80’s-themed entertainment. Food. JULY FAVORITES.

It would be an understatement to say that July is the month that’s gone the fastest in 2016. July sped by. No, actually, it parkour’d by. It sprinted, scaled walls, and jumped rooftops so fast that it got way ahead of me and I lost sight of it.

Now it’s August.

Maybe I spent my free time too absorbed in watching T.V. shows or movies while indulging the less-healthy range of my appetite, but at least I can now share some of those things with you!

Entertainment items 1 and 2 on this list take place in the 80’s, number 3 is an 80’s film remake, and number 4 takes us into the 90’s. Number 5 is in theaters now for your spooktastic viewing pleasure.

Let’s get into it!

 

1). Stranger Things (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-StrangerThings

 

Netflix has done it again. First of all, this series showcases one of the most spectacular come-backs I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and if Winona Ryder doesn’t earn nominations for Emmy and Golden Globe awards for it, then something is wrong with both of those organizations. In fact, we should see Stranger Things as a whole nominated for numerous awards. The series’ excellence stands alone, but I have to also note that its genre (sci-fi thriller/horror/mystery) is a difficult one to pull off, and Stranger Things nails it. You may think of The Whispers or Wayward Pines or Poltergeist, if you’re familiar with any those, but now, the standard has now been set, and soundly. We can’t wait for season two.

 

2). The Americans (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-TheAmericans

 

We’re glad that it took us so long to discover this series, because it’s fun to have four seasons of a well-made show laid out before us and to laugh at cliff-hangers’ attempts to frustrate us as we load up the next episode. The Americans lets us in on some fascinating insights and interesting tricks of Cold War Russian spies in the U.S., whether they’re 100% true to reality or not. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys perform exquisitely. This is just a fun show to watch.

 

3). Ghostbusters 2016 (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Ghostbusters2016

 

I said what I wanted to say about Ghostbusters 2016 in my recent non-review review post. To sum up: Loved it.

 

4). Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story (documentary)

 

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-StopAtNothingTheLanceArmstrongStory

 

Here’s one to add to my list of documentary favorites, and of course, it’s a biographical one (my favorite kind).

I wouldn’t normally recommend a film that enraged me to where I wanted to reach into the screen and grab (Lance) by the neck, but this is a very well-made documentary that is worth watching. In fact, this is a great film to watch if you’re tired of being mad about current events and you wish to direct your anger elsewhere. This film tells the atrocious story of American cyclist Lance Armstrong and his cheating scandal. By the time we were done watching it, I was ashamed to be American.

Most of us are now aware that Lance was doping while “winning” all those cycling races, but we were floored to see the extent of what he did. Unbelievable.

Anyway, good film.

 

5). Lights Out (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-LightsOut

 

Lights Out is a recent theater release. I saw its trailer not too long ago and knew I wanted to see the film on the big screen, but when it came out and my friend (with whom I saw the trailer) reported that it was good, I wasted no time in getting tickets! Callaghan didn’t know what we were going to see, because I wanted to surprise him. My surprise was a success. He knew nothing about the film, and we both enjoyed it. I’m going to write a little non-review review about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

 

Now for the food half of this list!

6). Fortune Yakisoba stir-fry Hot and Spicy.

 

Fortune Yakisoba stir-fry Hot and Spicy

Fortune Yakisoba stir-fry Hot and Spicy

 

I’d been craving hot and spicy ramen, so when I spotted this hot and spicy yakisoba at Safeway, I had to try it. It says “stir-fry” on the package and you can prepare it that way, but I prefer to nuke it. You put it in a bowl with water and dump the seasoning mix on top and stick it in the microwave for four minutes. Then you break up the cooked block of noodles, integrate the noodles with the sauce, and inhale eat it. The package also says “add vegetables,” to which I say, “Bah.” I will eat veggies on the side, but I like noodly pastas unfettered.

 

7). Daiya Delux Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac.

 

Daiya Cheezy Mac

Daiya Cheezy Mac

 

Oh yes, Daiya did. Vegans, we should have known this was coming. All the warning signs were there; Daiya is awesome and it is relentless. Now they’ve brought us macaroni and cheese in a box, like there isn’t already enough vegan junk food around.

But this mac n cheese is gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy- and lactose-free, and it has protein and calcium, so it’s not a box of empty calories… we don’t even have to feel that guilty about eating it!

I’m usually not a fan of gluten-free food products, but honestly, I can’t tell that this mac n cheese is gluten-free… or dairy-free, for that matter. The ready-made sauce is thick, creamy, and rich, and it would make a great queso for nachos. Yum.

We get this from Whole Foods.

 

8). Kashi Go Lean Peanut Hemp Crunch bars.

 

Go Lean Peanut Hemp Crunch bars

Go Lean Peanut Hemp Crunch bars

 

My energy bar discovery of the month came from Go Lean, whose original cereal I sometimes eat as a post-workout meal (for its carb and protein composition). This bar has an interesting, different sort of texture that I like, and I like the way it tastes, too. Not everyone may like it. I like it. I like 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of sugar in a tasty 200-calorie bar. This is well worth trying if you’re looking for a new energy bar! Oh, and it’s gluten-free… and vegan, of course.

 

9). Thomas’ English Muffins Light Multi-Grain.

 

Thomas' English Muffins Light Multi-Grain

Thomas’ English Muffins Light Multi-Grain

 

Because what’s a Favorites list without some kind of bread, right? For me, breads and pastas are life. I change the bread I eat for breakfast every four to six weeks, just because I don’t want to get tired of eating the same thing every morning. I’m currently enjoying these multi-grain English muffins that happen to be “light” (I wasn’t looking for that designation). I have two of them toasted and literally drenched in original Smart Balance every morning. I’m not exaggerating… there’s always a puddle of melted buttery goodness left on the plate when I’m done eating.

We’ve also discovered that these make wonderful breakfast sandwiches with Field Roast apple sage vegan sausage, tomato, and spinach. The possibilities!

 

10). Monster Energy Zero Ultra.

 

Monster Zero Ultra energy drink

Monster Zero Ultra energy drink

 

Meet my guilty pleasure of the month: an energy drink. Not healthy. Not something I’d drink to excess. Like all energy drinks of its ilk, this is a chemical-infused, glorified diet soda. This particular one, Monster Zero Ultra, is actually a glorified Mountain Dew. It’s wonderful. I have maybe three per week on afternoons I work out during breaks from writing. (Superstarch is great, but it’s too expensive to consume every day!)

 

This concludes the list, and let August linger a little longer, please, 2016. The month is starting out with relatives visiting from France, which I believe is how last August began, too. Fun times ahead!

Ghostastic Crazy: Ghostbusters 2016 (Non-review movie review! No spoilers.)

I went to see Ghostbusters 2016 with Callaghan, my partner in all kinds of crime.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Ghostbusters2016

 

We’d both seen the original Ghostbusters  in the 80’s. He loved it. I don’t remember much about it; while I liked it, it didn’t make such an impression on me that I got caught up in the enduring excitement over it. So there we were at the theater, an original Ghostbusters fan and an original Ghostbusters mildly interested viewer, going in to see 2016’s version.

We found Ghostbusters 2016 to be wondrous. It’s daffy. It’s unapologetic. It’s funny, even hilarious at times. Yes, we laughed, often glancing at each other to find that we were reacting the same way. We also did a lot of leaning in and whispering to each other.

(One of many benefits of those glorious wide, puffy recliner seats in movie theaters is that you can whisper to each other without disturbing others.)

Our whispers mostly went as follows…

Callaghan: Holy sh*t this is funny!

Me: It totally is!

And…

Callaghan: I think this is better than the first one!!

Me: So do I!!

And…

Callaghan: Hell yeah!

Me: This is awesome!

And…

Callaghan: Hahaha Ozzy!!!

Me (at the same time): Ozzy!!

And then…

Callaghan: Is that Sharon? Where is Sharon? That must have been Sharon (Osbourne).

Me: I don’t think that was Sharon.

Callaghan: It kind of looked like Sharon.

And…

Callaghan: I love this!

Me: This is great!

You get the idea.

I don’t know what we were expecting, but we both loved it, and we both said we’d see it again.

We consciously opened our minds before we went in. This was necessary because the movie has generated a brou-ha-ha in the existing Ghostbusters fandom, some kind of kerfuffle that I swear has been the second-most pervasive topic on my FB newsfeed lately, the first being, shall we say, general furor of a political nature.

In fact, the outrage over politics only slightly overshadowed the outrage and scorn over Ghostbusters for a while as people engaged in flame-wars on Ghostbusters-related posts. I don’t know if this is still going on, because I’ve stopped paying attention.

The truth is, I haven’t clicked on any of the articles or blog posts. I just skimmed the titles, snippets, and comments as I scrolled past, because I knew I was going to see the movie, and I didn’t want my head all lit up with the acrimony and disdain flung about on the Internets.

From what I can gather, though, people are mad because the new movie called “Ghostbusters” features female ghostbusters… of all things.

Oh, and they’re mad because Melissa McCarthy is the Grinch who stole Ghostbusters.

And to think that all this time, I’ve been oblivious, blithely unaware that ghost-busting was a male-dominated field in the first place. I guess there are a few remaining men-only jobs, including catching ghosts. As it happens, at least one of the ghostbusters in 2016’s movie does sweat the machismo. She just happens to be a woman. And no, I’m not talking about Melissa McCarthy. I’m talking about Kate McKinnon.

Kate McKinnon’s character, Jillian Holtzmann, is weird, bad-ass, and wildly exaggerated. She’s a caricature. She’s brash, in-your-face, and unpredictable. She reminds me a lot of Lori Petty’s Becca in Tank Girl (1995), another rollicking, campy action/comedy/sci-fi flick (which happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time). Tank Girl isn’t highly rated. Neither is Ghostbusters 2016. But there are cases of lower-rated movies that are fantastic, fun jaunts with cult movie potential, and these two are great examples. Ratings are irrelevant because we’re just there to have a good time. We’re not afraid of no bad reviews.

 

Becca in Tank Girl on the left. Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in Ghostbusters 2016 on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

Becca in Tank Girl on the left. Dr. Jillian Holtzmann in Ghostbusters 2016 on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

 

The entire cast performed well, starting with Kristin Wiig’s character (Dr. Erin Gilbert) getting livid at Melissa McCarthy’s character (Dr. Abby Yates) and subsequently heading over to confront her. The two former best friends end up working together again, but not without the shade of their rift as the invisible third person in their duo. Leslie Jones’ character (Patty Tolan) brings the reality factor, and she does it with comedic aplomb. The dynamics between these four distinct personalities are amusing to watch.

Chris Hemsworth as the dumb blond secretary (Kevin Beckman) is hilarious, too, and also well-cast.

In our opinion, Ghostbusters 2016 is well-written with well-timed dashes of comedy. We loved the cameos and the setting of the digital world we now inhabit (Erin gets mad at Abby because of something she saw online). If the makers utilized CGI in the cheesiest way possible, they pulled it off as an effort that serves the movie well. This movie is supposed to be zany, not realistic.

Let’s be real. This is art, so it’s subjective. Not everyone will like this movie. But to go in already not liking it because the cast is female is unfair. Callaghan pointed out that women (especially as portrayed in movies) tend to be more attuned to the supernatural, which is true, from what I understand… so it makes sense that the ghostbusters are women. If The Conjuring’s paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were to check out the haunted sites in the Ghostbusters movies, it would be Lorraine who’d experience most of the ghostastic crazy, and the craziest of it all, at that.

Callaghan can’t see the reason for the big deal because this new Ghostbusters plot barely resembles that of the first one, he says. As far as he can tell, this new one isn’t even a remake… it’s a different movie altogether. I have to trust him on this since I don’t remember much of the original’s story.

Ghostbusters 2016’s plot nods and winks at the old one more than copies it, and the nods and winks are as funny as hell.

Oh, and I’m a fan of Fall Out Boy’s cover of the theme song, too (featuring Missy Elliott).