Archive for December, 2011

This past weekend I went with my family to check out the new Muppet’s film, simply called, the Muppets. This film was the love child of Jason Segel and director James Bobin. When you look at the track record of these two powerhouses you may think it’s a bit odd that they’d be making a movie about puppets.

But then again, these aren’t your normal Hollywood big shots, they are true fans of the history of the Muppets and that love shines through in every frame of this film. Segel first caught my attention on the TV show Freaks and Geeks and his repeat appearances in anything Judd Apatow related. James Bobin was the writer and director for the hit TV series Flight of the Conchords and he also directed the Ali G Show.

Joining these two are Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Dave Grohl and countless other big name stars, making the Muppets very reminiscent of The Muppet Movie, by far my favorite of the Muppet movies. However that ranking may be changing to a tied place with this film.

It’s a musical, just like all the other Muppet movies so if you aren’t a fan of singing, and or puppets in general, don’t see this film. If you do like either, see this movie! Even if you only go to see Chris Cooper rap, or see Jim Parsons (Yes, TBBT’s Sheldon Cooper) play the human counter part to our Muppet protagonist Walter,  it’s worth the 9 bucks for the ticket. As a musical, you need a good musical writer. I half expected to see Jason Segel’s name pop up on the writing credits at the end of the film due in part to his excellent song writing skills exercised in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However, I wasn’t dissapointed when I did see who wrote a lot of the original songs used in the film, Mr Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame.

You can check out a ‘rehearsal tape’ of Bret singing out the main song from the film, “Life’s a Happy Song,” with Kermit The Frog here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDnTo2S2BrA

That said, if you’re looking for a movie to help cheer you up through the dreary winter, check out the Muppets, you won’t regret the decision.

8 Years ago, on November 3, 2003 the Television channel known as Fox premiered what would become one of greatest TV shows ever made and would gather enough fan support and cult status that 8 years later we would be blessed with the knowledge that additional episodes are now in the works of being made along with a feature length movie event. The show is Arrested Development.

I say is, and not was, because this show will never die. I will be the first to admit that I did not watch AD when it was on the air. I have no excuse. I also have no excuse for not watching the other greatest show known to man that Fox had cancelled not two months before AD premiered. That other greatest show was Joss Whedon’s Firefly. (Which also had a movie made years after it’s cancellation due to fan support. Albeit it was only two years after cancellation and not eight.) But that’s neither here nor there. But will eventually, probably, be covered.

Arrested Development opened the doors for the awkward comedy to take over the airwaves. The cast clicked so well with Arrested Development and the directors, writers, and entire production crew worked so well together that all 63 22 minute episodes felt like a complete break from reality.

Watching AD is like hanging out with your family. You love them all, you enjoy them, but you know that you can leave whenever you like, which makes it better than hanging out with family in all actuallity. Arrested Development taught me to love David Cross, tolerate Will Arnet, regain trust in Jason Bateman (Sorry, Teen wolf 2 kind of killed it for me.) taught me to fear seals, that once a bottle of vodka is opened it will go bad if you don’t drink it all in one sitting, and to NEVER try to teach my kids a lesson.

From the very first episode (Which I watched along with seven other episodes last night. Thank you netflix instant.) you get sucked into wanting to find out what happens to these people. The slightly creepy incestuous love of George Michael and Maeby, George Sr’s bout in Prison, Gob’s dismissal from the magician’s group he helped found, Buster’s usefullness as a cartographer and native american drummer and the rest of the horrible turmoil that oozes from Tobias and Lindsay’s marriage.

There is something almost despisable about every character, it’s hard not to want to find out what goes horribly wrong in their lives but you still want them to succeed. That is a very fine line that doesn’t carry through with many sitcoms. Obviously it didn’t work for Fox’s heads of planning. Had the show premiered even a year after it had, there is a good chance that it could have lasted more than it’s glorious 3 season run. A lot of shows have AD to thank for still being on the air, or even getting a chance on primetime television today.

As I stated before, AD Brought us the beginning of the awkward person sitcom, nothing was overly funny about any one person in Arrested Development but together it’s hard to think of a funnier show that I’ve ever seen. Shows that owe a great debt to AD include but aren’t limited to;

The Office (The American Version)

 

Raising Hope

New Girl

The Big Bang Theory

And about a dozen reality tv shows as AD was shot in a pseudo-mockumentary style.

It followed in the path of Curb Your Enthusiasm by bringing a bit more raunch to primetime television while still maintianing the amount of mirth needed for a show to succeed. Apparently it wasn’t enough at the time.

Perhaps Fox will have seen their folly by the time the next season and film rolls out. Perhaps there will be a chance for the show to recontinue in the way Family Guy saw it’s death and resurrection.

Maybe Arrested Development was ahead of it’s time, or it showed the genius needed to spur on the creation of the American Office thus spawning it’s own death on a competing channel. Maybe we’ve just gotten smarter as viewers since then. Type in Arrested Development on any fan forum and you’re certain to get a billion hits within a matter of seconds.

A great show, destroyed before it’s time. Thankfully we live in a world where Opie can grow up, get the heck out of Mayberry, blow the lid off of Hollywood and make sure his vision of AD sees the light of day once more and brings Arrested Development back to it’s old fans and introduce itself to a brand new group of fans over the next couple of years.

Last night I made up a batch of Chocolate Wontons. Wontons are a classic staple of Chinese cuisine. They are normally either lightly fried or steamed.

My Chocolate Wontons are baked for a lighter, crunchy texture and filled with a mix of Nutella and Peanut Butter and Chocolate chips. When they are finished baking they are topped off with a combination of powdered sugar and chili powder to add a bit of savory to the sweet.

How They’re made: First start out by laying out a few rows of wonton wrappers, normally found in the produce aisle of the super market. The brand of wraps I use are Melissa’s (See picture below in slideshow).  After laying out a few rows I use a small plastic sandwich bag as a poor man’s pastry bag to squeeze a generous portion of Nutella onto the center of each square.

Next I pile on a few chocolate and peanut butter chips being aware that I need to leave enough space to fold over the edge of the wrap to form a triangle pouch. After the first couple you learn how much topping you can squeeze into each wonton.

At this point you can decide if you want to use one wrap per wonton, or put in an extra amount of filling and place another wrap on top to make large ravioli shaped wontons.

The next step in wonton making is to wet two of the edges of the wrap and fold the corners together to form a triangle pouch and press the edges together to make sure they stick and seal well.

After everything is sealed and ready to bake, lay out the wontons in a fitting geometric pattern to utilize the best amount of space on your baking sheet. I like to bake mine on parchment paper to make clean-up easy and quick. Once everything is laid out fittingly I brush each wonton with a generous amount of melted butter to help make them look shiny and brown up nicely while baking.

After baking for roughly 15 minutes in a 350F degree oven, they are ready to be pulled out and generously dusted with a mix of powdered sugar and chili powder. I don’t use a specific measurement for choosing the amount of chili powder added. Just be sure to add enough so when you bite into the wonton you get a nice accent from the chili without over powering the sweetness of the wontons.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And that’s how you make some delicious Chocolate Wontons and become the talk of the office for the afternoon. Just be prepared to give out the recipe to everyone who tries them! 😉