Tagged: friends

Oscar Sunday and Movie Monday: Swept Away and Django Unchained

Jessica Chastain at 2012 Oscars.  She's awesome.

Jessica Chastain at 2012 Oscars in Alexander McQueen.  She’s awesome.

So the Oscars are this Sunday.  Oh yeah, another chance for Hollywood to congratulate itself.  Yessss* but also a good time to invite friends over, make food and drink.  Of course we watch the Red Carpet and talk to the TV and criticize the fashion choices.  And yes we print out Oscar ballots to add in some friendly competition.  I wish that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hosting but c’est la vie.  They chose Seth MacFarlane.  Hmm.  I’m sure he’ll be better than James Franco and Ann Hathaway.

I am not romantic about who wins and loses an Academy Award.  For a good laugh read this Oscar voter’s take on this year’s nominees from The Hollywood Reporter.  It does not disappoint.  I agree with him on a few things.  Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon.

I especially agree with him on “Django Unchained.”  For a brilliant breakdown read Jesse Williams‘ take.  I agree with him, a lot.

This brings me to a post I trashed.  It’s the first time I’ve done that.  I made it a goal not to be negative here and not to rant, too much.  In the end I decided that I should post it.  I watched two movies and had strong reactions to them, and to me, this warrants attention.

*There’s an article in the Atlantic about the study of extra vowels and elongation of words.  I am guiltyyyy and I like it!


It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the movies.  Since it’s Awards season it’s time to see how many of the movies that are nominated we can see.  I had no desire to see “Django Unchained” but bf wanted to see it since there was an Italian Western movie called “Django” from 1966.  The star of that movie, Franco Nero, has a cameo in “Django Unchained.”

I wasn’t excited by the previews for “Django Unchained” and by the second hour of the movie I was bored.  The first half establishes the how and why and has some nice moments for Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx but as it prodded on I kept looking at my watch.  I liked “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.”  I even liked “Kill Bill” because the ladies got to exact revenge and chop up people, but I’m over the revenge stories, Quentin.  Can we try something else?  Can we also try to be a little less masturbatory with the monologues and unnecessary scenes?  I’m so glad you can craft a screenplay and an interesting scene but they’re not needed.

“Swept Away” is not an Oscar contender but it arrived via Netflix.  I knew of its existence because of the Guy Ritchie remake starring his then wife Madonna and the son of Giancarlo Giannini, Adriano.  I never saw it.  I did want to see “Swept Away.”  Now I wish that I could unsee it.  There are parts of the movie that are more disturbing than “Django Unchained.”  I sincerely dislike violence against your fellow human being.  Yes I watch it in movies, and even that makes me uncomfortable, but the calculated violence and manipulation in real life brings a lot of existential and religious questions to mind.

I did not enjoy watching Giancarlo Giannini’s character, the stereotypical Silician Gennarino,  verbally, mentally and physically abuse the haughty, rich Italian from the North, Raffaella, played by Mariangela Melato (Just a note, she recently died).  I understand why the Director Lina Wertmueller created the characters but I did not like them.  I’m not a fan of violence against women.  And if Raffaella has Stockholm Syndrome, well I sure hope she was faking it for survival.

The scenery was lovely and it made me want to jump on a boat and sail around the Mediterranean but the strange games played between rich and poor, man and woman do nothing for me.

Macari Vineyards, tasty and sustainable

For her husband’s birthday my friend organized a visit to 3 wineries in Long Island this past Sunday.  It was an ideal, cloud free 70 degree day, and we were all excited.  We visited Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, Macari Vineyards and Vineyard 48. Each one had unique elements but in terms of best tasting wines I vote for Macari!

Baiting Hollow was a our first stop.  There was a main tasting house with a back porch and yard with picnic tables.  The fun feature here was the horse rescue.  Since 2007 they’ve rescued former race horses and the like.  You can see the stables and visit the horses.

Rescued horse at Baiting Hollow

Baiting Hollow had a white dessert wine we all wanted to taste, Cheval Bleu, but unfortunately they were out of it.  The riesling was probably the best one out of the 3 I tasted: chardonnay, riesling and a blend of estate merlot and cabernet franc, Red Velvet.  There were at least 10 different wines to try and you could also do some shopping for wine related decor.

Decor from Baiting Hollow

We hopped on the bus and were off to Macari Vineyards.  The name seemed so familiar and I realized that I’ve had their wine at Momofuku Noodle or Ssam Bar.  The main building reminded me of wineries in Santa Barbara or Napa, large inside with high ceilings and lots of light.  They had a few long counters where you could stand and taste but since we were a group of 10 we were led into a room on the side with our own counter, very nice!  We had a flight of 4 wines: Collina Chardonnay, 2009 Chardonnay Estate, 2010 Rose and a 2008 Merlot Estate.  I think there were more available to taste but we had a group package. More