Here, There be a Writer

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Movie Review: Deadpool

I want it on the record, I knew next to nothing about Deadpool prior to seeing this movie. Nothing.Except that I had seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which features a very different. That was an INTERESTING movie, to say the least. Portrayed much differently with a sewn shut mouth and mutant powers from each of the X-Men making me quite the adversary.

I rather like the mouthy, sword and gun toting version better.

Also, I need to say that I am REALLY behind on my superhero movies. So this is a really an impromptu review.

First, I am not normally a Ryan Reynolds fan, but he was the best smart ass as Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool. Okay, there will probably be spoilers her, Dear Readers. Point is this movie was really effin' good.

I love a good linear story, but something about a story that jumps from past to present reminds me of the way I write sometimes. You see, I have written a few stories where the main protagonist is set in one time line, and then jumps to a either a different protagonist or a different time with the same protagonist . So, it made sense when Deadpool would jump back to an earlier time to explain an earlier point my brain could actually follow the story. The movie is more of an origins story and less and adventure based story, yet the movie doesn't suffer for it. I found that I could connect with Wade, Vanessa, and even Francis. It was well thought out and even well presented.

Something that I enjoyed and usually don't enjoy if not done well is the breaking of the fourth wall. It is so easy to have a character just start talking to the audience, Dear Readers, but it is hard to make it believable and NOT annoying. I remember a children's theatre that featured a character that broke the fourth wall and it annoyed me the whole time I was watching. Never mind that the rest of the show was good and the kids acted their little hearts out, but to have a character (a stage manager character too) just burst out about how their job is not going well and the actors are ruining the show put a bit of a damper on the story that was already in progress. Now, I must point out that the young lady playing the stage manager was trying her hardest, but it is hard to convey fourth wall breakage well. Deadpool breaks the fourth wall quite a bit and used a lot of humour, but not in every scene, or in every moment. It felt almost natural, and you were expecting it. I thought this helped the movie's case, as I would have just responded to Deadpool's queries or comment as if I was there with him on the bridge or in the car on the highway. While in that children's show it was awkward, random, and unnecessary.

Note: fourth wall breaking is usually used in improv games and dinner theatre. Although not exclusively, I have experienced fourth wall breaking in these circumstances.

I could tell that Ryan Reynolds has a passion for Deadpool, with his impish delight and passion, that is what really made me enjoy Deadpool. I also liked the humour. There is something amusing about a character who is so vulgar. Not a movie for anyone under 13, hell, maybe under 16, but entertaining and much different than the standard fare now-a-days.

See, as I stated before I am really behind on my superhero movie. But Deadpool is less a superhero movie and more an action movie. Deadpool is not a superhero, but a anti-hero. This doesn't mean he is a villain, but in a world where most action adventure movies have a hero and a villain, it is nice to have a protagonist (protagonist) who is less like a superman and more like a man with special abilities. I applaud Marvel for their choices with this movie. It helped. I hope for more stories that test what we know about stories, heroes, and villains. But at the same time I hope that this isn't the new normal. It was suggested by Red Letter Media (guys who do fun reviews) that maybe this concept/style could become the new trend in movies. Watch their Half in the Bag review of Deadpool. I rather hope that it is used sparingly so as to not wear out the possibilities.

 One Comic Book version of N.T Warhead
Movie version of N. T. Warhead
Overall verdict: If you are old enough, then yes, yes, you should see this movie. From a storytelling perceptive it is unique story, from a unique perspective. Yes, there is a lot of vulgarity, but really that never took away from the story. Something a little different to break up the monotony of superhero movies, comics, books, etc. Also, I love a good and flawed character and Wade Wilson is flawed and funny for all the right reasons. And you get a little (and I mean little bit of X-men with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who is an actual X-Man). And they also changed her powers and persona quite a bit. Read a bit about her at Comic Vine.

Have you seen Deadpool, Dear Readers? What kind of movies do you like? Do you like something a little different for the normal? Favourite superhero or anti-hero? Favourite villain? Leave a comment below and show me shown love. Peace!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Movie Review: Inside Out

I have to say it,Pixar has yet to disappoint!

I just finally got around to seeing Inside Out (borrowed from a friend), and oh man, what a ride!! What a ride!!!!

So without spoiling it for you (as little spoilers as possible. You have been warned though), Dear Readers. I will say this about Inside Out, it is a new story built out of what we already know something about our emotions. Never has it been so clear about what we ourselves have experienced in our own heads. I think we maybe never considered life on the inside of the cranium.

Ha! See what I did there...okay, maybe lame, maybe not...

Okay, so here's what I think. Inside Out is fantastic story. I think Pixar picked a different kind of story to tell and it worked. I was a little hesitant at the beginning. There were a few times early on that I was wondering where it was going. And then-BLAM-I was hit with feel and a realism that I could understand. I was already pretty familiar with how the brain generally worked,but now there context, like when Sadness is too sad to move. I know who suffer with various depression and anxiety issues. This is a real this. Heck, I even experience it sometimes, especially lately.

There is enough that kids will be entertained, and more than enough for adults and teens to chew on.

There is a dedication to detail that Inside Out presents; in a way I think it makes us aware of how our brains works, considers how depression and anxiety works, and allows us to learn to accept all of emotions. You see emotions are just as complicated as people are it seems. You have to be able to see that feeling Joy can and often contains Sadness. That maybe Fear, Anger, and Disgust are just as important (they cannot drive the body solely. It is a team effort).

My favourite parts include, but are not limited to the following, Sadness drive Riley, Fear on Dream detail, and the emotions featured during the credits.

Pixar has put a lot into their movies over the years. I feel that even though it is CGI, the worlds they create are just as real as the real world. That is how good Pixar makes their little microcosms. Riley is a microcosm in the middle of her macrocosm. There is such attention to detail within, especially when you are creating the parts of the brain in HQ, long term memory, imagination land, the train of thought, and so forth.

When I look at it I see a touching and true look at how our emotions makes us into the people we are. The story is really strong. The characters are believable. And I didn't feel like I was waiting for the movie to end.  I recommend everyone check out Inside Out out.

So, Dear Readers, have you watched Inside Out? What are your opinions of it? Likes? Dislikes? Also, what is your favourite Pixar movie(s)?

I love the Toy Story trilogy and Up, but I am also a little partial to The Good Dinosaur now.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What do you know about French Fries?

French Fries!

Yeah, one of my best friends, Sara, suggested I blog about French Fries...

...clearly Friday afternoons are great days to get ideas from friends. And I am never one to give up on a challenge, therefore I will blog about French Fries and make it interesting.

You see, Dear Readers, I usually ask for poetry topics and write a poem with said topic. Today is clearly different. Write a blog about French Fries.

French Fries are not French. I know shocking. Or maybe not. Maybe they are?!?!?

Some say the Belgians were the first to fry the potato, others give credit to France, still others say that Spain is the forerunner of the fried potato. Spain was said to find the potato in an abandoned Colombian village and brought it back to Europe. No one is really sure if France or Belgium was the first to receive the potato. At that time Spain controlled much of Belgium. But...Spain started it all it seems, bring the ground apple "Pomme de Terre", as it is called in France to Italy and then onto Belgium and France.

It feels like a urban legend, who created the first french fry...

In Francethe story goes that a French medical soldier fighting in the Seven Years War is credited with discovering the potato, because he was captured and sent to Prussia as a POW where potatoes were given out as the rations. Here he learned about the tuber. After the war he brought it back to France and had to convince his fellow countrymen that it was worth eating. You see-at that time-he French thought potatoes were thought to cause disease in humans (History of French Fries) and only fit to feed to pigs.

Imagine that!
All pictures from MorgueFile
The potato came to Europe and was expanded on by Belgians and French alike, add the Dutch to the list of potato lovers.

The Belgians and Dutch do love their potatoes. They have street vendors everywhere dedicated selling "Frites" or "Patats" (in Holland) in paper cones and served with a creamy mayonnaise (not like the American kind). While they love to eat their potatoes with just a sauce, the French ate their potatoes often with meat (steak was a popular choice).

Only after the potato war begun, about who invented the Fried Potato did the tuber make its way to England and America. The British called them chips and Americans called them french fries. Which I think is not really confusing, but that's because I like a number of British things and have taken up calling fries chips.

I have never had chips done in the style of British, Belgian, or Dutch (a personal account of a Dutch born chip lovers) and am seriously curious to try them. All that I am  used to are the standard American chip-the thinly sliced sticks of potato. If you were to ask me where are the best chips or fries I would have to ponder a bit. You see I am not a fan of most fast food restaurant fries, as many are too greasy, too salty, too over cooked, or not cooked enough. This includes the the biggie chains, McDonald's and Burger King which I don't generally frequent as of late.

I am definitely a french fry, chip person. Usually, when I order at a restaurant one of my side choices is (most) always the golden thin deep fried tuber. I love dipping chips in barbecue sauce, honey mustard, ranch and even ketchup.  But my favourite way to have chips is with malt vinegar, a little pepper, and some ketchup.

Of places to eat chips at (and I have an affinity for all things British). Hell, I would love to have chips with the Doctor (yes, I am a Whovian). The thought of walking down the street with  paper cone of chips and Capaldi or Eccleston makes me giddy. Okay now I am starting to wander. I have had french fries everywhere, okay maybe not EVERYWHERE, but they are really common around here. So, maybe I should tell you, Dear Readers where I love to eat chips. Below is my top 5 list of best chips (fries) in town (or elsewhere):

1. Five Guys Burger and Fries, Big Flats and Ithaca, NY - made with fresh potatoes right then and there.

2. Smokie's Restaurant, Kanona, NY - A truck stop that is a favourite hangout post theatricl shows in the Bath/Hammondsport area. I more standard french fried potato, but a nice crispy consistency and not overly salted.

3. Sorge's Restaurant, Corning, NY - if you want good local Italian cruise and a friendly atmosphere, check them out. Their fries leave a little bit of the skin on them, not too crispy, but  not raw either. Perfect with a bit of pepper and malt vinegar. That is a British thing, dousing chips in malt vinegar.

4. The food stand at the Farm Festival in Fredonia, NY - I don't know if they are still in operation, but this family own an food stall that would go around to all the outdoor events throughout the are. They would take a whole potato and make into into a pile of curly fries. Worth the 2 to 3 dollar price. It was like a meal in and of itself. Cover it in vinegar and some ketchup and you have a party! And in answer to your possible questions, Dewar Reader, the Farm Festival was a weekend arts and crafts, farmer's market, and music in festival form at the end of August in Fredonia, NY. A perfect way to end the summer. It still is running as far as I know.

5. Alton's, Cheektowaga, NY (2250 Walden Avenue)  - My favourite restaurant to frequent when visiting the Buffalo area. They have amazing Greek cuisine and the best sweet potato fries ever. I didn't talk about he possibility of sweet potato fries, but yeah...its a thing. Fries made out of sweet potatoes. Alton's sweet potato fries are lightly crispy and served with either a butter sauce or honey. Excellent either way, or you could take the dill sauce that comes with many of the Greek dishes and dip the sweet potato fries into it. Also very tasty.

Potato Haiku

Little ground thing, grow
Little round thing in the dirt--
Want you in ketchup 

And for a little fun see Sara's commentary brainstorming (because when you read her parts it is funny). I love you Sara!!

Me: What should I blog about?
Sara: french fries
--you should blog about french fries...
--where you have had the best and worst of them.
--how you like them.
--how you feel about french fries and how weird it is that British people call them Chips and call Chips Crisps, and how Billie Piper makes them look like the most delicious things on earth
--OH! and how they compare to other methods of potato preparation
--Sorry. I don't have an off switch.
--working on it
-- :-P
It should be noted that she is right about Billie Piper (Rose Tyler from Doctor Who) does make chips seem like the best thing EVAR!!!!
Leave me a comment about where your have had the best fries, chip, patat, frites, etc. What are your favourite dipping sauces? What do you like with your potatoes? Do you prefer other forms of tubers?