whinepairings

Pointing out why things are terrible since 2013

The Movies You Like are Terrible Vol. 1

I’m going to do a favor and tell you why the movies you like are terrible pieces of garbage. There’s no need to be embarrassed. Hollywood is very good at fooling you into thinking what you watched made sense.

AVATAR
Budget: 245 million – featuring cartoonish blue anorexic aliens who speak English with impeccable grammar.

1) The resource they are fighting for is called “unobtainium.” Unobtainium. James Cameron thinks you are too stupid to understand that a mineral can be hard to obtain if it’s called, I don’t know, terramanium. Or some other easy to think of made up word. If you like this movie after hearing that they are fighting over unobtainium, you are a jerk. Stop letting Hollywood treat you like an idiot.

2) Susan Sarandon’s character is introduced as being a huge bitch, but she turns super nice for no reason after a couple scenes and this is never addressed again.

Wow, how did they make those blue freaks look so realistic?

Please click “Make blue” for special effects Oscar

INCEPTION
Budget: 160 million – featuring dreams where the bad guys are not monsters or molestation memories, but rather snowmobile-riding, machine-gun toting ninjas.

1) While characters in this brain-porn are involved in an inception type dream, the only way to wake them up is by pushing them backward in a chair into a tub of water. Rolling around in a van as it crashes down a hill does not wake them up. Let’s go over the differences in these scenarios:

CHAIR VAN
Sitting Down? Yes Yes
Sudden falling sensation in slow motion? Yes Yes
Suddenly stopped from falling by being thrust against some surface? Yes Yes
Essentially the exact same shit happening? Yes Yes
Person wakes up? Yes No

This movie was marketed as complex. As a result, you do not want to admit this is a plot hole. Instead, you want to believe that falling backward into a tub of water really would wake them up in this altered sci-fi reality, and that being shaken – not stirred – in a van wouldn’t be enough. C’mon, man. Stand up for yourself. Tell Christopher Nolan he’s a jerk.

2) Leo’s entire motivation the whole movie is to reunite with his kids in real life. Not in a dream. At the end of the movie, when he spins his dream-detecting dreidel and then walks off without seeing if it’s a dream or not, it’s a huge middle finger to the audience. It’s one of the sloppiest ambiguous endings ever. The audience doesn’t get to know if it’s a dream or not – what a twist!

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Nes godol hayah shahm…OR DID IT???

WRONG. Who cares? I don’t need to know if it’s a dream. However, after all the events of the movie have transpired as a result of Leo’s desire to be with his kids, why does HE suddenly not care if it’s real or not anymore? He couldn’t watch the top spin for a few more seconds? Did he have to pee or something? He wasn’t even curious? Guess all those machine gun ninja dream bad guys really got to him. Poor guy.

MAN OF STEEL
Budget: 225 million – featuring Russel Crowe riding a pterodactyl on an alien planet where the aliens speak English with British accents.

1) Why did Superman kiss Lois Lane at the end of this movie? Did they even know each other? I’m pretty sure they never had a conversation. This kiss was earned by 100 years of Superman and Lois Lane stories – but it was not earned by the screenplay. Remember when Mary Jane kissed an upside down Spiderman, after he had yearned for her his whole life? That was a great movie kiss. Remember when Superman kissed Lois Lane in Man of Steel? Of course you don’t, you lying sack of dicks! There was nothing earned or real about that kiss.

2) Superman watches his dad get killed by a tornado because he doesn’t want people to know he’s Superman. I guess his logic was that they would all want to kill him, and he wouldn’t be able to defend himself by being Superman. Or flying away. Also, couldn’t he have literally just blown some Superman style air and flown his dad to safety without anyone ever knowing it was him? Also, why was the tornado like 20 feet from everyone else, but only swept away Superman’s adoptive father? Wow, this movie is even shittier than I realized.

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“Son, the Spiderman origin story is great, so please make a passive decision to let me die soon.”

NEXT EDITION: Spiderman 3, X-Men: First Class, Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, and King’s Speech

Happiness Is Complicated

Please read this link first. It’s a cartoon illustrated by a fan of Bill Watterson’s named Gavin Aung (his website can be found here). The words are from a commencement address Watterson gave about 20 years ago: http://zenpencils.com/comic/128-bill-watterson-a-cartoonists-advice/

I think that it’s difficult for me to separate my ambition and dreams from my upbringing, sometimes. My parents gave me such a comfortable life that when I ventured out into the world I was scared to be uncomfortable – but I mistakenly interpreted “uncomfortable” as “without the means to pay bills.” As a freshman at Indiana University, I declared as a business major.

What the fuck was I thinking?

Fortunately, when I found out that being a business major meant I’d have to take calculus, I switched my major to English before classes commenced.

Uncomfortable actually means “unable to know your place.” I found my place so easily in high school (with a Jewish youth group called BBYO) and in college, but those are the only years I remember having a strong identity outside of my general hubris as the funniest guy most people know.

Anyway, the above brilliant homage to Bill Watterson is such a great message. It also explains why, in the coming weeks, I might turn down a job that pays 100,000 dollars a year.

I might not. I honestly don’t know. It’s apparently a firm that is famous for a collegiate, friendly atmosphere.

But my friend Nick wants to start a sketch comedy group. And Dave Lavon’s brother in law wants me to write comedic sketches for him. And I am so much better at writing creatively than doing anything else. So much happier, too. Even though these things don’t necessarily pay a goddamn cent. Am I supposed to sit in front of a computer all day, working my ass off for incredible money that I’d be lucky to have, to help banks save money? To help car companies sue other car companies? To help businessmen fight charges of tax evasion and fraud?

“Bondage is subjection to external influences and internal negative thoughts and attitudes.” W. Clement Stone said that. His dad died when he was a toddler, and he grew up to be the quintessential “rags to riches” story of all time. I have let external influences control me for so long that I don’t even know whether I’ve simply internalized things I don’t believe, or I’ve been socialized to believe I’m not being externally influenced. I just don’t know. When Stone says, “Negative thoughts and attitudes,” does he mean simply not believing in yourself? Or maybe it’s a little more nuanced – negative thoughts and attitudes are simply the ones that tell you to take the safer, but less fulfilling, route?

If I work hard as an attorney, I could afford to have a family. Is that what is most gratifying in life? Will I feel like a fool if I try to write for 5 more years and then, unsuccessful, tail tucked between my legs, return to corporate America, start a family, and realized I put it off way too long?

I am very happy right now, which I’m sure is unclear given this posting. I am happy. I’m just a little scared. I don’t know which direction to turn. My favorite part of the Watterson-inspired cartoon I attached above is:

“Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.”

Whenever I quit anything in my youth, my dad was very disappointed in me. I still remember how queasy I felt when telling him I was quitting my job as a waiter (because the owner assaulted a waitress), and my job as a resident assistant (because I was an outcast on my floor). He questioned my reasons for quitting, and asked me if they were the right reasons. I told him they were. I wish I remembered whether he believed me or not, or even whether I felt like he believed me or not, but in the end, they were my decisions to make, and I made them.

Maybe I didn’t know if my dad believed I had quit for the right reasons because he didn’t know, either. Maybe that’s the whole point. That we can’t know until we come out on the other side, either smelling like shit and joyous freedom like Andy Dufresne, or smelling like new car leather with a dead look on our face as we pull into a job we never dreamed of as children.

Why I’m Not Excited for Breaking Bad to Return

Unless you’ve been living under a lead rock with your fingers in your ears and duct tape over your eyes and with no phone, tablet computer, casio internet watch, Tamagatchi, or friends on hand, you are no doubt aware that this week’s Annoying Internet Thing is the imminent return of Breaking Bad (On A&E or, depending on your neighborhood, outside your door).

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Breaking Bad has actually increased sales of the Bollman Collection 1940’s style pork pie hat – but it hasn’t increased violence or meth use! What are you, some kind of mom?

The glory of Breaking Bad lies in more than just Bryan Cranston’s James-Gandalfinian acting chops, in more than just Skyler’s tacked-on plotlines, in more than the weird-and-disappeared storyline about Marie’s kleptomania .

Breaking Bad was great because Walt kept Breaking Bad, Badder, Baddest; how low could this man go? Once a hero for idiotically becoming a teacher instead of a billionaire, Walt slid into his antihero potty-training pants as comfortably as an old lady into a knitting chair.

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An apter analogy there has never been.

SPOILER ALERT: WALT TRIES TO MURDER A KID.

The joy of tuning in each week used to lie in the excitement about what insane downfall Walt would affirmatively chase down. Would he finally drown his wife? Would he finally make fun of his son’s horrifyingly disfiguring disease? Would he finally call Hank a fat piece of shit?

When he poisoned a kid last season, he fell as far as it is possible to go, as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing worse he can do than attempt to murder a child, whether he succeeds in that endeavor is irrelevant. If he kills his own kid, it’s equivalent; as the old saying goes, “Kill a kid and your soul’s endangered, regardless if the youth is yours or a stranger’s.”

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“Please don’t kill me!”

I know what you’re going to argue. You’ll whine that he didn’t KNOW if the kid would die or not. If you seriously think that detail matters, well, kudos to the show for brainwashing you into defending a baby-killer. Walt gives pro-choicers a bad name by trying to perform a 38th trimester abortion, and I am not ok with that, bipartisanship be damned.

Are you excited for Breaking Bad to return? Why or why not? Remember when homework consisted of questions about what you thought of a work of art? Wasn’t that the best?

Here are some beautiful pictures from my trip to my family’s cottage in Whitehall, Montague:

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Top row: the view from the balcony.     Bottom row: a sunset jogger and the cottage nestled in some beautiful type of tree. A few botanists came out to tell us what type of trees, but were brutally relaxed to death. They leave behind 3 wives, 7 children, and a bag of botany tools. They will be missed.

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View from the balcony in widescreen.

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Sunset on the beach.

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So, in conclusion, Breaking Bad can suck my shit.

What About Cauliflower – Let Me Finish – Pizza Crust?

We try to live our lives in a blissful if mendacious ignorance of some obvious facts, such as that Tupac faked his own death, bleached his skin and hair, and lives on as Eminem. Or that John McCain is clearly a Muslim fundamentalist from Kenya (people always tend to project their problems on others; it’s so obvious in retrospect).

The worst truth we hide from ourselves? Pizza is bad for you. Not just run of the mill, “Crunchy peanut butter contains mouse bones” bad for you, either. We are talking, “Smoking one cigarette a minute” bad for you. It’s dough slathered in oily sauce topped with sufficient cheese to lure enough mice to produce a thousand jars of crunchy peanut butter. Then, all of THAT is topped with parts of the pig even the farmer wouldn’t fuck (as the saying goes).

You may remember me as "Krang" from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

You may remember me as “Krang” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Enter: Cauliflower. Known as the brain of the animal kingdom in under-funded inner city schools across the nation, cauliflower helps pizza become a whole lot lighter when it’s repurposed into a crust. This crust is unbelievably bread-like, it tastes great, it holds up to toppings, and frankly, if you don’t try this recipe, don’t bother showing your un-American face at my family’s secret cottage in rural Michigan this 4th of July (you are welcome next year, though).

The trick to successful completion of this recipe is putting enough muscle into squeezing as much moisture as humanly possible out of the decimated cauliflower. At least 3 or 4 minutes of pressing should do it.

In honor of this recipe, which would be very Atkins friendly, here are the top five Arrested Development quotes about this horrible, idiotic, fad diet that only morons would try (which I quit after a month). If you aren’t aware, Atkins was (is?) an insane carb-free lifestyle which allows steak topped with gorgonzola butter but doesn’t allow baked potatoes. 

FIVE!

a1

Popcorn? Yeah! To Hell with Atkins, right?

a2

Oh, yeah, you’re right, why blow it now? I’ll fry up some bacon.

FOUR!

Come on, just give me one bite!

Come on, just give me one bite!

b2

No! Mother said you can have no carbohydrates if you ever gonna get girlfriend who isn’t old lady.

THREE!

I want control of the Bluth Company.

I want control of the Bluth Company.

c2 Yeah well I want a hamburger and french fries but you can't have the bun or the potatoes, get real.

Yeah, well, I want a hamburger and french fries but you can’t have the bun or the potatoes, get real.

TWO!

d1 You haven't been eating the bananas, have you

You haven’t been eating the bananas, have you?

d2 No no no, not at all. Just a few nuts.

No no no, not at all. Just some nuts.

d3 yeah those are fine

Yeah those are fine

ONE!

e1 what about macaroni

What about macaroni?

e2 let me finish

Let me finish…

e3 salad

…salad!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients

  • Eight ounces fresh cauliflower, or, if you can’t find cauliflower, one noose, because let’s face it, you are shopping for a nice recipe at 7-11 and it’s time to call it quits.
  • One thing of roasted garlic (recipe in captions below).
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Cut tips off each clove.

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Wrap in foil, brush with oil, and bake in a 400 degree over for 30-40 minutes, until soft enough to eat without crying.

  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Optional, for a more rye-bread like crust: 2 tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • One egg (yes, I am aware of the irony given my last post)
  • Desired pizza toppings. I made two crusts. One, I topped with a mild shaved parmesan, roasted red table grapes sliced in half and soaked in black cherry balsamic, blue cheese, and caramelized onions. The other, I topped with fresh almond garlic pesto, roasted garlic, and goat cheese.

Instructions

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In an ideally fancy and overpriced food processor, load up your cauliflower and pulse it into a fine, rice like grain. Pictured above: way more cauliflower than you need to use.

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Bring 3 tbsp. water to a boil. Dump the cauliflower grains into the water, turn off heat, cover, and let sit for ten minutes.

When it’s ready, pour the granules of decimated cauliflower into a (clean) towel. Squeeze, press, punch, and take out at least a few years of misdirected aggression about how much you hate your job on the toweled-up granules, until no more water is leaking out of the towel.

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Take the rest of the ingredients other than the toppings and mix together with the pressed cauliflower grains. Mix good. Or well, depending on your level of Grammar Nazism. Myself, I’m a Grammar Jew. The exact opposite of a Grammar Nazi. So, I mix good.

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Spoon out your mixture onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. Try to get it about half an inch thick if possible. Throw into your preheated 400 degree oven and enjoy 30-40 minutes of leisure – nothing too lascivious, I should think.

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You can whip up some delicious pesto with my secret recipe (I hope you didn’t click that. It’s not a link. It’s a secret. Secrets are also traditionally posted in blue font).

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Or, you can photograph your roommate breaking all sorts of health codes even for home cooking.

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When the crust is nice and brown and looks solid enough to hold (but committmentphobic enough to let go), take it out and let it cool for a minute. Put it on a new parchment covered baking sheet and top as desired. Meanwhile, pump that oven temperature up to 450 degrees. Pop the pizza(s) in and bake for 6-10 minutes, just enough to cook the toppings.

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Oh. My. Goodness. Those look incredible. Good enough to eat and [UNAPPETIZING LANGUAGE REDATED] and flush away forever, which I did this morning.

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Yum. Healthy and delicious, and the crust is surprisingly and satisfyingly bread like:

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Perfection.

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Wu-Tang is the CD that I travel with.

The Guys That Bind: Curried Quinoa Corn Cakes and Sour Cream Sriracha paired with Seinfeld

Binding agents are crucial both in cooking and in television. When caking chopped up ingredients together, a binding agent keeps the cakes from falling apart. When scripting a television show, a binding agent keeps the characters in the same social circle. Naturally, this leads us to meatballs.

Every meatball you’ve ever had has tasted the same. You ate one while you were drunk that one time, which is why you think you once had the best meatball ever, but you’re wrong – it was the same as every meatball.  That’s because they are all held together by the same mortar: eggs.

Eggs are the most popular binding agent in American cuisine, mainly because the American egg farmers’ lobby is almost as powerful as Chase Bank, which as of 2012 was officially ranked as the number one most powerful entity in existence (second place: God Almighty).

Enlightened chefs know that eggs have run their course as the status quo binding agent and have turned to chickpea flour. Yes, chickpea flour. Simmer a little bit in some water and use it to bind your foodstuffs, and it soon becomes apparent that the Hebrew slaves of Biblical (read: “fake”) Egypt would spit in your face out of sheer jealousy, because they had to use mortar made out of diced apples, walnuts, and cinnamon, and you get to use chickpea flour. “Cat, sarcophagus, bird, cobra,” they’d scream at you in Ancient Egyptian. This loosely translates to, “You lucky bastard.”

Jerry Seinfeld was both the egg and the chickpea flour of the sitcom Seinfeld. In the season 3 episode The Dog, Jerry has to watch a dog that belongs to a man he met on a plane, so he cannot accompany George and Elaine to the movies. He tells them to go without him. After much hemming and hawing, they reluctantly agree. Later, they make some awkward conversation at the coffee shop.

George checks watch i like herbal tea

George checks his watch, Elaine yawns as George talks about the tea he likes. Elaine makes fun of Jerry for not realizing that his favorite tea contains caffeine. George, suddenly enraptured, laughs. Elaine laughs even harder. They have finally bonded – and it happened thanks to the strongest binding agent known to sitcoms: the eponymous protagonist.

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This sequence epitomizes why binding agents are so crucial to a television show’s continuity. Despite Jerry’s absence, he is still the only thing keeping George and Elaine together, both in this brief temporal setting and in the show’s overall narrative. He is the chickpea flour of the nineties.

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Curried quinoa corn cakes are made from ingredients you wouldn’t expect, unless you read this sentence properly. No surprises in that case. I have adapted THIS recipe to achieve more of a Cambodian curry flavor in the cakes.

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Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups cooked quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
  • 2 cups cooked corn kernels (roughly 3 ears of corn)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp chickpea flour

Instructions

Cook the quinoa. And the corn. If you need instructions on this, find a blog for jerks who can’t read the back of their quinoa packaging.

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This is why you measure quinoa and THEN water, not the other way around. Getting those kernels out was a real hassle and I’m thinking of closing down this blog rather than picking them out.

Combine all ingredients except chickpea flour in a huge bowl. Take the biggest bowl you own and wear it as a helmet while you go shop for a bowl that’s big enough. Mix well.

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In a better saucepan than you can afford, combine chickpea flour and 3/4 cup water. Cook until it’s thick and bubbly and sort of reminiscent of the bog of eternal stench.

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Perfect!

Remove from stove and pour it all over the quinoa mixture. Mix it so well that you will have no shot masturbating later – your hand should HURT. Once it cools down, form into patties by hand.

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Using however much oil feels right in your heart (2 tbsp), pan fry in a non stick pan. About 5 minutes per side should do the trick. While the first batch cooks, whip up your sriracha sour cream. Take some sour cream, and add some sriracha to it. For spicier sour cream, use more sriracha. For milder sour cream, use less. If you’d like exact measurements, you have now been diagnosed with OCD. Seek help.

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If it looks like you bled into the sour cream, keep mixing.

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Time to dig in. Delicious.

The damage:

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Lukshon (is) For Dummies

Sang Yoon, owner / chef / anal retentive food purist of Father’s Office, is well known for prohibiting any alterations to his universally loved Office Burger. Clearly considering himself patrician rather than plebian, Yoon has seemingly instructed the waitstaff at Father’s Office to berate foolish commoners who dare request ketchup on their burger.

Given these facts, it should not come as a surprise that the staff at Lukshon, Yoon’s latest foray into food despotism, come across as something closer to power-drunk TSA agents gleefully enforcing arbitrary rules rather than helpful waiters hoping to cater to their guests’ every whim.

It is fairly obvious that to become a waiter or waitress at Lukshon, the job interview consists of being given a puppy, raising it, and then murdering it in front of Sang Yoon to prove that the applicant is black of heart enough to serve his paying customers. Much like the Great Wall of China, horrible manners are not built in one day by despots.

The following bullet points all really happened:

  • There to celebrate my friend Grant’s birthday, our group showed up on time for our 8:00 reservation, but we were forced to wait over an hour and fifteen minutes for our table.
  • While waiting, one member of our party asked for a glass of water. He was given a glass the size of a whiskey tumbler and the waitress filled it halfway. Laughing, he asked for a full glass. The waitress’s response? “It is our policy not to fill the glasses all the way.”
  • One of Grant’s friends brought a cake to share for his birthday, but we were instructed that Yoon does not allow “Outside food or balloons.”
  • When I asked if, because we were the last table remaining, and because we were forced to wait so long for our reservation, we could eat the cake anyway, the waitress told me it was not their fault we had to wait.
  • When I said, “You’re right, we apologize, we should not have arrived on time for our reservation, our bad,” the waitress was visibly soul shattered.
  • If, like the antagonist who hits a woman in a Law and Order episode, I had been asked if shattering her soul made me feel like a real man, I would have said, “Yes.”
  • She also reiterated their strict “No balloons” policy with no provocation from us.
  • When I asked for directions to the restroom, the waitress instructed me that they had a strict, “No helpfulness whatsoever policy.”
  • When we tried to pay our bill, the waitress stabbed me in the thigh with a toothpick, spit in my face, and dared me to sue.
  • Upon our arrival at the parking lot, we discovered that various waitstaff from Lukshon had kidnapped our pets, locked them in our cars, and torched them.
  • I now have night terrors wherein waitresses punch me in the testicles while they scream, “No balloons! No balloons!” and their spittle rains down upon my face.

Overall, a pretty great night. Food pics and reviews below.

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Tea leaf salad. Provided gratis for our long wait, our party of 15 was not fully sated by the one lonely shrimp. A scuffle broke out, and the only person willing to fight dirty, bite his friends, and slap them, won the morsel. It was delicious.

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Brussels sprouts with chile garlic vinaigrette and sesame seeds. Charred to perfection, these little diuretic nuggets are worth their weight in gold. Which would have been a more reasonable 4 dollars.

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Spicy chicken pops: A+, if “A” stands for “A waitress was really mean to me while I ate these.”

Pork ribs: A solid D, if “D” stands for, “A much worse grade than ‘A+.'”

Dandan noodles: Their only redeeming quality is that, even though they are presented to look like the Sunday morning contents of a freshman dorm toilet, at least they’re technically spaghetti.

FINAL VERDICT: Depressed people who aren’t seeking a cure and masochists alike should flock to Lukshon immediately for a memorable experience.

D- (on a 3.0 scale); 3 Thumbs Down (out of 2); Four Stars (out of 600)