Hall Pass: Reviewed

For the second time within a month, I tricked myself into going to a movie that I thought would be good, only to have my hopes dashed in Theater #1 at the River Cinema 15.  First it was the dreadful “Just Go With It.”   This weekend the offender was the Farrelly brothers’ latest offering, “Hall Pass.”  I don’t know what happened to the Farrelly brothers, but they’ve lost their MoJo.  And their wit.  And their senses of humor.

“Hall Pass” is about a couple of 40-something buddies who are given a “week off” from marriage by their wives.  Hilarity ensues For 90 minutes I chuckled a few times, shook my head in mild disgust a few times, but mostly wondered why two people would sit directly behind me in an otherwise empty theater.  Why do people do that?  I actually contemplated getting up and moving to the furthest corner but decided that was too aggressive.

Back to the movie.  It tries too hard and comes up short.  There’s a ton of physical humor in the movie, but very little of the witty humor we used to expect from the Farrelly brothers.  What should have been a very funny premise fell short.

Thankfully, my weekend movie-viewing wasn’t a total waste.  I finally got around to watching “The Hurt Locker.”  Thanks to Jimmy From Accounting for continually asking me for the last year, “Have you watched The Hurt Locker yet?”  That, my friends, is a well-made movie with incredible attention to detail. If it’s possible to watch a film and not breathe for two hours I think I did it.  The words gripping and tense come to mind.  And the idea of harm is around every corner in this war-based movie.  A must see.

Hall Pass:

River Cinema 15

Popcorn and a 1/2 Red Gatorade and 1/2 Sprite beverage.

Hall Pass:  2 stars out of 5.

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Friday Photo

Northern Saw-whet Owl

I’m not sure if there are any “Cutest Owl” contests out there, but if there were, this little guy would win Best In Show.  This Northern Saw-whet Owl currently lives in Warren, Mn.  The photo was submitted by my friend, Lonnie, who in his spare time is a high-ranking bank official and a world-class birder.  This particular type of owl weighs in at about 2.8 ounces, making it one of the smallest owls in North America (thank you Wikipedia).  I always think that owls have the coolest hair.

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Random Thursday

*Five Guys Burgers and Fries has better peanuts than Texas Roadhouse.

*Weird, but I haven’t heard anything lately about the alleged “Olive Garden” coming to Grand Forks.

*From the long overdue department:  Thank you to TV’s Charley Johnson for loaning me a tie for the State of the Union address last month in Washington.  And thanks for tying it for me.

Lucky Tie (L), Charley (R)

*I wonder if “Hall Pass” will be as funny as it appears to be.  That’s on my weekend movie list.

*Reggie Tales shout out to Liz in Stillwater.

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Grand Forks.

It’s been a week since Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened in Grand Forks, and if my visit there yesterday is any indication, I would guess that a couple thousand people go through there in a day.  It’s bedlam.  This town really, really likes new places.

In line.

When you walk in the door and you’re the 16th and 17th person in line like TV’s David Schwab and I were yesterday, you contemplate leaving.  Sometimes television folk like us don’t like “waiting.”  Somehow, at 11:30 in the morning, the entire place was full.  But the line moved rather quickly.  It also helped that they had peanuts to eat while waiting.  I really hope that it was ok that I threw the shells on the floor.

I ordered a regular cheeseburger, which is two meat patties.  A regular hamburger is also two patties.  If you don’t want two patties, you needed to order the “small.”  I also got the fries.

People working.

With approximately 18 people working there, it didn’t take too long to get our food.  Now, it was pretty good.  I’m more of a plain cheeseburger kind of guy, but if you wanted to, you could get them with pickles, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, steak sauce, and jalapenos.  I was pleased with my cheeseburger.  The fries are interesting.  They are the big, limp kind.  And you get enough to feed a family of four.  It’s insane how many fries you get.  And while they aren’t my favorite kind of fries, I realize I might be in the minority on that.  Because most people I’ve talked to go on and on and on about the fries at FGBAF.

All in all, the place is bright and lively.  And the chaos is mostly controlled.  The food was very fresh tasting and they obviously have a nice business plan.  I’m not quite sure how they make the claim about being “so affordable.”  For a regular cheeseburger, fries, and a drink, your price tag is pretty close to $10.  That’s too much for a combo meal.  Especially at a fast-food place.  But where fast-food burger joints are concerned, FGBAF is above average in quality.  I shall return, undeterred, but I won’t go there every day.

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Oprah's Studio in Chicago

Last week, two of my friends were front and center for a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago.  With full disclosure in mind, these two friends are not “Oprah Worshipers.”  They do not kneel in front of their television waiting for further instructions from Oprah.  And while I’m quite certain they both read books, I think they actually pick them out all by themselves!  Can you imagine?  Someone reading a book that Oprah didn’t tell them to?  Crazy, I know.

Harpo Studios in Chicago

But I digress.  In what is Winfrey’s last year of her talk show, one of my friends won what can only be described as the “Oprah Lottery.”  Apparently, it is quite difficult to get tickets to a taping.  People have tried for years without success.  So it came as quite a shock when they were alerted that they had secured a couple of seats.  And they were especially excited when they got to Oprah’s studio to find they had been placed front and center in row one.

Both claimed that the excitement of being in Oprah’s presents presence was quite remarkable.  As an added bonus, they were on hand for a heart-to-heart interview with David Arquette.  He’s the actor that was married to Courtney Cox, and while he is somewhat known for his role in the “Scream” movies, he’s probably better known as being a bad boy.

I know that both friends went there with idea of just checking it out for the spectacle that it is, but I’m concerned that they might have been unknowingly converted.

I guess I will have to cross reference their reading material with Oprah’s Book Club suggestions.

Oprah Winfrey's Studio

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The Town: Reviewed. Finally.

I finally got around to watching “The Town” starring Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm.  Hamm (of Mad Men fame) plays an FBI agent trying to track down Affleck and his gang of bank robbers in a very, very entertaining movie based on the gritty neighborhood of Charlestown near Boston.  Affleck directed the movie and if there is anything he knows well it’s all things Boston-related.  You get a very good feel of the closeness of the community, and the “way things are.”  I think it’s his best work since, well, “Good Will Hunting.”  And that was a long time ago.

If I had known this movie was going to be this good, I would have made a much better effort to see it in a more timely fashion.  As it were, I rented it for $1 at Hugo’s from one of those machines that looks like a Red Box but isn’t.  In fact, there is a crudely-made sign on it that reads, “This is not a Red Box.”

It seems as if the majority of the movie was shot in or near Boston, which is very cool.  Especially the scenes at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.  Not to be confused with Red Box.

My house.  42-Inch Panasonic.

No treats.

Review:  4 out of 5 stars.

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Friday Photo

Jerry Sloan quits coaching, UND baseball fan has nice seats

I found this pretty interesting.  Interesting enough that I took a picture of my TV screen.  I always keep my camera at my side in case my dog kids do something funny.  Last Thursday, Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz announced he was quitting as their coach.  So most of Friday, ESPN ran the story with the obligatory file video which accompanies these kinds of reports.  In the photo above, a young man sitting in the first row behind the Jazz bench is wearing a North Dakota Baseball shirt.  The blonde girl sitting next to him is drinking Diet Mountain Dew, which is my second favorite soda after Diet Coke.  Anyway, in the 24 hours that followed Sloan’s announcement, this guy wearing the North Dakota Baseball shirt was on ESPN about 700 times.  But you never got to see his face.

I checked with the best college baseball coach in the nation, UND’s Jeff Dodson, to see if he could tell me who it was.  He couldn’t figure it out either.

Maybe it’s a mystery.  Maybe it’s not.  Is he a UND baseball player?  A fan?  I think someone out there knows something.  I just wonder how he got such awesome seats.  Unless they were playing the Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis.

In which case, I fully understand how such good seats would be available.

Special thanks to Red Sox Daughter for bringing this to my attention.

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Random Thursday

*Why did the name of some of the Girl Scout Cookies change?

*Why do Girl Scout Cookies taste so good?

*Even though Dale Jr. crashed in practice yesterday for the Daytona 500, I still think he can win starting in the back.

*Speaking of the 500, that seems like a Bucket List kind of thing.  I’d like to go down there and take in that experience.

*I’ve never watched an episode of “Two and a Half Men.”

*Watch for a movie coming out soon called “Cedar Rapids.”  It has John C. Reilly and Ed Helms in it.  Helms is “Andy” from “The Office” and he also appeared in “The Hangover.”

*The four greatest words:  Pitchers and catchers reporting.

*Reggie Tales shout out to Scott at the Lake Calhoun Beach Club.

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Westminster Dog Show

Fancy Minneapolis Dog Wins Best In Show

A Scottish Deerhound that goes by the name of Hickory won the Best In Show last night at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City.  In what many observers are calling a surprise win, Hickory walked away with the top dog honors and also won a shiny, silver bowl and a ginormous purple and yellow ribbon.  Way to go, Hickory.

I bet Hickory has never growled at the mailman, begged for popcorn or toast, or made a dog groomer cry.

And one more interesting side-note concerning the Westminster Dog Show:  49 of the 50 states were represented in the show.  Guess which state didn’t have a dog?  Wait for it…yep, North Dakota.  If we needed a contestant, I would have been glad to prance around with my Shih-Tzu.

Ps…a very underrated movie is “Best In Show.”  Check it out.  One of the funnier movies ever.

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Just Go With It: No

I fully realized I was going to see an Adam Sandler movie when I walked into the theater.  I hadn’t been tricked or forced there at gun-point.  I went there freely within an open mind.  When I left, I wanted to shout at the screen, “Mr. Sandler, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”  Astute movie viewers will recognize that as a line from a decent Sandler movie, “Billy Madison.”

“Just Go With It” is not a decent Sandler movie.  In fact, it’s pretty bad.  Yes, I realize that it was #1 at the box office this weekend.  Apparently I wasn’t alone in buying into the belief that this movie could actually be good.  And for about a half-hour, the movie wasn’t too bad.  Then the wheels fell off.  And the bumpers, doors and drive shaft.  30 minutes was how long it took for Sandler to break character and start being Adam Sandler again.  During other points of the film, it had the distinct feeling that they were writing the script as they were filming.  To say that the plot had holes in it would be the equivalent of saying the Titantic had holes in it.

Usually, a Sandler movie can be so dumb that it actually ends up being funny.  They weren’t even able to accomplish that with “Just Go With It.”

River Cinema 15

Popcorn and 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 raspberry iced tea.

Just Go With It:  2 out of 5 stars.

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