Match Frame

Thoughts from an American editor and filmmaker in New Zealand about film and video production and post-production. Plus whatever else I feel like talking about.

Name:
Location: Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand

A work in progress.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

something I learned tonight

If your vegetable peeler is dull, peel with the opposite hand. The loss in time by using your less coordinated hand will be more than made up for by the speed the sharp and typically unused edge on the opposite side offers.

This probably won't work if you're a lefty living with a bunch of right-handers, but for me it worked wonders. However, it meant I succeeded in completing my cooking prep tasks, but now my lentil stew is cooking, and it is cooking very very slowly because I made a stupid amount. Also for the first time I used brown lentils instead of orange lentils. When Beth sent me the recipe she told me "orange lentils turn mushy, brown ones keep their shape". This is apparently true. More problematically, it also means that the resulting agglutination that normally is created has instead been replaced by a soupy base. Also, the lentils aren't cooked yet. I would like to go to bed now. I wonder if I leave the stove on low all night what would happen.

Instead, I will regale you with my executive summary of the 2006 24-Hour V Movie Marathon, which should not be read by anyone who's even remotely sensitive or likely to be offended:

1. LADY TERMINATOR - 80's Thai (?) TERMINATOR knockoff, so naturally it features (RASA SPOILER FOR SOMETHING YOU LEARN IN THE FIRST TWO MINUTES) a woman with a snake in her vagina that kills men by biting their cocks off. Also a shitload of guns. Anyway, this fucking rules. Never a dull moment, plenty of batshit insane ones, lots of great bad dubbing, super powers added at the 11th hour, and the infinitely quotable line "I'm not a lady, I'm an anthropologist!"

2. STREETS OF FIRE - never saw this before - it's a 80's rock and roll musical, but cross-bred with the 50's, cross-bred with westerns, and vaguely sci-fi. (I turned to Annette at one point and said, "He's from the town where the motorcycles are from." And in the movie, it's true.) Pretty enjoyable, Walter Hill's an energizing filmmaker. Willem Dafoe's hair, though, is problematic.

3. BURIAL GROUND - an Italian zombie film that turned out to be completely unscary and turgid but at least was intermittently wildly entertaining in its ineptitude, and astonishingly perverse to boot. (It says something that this film has a better sex scene than the actual sex movie in the 'thon, though it mostly says something about Italians, but the whole sub-plot with the man-boy and his mom ... oh my.) Plus the only film I've seen where zombies make extensive use of tools, which puts them one up on the human protagonists in this film. There's even a ninja zombie who shoots a blow dart ... no, look, stop laughing, I'm serious ... oh, never mind. Fine then, I won't tell you what the other one does with a scythe.

4. CRANK - the only new film that showed at the festival, and everyone who I've described it to says "like SPEED, only human!" - the concept is that our protagonist is injected with some kind of drug and unless he keeps his adrenaline level elevated, he dies. Chaos ensues. Completely reprehensible and absolutely entertaining. The sort of film an editor loves to watch, because you know how much fun they had editing it.

5. TROLL 2 - everyone knows that Nilbog is goblin spelled backwards, right? A hard sit insofar as I've watched it once already this year, and it plays much better fresh, but seeing it with a room of unwitting people was a treat, and if you haven't seen it and love bad films you really must. Even better, afterwards we had a call from the father in the film, who's now a dentist in Alabama, and only recently discovered the burgeoning cult following. Apparently the Italians who directed the film spoke no English, so everybody was pretty much freewheeling their performances, and most of the actors (locally recruited in Utah, where it was shot) hadn't done much acting beyond high school theater. Gee, go figure.

6. TOP SECRET! - yup, the 80's Val Kilmer comedy. It holds up surprisingly well, although by current comedy standards it's leisurely paced; two things that surprised me were the high hit-to-miss ratio of the jokes and the number of jokes about filmmaking. (For instance, when a German picks up a phone that seems to be in the foreground, and it turns out just to be a large phone.)

7. BEHIND LOCKED DOORS - unreedemably tedious and unpleasant (as in long, uncomfortable rape or near-rape scenes) without actually being transgressively interesting. Although it is kind of interesting/creepy that the guy who locks the doors (so to speak) looks like a dead ringer for Henry Kissinger.

8. LISZTOMANIA - I've loved this film from my only viewing on a pan & scan VHS eight years ago, and seeing a near-pristine 35mm print of it was pretty much a religious experience. (I think just about everyone else hated it.) What makes the film is the audacity of the direction it goes with the ending. I dare not speak more, other than to say that I first discovered this film when Jim O'Rourke claimed in an interview his hobby was trying to figure out how LISZTOMANIA was funded. If you can get money for Roger Daltrey playing Franz Liszt, with Ringo Starr as the Pope, you can get money for anything. Or, perhaps, you can never get money for anything again.

9. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! - I didn't grow up with the thunderbirds, but this movie is really fucking boring. I swear it opens with a ten minute spaceship getting ready to launch sequence. It's an exciting exercise in puppetry and production design, but as a movie it blows.

10. TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA - A film I've been meaning to see for years and years but never got around to it. A bit slow in pace to play this late in the 'Thon, and the cliched opening meant it took a while to get into it (in the first post-credit scene, our hero cop gives his retiring partner a fishing rod, but the partner has to do one last job before he retires - care to guess how that goes?), but still really fucking good.

11. HOLY MOUNTAIN - Not sure if it's mean or brilliant to play this after 18 hours of consecutive movie watching. I'd never seen any films by crazed Mexican mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky before, and was shocked that despite it being very easy to argue it's a load of crap it sort of seemed like a masterpiece. (*TINY LITTLE SPOILER*) It says something when you're watching a movie where suddenly a guy's breasts turn into tigers and he's shooting milk into another guy's mouth, and you don't even *react* because it's just par for the course. If only he'd succeeded in getting John Lennon to star in the film.

12. BLACK AGENT LUCKY KING - Never heard of this blaxploitation film before? There's a reason. (Apparently it's also called SOLOMON KING, should you be trying to find these films on IMDB. Which I recommend, at least in the case of TROLL 2, as it has some of the funniest user reviews ever.) Pretty much the lamest crimefighter of all time. Also a crap print, so it's possible that all the action scenes have disappeared over the years. (Other reports indicate that there were three reels missing. I thought I didn't fall asleep for that long.)

13. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS - Never saw this before. Fanbloodytastic. I didn't have any idea how it would end, and it's perfect. Plus it's got Leonard Nimoy!

In sum, or if you were too lazy to read the above:

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE GOOD MOVIES: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE ENTERTAINING MOVIES: CRANK, TOP SECRET!, STREETS OF FIRE

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE BAD MOVIES: LADY TERMINATOR, TROLL 2

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE INSANE MOVIES: LISZTOMANIA, HOLY MOUNTAIN

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE MASOCHISTIC IN THEIR LOVE OF BAD FILMS: BURIAL GROUND

RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE INSOMNIA: BLACK AGENT LUCKY KING, THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!

RECOMMENDED FOR NOBODY: BEHIND LOCKED DOORS

Should you require more detail - like 22,000 words more, including copious spoilers, and a reveal of my "net handle" on the Headstrong board (ooh, the suspense!) - go here.

The lentils still aren't cooked. And I think I might have just added too much chili paste. Hmmm.

6 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Wow ... I had forgotten all about Streets of Fire .. that movie is just insane - and insanely entertaining!

17/11/06 10:34 AM  
Blogger Scoutie said...

Brown lentils are super yummy, but they do take an extraordinarily long time. You can cut down the time if you plan ahead and soak them in water overnight. Also, for the most part, it's perfectly safe to leave the burner on low all night, so long as there's plenty of liquid in the pan.

The Boy and I occasionally make a whole roasted chicken, then cover the leftover bones with water in a stock pot (with three onions, three carrots and three celeries, all chopped up), bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it go all night. We then strain it for delicious chicken broth (I like to turn it into chicken tortilla soup!), plus it makes the house smell lovely in the colder months.

Of course, if your stove--or New Zealand stoves in general-- are at all sketchy, you may not want to do this. Most stoves are a-okay though, so long as they're clean.

I miss you, Doug Doug!

19/11/06 11:31 AM  
Blogger dd said...

reel fanatic - hi, do I know you, or did you just stumble by randomly? I noticed a link to Maggie Large's blog, which would seem to be too much to be a coincidence (we both are ex-KTRU, as perhaps are you ...)

scout - I miss you too!

the roasted chicken sounds scary to me, but any easy healthy recipes are highly encouraged, and i believe my stove is no more dangerous than most. how would you "do" brown lentils? My operating lentils recipe is "add lentils to vegetables boiling in spiced water, cook til done". I imagine there are other ways, some fancier.

19/11/06 4:31 PM  
Blogger Scoutie said...

Here's my favorite Lentil recipe:

1 pack (12 oz.) brown lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes
2 large carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

This is a recipe from a 1981 "Vegetarian Cooking" cookbook by Sunset magazine. An old boyfriend's mom used to make these lentils, and it's what turned me around on the weird brown legumes. A couple quick notes: the spices are good in this combo, but can be substituted with anything you like. If you don't have one spice or another, simply leave it out. Use the liquid which comes in the canned tomatoes for extra flavor. Just dump it in. Use diced tomatoes in their own juice for best results, or buy whole tomatoes and squeeze them through your hand to mash them up. You can leave off the cheese if you want, too, but I don't recommend this. A nice strong Cheddar really makes this recipe, but any cheese will do.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place cleaned lentils into a large, shallow baking dish (usually a casserole or lasagna pan, or a rectangular 9 x 13" pan). Add water, spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes and their liquid.

Cover the pan with foil or a lid, and bake for 30 minutes (to begin with). Remove from oven, add carrots and celery, cover and bake 40 MORE minutes. Remove from oven, stir in peppers and parsley, sprinkle top with cheese, then bake UNCOVERED for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly good.

Makes 6 servings (26 grams protein, 55 grams carbohydrates, 402 calories a serving)

Delicious!

21/11/06 10:10 AM  
Blogger dd said...

my brown lentils only come from bulk bins and the scales are in grams, but I'll figure it out.

Is there anything special about rinsing the lentils - i.e. does that mean "soak overnight" or just "run under water and strain"? Because maybe I'll make it for dinner tonight, but maybe I won't if it means soak overnight, since I don't have an overnight between now and dinner.

yr. cooking impaired superfriend,
doug

21/11/06 11:37 AM  
Blogger Scoutie said...

No. Rinse is just rinse. As in, toss in a strainer and rinse until water runs clear, watching for any foreign matter. You can expedite most lentil recipes by an overnight soak, but I rarely plan that far ahead.

After I typed in this recipe today, I decided to make it myself. As a testament to its versatility, I replaced all the spices with some Italian seasoning, left out the onion due to sheer laziness, and replaced the canned tomatoes with some of Jarrett's pico de gallo, some ketchup, and some extra water.

I topped it with mozzarella, which was good, and it had a weird but yummy Italian flair. I should have drizzled in some balsamic vinegar! Oh, I think 12 ounces of lentils is between 1.5 and 2 cups; it's not a volume measurement, but a weighted one, though, so how about if I look it up? Here ya go: 12 ounces is around 350 grams.

Good luck, and let me know if you make it / like it. Are you having Thanksgiving in Auckland, or do you forego that American peculiarity down under?

Love!

22/11/06 1:52 AM  

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