Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coffy Vs. Foxy Vs. Sheba Vs. Friday Vs. Jackie

A Pointless List dedicated to one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Pamela Suzette Grier.

Top Five Pam Grier Movie Roles

1. Sheba Shayne

Sheba, Baby is probably one of my least favorite Pam Grier movie. It's got a workable storyline and the locales are nice and gritty but she just doesn't get a lot to work with on this one. Her romance angle with leading man Austin Stoker is just terrible - absolutely no spark and most of the dialogue is just awful. Pam plays Sheba Shayne, a tough Chicago private detective returning to Louisville, KY to protect her father's business.

Money Quote: "You better talk, big man, before I put my number one foot down your number one mouth!"

2. Coffy

Coffy stars Pam as... well, Coffy! That appears to be her full name in this one. She's a nurse driven to vigilante justice after her sister gets hooked on drugs. This one really pushes Pam's inherent sexiness to the limit with some of her costumes and she spends the whole movie alternately enticing men and then blowing their brains out. It also features the infamous scene where she pulls a 9mm out of her afro. Good times!

Money Quote: "It was easy for him because he really didn't believe it was comin', but it ain't gonna be easy for you, because you better believe it's comin'!"

3. Foxy Brown

A lot of people, including myself, get this movie and Coffy mixed up. And for good reason as it turns out that the director, Jack Hill, actually intended it to be a sequel to Coffy. Foxy is a nurse (again) who turns to vigilantism (again) when her boyfriend gets killed by some gangsters under the employ of a creepy brother and sister duo. This one also has a great star turn from Antonio Vargas, better known as Huggy Bear, the informant pimp from the Starsky and Hutch TV series. He plays her no-good brother in this one and has one of movie history's greatest lines: "That's my sister, baby, and she's a whoooole lotta woman!" Indeed.

Money Quote: "You pink-ass corrupt honky judge, take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere send him in because I do need a MAN!"

2. Friday Foster

I just saw this one recently as was blown away by it. What a cast! Pam and Yaphet Kotto have such a great rapport, I wish they had more opportunities to work together. Also, not credited but very noticeable is a young Carl Weathers as one of the bad guys. Pam looks fucking AWESOME in this movie and she plays an ex-model photographer who barely picks up a gun through the whole film! This would be at number 1 if it didn't kind of sputter at the end. Still recommended highly, though.

Money Quote: "You treat a person like a person... and a woman like a woman."

1. Jackie Brown

I'm sure when Quentin Tarantino announced that his next movie after the wildly successful Pulp Fiction would star Pam Grier a lot of people probably rolled their eyes at this bit of "stunt casting". But, damn if he didn't get it right. Pam acts her ass off in this one, outperforming such heavyweights as Robert De Nero and Samuel Jackson. And she does it with such a casual flair that it looks effortless. Her platonic relationship with Robert Forster's bail bondsman brought a tear or two to this jaded old fart. It's a brilliant jewel in a the crown of a fabulous acting career.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Food Product Review - Banquet Homestyle Bakes: Cheesy Ham & Hashbrowns

It's no secret that your's truly loves terrible food. The greasier, the unhealthier, the unappetizier the better. My chili is like a obese, flatulent siren, luring people who should know better into rocks of gastrointestinal distress. And every week when I go do the shoppin', I usually pick up one box of my cruel temptress Betty Crocker's dry-macaroni-and-cheese-powder concoctions otherwise known as "Hamburger Helper". Now I'll admit to dabbling in some of the other Helpers: namely the Tuna variety (the tetrazzini is my favorite) and the Chicken Helper with mixed results, but I usually by the next week I'm crawling back to that sadistic little anthropomorphic white glove's bowel candy. But this week a huge box just above the Helpers caught my eye:

"Homestyle Bakes? What's this? Cheesy Ham and Hash Browns? I like me some hash browns, cheesy or no, but do the really expect me to buy a whole ham just so I can make this? They must really think me a fool, using the promise of hash browns and cheese just to pressure me into buying one of their fancy, expensive hams! Nice try, Banquet! It almost worked! I'll just be putting this back on the shelf, I think I saw a new Oriental-style flav- But what is this?"


Here are the contents freed from their box. One can of "savory" ham and cheese, one bag of something that is, I think, potato-based and a silver bag which is helpfully labeled "Chive Crumb Topping". This bag also lists a couple of ingredients, namely "wheat" and "milk". Now, I'm no smart-healthy-food-knowing-guy but the last time I looked at a food pyramid I'm pretty fucking sure I saw wheat and milk propping up a few of the sections. I'm feeling healthier already!

OK, now that it's been proven that this is some healthy shit right here, let's start, as the directions tell us, by opening the can of "savory" ham and cheese and getting this party started!

Well I can't say I was prepared for the color. That's a pretty unnatural hue for any foodstuff and the ham doesn't look "savory" as much as "cut into little squares and drowned in artificial cheese". But, hey, it's still early. Let's add the hash and gets to brownin'!

Now we're cooking! Keep in mind, I used the range instructions so the "bakes" part of the "Homestyle Bakes" isn't really part of this review. One of these days I will pony-up for a casserole dish, but for tonight I'm gonna cook this like some Helper which, strangely enough, is exactly how it's printed on the back of the box. Here is the finished product:

So even with the generous application of wholesome wheat and milk, that crazy neon orange color still shines through. Now, for some folks, this may be a warning. To me, it's a challenge!

The texture is not unappealing. The hash browns softened nicely into something resembling potatoes and the cheese glop thickened a little anyway. So let's have a bite.

Overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. You can barely taste the ham or the potatoes at all through the all-encompassing yellowness of the cheese and yet the cheese itself is not really all that cheesy tasting. However, it did not once trigger my gag reflex and as far as I know my eyesight hasn't suffered, so I'll give it a pass.