mysecondcupofcoffee


“It looks pretty cool, but I think it’s bad.”

I’m a Will Smith fan; I openly admit that. But my affection for the ageless man that is Will Smith notwithstanding, I wasn’t thrilled by the trailer for After Earth, therefore, I had no desire to see the movie. It wasn’t for lack of a storyline in the clips, but rather for my general dislike for post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic movies. However, through a series of—somewhat unfortunate—events, my friend and I sat through Epic and After Earth at the drive in.

Epic was a kid’s movie at heart with recognizable voices and a cute plot. What made it delightful was how pretty it was. It wasn’t as beautiful as, say, Atonement or Avatar, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a children’s movie and it stayed true to that. It had Cinderella-like predictability, with a dash of Fern Gully thrown in for good measure. Don’t waste good money to see it in theaters, but it wouldn’t be a bad RedBox flick.

**Spoilers**

Then came After Earth (Click here for a quick synopsis). My summary is this: It should have focused on character development or action, not both, and the trailer lied. Allow to unpack those thoughts in reverse order.

The trailer for this movie (not film, movie) made it seem as though the characters were going to be fighting off all the evil creatures on Earth every moment of every day. They didn’t. In fact, one of the creatures on Earth actually saves Kitai (Jaden Smith)…TWICE! And Cypher Raige (Will Smith), who is stuck in half a crashed plane for the ENTIRE movie, isn’t attacked by bad creatures once, even though his legs are a bloody mess and there are rotting corpses around him that smell tasty, I assume, to the local creatures. Also, there is only one truly terrible creature on Earth, based on the movie, and that creature (Ursa) isn’t even from Earth! It was being transported in the same shuttle that Cypher and Kitai are on. Why was it being transported? Oh, I have no idea… this is one of the several unexplained parts of the story. I won’t even get into all those unanswered questions; it’s too early in the morning for my blood pressure to rise that much.

Sigh… deep breathes…

Okay, moving on. This movie should have been about character development or action, not both. Cypher and Kitai aren’t close  at the beginning of the movie and by the end, Cypher is saluting his son as an equal. So how do we get from Point A to Point B? Why, we throw this father/son due onto a hostile planet and hope for the best, of course. The father has little faith in the son, and the son has a lot to prove. There is also a dead sister and his father’s reputation mixed in there too, but quite honestly, I don’t care enough to explain any more than I already have. See what I mean though? Great fodder for a character-based movie. But instead of allowing this to be the focus, the powers that be tried to add in all sorts of action. Now, character development in this film without action would have sucked, it’s true, but a bit more focus would have been nice. As it was, I was confused as to why I should care (more than the human side of me not wanting a cute kid to die on a hostile planet, of course).

So sum up: This movie is a C+ at best. The fact that I felt tricked into watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie notwithstanding (did YOU see his name mentioned in a trailer?!), the story had a good message. However, that good message was drowned in a sea of unanswered questions and misconceptions.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the title of this blog, it’s a line from the movie (one of the few clever lines when you see it in context) and I thought it made a very fitting title for this cinematic review.

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And it ended with Harry Potter and Vodka.

Every now and then I find myself feeling VERY domestic. Today was one of those days. This is my story, my epic tale of good versus evil. This is a story of Lynette versus her kitchen!

While sorting through my recipes and cookbooks, I found this lovely recipe for Crockpot Pizza (super yummy, maybe a recipe to come, but this blog has a different focus, though the Crockpot part in the Crockpot Pizza comes into play in the epic tale of good versus evil…but I digress). After making dinner and throwing it in the Crockpot to do its thing, I felt a strong desire to make a new kind of cookies. It made perfect sense to me at the time, though looking back I find my reasoning faulty. The recipe (Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies) seemed simple enough and I’m a pretty good cook, a new recipe didn’t seem like a huge challenge – more like a fun experiment. Oh how wrong I was. Oh naive child!

The cookie dough was simple enough. Your usual butter, sugar, flour, etc. …Please note as I continue my tale, that my kitchen was spotless when I began my cookie war… Roll the dough in cinnamon-sugar. Wrap them into spirals. Place in oven. Super easy. No problems. The only challenge was finding the right way to wrap the dough into a spiral… it’s super sticky dough! And this is where my kitchen smacked me with the proverbial gauntlet.

I thought that it might be a good idea to check on dinner while the cookies were baking. As I reached to take the lid of the Crockpot, I grabbed the edge of the pot by mistake… oops! Yup, burnt my finger. It was awesome. Super great. That by itself is not big deal. I bypassed that little obstacle with little trouble and went on to make the icing for the cookies. The icing seemed simple: white chocolate and honey. No problem. Oh was I wrong.

In my double boiler I began to melt the remainder of my white chocolate chips. It was all going well, until I added the honey. That ruined it. If a recipe ever calls for you to mix honey and chocolate, don’t do it. So, I dumped the first batch of chocolate and at this point realized that I was out of white chocolate. No big deal again, I’ll just head to the store and buy more. So that’s what I did. En route I called my mom to ask her about a good home remedy for burns. I picked up a package of white baker’s chocolate and headed home.

After returning home I did what any good chef does. I began to melt the baker’s chocolate: heated the double boiler, started melting the chocolate, after the water boiled, turned down the heat to low… and something went terribly wrong. For some reason the chocolate didn’t melt right, it just sort of globbed together. I figured, okay, no matter, I must have done something wrong. I threw out that batch and started again, this time thinking, okay, why not try the microwave to melt the chocolate. The microwave is a tried and true invention that does a wonderful job melting anything and everything. Chocolate went into the bowl, popped it in the microwave, pressed start and 30 seconds later pulled it out of the microwave to check its progress… it was brown! WTF? A cocktail would be so great right about now, but the cookies must be mastered! Okay, white chocolate must not like microwaves on days that end in “y.” No matter, I will try again because I can beat this, but I will move back to the double boiler… it seemed more likely to work, but I changed it up slightly thinking that maybe I did something wrong. So, I heated the water in the double boiler, after the water boiled, I turned the heat to low,  then added the chocolate. It started to melt, then it just stopped. It turned globby and then turned a delightful shade of brown.

Now before you extraordinary chefs think that I let the chocolate burn, let me assure you that I did not. I know how to melt chocolate and not burn it. I didn’t burn it.

My temper was rising, but I was still mostly calm. I dumped that batch of chocolate too and decided to try a FOURTH time.But it was at this point that my starving stomach and starving husband stepped in and begged for dinner. Luckily, dinner was done, but extremely hot and I burnt my tongue. Oh I can’t tell you how much I want a cocktail. Yeah, things were going swimmingly! Oh and to top it off, I forgot to put the garlic bread in the oven until after we sat down to dinner (Betty Crocker would be so disappointed)! As tasty as dinner was, I couldn’t focus. All I could think of was how much I wanted to be the master of those dang cookies! So, it was back to the kitchen for round five!

Boil water, turn down heat, add chocolate, melt.  And yup, you guessed it. Turned gloppy and gross! Cocktail… Now! And it was at the point that Pissed entered the kitchen. How do I screw up melting chocolate FIVE times in a row!? But I was determined (read: stubborn) and I had to finish the damn cookies! So, I went to start again and …. I was out of chocolate.

It was at this point I did what any reasonable woman would do… I called my mom. First, I clarified that I had, in fact, done everything right in my melting chocolate attempts. I had. Then I requested her recipe for caramel icing. I figured that I would master these cookies my way and make my own damn icing (and a cocktail!)! … I promise I’m not an alcoholic, but this was a REALLY long night!

Melt the butter, add the brown sugar, bring to a boil for two minutes while stirring, add milk, add powered sugar… VICTORY! I won. I beat the cookies. I won! Now it was time to drizzle this delightful icing onto the waiting cookies. Ten cookies iced, no issues. Fifteen iced, still good. Moving onto twenty and yikes! the icing was starting to harden already! Okay, it’s okay, breathe! You can do this! Place the icing back on the stove and stir, stir, stir to keep it from burning! Whew, it worked! Rapidly commence drizzling and… COOKIES COMPLETE!

And then I stepped back and looked at my kitchen and assessed the situation. I had washed the same pot (part of the double boiler) a grand total of six times in three hours. I had spilled chocolate, butter, dough, cinnamon, and grape juice (my drink of choice while cooking today) on the counter. I had used five different pots, four different bowls, every wooden and stirring spoon I own, two whisks, a KitchenAide, a mixing bowl, and a host of other things, none of which fit in the dishwasher! Not one to stop until my kitchen is clean (thanks for that curse, Mom!) I started in. After thirty minutes of clean-up I was not only sweating, but I had also managed to splash steaming hot water on my forearm and foot (don’t ask me how I managed that).

And it ended with Harry Potter and Vodka.