Jiro Dreams of Sushi – Documentary Recommendation

Recently my friend Tom, a fellow foodie, recommended a documentary that he considers a “must see”.  It’s on Netflix right now and sounded interesting so I poured a glass of wine and queued it up. If you’ve followed my blog you know that I’ve made very few movie recommendations over the last four years, only doing so when it’s one that has inspired me to share.

Released in 2012, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the fascinating, joyful story of Jiro Ono an 85 year old Sushi Master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. Sukiyabashi Jiro is a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station. Jiro Ono serves a tasting menu of roughly 20 courses, for a minimum of 30,000 Japanese yen ($281 USD). with a well deserved reputation of creating the best sushi in the world.  And his is the only Michelin star recipient whose restaurant doesn’t have its own restroom (though you can use one in the subway).*

The movie is sub-titled which is worth mentioning though it does nothing to detract from the fascinating and mesmerizing story.  I was enthralled by the artistry and mouth-watering sushi but Jiro is the star here.  His life story is incredible and his passion for his craft is inspiring.  The old saying that “when you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life” has never seemed more accurate.  

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The movie is a feast for the eyes and a story that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it. Suffice it to say that this blogger feels compelled to share her recommendation that you make a point of watching this documentary.

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If you need more Jiro, check out YouTube as there are many short clips worth seeing.

* Some content is from Wikipedia with photos from Pinterest. 

A Street Cat Named Bob – the movie

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Last year I discovered the most amazing true story of a cat named Bob who saved the life of the man he adopted. The book by James Bowen, made the New York Times bestseller list, was on the bestseller list in England for 52 consecutive weeks and is currently being published in 30 different countries around the world. An incredible story of redemption it explores the bond between a man down on his luck and the cat who found him.  Truly heartwarming it’s a must-read for every cat lover and frankly, everyone else.  One of my all-time favorite books, I blogged about the story last year A Street Cat Named Bob.

At that time, I’d learned a movie was being made and the cat playing Bob was none other than Bob himself.

The Movie

I started following A Street Cat Named Bob on Facebook. Anxiously awaiting the film’s US release date, I planned to see it on opening day – November 18th, 2016.  I’d asked my Mom to go, then looked up showtimes.  I couldn’t find it at any theater yet Facebook posts were announcing it’s release.  “What’s happening?” I thought.

Digging deeper, I found out what countless other had discovered – the movie was opening in only a few select locations around the US – and none were near me.  I was crushed, my hopes dashed.  I logged into Amazon to see if I could pre-order the DVD and set my Watchlist for any news of a streaming release. Then, as we must do as adults, I let it go with the knowledge that I would see it….someday.

Finally, a few weeks ago whilst in the grip of the flu a moment of happiness came my way when I found I could finally stream the movie via Amazon Video. I felt better already.

I gathered Tipper and Biscotti, a pile of pillows and blankets and we settled in on the sofa to watch this long anticipated movie.  It was everything I/we hoped. A beautiful ginger, Bob is not only an incredible feline but is an excellent actor as were the supporting players (after all, clearly Bob was the “star”).

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If you haven’t read the book, I recommend doing so then seeing the movie.

Don’t we all need stories that leave us feeling happy, warm and fuzzy these days? 😸

Gilmore Girls, the series/Gilmore Girls: a Year in the Life

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Gilmore Girls, the series

When the Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000, I didn’t watch it.  Not for any reason other than it slipped under my radar.  Several years ago I caught season one in syndication and was hooked, seriously hooked.  Not only did I watch the entire seven seasons, I bought the entire DVD set and have watched it more than a few times.

Yes, I’m a total Gilmore fangirl.  And my friends – I’m not alone.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the storyline:

Set in Star’s Hollow, a fictional, picturesque New England small-town its both charming and loaded with lovable, quirky and colorful characters.

The central characters, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are a spirited young mother and daughter. Fiercely independent, Lorelai had Rory at 16 and raised her as single mom. Rory is an incredibly bright 16 year old bookworm with a life-long goal of attending an ivy-league college. They’re closer than any mother and daughter you’ll see on-screen.

Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie, played by the adorable young Melissa McCarthy, is a gifted but klutzy chef at the inn Lorelai manages and later at an inn they buy to run together.

Luke, owner of Luke’s Diner, is rugged and a bit grumpy but is the guy who repeatedly drops everything for Rory and Lorelai.  Luke and Lorelai explore other relationships over the seven seasons but are always drawn to each other…..

There’s way more to the series that this “glimpse”.  I can only say if you haven’t watched the show you can binge-watch it right now on Netflix – and I hope you will.  Right now, when our country is divided and full of turmoil, the sweetness of the characters, the town and the story provide a lovely place where you can escape and immerse yourself.

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

For those die-hard fans of the Gilmore Girls, there has been an groundswell of enthusiasm for a reunion since it ended in 2007.  Speaking as one of those fans, every nugget that hinted that it might happen renewed my hopes.  In 2016, it was confirmed that nearly a decade after it ended, the reunion was filmed for Netflix in four 90 minute segments – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

It was released on November 25, 2016, a date marked on my calendar. I was chomping at the bit to watch it.  But there was one wrinkle…..

Spence enjoyed the show but had caught syndicated episodes infrequently.  I wanted to share “The Year in the Life” with him but insisted we watch the seven seasons in their entirety first.  And he agreed! That took several weeks of binging. As we finished, he was needed to help his best friend, post-surgery and has been in Florida for the last few weeks.  And with an uncertain return date, I could no longer wait.

Picking up nine years later, it feels as though we’re reuniting with old friends we’ve missed.  Written by the Gilmore Girls creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, this was like a gift. Every character from the show (major or minor) showed up in meaningful ways and the trademark, fast-paced witty dialogue was back in spades. For super fans like myself, there were many nuances that nodded to the original series and warmed my Gilmore-loving heart.

The last two episodes were my favorites. There were several stunningly beautiful scenes that I watched with tears in my eyes.  In short, this was a successful sequel and a love letter from the show’s creators to those of us who longed to know what had happened to our beloved characters.

With a surprise at the end, I’m not alone in seeing an opening to another reunion in the future…fingers crossed!

And when Spence returns from Florida, I’ll be watching it once again and likely not for the last time.

Lion, the movie I’m recommending

Recently my lifetime BFF and I did a girl’s day out including a movie that I knew little about.  I’d only caught a few minutes of the Golden Globes (including Meryl Streep’s speech – awesome) and saw Dev Patel introducing the clip of his movie “Lion” up for Best Movie.  I remember thinking how I loved him in “Slumdog Millionaire” and was intrigued by this new movie.  So when my wise BFF suggested this film, I was in.

Accidentally separated from his family as a child, Saroo Brierley returns to India 25 years later to find them. (IMDb)

The movie based on an incredible true story, is both riveting and heartbreaking, the acting superb. The audience seemed enthralled; as the credits rolled no one moved to leave. It was overwhelming in the best possible way and an unforgettable story of love, loss and family.  If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to do so.

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Worth Watching

I haven’t posted recommendations of movies in quite awhile. Spence and I frequently come away from the video store discouraged by the few good films being made and end up binge-watching TV shows via Netflix and HBO Now. I believe we aren’t alone. These two movies are well written, cast with truly talented actors and left us feeling entertained and happy for the time spent watching.

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Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman, “Trouble with the Curve” was watched on Father’s Day weekend, apopro with Amy Adams playing Clint Eastwood’s daughter.  The story had humor, family conflict and lots of heart interspersed with baseball.  As Clint Eastwood gets older, he just gets better and the story was one that stayed with us days later.  (2012)

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“Danny Collins” stars Al Pacino in the title role as an aging rock star. With Christopher Plummer as his long-time manager, Jennifer Garner, Annette Bening and Bobby Canavale round out a cast that must have been a director’s dream.  The story was at times funny and touching taking interesting twists that made it unpredictable.  It is a story loosely based on a real-life folk singer, Steve Tilston which you learn when the credits roll adding another depth to the film.  (2015)

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I’m a believer in recommending movies without recapping storylines as I personally hate when people give away too much.  For more info, simply Google these movies. 

Post holiday waking up – holiday movie time

Snuggling with cats, candles and fireplace ablaze, sipping tea or a glass of Prosecco and watching all movies we own with holiday themes.

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The list we’ve watched starting Christmas Day:

  • The Christmas Story
  • National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Love Actually
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Bad(der) Santa
  • The Holiday
  • Rent

What’s your favorite holiday movie? 

  

Tonight we say goodbye to Jon Stewart & The Daily Show

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I awoke this morning with a feeling of sadness. After 16 years, Jon Stewart will do his last Daily Show this evening. I don’t begrudge him retiring, don’t get me wrong. I retired last year and love it. He has certainly earned this time to rest, relax and enjoy his family.

But Spence and I and countless others will miss him terribly.

Jon Stewart has been the touchstone for our news and politics for years. What makes him so popular is his honest, candid, unfiltered and ultimately humorous take on events and politicos. What makes him a true gem is that he isn’t politically correct but shines a comic light on the most sensitive topics without being mean-spirited, causing us to reflect profoundly. He holds people accountable – politicians both domestic and international, corporate bigwigs, financial pundits and others who are in the news – and isn’t above calling them out. We don’t always agree with his perspective, but always respect that he makes us think. We never find him offensive, rather…. refreshing. He feels like a guy you’d like to have drinks with and hope it turns into dinner.

During his tenure on The Daily Show, numerous comedic talents were discovered, among them:

  • Steve Carell
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Rob Corddry
  • Ed Helms
  • Jason Jones
  • Rob Riggle
  • Samantha Bee

And though his career was established before The Daily Show, who can forget the outrageously bombastic Lewis Black and his Daily Show segments “Back in Black?”

Okay, now I’m getting teared up. (sigh)

Thank you Jon Stewart, for every moment you’ve given us. You are brilliant; we won’t know another like you.

Pictures courtesy of Pinterest search

A new toy for the retiree!

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Roku 3500

So several weeks back, my stepson presented a Roku to my oldest granddaughter as a birthday gift on her 19th birthday.  I quickly took an interest in this as both stepsons are techy guys and I knew they’d give me the low down on what it was and why I should have one.  If there was ever a time in my life to discover this – a streaming stick with hundreds, no probably thousands of movies and TV series that I could stream through a dozen or so sources, this was it.  Not one to shy away from technology (though admittedly I was among the last of my friends and family to learn to text after I realized it wasn’t just a fad), I hopped on Amazon, got out my $50 gift card (Christmas gift) and ordered via my Amazon Prime – incidentally one of those aforementioned streaming sources that I’ve had access to via Prime but was unable to tap into!  Oh joy, oh bliss.  Oh crap!  I couldn’t get it to install on the final step.  The booklet was more of an insert and didn’t talk about error code 011.  After trying to search out the answer online or via their LIVE CHAT channel (68th in line) I just called India (I’m impatient).  I spoke to a nice gentleman who explained that I needed to have my router set to a special security code and my encryption setting needed to be tweaked as well.  “Okay” I thought.  So I called Comcast/Xfininty and was connected to Clayton (coincidentally the name of my first love, but I digress).  Clayton was friggin’ brilliant and within minutes had changed those settings remotely and viola!  I had a working Roku!  Now the choices, the choice were…..infinite.  What to do, what to watch first?

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I started with “Orange is the New Black” and LOVE IT.  Spence and I are retired and in the midst of a cold Michigan winter and with our little pal Roku, have so much to watch.  Put a fire in the fireplace, pour a glass of wine and snuggle with the cats and hunker down as the snow fall.

“Bring me a bottle o’ wine por favor!”

Movies for Foodies

I LOVE FOOD

Eating, cooking, reading about it . The Food Network is nirvana for me. An enthusiastic reviewer on Trip Advisor, when traveling my journals are full of details on the meals I’ve enjoyed.  I’m always thinking about my next meal. When I see a movie that “feeds” my passion for food, I’m one happy chick. Earlier this year, two stellar food-themed movies premiered, Chef and 100 Foot Journey. They are among the best movies I’ve seen this year.  I’ve added a few older movies, (shown above) that deserve a shout out as entertaining flicks which also feature food prominently.  And even if your life doesn’t revolve around food to the extent mine does, these movies are worth seeing.  Enjoy!