A Clüsterfünke Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film A Clüsterfünke Christmas.

Story

This tried really hard to be every Christmas movie in one but it sort of missed the point and the heart of the genre.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters were hilarious. They were stereotypes of stereotypes. Unfortunately, that didn’t make them all that interesting beyond a few gags.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

This was stilted even for a satire of a stitled genre. Other than the gags and wordplay, which sometimes came off as a CollegeHumour skit gone too long, the dialogue wasn’t great.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Over the top visuals with some surprisingly good sets and costume design.

The music was sufficiently cheesy and played well for gags.

Score: 0.5

Fun

When the wordplay or satire hit this was a lot of fun, but it really didn’t make me care about the characters or want to see how it ends.

My mother in-law was not impressed and the three year old was bored.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A valiant attempt at satirizing Christmas movies which doesn’t succeed at doing more then pointing out things about other movies. There were a few really good jokes, but it didn’t have heart or wonder.

Save yourself the trouble and watch A Christmas Movie Christmas instead.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

I Tried a Meal Kit Delivery Service and I Wasn’t Impressed

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I had grand plans on making this a series where I tried a bunch of meal kits and gave you my honest review of each. I even had a grading system and everything planned out.

Then I tried one and decided I didn’t have the time, energy, or will to do more than one.

I was not paid to do this review and will not include any links. I am an experienced home cook who’s been cooking for over twenty years and have a very well stocked kitchen.

Chef’s Plate Meal Kit Review

I got a massive discount on trying this and decided to give it 2 boxes. So far I’ve only done 1 box which was 2 separate meals.

Thai Fried rice in 4 bowls

The box was outside in the heat for more time than I’d like but none of the ingredients suffered.

Portions

The portions for both the Thai Fried Rice and the BBQ Salmon were impressive. It’s equivalent to what you’d get in a restaurant. We made the mistake of ordering the 4 person portion and the kids did not eat enough to make it worth it.

Score: 20/20

Level of Complexity

This isn’t for your absolute beginner. The instructions are simple, but the tools and timing needed are harder to master. Not to mention that nothing is defined.

If you get this and you don’t have a well stocked kitchen, you’ll be running out to get tools or pans.

I’d also say that they use way too many pans. The Thai Fried Rice had 4 pans in the instructions. I used my rice cooker for the rice and 1 pan for the rest. Same thing for the BBQ salmon. It needed 3 pans and the BBQ.

One piece of equipment that they do not mention in the instructions that I found invaluable was a good pair of scissors. EVERYTHING is packaged in these tiny little bags that are practically impenetrable. Wasteful and annoying.

Finally my biggest complaint was that it wasn’t formatted like a recipe. I would have been fine with it if there had been more detail, but this is not something you give or use if you don’t already know how to cook.

My entire family has some interesting allergies and I was downright angry that all the ingredients were not published in the kit. I took the chance on me and my wife since they rarely add chocolate to a spice mix, but I couldn’t have served this to my in-laws. I also skipped the Mediterranean spices in case it would affect my wife.

I repeat; none of the spice mixes or sauces had ingredient lists.

Score: 5/20

Quality

I was not impressed with the quality of the produce, but the meat was nice. The overall product wasn’t bad and I’d say it was a decent quality meal.

The packaging was a pain from start to finish though.

Score: 10/20

Taste

This should be the most important category. When it comes to cooking for kids, it isn’t always, unfortunately.

Either way, the Fried rice and the Salmon were good in the sense that I didn’t hate them. My daughter gave the Fried rice a thumbs up but didn’t finish her plate and refused leftovers the next day.

My son loved the roasted red peppers and zucchini, but that was literally all he’d eat. My wife seemed moderately pleased which is not her default for my cooking.

I would have been better off going to pick up Thai Express or just cooking myself.

Score: 10/20

Fun

I was hoping this would work out to be a fun activity. I had an image of sitting around the laptop deciding on the meals and everyone getting excited. Big NOPE there. Choosing the meals was exactly like meal planning. No one agreed or no one cared.

I was also hoping to get an Ikea Effect from the meal. I did not. I was mostly annoyed and swearing at the instructions for making more dishes to clean then needed.

I did like the colour and that the meals looked like their pictures.

Score: 10/20

Overall

This wasn’t a terrible experience, but it wasn’t a lot of fun. I don’t find it saved much time and at full price with shipping it will cost more than a quick restaurant.

I wanted this to not need to stress about meal planning and prep. Unfortunately, it didn’t help and added an extra frustration in the prep. This is great for those who can’t prep or shop for themselves, but not my thing.

Final Score: 55/100

Final Words

The experience told me that what I need is to find better delivery options that are local. This wasn’t for me and no one was all that happy about it.

What I’ll remember most (other than those annoying bags) is my almost two year old saying, “Couscous” over and over again.

Stay Safe and be kind,

Éric

Igor – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2008 film Igor.

Story

A remake of My Fair Lady but with a Frankenstein twist. This could have been a wonderful satire of sexism, fat-phobia, classism, and racism, but instead they decided to ignore the messages of both My Fair Lady and Frankenstein to create a poorly executed adventure romance.

Score: 0

Characters

The titular character is the stereotypical nerd with a heart of gold. He triumphs by sheer brain power and luck. He manages to change his world without changing anything.

The monster is the most civilized and definitely the one that makes the difference in the story.

The only characters that weren’t bland and honestly saved the movie from being boring were Scamper, the immortal rabbit, and Brain. The sidekicks made the best jokes and insights.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The wry humour of the sidekicks and the referential jokes save this movie. If it wasn’t for those, the movie would get lost in it’s own blandness.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation is crude by the standards of it’s time and hasn’t aged well. The monochromatic world don’t help make it visually appealing.

The music is boring and the songs feel like they were chosen by someone who got a bad synopsis and didn’t understand the little amount of plot.

Score: 0

Fun

There were some fantastic jokes and some interesting moments and references to classic monster movies. That was fun but the fat-phobic jokes and constant tropes about beauty sapped the joy for me.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie could have used more Scamper and Brain, which are the only parts of the movie that are genuinely funny. Beyond that it’s mostly been done before and I wasn’t impressed.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

2019 Movie Rankings

Hello Cinephiles,

This year was a pretty good year for movies. Some fantastic action offerings and absolutely amazing animated films.

I saw 22 movies and for the first time in a long time I didn’t see anything that I hated.

This is the fifth year that an animated film is my highest ranked and the second that it’s not a Disney movie.

This is the ranking of movies I saw in theatres (or rented) that were released in 2019. This doesn’t include Netflix originals, made for TV Movies, or straight to DVD releases.

These are ranked by how much I enjoyed them and not their quality as “Films”.

Absolutely Loved

  1. Abominable
  2. Frozen II
  3. Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
  4. Captain Marvel
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  6. Spies in Disguise
  7. Shazam!
  8. Men In Black: International
  9. Pokemon Detective Pikachu
  10. Happy Death Day 2U

It was good

  1. The Kid Who Would Be King
  2. Hobbs & Shaw
  3. Jumanji: The Next Level
  4. Charlie’s Angels
  5. Knives Out
  6. Aladdin (Live Action)

Meh

  1. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  2. How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World
  3. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
  4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  5. Avengers: Endgame
  6. Toy Story 4

Looks like 2020 will be eclectic and interesting.

What was your favourite movie this year?

Éric

Star Trek: Discovery; I finally finished it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I had a hard time finishing Star Trek: Discovery. That says a lot considering I’ve happily watched every Star Trek series to come out since TNG.

I have a lot of thoughts that I’ll share after the cut.

Star Trek: Discovery (l-r): Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun; Sara Mitich as Airiam; Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets; Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly; Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham; Ronnie Rowe as Bryce; Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys; Doug Jones as Saru; Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer © 2017 CBS Interactive. photo by Jan Thijs

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