Monday, January 14, 2019

Try New Food 'Cause It Might Taste Good

I was glad to see that the sun was out when I awoke this morning. It was still on the chilly side, but the sun did melt at least a little of the snow. After breakfast, I decided to try a few kitchen experiments. Making homemade applesauce in the winter is a long-time family tradition. Mom did it for us when we were kids. Anny had a huge mason jar filled with her own applesauce yesterday. I made mine by slicing four apples and whirling them in the food processor with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It's a little sweet. Next time, I'll use less sugar.

Moved on to making my own donuts next. I was dying to try the pans Mom gave me yesterday. She gave me a recipe along with the pans, including her own notes. I forgot the oil, but it didn't seem to do much harm to the end product. The donuts were still delicious, though a little dry. I dipped them into a simple powdered sugar glaze. Texted Mom after they came out to thank her for the pans and tell her that they'd come out well.

Ran Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for most of the morning while I worked. Kevin Costner is Robin in this 1991 version. He returns from the Crusades with the mysterious moor Azeem (Morgan Freeman) who helped him escape to discover his family home burned and his father (Brian Blessed) dead. He first goes to Marion (Mary Elizabeth Mastratonio), a childhood friend, but is chased out by the Sheriff's men. The duo finally flee to Sherwood Forest, where they join the outlaws who already live there, including Little John (Nick Brimble), his feisty wife Fanny, his son Much (Jack Wild), and young Will Scarlet (Christian Slater). They rob Norman nobles and give the money to the poor. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) is getting quite fed up with their antics. He captures Marion and forces her to marry him, then has his Celtic forces attack Sherwood. He thinks Robin's dead...but a good outlaw never gives up, and Robin has a plan to stop the corrupt lawmaker and his sorceress mother Mortianna (Geraldine McEwann) from killing his men.

I'm still trying to figure out how this ended up being the second-biggest hit of 1991 after Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Rickman and Morgan are among the few people with any idea of how to handle the material. The movie wants to be both a dashing romp and a dark retelling of the Robin Hood legends, but it works better with comic moments like the actual robberies than with the gloomy melodrama. The version I have with several extended scenes only makes things more ridiculous.

Along with some lovely scenery (actually filmed on location in England and France), the biggest thing this movie has going for it is the majestic score by Michael Kamen. The music goes a long way towards making the movie feel a lot more epic than it actually is. It's so stirring, production company Morgan Creek uses it as part of its onscreen logo, and Disney used it in their intros on DVD and Blu-Ray for years. The Bryan Adams ballad "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" was an even bigger hit.

I remember how huge this movie was that summer. It was on everyone's lips and seemed to be all a lot of people ever talked about. "Everything I Do" was on the radio so much, most of my family got sick of hearing it. The score, scenery, and a few good performances can't hide the inconsistent tone or the dated feel. Recommended only if you're a fan of Rickman, Costner, or 90's action.

Headed out as soon as the movie ended and I'd had lunch. I loaded a few donuts into a bag to give away to the librarians, starting at the Oaklyn Library. The librarian on duty not only enjoyed the donut, but she was very encouraging when I mentioned how frustrated I am that my apartment search has been going so badly. Most of the apartment buildings in this area aren't known for being safe or are too expensive for me or both. She pointed out a place across the street. I did take down their phone number. We'll see if I can call them tomorrow or later this week.

I also took out some movies here. They get new releases faster and for longer than the Haddon Township Library. I found Deadpool 2, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Mission Impossible - Fallout, and Christopher Robin.

Next stop was the Haddon Township Library. They were even quieter than the Oaklyn Library had been. There was one little boy in the kids' area pretending that his Duplo creation was a tank. Otherwise, not much going on. I focused entirely on organizing the kids' DVDs. They were really a mess today, with whole sections on the wrong shelves. Since I already took out movies, I settled for more Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, the new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic release, and an animated version of a picture book series I'm fond of, Fancy Nancy.

Went straight into Daniel Tiger when I got home. Daniel Tiger's Happy Holidays, as you can guess, revolves around episodes that either take place during a holiday, or at least involve celebrating. Daniel wants to make "Something Special for Dad!" after he sees how happy a letter from his Grandpere makes his father. His mother helps him write a letter and shows him how to send it in the mail.

Worked on writing for a while after that. Luke Scarlet is dismayed to see that Han's horse Falcon is, despite his boasting, a thin steed. Han gets a chance to prove Falcon's mettle - and his own - when they have to leave the Mos Eisley stables in a hurry!

Broke for dinner at 6. Before I went to the libraries, I made a Crock-Pot Lentil-Sausage Stew of lentils, sausage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and home-made vegetable stock. Oh, yum! It tasted great, smoky and earthy, and smelled amazing cooking. I enjoyed my dinner with the last bit of baked acorn squash.

Finished Daniel Tiger as I ate. Skipped "I Love You, Mom!" which I'm pretty sure I've already watched, and went right into "Thank You, Grandpere Tiger!" Thank-You Day is a big deal in the Land of Make-Believe. Daniel would feel more thankful for his grandpa if he'd take some time out from his work to join them at the big Thank-You Day feast, but he does enjoy playing and pretending with his grandfather.

The whole town makes it to "Neighborhood Thank-You Day." The centerpiece of the feast is a tree on which everyone attaches a note that depicts what they're thankful for. A strong wind nearly blows the notes away, but Mr. Feely the Postal Worker retrieves them...making Daniel realize what he's thankful for.

Dan, Miss Elania, and Katerina each choose an outfit for Dress-Up Day in "Katerina's Costume." Daniel easily finds the pieces for his explorer costume, while Elania makes her robot outfit. Katerina can't decide what she wants to be...until she comes up with a very creative solution!

The kids show off their costumes in "Dress-Up Day Parade." O the Owl is excited to be a traffic light, so he can help everyone know when to stop and go. When he rips  his costume, he has to figure out what else he wants to be.

"Snowflake Day" is the Land of Make Believe's big winter holiday. Daniel is excited to be playing a snowflake in his school's winter play, and is even happier to see how each family works together to make the play a success. His classmates help him too when he gets a brief bout of stage fright just as the show starts. He turns the favor when the lights go out and he figures out how to let the play get to its conclusion.

Finished the night with The Spy Who Dumped Me. Audrey (Mila Kunis) is a cashier in a rut. She's still fed up with her ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), who was never around. She and her best friend Morgan (Kate MacKinnon) get quite a shock when a man forces her into his car and tells him that his name is Sebastian (Sam Heughan) and he and Drew are spies. When Drew does show up, he hands Audrey a trophy and tells her to turn it over to his contact before he's promptly killed. Morgan tosses his killer off a balcony before he huts Audrey. The two women flee to Vienna, only to be attacked first by Sebastian, then by motorcyclists. Turns out the trophy holds a flash drive with important information that the CIA doesn't want certain enemies to get their hands on, and that Drew may have been more than a lousy boyfriend - he was a turncoat agent. Audrey and Morgan have to avoid torture and try to figure out whom they can trust and how they're going to survive this.

I was even less impressed with this one than with I Feel Pretty. At least that one had some decent performances and a meaningful message. This one was just curse words, noisy car and motorcycle chases, and the ladies screaming at each other. Like Robin Hood, it has a major tone problem, veering wildly from raunchy buddy comedy to serious action movie at a nanosecond's notice. Some of the gags get really gross at times too, especially where the all-important flash drive ends up. MacKinnon and Kunis aren't bad as the ordinary women caught up in action that's way beyond them; Morgan's close relationship with her parents (she tells them everything, including that she's doing dangerous spy work) is especially funny.

Like I Feel Pretty, this is ok if you're a fan of the cast or comic action films; otherwise, worth a rental for girl's night in.

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