Today’s Special

Last week I was browsing the movie options on Netflix’s (as I often do in the evening) and I came across  Today’s Special (David Kaplan, 2009). Due to the size of my TV screen, the distance away from the screen, and my poor eyesight I could not read the brief description that Netflix’s provides. But I saw that it had 4.5 to 5 stars and from the picture could tell that it had to do with cooking. If you know me or anyone in my family – and even if you don’t (you will now) – you know the famous quote, “foods a really big deal in this house.” Everyone in my family cooks, and we have all worked in a restaurant at some point in time in our lives. So stumbling across a food related comedy, that I hadn’t seen, for me, was very exciting. Once I found it, I knew what my night would look like; I would be glued to the couch with tea, snacks, and because it’s winter in Norther Michigan… blankets.

I am happy to report I most definitely agree with Netflix’s star rating when it comes to this film, I thoroughly enjoyed Today’s Special! As Ebert mentions in his review of the film in 2010, the story arch is old and predictable, but the cast does a wonderful job sucking you into the world that was created. The film opens in a high-class restaurant kitchen, where Samir is the sous chef. Though Samir believes he should become the chef at the new restaurant which is being opened by his boss, he is passed over and the chef position is given to a young cook, with far less experience. Because Samir is so upset with the decision, he quits his job and says he has been offered an internship in Paris. Due to a family medical emergency Samir never gets to Paris. Instead, he has to move back into his parent’s house and take over the family restaurant. Taking over the family restaurant is not and easy task. There is a lot to do, and in his time of need, Samir turns to a former chef turned cab driver, Akbar. With Akbar’s help, Samir is able to turn the fate of his family restaurant around and repair his families strained relationship, brought on by generational clashes. By the end of the film much to the delight of Samir’s parents, Samir also finds love.

As I said, the story is totally predictable, it is a feel-good tale of self-discovery. However, for some reason, I remained enthralled by the film. One reason for this could have been the fact that Samir and his family are Indian and I absolutely adore Indian cuisine, because of its spectacular flavor. It is odd to learn that Samir has never cooked a traditional Indian meal. And thus has to hire a cab driver to teach him how to make garam masala. A process that Samir doesn’t get down until towards the end of the film when everything is left on his shoulders. Throughout Today’s Special Akbar serves as a sensei, teaching Samir more than how to cook an outstanding garam masala. (Note: I tend to cook without recipes too. So when Akbar says Indian cooking is all about heart (passion) and improvisation, I couldn’t help but smile.) As I am a fan of anthropology I also like how Samir’s Indian culture is woven into the film. It is uplifting to see Samir embrace his heritage and wake his father up so they can do morning prayer.

As I am a fan of anthropology I also like how Samir’s Indian culture is woven into the film. It is uplifting to see Samir embrace his heritage and wake his father up so they can do morning prayer, in traditional prayer attire. Watching Akbar, Samir, Carrie (an old co-worker and Samir’s romantic interest) and some of the restaurant’s regulars share a traditional home cooked meal is fantastic! The group shares stories, laughs, dances to traditional Indian music, and eats scrumptious looking Indian cuisine.At Akbar’s dinner, Samir teaches Carrie how to eat the traditional Indian was, with three fingers. This event only lasts a few seconds, but not only does it show the closeness between Samir and Carrie, but it also shows Samir embracing his culture and teaching Carrie to do that same. The colors that are in Akbar’s apartment scream Indian to me; reds, yellows, oranges, and gold are prominent and there are hints of blue and green. I love color! It adds life to a room, and different colors draw out different emotions. The reds, yellows, and oranges are like spices used in Indian cuisine, that add life, and pizzazz.

The last thing that draws me into a film is the little things. Interactions between characters no matter how small, if they show a character’s personality or two characters relationship, I am intrigued. I’m a people person, I like interpersonal communication and character driven stories. Today’s Special is very character driven. It is all about Samir and his journey from sous chef at a French restaurant to owner and chef at his own Indian restaurant. One of my favorite funny little moments is when Samir first returns to his parent’s house and he tries to call Carrie from the bathroom. He is hiding there in hopes of getting privacy, but his mother keeps asking him questions, some of which make Samir and the audience feel very awkward. At the beginning of the film Samir is very distant from his family, but through the course of the movie the grow closer. It is both a sad and joyous occasion when Samir finds old family photographs and decides to frame them and put them on display. The montage which showcases the Tandoori Palace’s rebirth and the growth in the relationship between Samir and Carrie is sweet, cute, and funny even though it is overused. Then again I could be partial to the addition of couple painting on the floor with Carrie’s toddler.

Lastly, the name of the film, I personally think is brilliant! It ties into films theme very well. And it picks up on one of the little things, that helped me fall in love with the film. So if you are a foodie, like comedies, or binge on feel-good movies to combat the winter blues, please, check out Today’s Special.

If you still aren’t sure this film is a good fit for you, check out Today’s Special Trailer. Maybe that will intrigue you more than my positive review.

 

 

Mitty

Two nights ago, after about a year of saying I wanna see that, I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I know it only got okay reviews, but absolutely loved it! Yes, it had its goofy/bizarre moments, but tell me you don’t daydream about having superpowers or being able to get whatever you want. (Oh, and if you do tell me you don’t daydream I wont believe you. Your daydreams might not be as fantastical as Mitty’s, but they still exist). I am always relieved when I watch a big budget Hollywood film and it doesn’t fit into the mold. Part of why I like this film is because it doesn’t fit into the mold of current Hollywood films (it’s not a super-hero film nor is it about some heroic man), it is as, A.O. Scott states dreamy and melancholy. Mitty a photo negative asset manager a LIFE magazine, is always daydreaming about things he wants to do. I too am a daydreamer, so relating to Mitty is easy. Mitty is a cog in the LIFE wheel (and in his own life, nothing excites him and nothing seems to give him much joy), who longs to break out, and eventually he does (hopefully I can too).

Ebiri and Morgenstern say because of all the fantastical daydreams Mitty has, and that because Mitty’s great adventure is kicked off by a daydream, it is hard to get the audience out of that daydream mode and actually worry about Mitty, when danger finds him. Well Ebiri and Morgenstern, you’re wrong! There is a clear distinction between Mitty’s daydream of Cheryl, pushing him forward, and being circled by the shark in the ocean. Were you paying attention to the several minutes of water-scapes? And did you miss that fact that Mitty told the pilot he wasn’t okay. If those two things didn’t separate the dream from reality, this should help. Mitty jumped out of the wrong side of the helicopter, right into the cold turbulent ocean. If it were a daydream, he would have heroically jumped into the boat, the pilot would have given him and thumbs up and the boat crew would be cheering.

Once Mitty finally breaks out of his humdrum life, which I for one would very much like to do. Morgenstern calls his adventures preposterous. And while a few of the adventures are unlikely, not all of them are. We have already established that Mitty knows how to skateboard, so long-boarding down the side of a mountain isn’t impossible. (Yes, it is unlikely that you would so narrowly escape a volcanic eruption. But it’s not like many people can fly or change into a raging green monster.) Nor is it impossible to hike the Himalayas or in front of a waterfall. Most of the adventures Mitty went on may not be common, but at least half of them are things I would be willing to do.

If you are looking for something not in the Hollywood norm, that has adventure and a taste of both reality and fantasy I would check out The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. You may be a surprised as I was. 🙂

New Blog

I do in fact realize that I stink at updating this blog! Sorry guys and gals. Its not for lack of ideas, I can come up with at least two ideas a weeks (if not more). I could probably list half a dozen excuses as to why I don’t up date regularly… but when it comes down to it, I just don’t force myself too. I know when I say force, it sounds negative, like I don’t enjoy writing (which is far from true). So lets scratch force and say, I don’t make it a priority to sit down and write. Which is silly considering I want to make a living on my writing.

I also know I have on several occasions said I would write more, and I do better for a time… before I fall off the face of the earth. My hope is that things will start progressing and I will make more frequent updates. If I don’t feel free to call me out and tell me to write something.

In the last two or three weeks I started another blog, about traveling. The idea is that that TravelDiaryOnline will help jettison me into the life of a digital nomad. Don’t worry I still plan on writing about TV, films, and other nerdy things here. But hopefully managing two blogs, one of which will hopefully make me money in the next year or so, I will write more frequently.

Shameless Plug

For no particular reason, other than I loved these two ladies.

Back in 2009, my friend Anna Hovet started her own clothing line, that I absolutely adore! I got hooked on her clothing designs in 2007 she came out with her domestic violence collection, her senior project in Fashion Design at SAIC. Anna Hovet’s designs are unique,trendy, and super comfortable (she uses, jersey, fleece, and bamboo). Her clothing has designer style and streetwise comfort. Anna’s designs come in a variety of colors, that are generally vibrant, though she does use more muted colors from time to time. Whenever I wear something she made I get complements on the color and design. To which I always smile and say thanks, and tell them my friend Anna (a fashion designer in Chicago) made it. If you aren’t familiar with her clothing, you should be.

Anna Hovet Designs, I cannot wait for your 2015 spring/summer collection!

In January 2014 I made my first trip to California. There I met Samiah Hinton (another fashion designer), at Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium. Samiah Fine Clothing is a unique line of clothing that is modeled after the Victorian and Renaissance time periods. Samiah started her business in 1998, at that time she mostly made brocade jackets and coats. Now a days she creates fully custom fitted outfits, to go with her amazing jackets and coats. Samiah has a coat and vest that I am absolutely dying to have, both are stylish, warm, and make me feel like I belong in a fairy tale.

Samiah Fine Clothing, congratulations on getting your line featured on the cover of  front cover of Avant Garde Magazine!

Here is an example of both of these beautiful ladies hard work *^_^*

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7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression

7 Ways To Show Love To Someone With Anxiety/Depression

Some wise words, we should try to remember

Be Brave, and Talk

The hardest people to love are the ones who need it most.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for showing love to friends and family members with anxiety/ depression:

1.) Give Compliments:

Chances are, someone who suffers from anxiety/depression also struggles with self esteem. Help her challenge her feelings of self loathing by giving her sincere, specific compliments. Being specific is really important, because it will make her more likely to remember what you said later. It will also make her more likely to believe you. For example, instead of saying, “You’re a good mom,” you could say something more meaningful: “You are so patient with your children. I love how you encourage them to keep trying. They are so lucky to have you.”
One thoughtful, genuine compliment has more power than 10 careless comments that feel like flattery. Put your heart into what you say.

2.)…

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Dancing Angel

Four years ago today marks the anniversary of the death of a close friend. My friends and family still miss him dearly. Not a day goes by that one of us doesn’t make a comment about missing him or loving him. Today my FB timeline is full of comments about missing him and loving Scotty. And rightfully so, he was a talented, kind-hearted, strong man.

I (like so many others) have so many fond memories of Scotty. My favorite probably has to be that faithful summer day when Scotty, Jeni, Heather and I spent an afternoon laying on the floor talking and listening to music. It was a normal day for the four of us. We talked about boys, our goals, and our hopes for the future. We giggled, told dirty jokes and ranted about work as the breeze blew through the open windows and shadows from tree leaves danced on the wall.

Who knows how or why (probably something to do with our future aspirations), but we eventually got on the subject of kids. Soon we were discussing what kind of talents our children would have if use three girls reproduced with Scotty. Needless to say we came up with an interesting group of talented kids, who could have one day been famous (with the right training and encouragement). I know I am (and I’m sure my sisters are) sad that those summer afternoon, ice cream cake, and lack of sleep induced concoctions of humanity will never grace this earth.

Mostly I’m just sad that such a beautiful soul left the earth far too soon. I would have loved to have one more afternoon with him to giggle like a school girl and plan for an extravagant and spectacular future. Though I’m sure I’d catch all kinds of hell from him for not making any progress on those goals I set that afternoon. Sorry man, I will get back on track this year, promise.

Kid President gives an adorable TED, er KID, Talk

Kid President gives an adorable TED, er KID, Talk

What book do you think needs to be shared?

TED Blog

Kid President warms hearts anytime he speaks. So what happens when he gives a “KID Talk”? A great opening line, tiny top hats for dogs and, of course, a dance. This talk gets a standing ovation from us—and we have a feeling it will send you off to the weekend in the right spirit.

Watch Kid President’s breakthrough moment on TED.com »

And see what happens when the TED staff had to choose between a Webby for us, or one for Kid President’s Soul Pancake »

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