flinging her arms about during musical numbers in a touching display of misplaced trust in the director, who surely drugged all the actors. Directing the group dance scenes must have involved mass hypnosis. “Make it big! Make it CAMPY!” Cringe.

The less said about Pierce Brosnan’s acting and “singing”, the better. And I should be clear: this is not a production that joins the ranks of movies so bad they are good. This one is just bad.

mamma mia awful

Here’s an image I can’t unsee: once-distinguished actors Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgård.

To be fair, there was one highlight. Despite a winter cold that causes me to croak so alarmingly that it frightens the new puppy, I did start to sing along to the song “Super Trouper”, which awakened said puppy. She leapt to her feet and ran to me, sat and stared as if she’d never been so enchanted. “Super trouper lights are gonna find me, Shining like the sun!” I croaked loudly to my enraptured Holly pup. She crawled into my lap and we had a moment.

Super trouper beams are gonna blind me

But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you!

ABBA, why didn’t you sue?

Movie Review from Memory: Marathon Man

Prompt: Marathon

marathon-man-dustin

Without consulting IMDB, I will now attempt to review the classic thriller, Marathon Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and released, I think, in the 1970s, which many call the Golden Age of Hollywood movies. Think The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Chinatown, American Graffiti, The Sting, Blazing Saddles, M*A*S*H*, Straw Dogs, Klute, Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, Jaws, Taxi Driver, Network, Annie Hall, The French Connection, Blazing Saddles, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Exorcist, Saturday Night Fever, and so many more. (Whatever happened to good, original movies? A question for another time.)

All most people can remember about the film Marathon Man is the torture scene, where Dustin Hoffman’s character is submitted to a dentist’s drill and well— suffice it to say I have a bit of a phobia about going to the dentist.

Is it safe?” I swear I will up and die if my dentist ever utters those words to me at any time and in any context.

Was this movie in black and white? I remember it as such. Dustin Hoffman is the bumbling, humble everyman, who gets into trouble when his spy brother, played by Roy Scheider, is killed while tracking down a Nazi concentration camp doctor, the ever brilliant Lawrence Olivier. This evil, evil character wants to know, I think, if he can safely sell the millions of dollars worth of diamonds that he stole from Holocaust victims.

Dentists, concentration camps, a Dr Mengele character— it all sounds pretty awful, right? But this film is a thriller worth watching, as Dustin Hoffman tries to survive pursuit by the relentless Nazi doctor, and part of this involves running? Yes, thus the title. I remember a magnificent scene which took place in the diamond district of New York City, a predominantly Jewish part of town, where the evil doctor ventures with great trepidation tempered by an insatiable, delicious greed.

Does a Holocaust survivor recognize him and scream at him like the Donald Sutherland character at the end of The Body Snatchers?

You betcha.


Later: I have now checked in with IMDB, and Marathon Man was in colour (I got Giant wrong too), but was indeed made in 1976. Here is the trailer:

And a bit of famous movie trivia about Olivier and Hoffman in Marathon Man:

Dustin Hoffman (being a “method actor”) stayed up all night to play a character who has stayed up all night. Arriving on the set, Lawrence Olivier asked Hoffman why he looked the way he did. Hoffman told him, to which Olivier replied in jest, “Why not try acting? It’s much easier.”

Product Review: Hello Kitty Egg Ring

Prompt: Mystical

hello-kitty-at-window

There is nothing mystical about the Hello Kitty Egg Ring (though it has a mystical quality about it as it gazes out the kitchen window in the photograph above). It is a thingie composed of plastic/rubber, with the rubber part formed in a circle, that you crack your egg into to keep it in a nice neat circle as it fries. I understand you can also fry up some homemade crumpets in egg rings such as this— you know, those delicious crispy-on-the outside crumpets with the air holes that invite all that melted butter…

Anyway, are you tired of those random, spreading, Rorschach-shaped egg whites that fry up all unevenly? I wasn’t, but there you go. Things happen to your brain when you are in the dollar store.

Product: (Generic?) Hello Kitty Egg Ring, pink

hello-kitty-package

Purchased at: Dollarama, British Columbia, Canada

Price: $2.50 (I know right? At the Dollarama?)

Value: Seems expensive

How to Use: Clean all the Dollarama cooties off of it, dry, and then spray the inner part with non-stick spray, or grease it with butter. Firmly place it into a heated, non-stick frying pan. Crack your egg into a measuring cup, then pour into the ring. Press the ring down a bit, or watch the egg white escape through the bottom of the ring. When the egg is set, you can remove the ring and cover the pan to get a more even heat.

hello-kitty-pan

Did it work?: The egg was trapped inside a pink rubber cage. It did not like this and dug a tunnel to escape into the pan. Freedom! The egg was more compact in its little ring, instead of spread out, which meant it took longer to cook (I like firm whites and runny yolks), thus it burned on the bottom. The yolk was delicious, but Hello Kitty had nothing to do with that.

hello-kitty-final

Recommended for: People who can cook with egg rings and/or people who like burned eggs.

Stars: ** out of *****