Movie Review: The Game Plan

Love this movie for what it is.  What it is is a good, wholesome, feel good, family movie.  You can go with your 6 year old, your grandmother, your new boyfriend or your old husband, and nothing in this film is going to make you crawl under your seat with embarassment.  What it is not is cinematic genius, Academy Award material, critically acclaimed movie brilliance.  But it is a good family movie. 

The Rock plays Joe Klingman, football superstar living the life of a carefree bachelor when out of the blue, the 8 year old daughter he did not know he had turns up on his bachelor pad doorstep.  The relationship that ensues will make you laugh, bring a tear to your eyes in more than one scene, and truly just warm your heart.  The Rock is given top billing in the film, but he really plays well as part of the whole team – the adorable little girl who plays Peyton, his manager played by Kyra Sedgewick, and the whole group of football players.  There is certainly sequel material here if they want to delve into the relationship that develops between Joe and the ballet teacher, but the movie ended on such a good note, you’re just all over happy about how it all works out.

Don’t go into the theater looking for brilliant acting, original story, amazing plot twists.  You’ll come home really happy that you went.

Movie Review: Eastern Promises

I can sum up this movie in one sentence.  There is naked fighting with Viggo Mortensen.  Okay, okay, I can see that some of you are not in your cars yet, on your way to the theater.  And of course, you should be based on that alone.  But for those of you who need a movie with substance, you will find that too.  Before and after the naked fighting with Viggo Mortensen. 

The basic plot is a teenage Russian girl is rushed to a London hospital after collapsing in a pool of blood in a pharmacy.  Her baby girl is delivered by Anna (played by Naomi Watts), a half Russian, half English mid-wife.  The teenage mother dies, and Anna is determined to find her family so the baby can be raised by the girl’s family.  She instead gets herself mixed up in the vicious Russian mob, where she comes to learn that the baby’s teenage mother was brutally raped by the mob boss after she ended up in some sort of brothel.  Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) is the chauffer for the mob boss’s incompetent son, and is himself involved in some of the terrible brutality that occurs during the movie.  There is a twist (a little predictable) during the movie involving Mortensen’s character that sheds some light on his personality in the movie.

Overall, this was an interesting story, nicely played out, dramatic and violent in parts.  The characters of Nikolai, Semyon, and Kirill have way more depth than Anna, and Naomi Watts seems a little flat in this movie.  I don’t find that I connect with her character – not in any way, sympathetic or otherwise.  There is a revelation during the movie that should evoke sympathy, but I don’t feel it.

I’d say on a 5 star scale, this movie is about a 3.  Definitely worth the price of a ticket or buying the DVD, but probably not one I’d watch multiple times.  There is nudity (hence the naked fighting), some sexual content, and violence.

Rockin’ and Rolling All Right

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Labrada Rockin’ Roll protein bar was next to the Power Crunch bars at the Vitamin Shoppe.  I’m always on the lookout for something, please God, that will taste good, not be sickeningly sweet tasting, and not contain so much sugar that you get a bottle of insulin free with each purchase.  The Labrada Rockin’ Roll bar seemed like it might fit the bill.  The outside looked almost like peanut brittle – lots of delicious nuts held together by we don’t know what but it tastes good so who cares.  Inside was a delicous nougat – and of course, no one knows what nougat is, but we all want our nougat to taste like that which is in a Snickers bar.  This comes pretty darn close.  I took one bite, placed the bar on the table, and little beams of sunshine glowed from it while beautiful harp music played in the background.  The thing that stands out most is the texture.  The nuts are NUTS – not nut pieces, faux nuts, nut fragments, or nut like substances.  These are real, honest to goodness, crunchy peanuts.  Under the peanuts is what looks, smells and tastes like real caramel.  It’s sweet, it’s yummy, and I am wondering how sick I am going to be after I eat this bar.  Brighid walks in and I make her try it.  She is my protein bar guinea pig.  I know the other two kids will eat pretty much any of them, but Brighid gives you an honest opinion.  She wanted to know how many more I bought.  She was already splitting them up with me. 

The thing that I liked best is that it isn’t covered in that artificial chocolate like substance most protein bars use to seduce us.  This is covered in peanuts.  The thing I liked least is that one bar will not only set you back 290 calories, it will also use up about half of the fat grams you should have over the course of the entire day.  In one bar.  16 grams of fat to be exact, which for some  gastric bypass post-ops  means rockin’ and rolling your way to the bathroom after you eat it.  I didn’t get to eat the whole thing, thanks to sharing it with Brighid, but I certainly could have, and I would have worried about the effects.

So, here’s the low down on nutrition:

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Bar (70g)
Servings Per Container: 12
Amount Per Serving
Total Calories 290
Calories From Fat 150
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 3.5g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 350mg
Potassium 150mg
Carbs 25g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 2g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 4%
Iron 8%

Ingredients:
Dry roasted peanuts, lean pro nut roll protein blend, (soy protein isolate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, whey protein concentrate, sodium caseinate), maltitol , gelatin, polydextrose, glycerine, fractionated palm kernel oil, peanut flour, gum arabic, lecithin, butter, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose (Splenda Brand), potassium sorbate.

For the amount of calories and fat, the protein value was hardly worth it, but for taste alone, this was a sometimes bar for me.  I know I won’t be able to eat a whole one, but I can certainly enjoy the bites I can take and still feel like I won’t get sick from it.

Rain Rain, Go Away

It does seem at times when it rains, it pours.  Bad news has a tendency to be like that. 

On the minor bad news front, our real estate agent emailed me yesterday to suggest we drop the price of our house by $9000 to try and attract more visitors and increase the likelihood that it will sell.  The bad thing about that is that when we priced the house where it is, we factored in being able to sell it for $4000 less and walking away even.  Now we’re looking at having to price it $5000 below our break even point, and still taking a lower offer.  We could, realistically, have to come up with $10,000 or more to walk away from this house.  This may put the end to the plan to move to FL.  I don’t know if we’re in a position to lower the house by that much, and I don’t know if it will sell at the price it’s listed at.  It looks like we’ll be here until the housing market changes – or at least until Brighid is done high school.  There is always the option of leaving the house up for sale, and if it sells after the half way point of school, we leave Brighid here with a grandmother until she’s done high school.  I don’t know how that will work out for everyone, or even if it’s an option.  I know I’m tired of trying to keep the place like no one lives here.  It’s been 2 months of picking up every toy as soon as someone is done with it and making sure the kids only eat over the tiled or hardwood floors so any spills are easier to clean.  It’s been 8 long weeks of walking barefoot so we don’t mark up the downstairs carpet or scuff the hardwood floors.  I feel like I’ve been really tough to live with, since I’m stressed that everything stay perfect all the time and I feel like I’m snapping way more than I should be at the girls.  Forget about the poor dog.  She seems to be spending all of her playtime outside again instead of inside with the family because I don’t want a mess downstairs.  Jim is calling the bank today to see what our options are in terms of selling the house for less than we owe, and then we’ll make the decision about what to do.

And on a more major note, my grandmother has cancer.  She will be 94 and has become increasingly more frail recently.  The decision was made a couple of weeks back to send her to live with my Aunt Barbara.  The decision was made by my aunts Barbara and Gerry.  My mom went to visit with my grandmother yesterday and she told my mom she feels like she’s in prison.  She told my mom to make sure the next time they come visit, they take her out to lunch so she doesn’t have to sit there with my aunt and uncle.  She has lived independently for years, and I think this is a huge change for her.  They have also decided not to tell her she has cancer.  I can understand that they want to protect her, especially given her very fragile health, but I also think that the way to allow her to die with dignity is to give her the opportunity to make her peace with the world before she leaves.  I would think she would want the opportunity to visit with people, phone people she hasn’t seen in a while, and spend what time she has left doing things she wants to do.  I think everyone would live their life differently if they knew they were dying, and I think they are denying her the opportunity to do that.  The one decision I do agree with is they are not going to put her through any type of treatment.  She has an aggressive pancreatic cancer and to put her through treatment only makes the time she has left more unpleasant.

So, that makes my housing woes pale in comparison.