Category Archives: Favorite Things

The Awesomeness That Is German Musical Theatre

As I mentioned last year, my roommate gave me the most amazing idea: drop the minor I hated and take what I wanted. The class I was dying to take was German.

So far it’s wonderful. There’s a smexy Russian, some really talented voice majors, and a professor who’s tons of fun. I love languages but I was tired of French. Every class I’ve been to reminds me why I made the right choice — to do what I want as opposed to what I think I should do.

Ask a teenage girl why she wants to take a random class and the answer is stereotypically a boy. I am not a teenage girl. My far geekier answer is German musical theatre.

As much as I love a good musical, I dislike 85% of musicals. Most are too frothy and frivolous. If it weren’t for the hilarious Book of Mormon, I could honestly say I’ve disliked every non-revival Broadway musical since The Producers.

So what’s a picky theatre-lover to do? Head over to Europe. Germany and Austria produce a ton of gorgeous musicals. They have better lyrics, edgier plotting, and very original staging. And they do stuff that a lot of Broadway theaters wouldn’t touch due to the Equity hazard pay costs. Like stages that separate, rise up like the stern of a boat, twist like a demonic Tilt-a-Whirl, and allow all the actors to slide into a trap door. It’s badass.

Here is a send up to some of my favorites. They and my roommate are responsible for giving me a kick in the ass to follow my heart.

Those who are expecting something lifestyle related, just stop reading. This is pure Mimiservice.

My gateway drug was Tanz der Vampire.  ‘Twas a dark and boring night when I was trawling the Phantom of the Opera forum, ranting about Emmy Rossum and cursing Joel Schumacher.

Then I saw it: a clip of a vampire musical. I clicked, intrigued. Then, “what the hell, it’s in German?!” Color me stupid, but it never really occurred to me there were original musicals in other languages. I just thought it was a British/American thing and other countries translated and performed them. But the music was epic even if I could not understand a word of it. After scrounging up a translated libretto I was even more smitten. After that, it was a trawl through forums to find bootlegs and cast recordings. This was in the early days of YouTube, so I had to rely on my guile and desperation. The rest is sweet procrastinator heaven.

Tanz der Vampire

Edward Cullen is not invited to this party.

Based on Roman Polanski’s vampire parody film, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Tanz is a mix of everything great in a musical — great songs, good story, fun characters, skilled dancing, comedy, romance,  drama, and an intriguing darkness.

An eccentric professor and his young assistant are traveling in Transylvania, on the professor’s academic quest to track down vampires. They come to a Jewish hamlet where the assistant falls for the innkeeper’s daughter, who wants a way out of her dead-end life. Meanwhile, a vampiric count offers just that and invites her to a ball at his castle. The professor and assistant give chase and end up becoming the count’s houseguests. Things get crazy from there.

This musical originally starred Steve Barton as the vampire Count von Krolock, who was the original London/Broadway Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. It was the performance of a lifetime. Steve’s dead now but dang, what a legacy:

(I’d track down one with subtitles, except it was written by Jim Steinman so the song’s actually “Total Eclipse of the Heart”)

Tanz rocks because it’s the perfect mix of darkness, drama, and comedy. The characters are striking, the mood is a roller-coaster, and the music swings between classical beauty and rock tunes.

Oh, Broadway fans might be thinking of failed musical called Dance of the Vampires. Ignore it. That was the abomination crafted by Broadway peeps and Michael Crawford, and was mangled beyond recognition from the original.

Elisabeth

I’m a history nerd. Elisabeth is a very historically accurate (for a musical) retelling of the life of Empress Sissi, the last legit Empress of Austria. Her hubby Franz Josef would go on to inadvertently start World War I. Sissi’s own haunted life was a virtual opera — she was gorgeous and athletic but very disordered, she helped ally Hungary with Austria but despised politics, and she was always losing her relatives (including her son).

In the musical, Death is personified as a handsome young man who falls in love with her. When she marries the Emperor, Death gets pissy and stays by her side, making mischief in the crumbling empire.

Elisabeth has it all: powerful characters, a riveting story, and some beautiful songs. It’s a love story, but a weird one. Despite the personification of Death, it’s actually a very skillful historical drama, and portrayed Sissi very fairly — both as the beautiful girl forced into a world she hated, and the selfish woman who pushed away all who loved her. It also looks quickly at Rudolf, her equally tragic son. In the musical he’s visited by Death and they agree Austria’s going to hell in a handbasket. Oh, and Death’s not trying to make out with Rudolf. It’s called “Kiss of Death” for a reason:

 

Jekyll & Hyde

Hyde's kind of a bastard.

Technically this is an American musical. Thing is, it sucked on Broadway (except for the lovely Robert Cuccioli). The original Houston production was fine but wow, Broadway. The music and story are melodramatic, but the craptastic lyrics and weird story changes were awful. When it went to Germany it got a facelift — Germany’s best lyricist improved the lyrics and tweaked the story so that it made sense and had real character arcs. And he upped the gore. The result is a bloody marvelous melodrama.

The story is well-known: a nice doctor tries to separate the good and evil in man. In this version, he’s engaged to a lord’s daughter and denied human testing for his experiment by her jealous suitor. He also meets a sassy call-girl who falls in love with him and gets caught up in his fate. Testing his formula on himself, he becomes Hyde, an avenging demon who slaughters the people who wronged Jekyll. It’s a really challenging, virtually double roll:

As Jekyll:

As Hyde:

And together! This song has caused some actors to need oxygen masks after…

 

Der Glockner von Notre Dame

Has anyone noticed Disney’s takeover of Broadway? The Lion King is amazing and Beauty and the Beast is pretty cool, but the rest suck. Hunchback of Notre Dame got a different treatment — it got exported to Germany. Disney execs were nervous about putting it on Broadway because of its relative unpopularity; parents tend to get cranky when a kid’s movie features a rape ditty sung by the villain. Anyhoodle, the Germans rocked it. The director made a few astute changes. Esmerelda stays dead (as in the novel); Phoebus gets man-whored up; and the silly gargoyles become aspects of Quasimodo’s conflicted mind. It was beautiful and striking. Disney didn’t flip a shit, as they’d agreed to the changes, but they are still gun-shy about bringing it to Broadway. Some day, perhaps.

 

Rebecca

Rebecca is my kind of romance novel. It’s creepy as hell — a mousy girl marries a much older man who’s haunted by the death of his first wife, Rebecca. The girl feels adrift on his beautiful estate and tormented by the housekeeper who served as Rebecca’s maid. Secrets come to light and things get twisted.

The musical was a great adaptation. They captured the best quality of the book — that the most prominent character in the story is dead the whole time. This one is coming to Broadway, hopefully in April.

 

Dracula

This is another musical that premiered on Broadway and bellyflopped. For good reason. Frank Wildhorn is a cool composer (if you don’t mind bombastic music), but he can’t find a good lyricist to save his life. His best musical was easily Scarlet Pimpernel because, guess what, he had a librettist with a brain in her head. Finally, Dracula found a home in Austria and Germany.

It’s a retelling of Dracula in the vein of Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula film. Dracula  is besotted by Mina; Mina struggles between her love for her husband and her passion for the Count. It’s definitely flawed — the story doesn’t really explain why Mina and Dracula fall in love, and transitions way too abruptly from Dracula wanting to be with Mina to him wanting to die. Coppola’s film had the backstory of Mina as Vlad Dracula’s reincarnated wife, but that’s never mentioned here. Still, despite this, it’s a gorgeous if melodramatic piece. That, and the Austrian production had every hot  German-singing musical theatre actor in it. Yum.

 

There are plenty of other musicals, but I don’t want to completely alienate all of my six readers.

Long story short, German musical theatre kicks ass. If you hate The King and I and think Broadway’s gone to hell, do yourself a favor and procure a copy of Elisabeth!

FoodBuzz Fest: Histrionic Highlights

I love this city so much.

Hello dear ones!

Sunday before last I hauled my huge-ass carryon back into my apartment, refrigerated my cheese sticks, and commenced with a plan of action for the swag bag box of Duncan Hines cake mix.

But first, a thought experiment.

When a TSA guy looks at your carryon as it slides through security and his first question is “an egg beater?” how do you avoid certain confiscation?

You pull a Monty Python and ask a question.

“How long can eggs safely be kept after their sell-by date?” I said with a disarming smile.

Charmed and curious, my TSA darling asks how many.

“Five!”

This was in fact the answer I gave to win the damn thing in the first place. Thanks OXO!  Amused, he lets it go. He also forgot about the bottle of sleepy water I had in my bag. ‘Twas a sample of some melatonin and GABA-spike beverage from LAX.

Pardonnez-moi the in medias res. This past weekend I flew up for FoodBuzz Fest. After a ton of great memories, awesome food, and rampant overindulgence, I am sad to leave San Francisco but happy to be inspired again to breathe some life into this blog.

Recaps have been covered by many lovely peeps. However, I shall provide a few highlights.

Friday: Leaving on a Late Plane

11:45 am: Discover my plane is delayed one hour. This is as long as the actual flight.

12:30 pm: While chatting with a charming New Zealand guy, I run into a fellow chica attending FB, Jessie @ Jessie Bea Eats. Wooo! Friends!

4:45 pm: Land in San Fransisco. Groan about possibly missing the shuttle to the opening dinner. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Jessie and I tag-teamed and grabbed a taxi to our hotels. Thanks to our lovely cabbie we arrived on time for the shuttle to the Terra Gallery. I was in Hawk-Eye mode for him taking winding routes through downtown SF, but he actually took some crazy and quasi-legal shortcuts!

6pm: Sabra is seducing us with hummus. Cute waiters are tempting me with wine. Silly rabbits, wine is for classy people.

6:30pm: Run into Mama Pea @ Peas and Thank You. Flabbergasted she remembered me from last year.

6:31pm: Find it utterly hilarious Sabra is hosting the opening reception. Wondered if one of their new flavors would have nooch in it.

6:45pm: Meet a precocious young blogger, Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco. Consider this my narrative attempt to plant seeds for further in the story.

6:50pm: Run into Andrea @ Andrea’s Wellness Notes and Andy @ Grateful Hubby, two peeps I was dying to see. Andrea is as gorgeous and classy as ever, and charming Andy never fails to make me laugh.

7pm: We are ushered into the dining area. It’s a combination of small plates and buffet action. And an open bar. Hell yeah!

7:01: Remember I am on Wellbutrin and should abstain from much alcohol. :-(

7:02pm: Remember my psychiatrist said it’s fine to drink but just to stop before I get hammered. :-)

7:05pm: Join up with Andrea and Andy in the pork belly line. This is amazing pork belly.

Nom nom on the pork belly

7:10pm: Find the scallops line rather long and remember I’m thirsty. Why hello there Bloom gin cocktail!

7:15pm: Wander back into the scallops line. Run into Lauren @ Whole Wheat or Bust. HAPPY DANCE!!! Andrea, Andy, and now Lauren — I’ve run into all my favorite peeps! Oh yeah, scallops were pretty good too.

Celery puree!

7:30pm: Wine is starting to taste good. The alcohol is working!

7:35pmissssh: Run into Ellie @ Fit For the Soul, my arranged roommate. Sophia paired us up as roomies but we’d never met in person. Glad to find out she’s a sweetheart! (and not a serial killer).

8:00pm: I am most definitely tipsy. Ergo I’m 20 kinds of cute and bounce from person I vaguely know to person I vaguely know. Wonder vaguely if I come across as a slobbering drunk.

8:15pm: Find an adorable bartender who makes me an all-fruit equivalent to a midori sour. LUFF!

8:20pm: Run back into Kelly and we really hit it off. Similar backstories and tastes in musical theatre. Albeit, Kelly is actually a trained singer and I am not.

8:30pm: Giggle way too much that half the bloggers to win blogger awards are not in attendance. Congrats Angela @ Oh She Glows!

8:35pm: Get the amusing idea to text Sophia pretending to be very drunk. Fake drunk texts ftw!

8:40pm: Get way happier than I should when Ellie (a linguist) said my voice sounded like a mix of Southern and British. That’s a description I can rock!

8:50pm: DESSERT FTW!

Macarons and Jello Shots!

Nutella Butter Cups!

9:30pm: Attempt to find restroom. Run into adorable catering guy who has no clue where the restroom is. Ah well, nothing like a little eye candy nightcap.

9:45pm: Realize halfway back to the hotel MAH SWEATER is gone! Some waitress had forcibly checked it out of my hands and I’d forgotten to pick it back up.

10:00pm: Sashay back to the hotel with Ellie. ‘Tis much fun and revelry. Tipsiness starts to fade. Oh well.

SATURDAY: Libations of Madness

Saturday I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. As I rarely drink (too much $$$ and calories) I get buzzed very easily. Catch is I come down fast. I’ve gotten pretty drunk in my life (as random numbers in my phone have shown me) but I’ve never had a hangover. Worst case scenario: I wake up wanting to eat a few apples. Some people want toast, I want foliage.

Anon, breakfast! They had to coax us out of bed somehow, as this morning was panel. I cracked up when the schedule mentioned “light healthy breakfast” and the first thing I saw was muffins and scones. I tasted a little bit of everything.

Protein is apparently not invited to this party

Wait wait, n/m! This was actually a pretty nice little breakfast. Sayeth the girl who doesn't really eat breakfast anymore but oh well.

The panel had some amazing peeps, namely Jessica @ How Sweet It Is and Mama Pea. Last year I didn’t see any of the panels — my posse and I played hooky at the Ferry Building. The workshops today were cool though!

I marched up to Jessica and thanked her for her Butterball Cookie recipe . I made it for my mom and she proclaimed it the best cookies I’d ever made. In terms of pure Food Porn, Jessica’s blog is my favorite, so I was incredibly happy to meet her.

At the informational sessions I learned about improving photography with my point-and-shoot and the importance of social media. If any of you want to strangle me for my excessive tweeting, blame Irvin @ Eat the Love and Stella @ BraveTart.

The photography panel was neat too; my photography is terrible (as evidenced by this blog post and teased by Sophia [no offense taken I totally agree]) but it’s weird because my videography is not. I shoot damn fine video and my broadcast teacher has lambasted me for making my packages too cinematic. Where’s the disconnect?

Leave it to Greg @ Sippity Sup to point it out through his presentation. He stressed telling an entire story in a photo. Sounds like “well, duh,” but he described setting up a photo just as I would think about setting up a film shot. Totally different than how I usually view photography.  Chuck Lai @ Foodgawker and  Angi Chau @ Rice and Wheat had great tips too.

My blog has never really been a recipe blog but I might play with my camera more.

Post Panel…the Tasting Pavillion!

Oh what fools we gluttons be. I tasted delicacies like Australian lamb, fish croquettes, and biscotti that did not hurt my teeth. A few shout-outs:

Hottie Biscotti – for super tasty…biscotti

Alexia — try their sweet potato tots. Now.

Bellwether Farms — mega yummy sheep cheeses!

California Walnut Council — because their little bruschetta thing was yummers, and toasted walnuts taste heavenly this time of year

Estancia Beef — grass-fed beef at its best! They only used salt and it was divine

Sweet — swoon-worthy, portion-controlled creme brulee!

Wine Forest Wild Foods — wild foods like juniper and elderberry flower do not get enough credit anymore. They should.

Australian Lamb – lamb is the most underrated meat in the U.S. Plus, Australian lamb is grass-fed!

Yes I know I'm eating babies. I don't care.

I did a final lap around the Pavilion with Lauren, who was heading back early. We ended at the Bloom booth. Those dudes do some lovely gin — the bite is friendly rather than tongue-burning. So happy we got to meet up Lauren!

Also said goodbye to Andrea and Andy. Lovely as always to see you guys.

The kindly FoodBuzz peeps also returned my sweater to me. I was overjoyed. So overjoyed I walked back to my hotel, toting 50 pounds of swag. Annnnnd I got caught in the rain and somehow lost said sweater. WTF? I don’t lose things. I lose my way and get lost, but I don’t lose stuff.

Anyhoodle, the gala dinner!

Kelly & Ellie -- two peeps I'm so happy to have met, thanks to FoodBuzz.

Our special guest was Tyler Florence. He’s quite cute in real life. He also needs to add “food porn director” to his resume, as he performed a cooking demo of the most scandalously appetizing pork chop meal.

Yet our X-rated adventure turned out to be a striptease. After cooking up this amazing fare, we were served steak and roasted veggies instead of chops with cabbage and spaetzel. Still, good steak for a catering company. They weren’t very accommodating of the vegans though, less so than last year.

Glad to see FoodBuzz isn't racist with its appetizers.

Oh hai.

Beer goggles mode!

Please don't be well done please don't be well done....YAY NOT WELL DONE!

It was awesome just chatting with people, warmed by wine and good company. But soon enough we toddled back to hotel.

Sunday: Au Revoir, mes Aliments

Stepping out of our hotel to hail a cab, Ellie and I ran into two bloggers eating oatmeal at a cafe. This is where I commit an epic dumbass moment. I’m thinking these ladies look sooo familiar. Of course I smiled and pretended to know them, as something was telling me I’d seen them before.

Ellie yanked me from me dementia. Kath @ Kath Eats Real Food and her sister. DUUUH! I swear I don’t fully leave dreamland until I’ve had my coffee.

The farewell brunch was held at Perry’s, right by the Ferry Building. Ellie and I hung out mostly with Kelly and Megg @ Pop Artichoke. Godiva had an amazing Christmas twist on an Irish coffee — it had peppermint!

Mimosas -- what Sunday brunch simply cannot be without

Ellie had the awesome idea to head to Sur La Table in the Ferry Building. I grabbed Kelly and we trotted over. Then I realized neither of mes amies had been to the Ferry Building. That simply had to be amended. The Ferry Building is full of wonders like funky mushrooms, amazing coffee, and vegan donuts. I debated buying a donut pan at Sur La Table but deferred to cheapness.

Alas, twas soon time to go. Heading out, my eyes caught a familiar logo. Alfieri Farms!!!

Cue happy dance!

This farm has the best almond butter I have ever tasted. Ever. Kicks Barney’s, Maranatha’s, and Trader Joe’s collective asses. They used to come to my San Francisco University to sell their nuts and fruit. Amazing stuff. The lovely clerk let us sample some almond brittle.

Finally it was time to race like madmen back to the hotel to meet checkout time. Once checked out we chilled for our Shuttle, headed back to the airport, and parted ways.

It was a lovely weekend.

It also made me want to share the wealth. That’s the only hint I’m giving y’all. Bye bye birdies!

Meaty Matters

Surf and Turf?

First, thanks you guys so much for all of your love and support regarding my last post. USC peeps, I fortell a Yogurtland meetup, what say you?

I’m really loving the Crossfit! I haven’t been so inspired to work out since last summer. Those promo videos with someone sprawled out on the floor and wheezing? Totally true. But what I love about this gym is that you are always encouraged, not drill sergeanted at.

Ok, onto the meaty matters of this post. This isn’t a pun.  When I look at food blogs I see plenty of recipes for vegan fare, a decent amount of great chicken recipes, and a smattering of good seafood. Oh, and bacon sneaks in when somoene’s feeling frisky. What I rarely see is my favorite meat of all: beef. Ok, maybe my real fav is duck, camel, or venison, but I’m sticking to something that’s easily buyable. Why? Because once I’m done with this post, hopefully some of you will be racing out to grab the closest sirloin.

Looks like Texas. Coincidence? I think not.

For those of you abstain from beef for ethical reasons, I won’t argue. I find factory farms disgusting and try my hardest to buy grass-fed. But those who abstain for health might want to look a little deeper than the vegan website that claims meat rots in your guts. Cuz no, it doesn’t. Red meat is a highly nutritious food that contains iron, zinc, phosphorous, B vitamins, protein, and if the source is grass-fed, some CLAs and Omega 3s. Fattier cuts like roast are not bad for you either as long as you remember fattier = more caloric.

No one said getting dinner was easy

The one caveat against health I have is corn-fed beef. Corn-fed cattle are pumped up with hormones to grow faster and antibiotics to keep them alive until slaughter, since corn slowly kills them. I don’t see hormones as a problem, as they don’t pass the blood-brain barrier. Antibiotics are another matter. The overuse of antibiotics in America have and are leading to resistant strains of bacteria. We don’t need to be helping out future plagues.  Or winding up with antibiotic-resistant salmonella because some dumbass at the meat packing plant let some bad pork get by. That said, if you are eating a variety of animals, the exposure should be minimal. If you’re eating grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef you’re in the clear.

Another argument against beef is the cost. I’m not rolling in filet mignon all day. I almost always go for cheaper cuts of beef and keep an eye open for sales. Stew meat tastes amazing if you put it in a slow cooker with tomatoes, peas, and Guinness.  Tough fillets can be softened with an acidic marinade and cut thin for fajitas. And, ultimately, I put a lot of stock in the phrase “Pay the farmer or pay the doctor.”

But I want to talk about one of my favorite incarnations of beef — steak. I don’t usually buy sexy New York strips or manly ribeyes. I tend to go for sirloin and other more economical cuts. Thing is, sirloin can be tough if prepared improperly. When I want a steak dinner, here’s what I do:

Stuff of the Gods. More specifically, Yahweh.

- Salt the beef. To make tough, cheap meet nice and juicy, coat it in kosher salt (or any other flaky, chunkier salt — NOT table salt). A better explanation of this is found here. I’ve used this trick since I was old enough to use cast iron. Coat the steak in 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt per side and let it hang out for awhile. A 1-inch steak can sit for an hour. Up the time for thicker steak. Basically, the salt draws out excess moisture and breaks down the proteins. After the steak has rested for the allotted time, rinse well and pat dry. Get that thing DRY. The rest time also allows the steak to get to room temperature so it cooks more evenly.

Your grandma's version of a non-stick pan.

- Sear. You know how restaurant steaks have that crunchy seal on them? It’s because they have been seared. First get a pan on the stove and get the heat up high. Cast iron is the best for this — if you have a non-stick pan, please make sure it’s built to withstand heat. Also, crack open a window and turn on the fan in case it gets smoky.  Get some high-heat cooking fat like coconut oil or tallow and rub a bit into each side of a steak. Once the pan is hot, drop those steaks in. You will know it’s hot enough when the steaks sound like they are being cooked in the fires of hell. Sear for about one minute on each side. This also burns off all the outer bacteria so you can cook your steak rare and not be concerned with contamination. You can skip this step and still have a nice steak, but I like the crust.

That's the look you want

- Oven Prep. There is a great debate about broiling verses baking. I prefer to broil because it’s closer to grilling (the real man’s way to cook beef). But before you stick your meat under a broiler, disable your fire alarm…oooh wait, you might not know how or you might be worried about filling your apartment with smoke. Here’s how to prevent that!

Take a broiling pan (the pan that has a slitted covering), line with foil, and pour salt in the bottom. It doesn’t need a ton, just enough to evenly cover the bottom. If you don’t have a broiling pan, you can use a muffin pan. I’m not joking. Fill the cups with salt and be careful not to let the steak fall in. The salt catches the drippings and doesn’t let them burn. Granted, you won’t be able to make a gravy, but you save yourself smoke or explaining to a landlord why the fire alarm looks abused.

Not a bit of smoke to be seen!

- Broil. Get that broiler on high and move the rack six inches from the top. Take the chance now to season your steaks as you wish. Go easy on the salt since a little bit now lives in the meat. Once the oven’s raring to go, slide in your steaks, but leave the door ajar. Broil times do vary based on thickness, cut, and if it’s grass-fed or corn-feed. Corn-fed beef takes longer because it’s fattier. Here is a timetable guide (this is for corn-fed, to take a minute or so off for grass-fed).

- Rest. Do NOT dive into these meaty wonders just yet. The juices are hopping and will drain right out if you cut them now. Instead, take the steaks out, burn off broiler, and gently put the steaks on a plate. Tent with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Make some broccoli or something.

Tell them to STFU for a few minutes and set the table.

- Feast. Savor the deliciousness of Bos primigenius.

Sauteed onions and mushrooms go really well.

Adaptations

Psych! For those of you who thought I was going to delve into metabolic adaptation, effeciency, or a melodramatic philosophical monologue…no, I’m thinking of a totally different kind of adaptation.

When people take my favorite things and adapt them into films.

With Game of Thrones premiering soon, and hopefully an entertainment internship in the works, my film and television geekery are returning to the fore.

Just might want to cover the kiddo's eyes at certain parts.

Basically, saddle up for a film spiel.

I remember the day: back in high school, classes had been cancelled because of a tropical storm. I was chilling in my room, reveling at the vacay, and goofing around online. Then I saw it: A Song of Ice and Fire coming to HBO.

I choked up. I hiccuped. Then I let out a howl of triumph and spammed everyone’s Facebook wall. Oh, and I taunted my BFF who is a bit of a literary snob and who refused to admit the series could ever be adapted for television.

From the footage I’ve seen, the adaptation looks fantastic. Meanwhile, I trust HBO. They’ve yet to deliver a show I’ve hated…only a few I’ve been lukewarm about, like Boardwalk Empire.

Adapting a book, video game, or musical into a film is complicated. Despite the keening of fans, you can’t transcribe a book, musical, or video game into a film. The plotting, pacing, and imagery just don’t translate. It’s like translating a language — some expressions and connotations don’t carry over. The art of adapting for screen is knowing how to retain the feel but find ways to express that using visuals and sound.

It’s also surgical. Movies have to cut things. Take Harry Potter: a reason I believe the movies, with the exception of Deathly Hallows Part 1, have been mediocre is the lack of cutting skills. The films often cut out feelings or moments that could really bring compulsion…while keeping in fluff that only appeals to a squealing fangirl. Of course with Harry Potter, there are many other nitpicks I have such as acting and screenwriting, but the lack of surgical skill is the chief one.

Finally, adaptation need a Patti Stanger-figure who will pair up the right team. I don’t want to see Michael Bay tackling Shakespeare. Take Peter Jackson, for example, he’s crafted some kinky stuff. But he also has a romantic streak and grandiose sensibility that worked well for Lord of the Rings. Not so much King Kong. Also, while a director needs to have a feel for the material, he needs to refrain from slavish devotion. This was a huge problem for Zack Snyder and his fanboyism for Watchmen.

In fact, for Watchmen, the best moments were when it drifted away from the source material, such as the sick-ass intro:

Meanwhile, there are good films that I do not consider good adaptations. I may love the movie, but I prefer to think of it as inspired by the book rather than based on — more than just the events, the feel itself is completely different. A chief example is Howl’s Moving Castle. Brilliant novel, brilliant movie, and never the two shall meet. This is not the same as films which bastardize the source material

How does this come together in something that does not offend my film snobbery? L’example:

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Hands down it’s my favorite stage musical. Considering the atrocity of Phantom of the Opera on screen, I was nervous. But what a payoff. Tim Burton got a lot of flack for cutting out the chorus. Ultimately I think it was for the best. Preserving the Greek tragedy motif wasn’t worth alienating the audience who might otherwise be reminded of froo-froo chorus lines. There was one song, “Kiss Me,” I wish they had retained, but otherwise I was ecstatic over the dark mood, the gore, the madness, and the beauty…all in incredibly well-translated songs. I was also worried they would try to pretty up Sondheim’s score — which is meant to sometimes sound discordant and strange — but Burton’s a guy who can appreciate weirdness.

And understand the concept of hilarious macabre.

A few of my other favorite on-screen adaptations are Cabaret, John Adams, Rebecca, Dexter (which surpasses the original), Lord of the Rings, The CrowDangerous LiaisonsTitus, The Wizard of Oz, The Godfather, and Sin City.

But there are plenty more stories I think would make great adaptations. Here are a few (producers, take note).

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. To be honest, I’ve love to see his First Law trilogy a bit more, as I prefer the characters, but Best Served Cold is a self-contained book. And it’s awesome. A crazy mercenary chick is bretrayed by her nobleman employer. After being haphazardly put back together, she goes on a bloodthirsty path of vengeance, taking down all the people involved in the plot. The characters she draws in are an amazing odd bunch, from a drunken mercenary captain to a megalomaniac poisoner, and the story zips along for such a big scope. We have too many fluffy adventure stories like The Eagle. It’s time for something with some teeth.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. I like sci-fi that intelligently speaks on current issues, and does so without sounding like Al Gore or Green Peace. Windup Girl, which is more biopunk than sci-fi, is an intriguing look at what could happen if big corporations like Monsanto continued to grow in power, and takes place in a future Bangkok. In this future, GM plants have contributed to unstoppable GM plagues, most of the earth’s original plants are gone, and corporations get choke-holds on countries as they possess new seed crops. But what keeps this one from being a preachy piece of cautionary fluff is the real story and interesting characters. The societal implications stay in the background. This could really be an interesting film.

Godchild by Kaori Yuki. I would actually prefer to see this manga series adapted into a TV series, but a movie could work too. Imagine a sexier, more twisted version of Sherlock Holmes. There’s the leading man, a Victorian aristocrat with a crazy family who always stumbles onto macabre mysteries. It’s both a messed-up family drama and a great mystery series that takes advantage of a lot of English lore, literature, and nursery rhymes. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” has never been so creepy. It may be high melodrama, but there was a time when melodrama did not equal “crappy and overwrought.” Godchild, in some ways like Sweeney Todd, shows off the fun, spectacle, and emotional heart that can make a melodrama compelling.

Yuki’s other big series, Angel Sanctuary, would also make a great tv series…but it has so many touchy subjects and taboos that I don’t think even HBO would touch it. And poor Yuki would probably get death threats.

The Legacy of Kain series. Yeah, a video game. Guess what — video games can have great stories, and Legacy of Kain is among the best. Take a story of fate, time travelling, redemption and destruction, throw in a few vampires, and you come out with a kickass story. Plus, any game that ends with the main character refusing to sacrifice himself to save humanity and deciding to take it over instead is just hardcore. Of course, the series has multiple entries. I would adapt the original Blood Omen and if it was successful, skip Blood Omen II and move on to Soul Reaver. Character designs would need some upgrading, but that’s all in due course. When you have dialogue and characterization this kickass, things happen.

Alas, while I like to plot, I’m no director. That isn’t conducive to how my mind works, with lots of little tasks scattered all around. I’d rather be the publicist who gets said adaptations onto all the magazine covers.

Eagles and Butterflies

I’m going to miss a few things about England. The pretty accents, Cafe Nero, the standard cloakrooms, and the well-dressed people. More specifically, bloggers and my Vantra peeps.

A social butterfly I am not. Instead, I’m a professional butterfly. My social element is when I have a goal or a purpose, or when I need to make something else besides myself look really good.

I had a bit of an emo-kid fit the other day. A company turned me down for an internship. Cue the tears, howls of despair, wails of professional castration, mental ass-whoopings, and a driving desire to run and hide at the nearest gelato bar.

Luckily, I know how to network. I barely know what I’m doing at a nightclub or party, but I do know how to make a good impression. So I’m in talks with a cable station. *smashes fists on wood* Hopefully this works out. Still haven’t heard back from those Discovery peeps. I hate it that I feel like I’ve jumped the shark at the ripe old age of 20.

I got to rock my “I am a savvy journalist” shtick at the Natural & Organic Products Europe show at London’s Olympia. It was a last minute thing. A friend I made at the Vantra party mentioned it. I didn’t even know if I’d for sure be able to get in for free. But I was bored, so I went.

Wow, I’m going to be so jaded when FoodBuzz rolls around.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures. Each time I tried to whip it out, I was scolded by staff. But luckily I have almighty Google.

A few highlights…

  • Food for Life, aka the Ezekiel bread people, are coming to the UK. They have some pretty good gluten-free bread too–much better than Glutino’s.
  • Demeter has a great line of skin products. I got a big thing of samples, so I look forward to trying them.
  • Kinnikinnick Foods (a gluten-free company) has really good doughnuts. And I don’t even like regular doughnuts.
  • Doves Farm Foods has some lovely flapjacks that are a lot lighter than ones I’ve seen. Gluten-free too.
  • I met Amy’s mom! Amy’s Kitchen is coming to the UK and thus had a stall. I shook hands with Rachel Berliner (and Amy) herself. I got to personally thank her for giving me yummy things to eat my freshman year of college when the cafeteria was crap and I was trying to eat healthy. I also tried the vegan mac ‘n cheese and wow, it was good. That Daiya stuff really does live up to its rep.
  • Moo Cluck has a delicious ice cream without any added sugar. It’s made just from cream, milk, eggs, and fruit. If you’re not vegan, this ice cream is lovely.
  • Numi Organic Tea is also coming to the UK. It also has a new Pu-erh line of teas…in chocolate and magnolia! They are responsible for me burning my mouth on the ultra-yummy chocolate one.
  • Simply Ice Cream is as yummy as it was at IFE. Which is omgyummy. Those Kentish cows must have magic udders.

On the tube ride back, I chatted with one of the exhibitors. She represented a fish oil company. She mentioned how a lot of the capsule fish oils out there are rancid–but you can tell by biting into one. I got home and tried it. Score, Costco, you sell decent (and cheap) fish oil!

I really love these events. It’s way more than the free food. It’s the conversing, the learning, and the chessboard feel of it all. There are so many people who believe so passionately in their products. Each sample of chocolate bears the possibility of business deals and publicity. And a lot of it comes down to good networking. I guess if the entertainment industry throws me on my ass, I have another one to infiltrate.

And meeting up with bloggers always makes me smile.

Later on, I met up with the lovely Alison @ Physically Philosophical. We met at a lovely vegetarian Indian restaurant called Sagar. We opted for the vegan menu so we could share.

Sagar is very much southern Indian. Instead of korma or butter tofu, there are lots of dosa, idli, and sambar dishes. We split a dosa, sambar, lemon rice, and chappati. Of course we had to start off with poppadums.

I had no idea dosa were that huge. This thing could cover a manhole. Super delicious.

 

I think my spice threshold has increased through my Indian eats. I probably would have found this a bit too hot a few months ago. Now it's just nice and punchy.

 

I was curious to try kulfi, which is Indian ice cream. It's really good. Dense, but not super rich. Sort of like compacted gelato.

I had so much fun! Alison’s working on Immanuel Kant for her PhD, so I was all ears. Kant is a fascinating philosopher. Most people I know who utterly loathe Kant tend to be selfish assholes…or just stuck around for the “duty” part of their philosophy 101 lecture.

If you want to start something, bring up Kant in front of Ayn Rand followers. You will fire up so much shit there could easily be riot control and news crews. PETA at a fur-based fashion show? Got nothing on some of those Rand crazies.

Lovely food and great conversation make me a happy Mimi, so I was a cheerful little ducky on the way home. I hope we meet up again! My pick is Amico Bio.

Last night, Aisha and I got together to see The Eagle. Yeah, Channing Tatum’s foray into historical drama. It was sort of an MTV hybrid of Gladiator and Rome, but with much less kinkiness…and compelling narrative. Considering the veiled “come hither” looks between the main characters, I can only conclude from the ending they went off to enjoy hot buttsex. Even if it’s not an Oscar winner, I had a super fun time. And got to oggle Tatum.

"Don't deny you want me."

"Hands off my Centurion, biatch!"

I had to hop the Tube back to my neck of the woods, but Aisha and I will be meeting up soon — at the chocolate and coffee festivals this weekend!

Among other things I’m excited about is HBO’s new Game of Thrones series, which premiers in about a week. It’s my favorite book series of all time (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin). The footage I’ve seen has been really impressive. HBO, Sky, and internet users be on the alert…if you like a little kickassery, complex storytelling, and the defenestration of small children in your prime time.

Snarky knights!

And sadistic teenagers!

Anyway, I’m off to poke fun at Ayn Rand suss out all the crazy Row shit going down at USC.

My Christmas: The Loot

When I said my Christmas was most important for the gifts, I wasn’t being facetious. It’s just the things I consider gifts that keep me from being a total brat.

I’m so thankful for the gift of my families.

I’m happy being with my dad because we think so much alike. I’m happy I can spoil him a bit with sugar-free treats.

Like brownies

And dough-balls (yes, they are refined sugar-free and lower glycemic)

I’m happy to have developed a better relationship with my stepmom, because she’s a pretty interesting person to talk to when we aren’t yelling at each other over stuff that went down years ago.

And she's awesome at helping me coax my dad into taking us to more exotic restaurants, like Indika...praise Vishnu for the garbanzo-portabella-butternut-feta entrée

I’m happy to be with my mom, because we finally see eye-to-eye again. I’m so happy we’ve gotten a chance to just spend time chatting, whether it be cooking Christmas dinner or walking to the natural foods store down the road. I’m happy to get my sister excited with new books, and let her know she’s become a talented little equestrian.

Oh, and I’m happy to finally meet the newest member of my family:

The doggie, not the blondie

And who can forget friends? Especially old high-school friends who share your love of all things geeky and sexy (like George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series)?

And who happily go to tasty vegetarian restaurants, like Field of Greens

But enough with all the wimpery emotional stuff. I’m also damn happy about the presents under the tree.

You know what they say about divorced kids getting two Christmases? It’s totally true. It doesn’t completely make up for the emotional trauma, crossfire, and press-ganged messengerdom, But it helps.

Regardless, as you get older, parents see less benefit in showering you with gifts. After all, it’s not like they need to bribe you to behave for a few months. Still, I think I made off pretty well.

I proudly display, in honor of my generous parents, the most notable of mah swag.

On my Dad’s side…

 

A TRX, to help me work off the holiday pudge and stay fit in London

A Tribest Personal Blender, so I can still whip up puddings, sauces, soups, and dressings (might be too cold for shakes...)

 

A London travel guide, so I can get the lay of the land

A Nordic Ware Microwave Egg Boiler...because even I can screw up boiling eggs

Icebreaker Leggings, so I don't freeze my ass off in London

And Icebreaker glove liners, so I can wear pretty gloves and not have frozen joints

Icebreaker is an awesome company that makes clothing from pure merino wool. For you hotbloods (like me), merino wool is the kind of stuff you want when you head north, as it both insulates and breathes with you. It wicks away moisture, so skin won’t chill. They also have a pretty good eye for attractive garments. It’s a bit expensive, but very much worth the investment. I plan on raiding my local outdoors store, Whole Earth Provisions, before I leave, as they have a great supply of Icebreaker stuff.

Now, on my Mom’s side…

So I can take a bit of my heritage overseas

And don't forget my name

And can show my new British friends what junkier American food is really like

Clearly she has not heard my rants about "Skinny Bitch", aka, "Crappy Science and Scare Tactics," but I'm happy she's accepting of my lessening desire for lots of meat

Though apparently I still need to unwind

Of course there was more, on both sides. But I don’t see what’s so neat about bottle-stoppers, toe-warmers, and other tongue-in-cheek knickknacks.

It looks like I have some new toys, to say the least. But no play time until I buy all the other junk I need for my London excursion. Anyone have any good department store recommendations for coats, scarves, and ear-covers?

Criminally Underrated

Plenty of movies get undeservedly remembered, but plenty more get undeservedly forgotten. Even if I major in journalism, I love film. Hence all the film reviews I churn out. But a point for journalism: when I like something, I get to be a cultural imperialist about it. Here are my top picks for criminally underrated films.

The Road to El Dorado

Just because it didn’t get a fancy shmancy theatric release doesn’t mean this flick isn’t awesome. It’s perfect for watching with kids and younger folk…but it’s far from kiddish or irritatingly silly. Plus, it’s got great songs:

The Emperor’s New Groove

Poor Disney got shafted with this hilarious little gem. It’s one of my favorite Disney films because the humor is so different from typical Disney fare. Also, you gotta love a movie where the main character’s a total jackass. This film also rocks the one-liners.

Prince of Egypt

DreamWorks got its big-ass theatric release and yeah, it won tons of money. But you still don’t hear much about it, and it’s easily my favorite religious-themed film ever. It’s way truer to the biblical canon than, say, The 10 Commandments. Even if some of the story is toned down for the tots (i.e, Moses only accidentally killing the Egyptian instead of bashing his brains in), they do a great job of capturing that Old Testament wrath, loyalty, and justice. Furthermore, they made the film accessible to all audiences by taking the narrative and crafting more story, such as the relationship between Moses and Ramses. Finally, it has one of my all-time favorite film soundtracks. This song gives me goosebumps:

Sleepy Hollow

One of my all-time favorite Halloween films. It’s a great mix of camp, horror, and good film making. The visuals are deliciously morbid and the screenplay has all the right amount of sarcasm. And you don’t screw with Christopher Walken. Ever:

The Libertine

The main audience draw of this flick was Johnny Depp sexing up anything in a skirt. So all the Depp fans were disappointed/horrorfied to see that most of the film was about corruption, squalor, and syphilis. Depp’s character, the poet John Wilmot, warns you that you won’t like him. You don’t–that’s the point. But I do love his snake-whispery voice, the perpetual murky haze of London, and the spectacular feel for real 17th Century England.

Marie Antoinette

The first time I saw this film, I gagged. My history-loving heart was furious. I wanted to see some good pre-Revolution hijinks and instead I got bubblegum and pop music. Then I saw it again and realized I had seen it in a completely inappropriate mindset. It’s not a historical drama, it’s a mood piece about a historical event, transcribed into a more modern context. The film’s final image sealed the deal: the Queen’s shattered bedroom, the complete end of an era of beauty and naivety. I still don’t love Dunst, but Coppola’s direction of this film was superb. And the costumes and sets are swoon-worthy:

The Mummy

Yeah, the sequels sucked harder than a poorly-planned TWSS joke, but this film is a classic of campy, rollicking action. Think Indiana Jones, think sarcasm, and think of some really hot evil Egyptian high priests. This film is fun, without being a mind-numbing summer blockbuster. You don’t need huge explosions and epic car crashes. You just need some guns and occasional cool special effect, a la herds of flesh-eating bugs or giant walls of sand. I also have a sneaking suspicion this got a lot of kids really interested in Egyptology. I speak from personal experience.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney didn’t just get shafted for this one–it got horsewhipped and attacked by parents for exposing their kids to TEH SECKS. I say this: you know Mom and Dad, they COULD’VE included the necrophilia between Quasi and Esmeralda. As it was, they didn’t even kill of the gypsy girl. They just made sure to include some singing gargoyles. In fact, I love how dark and mature this one is for a Disney film. They really included some heavier stuff, from Frollo breaking necks to singing about sexing up the female lead. But they did it well, and created one of the best villains in Disney. This film also has some of the best art I’ve seen in any animated film, ever, and one of my favorite soundtracks. Am I a freak for blasting this when my roommate’s not around?

Titus

Not only is this the best on-screen Shakespeare adaptation, it’s a brilliant film. The art is crazy without being stupid and the story and script are rock-solid, and never cave into any unclarity on the account of Shakespearean dialogue. Why it never got more praise I’ll never know, especially since Julie Taymor also directed Broadway’s The Lion King. Maybe it was pre-karma for the blech-worthy Across the Universe?

Millennium Actress

I love Miyazaki, but the directer Satoshi Kon made this film one of my favorites of all time. I have no idea why it did not get more acclaim in the United States, or even Japan for that matter. Besides a beautiful, unique narrative and a great homage to film history, this movie earns a spot in my favs for this one reason: it’s one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen despite the fact there isn’t one single kiss. Despite the fact…well, no spoilers ;-) But do check it out, especially if you love film. No lie: this is one of a about three films that has ever made me cry. Just a teeny bit.

So Long and Thanks for All the Turkey

Heads up! New header! Does a personalized header make me a hardcore blogger? No clue, but a big shout-out to Alda, the awesome designer.

On black Friday I rode my computer like it was a cattle drive to save the farm, because holy crap BeyondtheRack, Amazon, and HauteLook have some awesome steals. When an opportunity to properly attire myself off other’s income presents itself, I grab it…uh, I become the kindest daughter who happily scours the internet for the best deals. If you want to look like a countess on a college student budget, check out some of my favorite online discount boutique shops! If you’d like to join any, please let me know and I’ll send you an invite…full disclosure, if you join through my referral and make a purchase, I get store credit ;-).

Mah new jacket!

Also, the past two weeks have been a bit of a mind-fuck for me. In a good way. One of those moments that makes the musical theatre fans among us think of that line from Sweeney Todd,

"But the work waits! I'm alive at last and I'm full of joy!!!"

Sans murder and Johnny Depp of course, though Depp is always invited to my house (though I don’t know what Paradis would think of that.)

But before we get to revelations of Mimi, let’s recap her Thanksgiving.

The festivities actually began last Tuesday evening. Because I got back into Houston. Let the thanking begin…

Thank you dad, for making feel so warmly welcomed home.

Of course for my first night in Houston, only Mexican food would do. Then it was off to the cinema.

Fajitas...Lord how I missed you

Thank you Harry Potter Part 7 Part I, for being ballsy enough to go to a dark place, stay there, and not pussy out with (too much) pointless cutesiness.

Teenagers running like someone put the fear of God in them: as life should be.

Wow, I’ve never enjoyed a Harry Potter movie as much as this one. Hell, this may get me shot, but I don’t think I’ve enjoyed Harry Potter as much as this one. I like the books, but I’ve never been a crazy fan, and the films range from supremely mediocre to “pretty good.”

Now if only they’ll not make the epilogue to Part II as gag-worthy as the book’s.

Thank you Averie, for your awesome Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe.

I whipped up a batch of this before I left and took some home with me. Both my stepmother and dad LOVED it. My stepmother and I were giggling like crazy because my dad hates peanut butter with a passion (we didn’t tell him what was in it). Because my dad’s a Type 1 diabetic, I want to craft a lower glycemic version. Bring on the agave/coconut nectar/whey low.

Anyway, I spent most of Thanksgiving with my mom. Thank you mom, for appreciating tradition. Check out just a fraction of our spread!

Sweet potatoes...better without the brown sugar topping...but butter is yummy

Thank you Angela, for creating a totally awesome, distinctive dessert– your Pumpkin Pecan Brownie Pie!

My stepdad was making a regular pumpkin pie, so I wanted to make something different. This pumpkin brownie pie was divinesuper rich, thick, and fudgy on the bottom, and deliciously sweet and crunchy on the top. My stepdad did not believe me when I told him I did not need eggs or butter.

Angela was so right--this brownie pie tastes even more amazing with ice cream.

Thank you Mama Pea, for giving me a recipe to make with my sister that my whole family loved–your PB balls! And thank you Mama Pea, Diana, Maria, and Averie, for giving recipes to get my bake on before coming home, so I knew how to whip up some damn good baked treats!

Mama Pea's "Mean Brownies" are chocolate decadence...and did not survive my apartment's lobby staff

Diana's Chocolate Chip Dough Balls (plus my own pumpkin spice version) had my roommate rethinking her thoughts on American desserts...

And Maria's alternative peanut butter dough balls are awesome for when I want a teensy bit healthier treat...and they taste even better with some jelly!

Thank you equestrian, for making my sister more active and helping her lose some weight.

But the child still hates cameras

My sister looked so much better since I last saw her. It makes me really happy because I’ve been scared she could develop health problems. Neither of us have good genetics for cholesterol and blood pressure (though I seem to have escaped them), but being in good health can’t hurt. I know first hand how hard it is to be healthy in an unhealthy family. If her horses motivate her to move her tush, I bow to Poseidon, Boreas, Epona, and Hayagriva.

Whoops, wrong Epona...but who doesn't like a little Zelda love?

Thank you Dad, for still taking me out to a 4-star dinner even though we both knew we’d just be nibbling at the food, having both had huge (seperate) Thanksgiving lunches.

Praise be to braised lamb...even if I could only eat a bit of it.

And my dad cannot pose for pictures...

Thank you Stepmom, for giving me carte blanch access to your kitchen to whip up a random-ass dessert that we all could enjoy. And giving my my first recipe on this blog in a long-ass time (coming soon!).

Hint: These babies contain coconut, pistachios, and mascarpone

According to my dad, he had to fight her for the last of them. I guess if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the same applies for girlies.

Thank you Tangled, for giving me a great afternoon out with my sister.

And that dude was hot!

If you don’t mind occasional goofy childishness, I recommend Tangled. This is the first time my jaw has dropped at the beauty of computer-animated art.

Thank you Texas Renaissance Festival, for giving me an awesome day out with my dad once again!

Bawdy tavern songs by Iris and Rose (Wild and Thorny)

Handsome guys on even handsomer horses...hitting each other with sticks. What more do you need?

And comedy shows way too bawdy for kids..who are there anyway.

I guess my dad still likes RenFest too.

Thank you random abscess on my jaw, for giving me yet more material for my epic future screenplay.

Yeah, I went into the doc’s on Monday, after my jaw got nasty again over the weekend. I wound up being shot full of Novocaine and having a point pair of dental scissors jammed into my mouth.

Thank you Yogurtland, for unraveling a slew of holiday froyo flavors just when I’ve been put on another round of antibiotics and need some beneficial bacteria.

Eggnog today– oh hells yes.

And finally…

Thank you December 15, for being so damn close. I can leave LA behind, recharge my desperately-low mojo, and enjoy Christmas with my family, who I have missed far too much.

Maybe if I thank my finals in advance they won’t be so hard? We shall see.

Smile for the Camera

This post has absolutely nothing to do with food, musings on life, or fitness.

The other night, a film-buff friend asked me what my favorite films are.

I hate this question. It’s like asking me to pee in a cup with no advance notice (which I have had to do for way too many biology projects lately). More over, I have plenty of films I love for different reasons. Some are action-fests, others are florid dramas.

Maybe next time I’ll remember. Regardless, here are a few of my favorite films. Yes, this is a look into my twisted mind. Beware.

The Fall

This film is such a visual epic I can’t even describe it. Even more amazing, the acting is top notch and the story, though simple, is super touching.

Pan’s Labyrinth

I like fairy tales. I like dark, creepy stories. I like directors who don’t feel the need to shove things down your throat.

Oh, and you do not fuck with the Pale Man:

Say what about my jazz hands?

Rebecca

Hitchcock was a genius. How he gets you to root for such a pansy woman is beyond me, but it happens.

Millennium Actress

Can a great romance film not even have a single kiss? Oh hells yes. It’s also a great send-up to film history.

Princess Mononoke

The movie is so gorgeously painted in shades of gray — there are no “bad guys,” just a bunch of pretty, multi-faceted characters. And one of my favorite soundtracks. Oh, and a totally epic story.

Titus

Shakespeare does not get any more badass, well-casted, or spectacularly bloodthirsty as this.

The Lion King

Shakespeare (Hamlet, to be specific) does not get any more anthropomorphic than this. Another great soundtrack. Scar is my vocal love.

Gladiator

Action, drama, history, Russell Crowe, and a brilliant Joaquin Phoenix. This movie still makes me swoon from the scale of it.

Lord of the Rings

When they’re not slaves to production values, historical butchery, or an eye-rolling story, I LOVE EPICS.

Sleepy Hollow

I love my campy quasi-horror films. And it’s pretty.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is both my favorite Halloween and Christmas movie. It’s just so much FUN.

Sweeney Todd

One of the only two non-animated movie musicals I can honestly say I love love love. Burton completely kept the spirit of Sondheim while making a great FILM.

The Prince of Egypt

That this film is actually pretty accurate blows my mind. We’ll let the fact that the Egyptian’s death was not quite an “accident” slide. What’s more, it takes a really interesting look at the relationship between Moses and the Pharaoh. And I could listen to “The Plagues” song every day. Yes, I’m weird.

Some Like It Hot

One of my all-time favorite comedies. It’s a classic for a damn good reason.

Cabaret

The only other non-animated musical movie I love love love. So funny, classy, and so cruelly wistful.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney scores mega points just for that “Hellfire” song. Seriously, it’s epic those lyrics even appear in a Disney movie. Plus, the art makes me swoon. We’ll just forget they traded out the book’s necrophilia and manwhoring for singing gargoyles.

A Christmas Story

You’ll shoot your eye out!! You have no excuse if you have not watched one showing of the TNT 24-hour Christmas marathon.

The Mummy

Don’t laugh. I think I watched this flick every day after school during 6th grade. Total Ancient Egypt phase. And it’s still a fun, old fashioned adventure flick.

The Crow


The fact Brandon Lee died during shooting makes this film more tragic, but it’s still a great, romantic beat-em-up. There’s just something so sad about a protagonist who would happily be as dead as the people he’s wreaking vengeance on.