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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Coming Soon (Late Summer to Early Fall)

Marathon Reviews: Monster Cereal

Marathon Reviews: Milky Way

Marathon Reviews: M&M’s

Critical Consensus with a Crate of Salt

More Epic Movie Scenes

The Blossom Experiment

Blu-ray’s We’re Still Waiting For

And many more!

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Blog, Uncategorized

 

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Epic Movie Scenes: Phone Booth: Confession Scene

Bringing up a scene by director Joel Schumacher isn’t exactly bound to cue interest or anticipation.  The man has become synonymous with the critical cow pie that was Batman and Robin.  What’s more is that many of his other films have done little to indicate he can realize his potential.  But he hasn’t gone without some decent material.  This is where Phone Booth, a movie about as short as its filming run, comes in.

Why Is It So Epic?

At this point our main character (Stuart) has been pushed to the point of feeling like an everyday man ripped apart by the lawyer of the month.  The thing about Stuart is he’s a character we don’t necessarily identify with, but he’s one we can get behind simply for his threatened predicament.  It’s kind of like Lightning McQueen from Cars, except here our protagonist has something on the line besides some bleeding trophy.

A few efforts have been made to try and get Stuart out of said situation, whether by his own dong or not.  But after several demands by our threatener (wow, that’s actually a word), he completely unfurls.

At this point you’re either behind the guy or not.  Sure, if you want to play Captain Cynical you can tear the screenwriter apart for what was written and ultimately spoken, but it’s tough to feel so condescending when the guy is clearly pouring his heart out.  And let’s be honest: when someone does such a thing, it’s not going to be tightly packed and worded in a perfect matter.  It’s a fairly clean-cut speech, but not one that feels refined to the point of being contrived.  You legitimately (begin to) feel Stuart’s regret, and in some ways we see ourselves repenting for the wrongs we might put on others.

Coming from the man who helmed the frozen laden Batman bastardization, this is a true tour de force.  It’s the kind of experience you get when you’re ready to forgive one for a remake of a double telling of double agents that garnered all too much acclaim.  Or maybe it’s just me.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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Quote Review: As Good as It Gets (1997)

“Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here.”

Nicholson and company pull off precisely what the movie aims and calls for: characterization.  Everyone feels and acts legitimate, even when the conventions and contrivances do begin to take over (not that that’s necessarily bad in this case).

 
 

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Hershey Chocolate Twizzler (Classic Twist) Review

Nutrition

Serving Size: 4 pieces (45 grams)
Calories: 160 (15 from fat)
Total Fat: 2 grams (1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat)
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 85 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 35 grams (less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 19 grams sugar)
Protein: 2 grams

Who am I kidding by extending my blog to food in addition to film?  What do the two even have in common?  I’ll tell you: Movies and food go hand-in-hand like standing and burning calories.  You don’t realize one is being done while the other occurs, but it does.  And it’s for that exact reason I give you my first candy review.  After all, nothing quite screams bloated caloric content quite like many of our favorite sugary sweets.

So it’s only fitting that my first candy review be for a product that’s similar to one of my once-frequent selections: Twizzlers.  Sure, cutting my weight in half leaves less time for overdoing my indulgences, but the memories stick.  I’ve tried a number of Twizzler variants, ranging from the classic twists, to the cherry peel-offs, one pack of the black licorice flavor, the sweet and sour mix and, my personal favorite, Rainbow Twists.  If there’s anything my stepfather and I can agree on, it’s that those are the real king of Twizzlers.

But while our opinions are (un)likely to incite horrific rage, we have a different flavor to attend to.  Because I could care less about who and what controls each branch of candy, I guess Twizzler and Hershey are owned by the same company.  That or they just decided to go for a spontaneous collaboration.  And here we have chocolate flavored Twizzlers.  What’s interesting is that instead of giving these an official name for the said flavor, they’re just called Twizzlers with Hershey chocolate.  I guess not every odd combination is worthy of an official sounding name.

Half the reason I bothered trying this flavor is because it was the only one left at a store I just got hired at.  The other half is because it would go towards a coupon I’d use on a future purchase.  Call me frugal, but when you get a paycheck every other week after three months of unemployment, tendencies really die hard.  And so I approached these with a sense of uninspired curiosity (how’s that for an oxymoron).  My relationship with Twizzlers has proven to go up and down at various points, so anything was open with this cocoa-enhanced flavor.

First off, the bag didn’t leave a particularly good first impression.  It felt stiff, as if it had been shrink-wrapped and the Twizzlers were stale; whereas the other flavors would actually bend when held at one end.  But the expiration date was still four months away, so they should be good, right?

Pulling the bag and a few sticks apart (laboriously, I might add), I readied myself for my first taste of these babies.  I should probably point out that, upon opening, I got a decent whiff of cocoa.  However, this quickly gave way to a more traditional licorice smell that only made me more skeptical.  Reason being that the black licorice flavored Twizzlers have a bitter, rather cringe-inducing flavor that actually counteracts what candy should do in the first place: keep you addicted.

So with a lingering feeling of trepidation, I took my first bite.  My response?

It’s funny, candy tends to be something that you can immediately come to a verdict on.  These Twizzlers left me chewing and taking subsequent bites simply to decide what I thought.  Which is to say that they’re not a very satisfactory treat.  In fact, calling them a “treat” is a bit of a stretch.  Okay, so they’re not as appetite-breaking as the black licorice Twizzlers, but these are a candy you’d keep eating out of false hope.  You want to get more chocolate, hope the next piece will provide you with more.  Instead you’re greeted with something so bland it’d make rice without butter or salt seem taste like a collage of sodium-enriched flavors.  I’ll say that these are more enjoyable than black licorice Twizzlers, if only for the lack of bitter flavor and aftertaste.  But given how unfulfilling they are (at nearly 5 grams of sugar per stick, I might add), they clearly aren’t going to be a repeat item when I sneak something into the movie theater.

The Verdict: Toss It in the Spill

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Candy, Food, Review

 

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Fiber One 80 Calorie Honey Squares Cereal Review

Nutrition

Serving Size: 3/4 a cup (30 grams)
Calories: 80 without milk (5 from fat), 120 with 1/2 cup of skim milk
Total Fat: 1 gram (0 saturated, trans and monounsaturated fat; 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat)
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 140 mg
Potassium: 70 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 25 grams (10 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams soluble fiber, 8 grams soluble fiber, 3 grams sugar, 12 grams other carbohydrates)
Protein: 1 gram

Fiber has become synonymous with healthy.  Apparently something that’s supposed to keep you on the toilet seat is the body’s best medicine.  After all, what else could prompt the creation of brands such as Fiber One and the ever so clever Fiber Plus?  But while General Mills don’t have a problem getting these healthier variants out, I’m left trembling in my bedroom corners wondering if I’ll ever see Count Chocula on any store shelf here in Stuart.

Casting my disappointment aside, I readied for what would definitely be another bland, flavorless cereal that would need select condiments to enliven.  The box seems to suggest strawberries, others might suggest blueberries (or both).  The little kid in me would just add mounds of sugar.

Opening the bag provides a subtle but surprisingly pleasant scent.  It’s not like taking a whiff of a scented candle to satisfy your strange addiction habit, but I can’t complain.  The cereal itself has a bit of a mini Captain Crunch look to it; you know, if the Captain wasn’t racist and actually let tanner beings share their space.  Taken dry, I was very surprised by the flavor and, even more so, by the sweetness.  I quickly did a double take and bulged my eyes at the 3 grams of sugar per serving.  “Too good to be true,” I thought.

Then came the actual bowl test, with the serving size being your usual 3/4 a cup.  It’s still way too small a size for anyone who isn’t anorexic, but when the cereal is only 80 calories per serving (dry), it’s a little easier to let the sizes slide.  Regardless of the milk you use, the cereal remains sweet and, dare I say, tasty on its own.  You won’t be comparing it to Frosted Flakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch any time soon, but given it touches the sweet cravings more than Honey Nut Cheerios (with a third of the sugar content, mind you), it’s easy to be impressed.  And I’m not sure what magic the fairly reasonable list of ingredients is pulling, but the various corn items seem to combine and give the cereal a faint flavor that I’d compare to cinnamon.  Or maybe I’ve just been eying my friend’s boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for too long without breaking the question.

The Verdict: Run Out, Buy Now

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Cereal, Food, Review

 

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Quote Review: Wanderlust (2012)

“I think you’re making everybody uncomfortable.”

Another comedy that wants to be edgy and uproariously belligerent in its laughs, all the while providing some sort of a dramatic insight.  Sadly, it’s tired overkill that, minor chuckles aside, only pushes buttons that have been pressed too many times already (and with better results).

 
 

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Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Review

I love peanut butter.  Do you love peanut butter?  If you don’t love peanut butter, I’m not sure our friendship can endure.  There’s just something special–something magical–about how peanut butter tastes, how it mixes with anything to provide awesome combinations.  How can you not love peanut butter?

Whether it’s creamy or chunky, I love to grab some of these less than generously priced jars.  I’ll often apply it to my morning toast and slide a few banana slices on top.  Elvis Presley fans will surely know what I’m talking about.  Besides, who needs butter on their toast when they can have smashed and oiled peanuts instead?

So when I’m on the hunt for peanut butter at the grocery store, I like to consider different options.  Jif is a frequent go-to brand; Smuckers might be annoying to mix, but the flavor and texture is always worth it; and even the usual store brand peanut butter can hold its own.  That is, unless you get a crunchy Great Value jar at Wal-Mart (seriously, do they even cut those peanuts?).  And while I don’t always abide by online dieting advice, I’ll at least give some tips a chance.  So when I looked around the less expensive choices, I decided to go with Jif Natural for two reasons:

One, it has only five ingredients (?)
Two, how can you possibly screw up peanut butter?

There are a couple amusing things to note about this particular selection, one of which exists in the name: NATURAL.  Is there seriously anything at this point that isn’t natural?  Sand isn’t exactly the most appetizing thing to eat, but at least it’s a natural part of our wholesome earth!  The other part to note is that it says “no need to stir,” which I found to be a given with peanut butter until buying my first Smuckers jar.  Next thing you know Peter Pan will be telling us we don’t need to refrigerate our peanut butter.

Beyond the food label there isn’t much to (initially) distinguish this from the regular Jif peanut butter.  It looks the part when you take the cap off and definitely smells the part too.  When you dip in, however, the differences begin to show.  The texture is notably softer, looking a bit oily and wet after you’ve scooped a bit up.  This stuff literally looks like it could melt away at any second, but somehow manages to stay in place regardless of how you angle the jar.

After grabbing my knife and helping myself to a generous amount, I found myself smiling…for about three seconds.  Natural it may be, but this peanut butter is very deceptive.  The taste is far more subdued than I’d become accustomed to, and the texture dissolves even faster than those Listerine strips.

But maybe my salivation glands are overworking themselves, so why not put this jar to the combination test?  And what better, easier way than an open Elvis Presley sandwich?  As always, I applied a light amount since even a little peanut butter can go a long way.  I always toast my bread as it makes for a good melting test, which happened almost instantaneously.  Spreading quickly got to the point that I had to dip in again and again to cover each slice.  Follow that up with some banana slices, a good bite and I’m left wondering, “where the heck is the peanut butter?”

It’s pretty obvious that if I want to get results even close to standard peanut butter thickness and texture, I’m gonna have to significantly up the amount I apply.  Even then the bland taste and mist-like consistency would still leave me feeling less content.  If fewer ingredients mean more to you than actual satisfaction, then go ahead and make your swap.  But then you’ve officially decreed yourself a heretic in my books.

The Verdict: Toss It in the Spill

Nutrition

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons (33 grams)
Servings Per Container: About 15
Calories: 190 (130 from fat)
Total Fat: 16 grams (3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat)
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 80 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 8 grams (2 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar)
Protein: 7 grams

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Blog, Food, Review

 

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