Movie Reviews

The Origin of McNuggets

It’s common knowledge that what Americans consider to be Chinese food isn’t authentic Chinese food. It’s the westernized version, which Chinese immigrants invented as a way to earn a living in the late 19th century. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 put a halt on all Chinese immigration when Americans became bitter at them for providing cheap labor, meaning companies chose them over natural born citizens.

According to the documentary ‘The Search for General Tso,’ that’s when existing Chinese Americans went into the food business. When Americans didn’t respond well to traditional Chinese fare, however, they adapted and catered to the American way: fast and fried.

General Tso (sometimes spelled ‘Tsao’) is a sweet and spicy type of chicken dish, usually served with broccoli. This documentary travels to China to find the history behind it. Was there really a General Tso, or is it just a name given to a dish?

Along the way they find a man with a vast collection of Chinese takeout menus, meet owners of different Chinese restaurants across the country, and even discover variations of this popular dish. Perhaps the most interesting piece of information, however, is hearing an elderly man suggest that McDonald’s stole the McNugget from him back in the early 80s.

According to him, representatives from McDonald’s visited his restaurant and asked for the recipe for his bite-sized pieces of fried chicken. He refused when they refused to pay him. A year later, McDonald’s introduced the chicken McNugget. The comparison is uncanny when they’re held side by side in the movie.

The documentary is an overall in depth look at Chinese culture and adapting to the American way of life. They discuss other Chinese takeout favorites like Chop Suey, point out how inexpensive Chinese food is to other Cuisines like French, and show just how hard they work in the kitchen. It’s a must-see for anyone that’s developed a personal relationship with their local Chinese restaurant…like me.

Book Reviews · Movie Reviews · Thoughts

’50 Shades of Grey’ Is Lady Porn…and That’s OK


Ladies like myself read books like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for the same reason men watch adult films: it’s pornography. Men (hopefully) don’t expect to marry a woman that’s an adult film star, and (smart) women don’t say ‘Mom, dad: I’d like you to meet the man who ties me up at night.’

The books, which I admit to reading in the privacy of my home, were so poorly written that most of us wanted to put it down less than 25 pages in. Yet we found ourselves in tears by the end of the third book, worried that Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele couldn’t work things out. E.L. James tapped into our emotions through a poorly written trilogy.

The women I know that are also into the series would never be with a man that was as controlling as Mr. Grey. In fact, in real life he would be a sociopath with a history of domestic violence. (Think Chris Brown.) Yet he doesn’t turn out that way. Simply put: women want that type of passion without any real life consequences.

If you’re not a mature adult that can separate wrong from right, then don’t read the books or see the film. After all, you wouldn’t think of allowing a child to watch a horror film. There are a few scenes that made us hate Mr. Grey, but unlike reality, he comes full circle. Throughout the entire series, we saw that he was a good man with some serious mommy issues.

I have yet to see the movie, but as always it probably won’t live up to the books. (Which isn’t saying much.) The author simply gave the characters enough depth for people like myself-who have also enjoyed works by the Bronte sisters and Tolstoy-enough to keep reading. If you want to talk about false interpretations, how about all of those stories we were fed growing up about Prince Charming sweeping us off of our feet? Unless you’re Mrs. Channing Tatum, that doesn’t happen. (Not to mention it undermines the amount of work that goes into a good relationship.)

I’m sure the BDSM lifestyle is thriving, but don’t worry about women being more degraded than they’ve already been. Just take a look at all of the leading female stars with ample cleavage in major films over the past century. Sex sells, period. Now it’s our turn to buy into it.

Movie Reviews

Campy Christmas Curiosities


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Night Before Christmas, and the California Raisins Christmas Special. When most people think of holiday movies, those are just a few examples of what probably comes to mind. Campy Christmas Curiosities seeks to erase those from your memory with a creepy montage of retro holiday movies that once seen, can never be erased from your memory.

Most of the short films are in black and white. Like all holiday movies, they set out to teach disturbing lessons to little boys and girls. For example, there’s one of a Santa Claus telling two children about how even monkeys get presents from him every year if they’re good. In between awkward glances from the kids staring up at a man who would probably be in an online registry today, it shoots to monkeys being dressed up, shaved by a barber, and even playing in a giant pool.

Apparently kids viewed monkeys as role models in the early nineteenth century.

Another clip on this DVD (which I found in a bin at a gas station) shows kids scurrying off to bed on Christmas Eve, only to be woken up shortly after by a creepy Santa Claus sprinkling powder on their heads. (It was probably LSD.) Like most of the other film clips, they sit on the old man’s lap and listen to him talk about how toys are made by underpaid midgets that are forced to work 18-hour days while he sits at his desk and gets diabetes.

By inserting a few vintage home movie clips, Campy Christmas Curiosities reminds adults to keep the spirit alive during the holiday season. We’re shown an unknown family enjoying a large meal, followed by grandma giving grandpa a strip tease as the grandkids open their presents. I found it hard to get into the holiday spirit while watching someone’s drunk relatives circa 1960 grinding up on each other, but that’s just me.

So if you have a twisted sense of humor, 70 minutes of free time, some liquor, and-if it’s legal where you live-some greenery, you should absolutely watch this collection of disturbing Christmas movies…if only to say you survived.