NFT Radar – Fainting Goat Gelato

Forget everything you know about gelato! It doesn’t have to be made by Italians (which came as a surprise to this half-Guido). It doesn’t have to be made from Cows milk. It doesn’t even have to be made from milk at all! The Fainting Goat throws all of your gelato preconceptions out the window. This Turkish family-owned business sits in the heart of Wallingford, giving that Molly Moon person a run for her money. (Plus, at least for now, the line at F.G. is MUCH shorter). So not all their gelato comes from a goat, just their titular flavor. But it’s a must-try. Maybe the goat is fainting because it can’t believe that something so delicious came from its own body. Those nice people also offer several dairy-free Sorbetto flavors. Finally, there really IS such a thing as vegan gelato. Don’t worry purists. They also do a mighty fine cow’s milk gelato in the usual coffee, chocolate, coconut and pistachio varieties, served with the familiar mini plastic gelato shovel. For funzies, they maintain a rotating menu of more adventurous flavors like Strawberry Shortcake, Kasaba Melon and Peanut Butter (duuuuuuuuude). As a bonus, their scoops are enormous. Goat get some. (Sorry.)

X-posted from Not For Tourists.


1903 N 45th St 98103
206-327-9459
www.faintinggoatseattle.com

Film Threat Review: The Informant!

2009 
Rated R
108 minutes

****

Prolific and varied best describes Steven Soderbergh’s career. “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Out of Sight” and “The Limey” are all compelling character pieces. “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich” are preachy Oscar-pandering (but hey, it worked) and the “Oceans” movies are gimmicky commercial fare. “The Informant!” falls in line with his character-driven early work. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s definitely the Soder-side I prefer.

Matt Damon proves once again that he was the more talented of the Beantown Twins. He’s virtually unrecognizable in the role of whistle blower, Mark Whitacre, and it’s not because he “bravely” gained weight for the part (though I’m sure the Academy is salivating at gesture). You can still recognize the matinee idol underneath the chub, but he’s pulling off something that few of his contemporaries are capable of. He buries the celebrity persona deep inside the character, in this case, the mind of a manic-depressive mid-western geek who fancies himself a secret agent.

“The Informant!” is the true-ish story of a scientist-turned-executive working for an agribusiness firm that makes corn additives for foods. Whitacre becomes involved with the FBI when he reveals that his company has been involved in price-fixing. He is suspiciously cooperative when they ask him to wear a wire. Before long, Whitacre’s enthusiasm takes over. He fancies himself a character in a John Grisham novel. The spy-music score echoes the fantasies that Whitacre weaves in his head. Eventually, we learn that his self-delusion goes deeper than anyone had ever imagined.

I love an unreliable narrator, and Mark Whitacre’s voiceover is about as unreliable as they come, thus eliminating the usual trappings, such as tedious over-exposition. His narration is more stream-of-consciousness than informational. Most of the time, his thoughts are only loosely connected to what’s happening around him. His brain spouts factoids about animals and comes up with ideas for TV shows when he’s in the middle of a conversation. So when he repeatedly tells the FBI agents “There’s something I haven’t told you guys,” the revelations are as much a surprise to the audience as they are to the other characters. This keeps things interesting in what could have easily been a dry corporate corruption story. There is a definite Coen Brothers-esque lightness to the whole thing.

The supporting cast is also excellent. It’s refreshing to see Melanie Lynskey returning to the meatier fare that launched her career. Scott Bakula, Joel McHale and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff!) also turn in terrific performances. Where the film suffers is in the editing. The story feels a bit repetitive at times and could have been tightened up. The retro titles and music are an interesting but not entirely appropriate choice for a film that begins in 1992. Many of the jokes work, but occasionally, they are just a little too cutesy for their own good. For the most part, however, “The Informant!” earns the charisma that the title’s exclamation point implies.

Originally posted on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

Vaya Con Dios, Bodhi

RIP: Patrick Swayze. You made the world a little more radical.

Film Threat Review: Baby on Board

2009
Rated R
95 minutes

*

In these trying times, it’s difficult to say what the world needs. But I can tell you what the world didn’t need. And that is a little film called “Baby on Board.” I suspect the pitch meeting went a little something like this: “It’s ‘Baby Boom’ as directed by the Farrelly Brothers. A successful businesswoman accidentally gets knocked up. It’s something the ladies can relate to but we also throw in that D.J. from ‘Northern Exposure’ to make lots of poon jokes so the dudes don’t get bored.” Green means go!!

Heather Graham plays Angela, the businesswoman in question who must impress her hardass boss (the barely recognizable Lara Flynn Boyle, puffy in the face and nowhere else), by selling a perfume for pregnant ladies to the Japanese. Angela’s husband, Curtis (Jerry O’Connell), is a lawyer with a guilty streak regarding his knack for finding the loopholes in pre-nups. He really wants to start a family but Angela isn’t sure she’s ready. Her best friend Sylvia’s kids are assholes. (What if her kids are assholes?) Plus, she might have a very successful perfume career ahead of her if only she could stop farting and ruining presentations.

Meanwhile, Curtis’ best friend, Danny (husband to Sylvia), is going through the ultimate mid-life crisis – in that he can’t stop getting blowjobs from hookers. He’s not apologetic, and he doesn’t make any attempts to hide it from his wife. He also tries to coerce Curtis into the whole hooker/blowjob scene whenever possible. I take it Danny is supposed to be the comic relief, but most of his jokes involve telling his wife she’s ugly and unfuckable and he would rather get it from a prostitute. That’s more mean than funny.

Things get really hairy when Angels discovers she’s pregnant just as she begins to suspect Curtis of cheating on her with a client. Astute viewers may have seen this coming because Angela can’t stop farting or puking. She does both constantly, leading one to conclude that the writers, never having met a real pregnant lady, did all their script research on Yahoo Answers. To further complicate matters, Curtis decides Angela must have cheated on him because he has been “double bagging” so there’s no way that baby is his. They have a Three’s Company argument in which neither party actually says what’s bothering them, leading them to assume the worst. What follows is a madcap series of misunderstandings. Will these two ever work it out? What about those other two? Whatever! Probably!

In a nutshell, this is what we can learn from “Baby on Board”: All men are pigs and all women are crazy because they spend all their time wondering if their pig husbands are cheating on them. Half the time, they’re right. But it’s only because some men don’t know how to express love. Also, when you’re pregnant, you fart and puke a lot, but it’s still possible to hold down a job. There. I just saved you 95 minutes of your life. Time enough to get a blowjob from a prostitute! You’re welcome.

Originally posted on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

NFT Radar: Brown Derby

Hollywood has produced a lot of silly screenplays. But now, there’s something more fun than getting drunk and making fun of these movies with your friends. And that’s getting drunk and watching the professionals do it. Ian Bell has assembled an amazingly talented cast to lampoon the crap out of titles like Total Recall, Sixteen Candles, The Goonies, and 9 to 5. No film is safe so long as it can be punched up with men in shoddy drag, prosthetic body parts and a little dry humping. Each show comes with its own surprises. For Aliens, local dance troupe The Buttrock Suites dressed in scary black leotards and boogied their way in and out of our hearts. Unfortunately, Brown Derby is a little like a bolt of lightening. You never know when it’s going to strike. But keep your eyes peeled for the fliers and get there early because they don’t take reservations. If you’re really lucky, you might catch local celebrity and theatrical genius, Nick Garrison, play the female lead. His Sharon Stone in Total Recall was awe-inspiring. But no matter who’s on stage, you can be sure they’ll bring the hilarity. Also, sometimes there are cupcakes.


Rebar
1114 Howell St 98101
www.rebarseattle.com

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

Nine Months of Full Moons

I just finished the first season of “Being Human”, a terrific BBC supernatural drama about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf who live together in a flat. It sounds a little silly, and I’m not sure how those pitch meetings went, but the show really works. It’s funny and heartbreaking all at once with a delightful bit of gore thrown in. I knew I was sold when an episode opened with a voice over about the process of changing into a werewolf, and the excruciating physical toll it takes on afflicted.

“He should be dead within 30 seconds. The werewolf heart is about two-thirds the size of a human’s. But in order to shrink, first it has to stop. In other words, he has a heart attack. All of the internal organs are smaller, so while he’s having his heart attack, he’s having liver and kidney failure too. If he stops screaming it’s not because the pain has dulled, his throat, gullet and vocal chords are tearing and reforming. He literally can’t make a sound. By now the pituitary gland should be working overtime, flooding his body with endorphins to ease some of the pain, but that too has shut down. Anyone else would have died of shock long ago. But it won’t kill him and that’s the thing I find most remarkable. It drags him through the fire and keeps him alive and even conscious to endure every second…An impossible lethal curse spread by tooth and claw, victim begets victim begets victim. It’s so cruel, it’s…perfect.”

It probably seems like pregnant ladies think that every situation applies to them and maybe that’s true. But I do think, at least for me, that the werewolf metaphor quite perfectly parallels pregnancy and childbirth. I haven’t gone through childbirth yet, but I’ve talked to people and seen some videos. It really seems like something that should kill you. It doesn’t. It tears you apart temporarily and then you are fine. During pregnancy, the growing fetus pushes all of your other organs out of the way to make room for itself. Last week in birth class, our teacher showed us illustrations at various intervals of gestation. By the final month, you can hardly see the intestines, as they are smashed up against the stomach. It’s a wonder you poop at all in the third trimester. But that’s not where the similarities end.

*WE CAN SMELL OUR OWN. OK, so maybe it’s obvious to everybody when someone is knocked up. But get a couple of pregnant ladies together and let the bitch-fest begin. They are so relieved to be able to talk about what’s happening to them with someone who really understands.

*YOU REALLY CAN’T UNDERSTAND UNLESS YOU ARE ONE. Sure, there are things that everybody knows about being pregnant. We have weird cravings, we’re moody and only a silver bullet can kill us. But there are also things that happen to us that people don’t talk about. Gross things. Bloody, awful, ugly things. We don’t talk about it because if we did, no one would ever let themselves be turned.

*THERE’S AN ANIMAL INSIDE ME. And that animal is hormones. It’s like the worst PMS I’ve ever experienced but it’s not going to go away in a couple of days. One second, I’m fine, and the next I’m crying because Tim Gunn said something supportive to a contestant on Project Runway or I’ve got a DVD due back and I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Or maybe my husband said the wrong thing or did something I perceived as inconsiderate and I freak out because this is the man I chose to father my child and how will he be good a father if he can’t even find me green tea ice cream at the grocery store. The worst part is that I KNOW I’m being awful and unreasonable but I can’t do a damned thing about it. The monster is in control, not me.

*I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER MY OWN BODY. At least werewolves only have to deal with this shit once a month. For the bun-bakers, it’s every day for what seems like FOREVER. I can stick to my work out regimen or even ramp it up (I’ve been doing the latter. It’s the only way I can let off steam.) but I’ll still feel like I’ve never been more out of shape. That’s because all the blood in my body is being re-routed to my uterus. The result is that even though I’m used to physical activity, just carrying a bag of groceries into the house can put me out of breath. My joints are loosening to prepare for childbirth, so there’s a lot of cracking and popping going on. I’ve lost interest in some of my favorite foods. Others make me physically ill. I’ve become fixated on cereal. It’s the only thing I get excited about anymore. I have weird, disturbing dreams. I’ve started cleaning obsessively. I forget things that never would have slipped my mind before. I don’t even know myself anymore.

*I HAVE AN INSATIABLE HUNGER. I need to eat. A lot. Constantly. And if I don’t get to eat, for whatever reason, the beasty gets angry. God help anyone who gets in the way of me and my mid-afternoon snack.

I don’t know who has it easier. Us or the werewolves. But these days, I definitely feel a kinship to those furry bastards.

An Insignificant Day

Today is my birthday, but I’m not doing anything to celebrate it. Instead, I’m working and then going to a birth class which begins and ends at precisely the right times to prevent me from going out to dinner anywhere. It’s OK though, as going out to dinner is the only thing I would have wanted to do anyway. As a result of my “condition”, I can’t drink and I get tired early. So mostly, I’m OK with this non-birthday. I’m 31 which isn’t all that significant, as far as birthdays go. Besides, I have made plans to go out to dinner on Friday and then see a Misfits cover band and an Operation Ivy cover band. But part of me is a little sad. It’s the first birthday in 16 years that I will spend completely sober. That makes me sound a bit like a drunk but it’s not really like that. It’s just that drinking is something my friends and I do. I’ve been doing OK with the not drinking. But at my husband’s birthday part on Sunday, abstaining was the hardest it’s ever been. Not in a shaky, alcoholic way. There is no way I’m going to cave and drink a bottle of Cook’s. I know what’s at stake and I’m not willing to do that under any circumstances. But it was hard from a mental standpoint. In a nutshell, being pregnant is the ultimate buzz kill.

For a while, I was having a great time with everyone and then, at some point in the evening, their amusing, jovial lubrication turned into total obliteration. There were a few people who weren’t completely hammered. But most people were. It was the nature of the day. It became difficult to talk to them. It became work. I felt like an asshole because I understood where they were coming from. I’ve been there. But I was also pretty annoyed and kind of wanted to just go to bed. I didn’t though. I rode it out because it was my husband’s birthday party and I wanted him to have a good time. I apologize to anyone if I came off as a raging bitch in the process.

Today is my birthday and I’m doing nothing fun or frivolous. Everything I do today is out of responsibility and duty. It will be a very adult day. I never did like the idea of becoming an adult. Of course, it’s mostly unavoidable. The alternatives are either death or Peter Pan-ism. I chose adulthood. I will instead remember last year’s birthday fondly. I was in a band. We played a battle of bands right here in my house. We won and I’m convinced that our votes were not pity votes. It was a great time. I will also remember that I can have great times again. Maybe not exactly like that. I don’t want my kid’s earliest memories of me being how smashed mommy was. But KIND of like that because my friends are awesome and will always be awesome and we will find other ways to party with babes in arms. But not this year…