Mama Mia's Pizzeria of Orlando, FL

I don't know why, but most touristy cities have an aversion to late night food options. Orlando is a little better than most, since it does contain all of the good and bad qualities of a normal big town. After my flight got in, delayed four hours, we found this slice shop that was open until 1am. Besides serving quick slices, Mama Mia's also had cheap, delicious pies, with a ratio of 1.5cr/1ce/2ch, giving a strong nod to the tradition of New York Italian pizza. Their crust gets a 3 out of 5. It had a great texture and was delicious. However, it could have used a little more love and care in the stretching process. The middle of the pie was falling apart due to the cheese grease soaking into the dough. This fact didn't effect my enjoyment of the delicious pizza, however it must be noted. Their sauce gets a 4 out of 5. It had the taste of those good tomatoes, and wasn't as thin as you'd normally expect on a super thin pizza that's sold by the slice. For overall quality, they get a 3 out of 5, mainly because of the messy struggle involved with each slie's first bite. For style, they get a 4 out of 5. Their pizzas are fast and cheap, served late. The interior of the shop isn't fancy or pretentious, letting their delicious food speak for itself. Customers can't get their own drink refills, and only the first refill is free, but that's fine. It's a small place, and not intended for loitering. At least you can get your own parmesan cheese.

Mama Mia's Pizzeria ends with a score of 70%. I hope to return someday, hopefully less hungry than I was the first time.

The Boy in Blue (feat. Nicolas Cage)

Released in 1986, this film seems feels much older. The lighting is bright and the costumes are old, probably all coming from some classic western. I could imagine this film playing on AMC through the wood-paneled tv at my grandparents' house as the Verkruyse brood piled into the kitchen, smelling of fresh pie crust and dog poop.

Taking place in the late 19th century, The Boy in Blue is a sports film about a famous sculler (row boat racer) named Ned Hanlan, who was a real guy. Presumably based on real events, this plausible film provides no surprises. Every scene plays out as expected, and the drama is efficiently presented over a wonderful score. I love the music in old sport movies, like in Rocky. With this film, we get the big, triumphant strings, followed by a mode change to the natural minor, with grim, slow synths, before it goes into a tender piano solo, leading back to the huge vamp. There's even a training montage, which really gets me going.

The acting was fine. I know Cage hadn't yet found his style, but his performance is far above par for his acting-sports-star contemporaries. We get to watch Ned's rise to glory as his honor is challenged many times, but we know Ned. He's the good guy, and he's going to win because he's the good guy.

So how was the film? It was a small achievement, excecuted acceptably, worth probably more attention than it received. But that's mainly due to Cage's performance. At first glance, one probably considers this a one-dimensional "foagie flick", but there are some boobs in it, and Nicolas Cage.

  1. Raising Arizona
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Red Rock West
  4. Adaptation
  5. Birdy
  6. Wild at Heart
  7. Joe
  8. Dog Eat Dog
  9. Color Out of Space
  10. Mom and Dad
  11. Peggy Sue Got Married
  12. Zandalee
  13. City of Angels
  14. Bangkok Dangerous
  15. Drive Angry
  16. Lord of War
  17. Gone in 60 Seconds
  18. Matchstick Men
  19. Vampire's Kiss
  20. Con Air
  21. Face/Off
  22. The Boy in Blue
  23. Honeymoon in Vegas
  24. Amos and Andrew
  25. Moonstruck
  26. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  27. Bringing Out the Dead
  28. The Family Man
  29. Knowing
  30. It Could Happen to You
  31. 8mm
  32. Between Worlds
  33. Ghost Rider
  34. The Humanity Bureau
  35. Next
  36. The Weather Man
  37. 211
  38. The Croods

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

After volumes of violence-oriented fantasy, I may have found what I needed in The Curse of Chalion. There are fights and battles, sure, but they're short and free from the baggage of astute strategical analysis. Two sides fight, and the victories are always due to some intel the reader may have forgotten unless they were paying super close attention. That being said, the story isn't about battles.

It's about a curse, and royal politics. There's also a slow burning romance which gives us further cause to keep rooting for our hero, even when the best we can hope for our dear Lord Cazaril is a happy death. So I thought The Curse of Chalion was a good story, well told. But did it hit the spot? Maybe not for me. While every comfortable, beautiful place has plenty of room for darkness, I don't always connect with royal lives in predominantly royal places. That being said, I think every 'good' fantasy contains the things we readers like to imagine. So for some people, this might be the best of the best.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

I don't know if it might have been better to see the movie before reading the book, since I automatically assigned the images of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Kirsten Dunst to their respective vampires. If you've never read this book before, its story is told almost entirely in quotation marks, told by Louis (Brad Pitt).

While Louis tells the story of his own vampirage with its phases, I felt like the dangers and dramas of Louis's unlife was used as more of a setting to the story of all vampires. And I did think it was a good read, a must read for anyone with a special affinity for vampires. In case you were wondering, reader, I don't have a hard on for vampires. They just happen to be a big topic in scary stories. I happen to be of the belief that robots have much more potential for scariness and sexiness. For one, they're warm and don't need to sleep in coffins.

So if any of you know any stories about evil sexy robots, please send them my way.

Labels: , ,

Knowing (feat. Nicolas Cage)

In this 2009 film, Cage plays yet another Joe. This one is a college professor, really struggling with the death of his wife. His son is exceptionally smart (movie kid smart) and wears a hearing aid because he hears weird sounds that nobody else can. Their house is huge, shabby, and awesome; the kind of house you'd want to have if you were an astrophysicist.

For those of you who don't remember, the late 2000s was a big time for the apocalypse. People thought the world was going to end in 2012, because that's when one of the old calendars ended. Of course, this premontion turned out to be of less consequence than the Y2K "virus". But in its day, this movie was intended to be scary.

That said, Knowing is a high-budget, fully actualized bad movie, better than Armageddon (as a point of reference). Joe finds the prophecy, and he especially cares about death and loss because it's something close to his heart. He teams up with the prophet's daughter, who turns out to have terrible coping skills, and doesn't help anything. But what can be helped? Some people are trying to stop the end of the world, others are trying to survive it, but most people are freaking out as hard as possible. As if there were anything they could do about it.

And it's hard not to spoil the story, but I will say there are aliens involved. They don't cause the pending apocalypse, but they do have a hand in keeping the "human spirit" from going extinct. In fact, there's a really huge scene with Nick Cage and the Aliens and an orchestra, which would make a great clip for an inspirational video if you were to ever give a presentation at your local church camp or dystopian coorporate job.

At just over two hours long, I admit to watching some parts of this film on high speed. It was too long and too stupid. Despite its daytime tv dialogue, vacuous characters, and boring story, Knowing was pretty well made, especially entertaining for those desparate for a thrill.

  1. Raising Arizona
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Red Rock West
  4. Adaptation
  5. Birdy
  6. Wild at Heart
  7. Joe
  8. Dog Eat Dog
  9. Color Out of Space
  10. Mom and Dad
  11. Peggy Sue Got Married
  12. Zandalee
  13. City of Angels
  14. Bangkok Dangerous
  15. Drive Angry
  16. Lord of War
  17. Gone in 60 Seconds
  18. Matchstick Men
  19. Vampire's Kiss
  20. Con Air
  21. Face/Off
  22. Honeymoon in Vegas
  23. Amos and Andrew
  24. Moonstruck
  25. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  26. Bringing Out the Dead
  27. The Family Man
  28. Knowing
  29. It Could Happen to You
  30. 8mm
  31. Between Worlds
  32. Ghost Rider
  33. The Humanity Bureau
  34. Next
  35. The Weather Man
  36. 211
  37. The Croods