The Departed and Other Oscar Heavyweights: Drunken Strawberries

Year Released: 2006
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Verma Famiga, Alec Baldwin
(R, 150 min.)

Academy Awards (2007)
Best Picture
Directing: Martin Scorsese

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair." William Shakespeare

It is awash with blood and gore and a kind of poetic profanity, but somehow this cops and robbers showdown manages to touch upon the vagaries of identity, the complexity of goodness, and the poisonous nectar of evil without missing a beat. Match that with a truly stellar cast that delivers the goods and you’re in for a 2 1/2 hour roller coaster that soars across the screen.

Except for a somewhat unsatisfying ending that tries to made up for any shortcomings by piling on the body bags, The Departed is a visceral examination of good and evil whose casual brutality and profanity do not offend as much as fit the futile lives of those confined to their own private circles of hell. 

Full Review 4 Drums

Enjoy with these delicious Drunken Starwberries

Little Miss Sunshine 2 1/2 Drums

I’m sorry I can’t join the gushing parade of critics who mistake cheap brass for gold in this rather vulgar dysfunctional family road trip. In spite a few genuine moments, and a fine cast that does its darnedest to imbue some depth into the cardboard characters, what we really have is a contrived freak show whose dark comedy seems both artificial and inauthentic.

At any rate, if you are ready for a new set of comic clichés, some tasteless vulgarity, as well as some moments of enlightenment and grace, Little Miss Sunshine will chase the clouds away, for a few hours, at least.

Make up the film's shortcomings with these scrumptious Apple Crepes a la Mode

Dreamgirls 4 Drums

It will dazzle you – the sequins swaying on stage, the darker rhythms behind the curtain, and the sheer spectacle that reaches its white-gloved hand to you like a siren beckoning. It is a ride through the turbulent sixties, a breathless trip from giddy innocence and heady ambition to the high price paid for packaged success.

Yes, Dreamgirls is a delightful excuse to while away an afternoon or evening, an epic tale of talent clashing with ambition, spontaneity sparring with calculation, but like the crossover group itself, just a little short on soul.

Settle down afterward with this satifying soul food: Smothered Pork Chops

Pan’s Labyrinth 4 Drums

This exquisite tapestry weaves the final brutalities of the Spanish Civil War with a fantasy world equally dark and brooding. A morality tale that refuses to moralize, it is presented in that half-light before the dawn, when vivid dreams overlap daylight’s pending reality, and the beasts of ancient lore still hold sway over minds innocent and true.

And permeating this Salvador Dali like vision is the beauty of the Spanish language, particularly as its rich tones emanate from Pan, creating a kind of royal gravitas. But what makes our experience even richer is the light touch that allows each member of the audience to interpret his own reality. Is Pan’s labyrinth a mere psychological escape for Ofelia, an allegorical overlay of fascist Spain, or a magical reality seen only by the young, pure, and chosen?

Or perhaps, it is all three.

Top off your cinematic treat with these authentic Shepherd’s Potatoes

Babel 3 Drums

While its title predisposes us to think that language and culture divide us, a closer look at Babel reveals the most profound chasms are between those linked closest in blood and intimacy. Whether it is the barren deserts of Morocco, the stark skies and steely towers of Tokyo, or the warm night air that wraps itself around a boisterous Tijuana wedding, the struggle to connect continues to plague us.

Babel veers from the well-beaten path to risk some candid glimpses into mankind’s murky soul, its desperation, longing, and sometimes futile attempts to reach out.

Sweeten up your viewing with these melt in your mouth Mexican Wedding Cakes

—Kathy Borich

Film-Loving Foodie

The Departed

Where does a poor South Boston boy take his date? Why to a posh French restaurant, of course, something as far away as possible from his humble roots in respectable poverty.

There Colin Sullivan impresses the attractive police psychiatrist with his knowledge of an obscure Sigmund Freud observation about his countrymen: ”The Irish are the only people impervious to psychoanalysis.” 

Perhaps this should have stood as a warning to a more insightful shrink, but Madoyn wallows in Colin’s charm just as the strawberries do in the red wine of this wonderful French dessert.

Or, if you prefer, try this other delicious sweet from France: Bittersweet Chocolate Madeleines

Drunken Strawberries

  • 4 Cups Fresh, Ripe Strawberries 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sugar 
  • Fruity Young Pinot Noir or Beaujolais 
  • *Crème Fraiche: 
  • 2/3 cup Cool Whip, 1/3 cup Sour Cream 

Wash and trim 4 cups strawberries. Cut into quarters. Sprinkle with sugar and toss. Serve in goblets with just enough wine to cover. Dollop with crème fraiche.

Recipe Source: Appetite for Murder: A Mystery Lover’s Cookbook