Flashback Film and Foodie Review: Instructions not Included

Mexican superstar Eugenio Derbez (whom you may know from Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill or Rob Schneider’s canceled sitcom ¡Rob!), tells the story of an Acapulco playboy whose life is rocked when an old fling leaves a baby on his doorstep.   The movie is supposed to be a comedy but it falls more in the category of dramedy.  It is a smart film with the predictable and unpredictable balance of events that occur through the story.

For the average American blindly taking a chance of selecting this foreign film, they are not likely to know the comedic body of Derbez’s work; however,  he clearly finds moments to showcase his slapstick abilities.  Derbez is a well known comedic for in Mexico.    I managed to watch this film even without subtitles.  I was able to follow and enjoy the film.   If you understand Spanish then look the film titled as “No Se Aceptan Devoluciones.”

The Food: Make it a simple DVD night of chips, salsa and margaritas.  Why such a simple selection of food?  There are few moment in a cantina which just screams that kind of food.  Although not Mexican like the film you could have tostadas with ceviche.   Not the margarita type, try Micheladas as the beverage sip on while watching this film.

 

Film and Foodie Review: BELLE

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BELLE  is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) and  enslaved African woman known as Maria Belle. . Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her color prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.  To take things at surface value just will not do. It is as if God takes the imperfect situation of illegitimacy and works it for the overall good.

Dido grows up alongside a first cousin of the same at who was probably so isolated and lonely the only thing she could do would be to welcome and love Dido. In the film we watch the bond and the timing for finding a suitor.  It seems Dido’s great uncle and aunt never envisioned she would find husband.  The didn’t want her to marry down in social standing and they never thought she could marry up.

The story of Dido Belle goes beyond the tragic mulatto but how the influence of being the niece of the Lord Chief Justice may have played a significant factor in helping to build the road to end slavery.

And yes, there is an enchanting romance in the story too.  No Spoiler, just go see the film to see how the love story plays out.

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Food: When this hits dvd, it just scream movie and tea party with the ladies.   So grab your favorite type of scone, finger sandwiches and the very best tea then sit back enjoy the movie.   Check out our Tea and Garden Party menu.

Film and Foodie Review: Captain America – Winter Soldier

Honestly, when I come from seeing a Captain America movie I become a Yankee doodle dandy.  Serve me some Apple pie becausechris-evans-captain-america-95e1533eb1b20a97777749fb94fdb944 Cap puts the patriotic spirit in you.  Chris Evans also just seems to fit the character like a glove.  Personally, I get lost the the puddle of his blue eyes any moment that he is distressed.  He seems to carry the weight of not only America but the world on his shoulders.  In addition we know our hero is trying to persevere in a very new world with different ideals.  Evans portrays his character with vulnerability.  Couple that with the Winter Soldier in this film and you’ve got more to torment Steve Rogers AKA Captain America.    The history between the character is rich as any comic book fan would have understood the Winter Soldier was coming based on the first film setting it up.

This script is smart.  It seems to have more action than its predecessor but I like the warm sepia tones of the first Captain America;however, that  touch was because it was a period piece.  The agents of shield also seem to more comfortable in their roles.   Scarlett Johanssen and Samuel Jackson up their screen time in this film.  Plus there is the addition of Anthony Mackie as Falcon.      Also expect to see Robert Redford with a central role.

The Food – Buy me some some peanut and Cracker jacks.   Also the Jello Flag Cakes or pops may be a good idea when this film hits dvd.

The Original Anti-Valentine’s Day Movie List Part I

When the list hit our website, it also made IMDB’s hit list with over 22,000 hits over one weekend.

Every year on Valentines Day, single men and women, without a Valentine of their own, are left to their own devices. Not saying there is anything wrong with Valentine’s Day, but for those who aren’t exactly “looking forward” to February 14th — have no fear. If you are among the many who will stay at home this Valentines Day, MCCN has the ultimate Anti-Valentine’s Day movielist, plus some comfort food dishes to keep you in good spirits.  Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day!

North by Northwest
Need an escape from reality? There’s nothing like a little case of mistaken Identity to shake things up. A New York ad executive is mistaken as an agent by foreign spies, and has to flee to surive. While enjoying Cary Grant run from a biplane, try a helping of potato salad with Sausage and vegetables in light of the Dakota’s German heritage.

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The Big Lebowski
“The Dude” abides as Jeff Bridges turns in a pop culture worthy performance as Jeffery Lebowski. Wrongly targeted by kidnappers, The Dude must track down the right Lebowski and fix the wrongs done to him. In keeping with the lackadaisical tone of the film, either have some breakfast for dinner (Pancakes recommended) or order out. Just remember to pair it with the Dude’s favorite drink, a White Russian.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D
For those in a foul mood, a horror film about Valentine’s Day might do the trick. Either the 1981 version or the 2009 remake should satisfy your distaste of Valentines Day. Just remember to fix yourself a nice Devonshire Sandwich. Don’t forget to pour on the Heinz Ketchup.

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Memento
Sometimes after a particularly bad relationship, we all hope for a little memory loss. Why not watch a man who can’t quite remember what just happened? Memento is an amazing film that follows a man as he tries to solve his wife’s murder. Munch on something you love, be it candy, ice cream or a hot dog as you follow along with the twists and turns of the film.

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Editors Picks: Chasing Papi
Three women are in love with one man but learn new lessons about love and personal identity. This one is sure to put a positive light on being single. Have some sancocho (a soup with meat and vegetables in a broth) in light of leading actress Sophia Vergara’s Colombian heritage.

The Namesake: The namesake stars Kal Penn and is based off of the best selling book.  American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in with Americans. This is a story of a young man working working through identity. Since this movie is rich with traditions check out our article on India’s Tea Time.

Thelma and Louise: How American, this classic film’s ending truly means give me liberty or give me death.  Although, not a suggestion for the second option this film is truly a single woman’s bon bon eating film with a side of young Brad Pitt.

Waiting to Exhale: Liberation, Desperation, love and realization all take place in Waiting to Exhale starring Angela_Bassett_fireAngela Bassett, Whitney Houston, the late Gregrory Hines and more.  A perfect story for Anti-Valentine’s women to feel comfortable with being  single. Check out Sylvia  of Harlem’s drink recipe named for the movie.Waiting to Exhale Drink

See Anti-Valentine’s List Part II

Reviews by Michael Fusco and MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson

Hollywood: Color, Culture and Casting

Casting

As former casting director and a person of color, the subject of casting is matter of marketing not being accurate, at least not when the character is a person of color.   I once worked on a popular reality television program where secretly said we are looking for a white family.  We let Asian, Latino, and African Americans walk through the door, fill out applications and videotaped interviews knowing they would never be the selected family.  From big screen to small screen, casting people of color continues to be an issue.  People already get upset which someone of another culture plays someone in their culture or in the Black community when someone lighter or darker plays the part of famous person.  Currently this is happening with Zoe Saldana, an afro latina playing the famous dark jazz singer Nina Simone.  It happened with Denzel Washington playing Malcom X, Jennifer Lopez(Puerto Rican) playing Selena(Mexican American).  Even the heroine Katniss of Hunger Games is described as olive skinned and fan imagined she may be biracial, latina or Native American.    Esai Morales(Puerto Rican) plays a Mexican American in La Bamba.

Ironically Esai Morales who has played roles of Mexican characters time after time, posted on his facebook page an article about Hollywood’s Whitewash of characters.  He prefaced the article by saying, “Whitewashing has hurt my career options in ways that I can’t even begin to calculate.”

http://www.complexpopculture.com

Even if you’ve never heard of Hollywood whitewashing, chances are you’ve seen it anyway. It’s a kind of casting where film studios have placed white actors in lead roles under the assumption that the majority of Americans would rather see a white face than a non-white one—despite what the role calls for. And while Hollywood may not resort to putting actors in blackface anymore, the practice of just bending the race of a character is not an uncommon one. Hence, Jake Gyllenhaal playing a Persian.

Read the More of the artice, 25 Minority Character That Hollywood Whitewashed

Film & Foodie Review : Frozen

Frozen

You can’t leave the movie theater without thinking this one is an instant classic.  It is the story of two sisters, princesses of course.  One has magical capabilities but lives with this gift as if it were a curse.  In trying to protect her younger sister, they become estranged yet the little sister does not know why.  Yes, there is some boy meets girl in the story too.

The music is just waiting to be made a Broadway production.  And it is easy to think Broadway with the dazzling vocal ability of Idina Menzel brings the character Elsa to life especially when she sings, Let it Go.  Buy the dvd, buy the soundtrack and get to know the new Disney characters.    The Frozen is sure to melt some part of your heart.

The Food:  The characters desire chocolate but have fun with your kids with this one.  Make some snow cream from the first snow or frozen hot chocolate.   If you are adult crowd enjoying this flick then pour a glass of ice wine and enjoy.

Rating: Sunny Side Up

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Film & Foodie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is an in your face outrageous looney and often times vulgar ride.  It the telling of the real life story of Jordan Belfort.  In the 1990s, he founded the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont which functioned as a boiler room marketing penny stocks, where he defrauded investors with fraudulent stock sales   All I could think is this is going to be a DVD collectors classic in the likes of Donnie Brasco instead you are watching “corporate gangsters.”  Leonardo DiCaprio is utterly amazing as crooked New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort.  His physical comedy is hilarious.  Matthew McConaughey role is brief but freakishly entertaining.  Jonah Hill is also provides an impressive performance.    The characters are great and the story keeps you guessing, “What is going to happen next?”

The Food:  Guys, if you catch this in movie theaters then a more upscale restaurant may be in order.    If this winds up being a movie night at home.  Then have some fun with champagne and caviar.

*Advisory:  Not for children, nudity, cursing, and sex

Ranking:  Sunny Side Up

Authentic Godfather Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe Made Easy

Recently, I published my long await Best Foodie Film list here on the Multi Cultural Cooking Network Blog and on IMDB.  On LinkedIN’s Movie addicts page there was lots of feedback.  The Godfather and Godfather 3 have some fantastic foodie moments revolving around meatballs, sausage and gnocchi.  Francis Ford Coppola is definitely a foodie.  It creeps out with taking the time to do a cooking lesson by the character Clemenza and Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.”   Back then we didn’t realize he would start Coppola Winery.

Foodie Moment: Clemenza tells Michael:

Come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you may have to cook for 20 guys some day. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil, you fry some garlic, then you throw in some tomatoes, some tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn’t stick, you get it to a boil. You shove in all your sausage and your meatballs, add a little bit of wine, and a little bit of sugar — and that’s my trick.

See the gnocchi scene in Godfather 3 (In Italian) 

MCCN Best Foodie Films List

Babette’s Feast one of the best Foodie films ever.

I’ve been meaning to do this for year but apparently Anthony Bourdain has beat me to it.  And since I am a fan of the chef and writer.  I will defer to him for part of this list of Best Foodie Films.    This list has no ranking of one film versus the next.  These are simply some of the best foodie films. – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor (Film and Food Critic)

  • Soul Food -The film centers on the trials of an extended African-American family, held together by longstanding family traditions(coming together over Sunday dinner of soul food) which begin to fade as serious problems take center stage
  • Chocolat– A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.  Film stars Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche
  • Pressure Cooker -The Documentary follows two semesters of students in a Culinary arts program under the supervision of a no-nonsense Chef/Teacher who helps to push these Philadelphia high school students to excellence in and out of the kitchen.
  • Eat Pray & Love –  Based on the best selling book of the same name, Julia Roberts stars in a film which partly celebrates Italian Food.
  • Kings of Pastry-is a truly thrilling and informative look at the somewhat secretive and incestuous world of French patisserie.
  • Last Holiday – stars Queen La’Tifah as woman afraid of her own shadow but loves cooking.  When thinks she is facing death, she decides to taste the full flavors of life.    
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – is based on a children’s book which made its debut in 1978.  The weather comes three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is always food and beverages.
  • Princess and the Frog– This Disney film is all about a New Orleans gal who wants to open a restaurant.  She doesn’t expect a Prince Charming to make her dreams come true.
  • Spanglish- This one my sister would probably vote for considering that it is one of her favorite film.  Adam Sandler plays a chef.  Watch Sandler learn how to make “The World’s Greatest Sandwich” 

Bourdain Listing  is below.  Everything would be a pick of mine but Tempopo because I have never scene it.

Django Unchained Evokes Black History Knowledge and Discussion

It is a bloody means to an end but I am glad I took the journey to see Django Unchained. As a fan of Tarantino’s work it is a must see.  The Black Film Critics cirlce has given a thumbs up to film.  Despite the torturous unending use of the word, nigger and the gore fest of blood and guts, Tarantino provides a meaningful way of entertainment.  Over the years, many African American have grown weary of watching stories of slaves a powerless victims.  However, painful it a truth many don’t like to visit.  The fictious tale of  Django presents a plausible power shift carefuly wrapped in legal technicalities to drive the story.

One of the more poignant aspects of the film includes history.  The violent world of Black slaves wrestling is a reality of history and of image of a Black man during slavery times riding a horse is featured.  I reasoned with myself what would the issue be of a Black man riding on a horse be.  I have rationalized that it may been his ability to look down at whites.  According the Chapman University’s Historical Review,  “Slave owners kept the horses in closed locations because if slaves were able to steal the horses they could quickly escape from the plantations. Due to these reasons, horseracing was limited. Horsemanship was also the mark of a gentleman.”    The Chapman University Historical Review has a great article worth reading entitled, Sports in Shackles: The Athletic and Recreational habits of slaves on Southern plantations.  READ MORE

Written by Crystal A. Johnson

See Film and Foodie Review of Django Unchained