How do you know a movie you are watching is going to be good? Favorite actor? Good reviews? Based on a book you liked? Well for me,there is a litmus test that is tried and true. Any movie that starts with the sound of a typewriter as courier font populates the screen telling me something like “16:00 hours somewhere in the Indian Ocean” will be a movie I like. It may be cliché but the typewriter intro has never let me down and I know when I see it that if all else fails this movie will probably have espionage, a car chase, and at least 3 explosions. So basically, at bare minimum, not a waste of 2 hours. I am not saying that all good movies start with the sound of a typewriter, I am saying that any movie that starts with the sound of a typewriter will be a solid investment. In that same vein, a movie that starts with a montage set to some pop song where you see a person only from the neck down walking in and out of different shops and carrying different bags will probably be something you should just go ahead and stop now and use the next two hours evaluating your decision-making abilities. To be completely honest, I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy and the great movies that use Christmas as a backdrop are one of my favorite parts of this time of year. What is your favorite Holiday movie? (what a cheap way to solicit your comments.)
This past weekend I dined for lunch at a place called the Cajun Cafe. I ordered “Cajun Chicken” and was then asked if I would like fried rice or Lo mein. What the heck? You now get one guess on the type of dining establishment I was patronizing. Correct, a mall food-court. I am not certain when every place at the food court turned into Mandarin Express but I can tell you why. The secret, my friend, lies in one small bite of saucy fried chickeny goodness on a toothpick being thrust into your personal space as you walk by. Who turns down that little guilt free bite of awesome? It rarely stops me dead in my tracks and causes me to drop everything an order a little styrofoam box of it. But that sweet and tangy residue will linger on my palate long enough for me to give your eatery some serious consideration when decision time comes. Inevitably when heaped in a pile into the big section of your to-go container it never has the same wow factor it did when the guy in the silly hat was out in front of the counter peddling his wares to the passer byes. The thing about the free sample is that it always leaves you wanting more (that and toothpicks are awesome dining utensils). One tiny piece of delicious chicken is just enough to peak our interest and not so much that we realize how “meh” it really is. You can try asking for a toothpick and eating your entire meal with it but alas, you cannot capture the magic of a free sample. Maybe it is a trend but for now, the next time you order a turkey sandwich or a gyro wrap in a food court be ready with your decision on adding an egg-roll for a dollar. Cajun Cafe Lo mein? Weak.