Well, okay.  Since you asked…


My sister in Montreal wanted to do something special for my birthday so, after consulting with Akemi, she made reservations for us at one of my favorite Vancouver restaurants: Minami.  In addition to booking  the table, she also sent me a check for way more than the cost of the dinner (forwarding Akemi a to-do list that included: 1) macarons from Soirette, 2) cream puffs and chocolate from Beta 5, 3) chocolate zeppole at Giovane Cafe & Bakery, and 4) gelato at Bella Gelateria).  Oh, and one more thing.  She informed the restaurant of the special occasion.  “Is someone celebrating their birthday?”asked the hostess who checked us in.  I confirmed this, inwardly cringing at the prospect of being the target of a well-intentioned staff rendition of Happy Birthday (or the legal, non-copyright infringing equivalent).  Then, when we were seated, our waitress asked: “Is it your birthday?”. I re-confirmed – and yet again when another waitress inquired later.

We enjoyed an excellent meal but, throughout, I couldn’t help but wonder what the restaurant had in store for me on my special day.  After all, Akemi and I were semi-regulars of both Minami and its original sister location, Miku.  And Andria had made a point of mentioning the special occasion.  So what would it be?  A complimentary drink?  A free dessert?  A Happy Birthday chorus?  As it turned out it turned out be…

…wait for it…

Absolutely nothing!

Look, I wasn’t expecting anything going in, but they were the ones who made note of the occasion – not once or twice but three times.  And after we dropped $200+ on sake and sushi, it surely wouldn’t have killed them to offer us one of their over-wrought desserts on the house.


This one had been sitting on my DVR rotation for months and we finally sat down to watch it last night because Akemi was in the mood for a comedy – which, as it turned out, this movie was NOT.  I mean, not even close.  Utterly, bafflingly, frustratingly unfunny.  Great performances by Johnny Depp and co.  Great direction by Tim Burton.  Great costumes and visual effects.  But one enormous TURD of a script.  Anyone reading this blog, and I do mean ANYONE with three hours to spare could have done a better job.  Honestly.  At some point, you would think someone would have noticed they were acting/filming/buffing a humorless piece of shit – and yet they went ahead and made this movie anyway.  Hell, even before it went into production, some executive somewhere read the script and said “We’re good to go!”. I like to imagine there’s a special place in Hell for greenlighters of movies like this one, nestled somewhere between the “evil counsellors” and the “sowers of discord”. Seriously, dude.  Please point to a single beat in that shipwreck of a movie that was even slightly amusing.  Just one.

Easily one of the worst films I’ve watched in recent memory.


25 thoughts on “October 19, 2013: I don’t mean to complain but…

  1. Dude, the surprise was NOT getting a surprise!! I think it’s brilliant! 😀

    I love Depp and Burton, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch Dark Shadows because I wanted it to be more like the original. There are some things that just should not be tinkered with.

    I was going to sign that petition, but I couldn’t find verification that the claim is accurate. If anyone has better google skills than me and can find something more on the situation I would appreciate it!


    1. Okay. Have sent a query to the Mayor Price about this and awaiting a response.

  2. OMG!! What’s this about Mayor Betsy Price?? As a Fort Worth resident, occasionally (they just started doing this early this year or late last year) in my water bill is a donation request that support 3 animal fund projects. I always give. Don’t you dare tell me my money for the animals is really going to her little bicycle gang. If every Fort Worth resident gets a request in their water bill for animal charity projects, just think how much money the city is pulling in. I’m looking at my latest receipt right now. Rest assured, in my aging cranky self, I will inquire and complain. I will be calling the mayor’s office to ask about this. I’m going to call one of the news stations too and ask what they know. They love to investigate crap like this. I’ll let you know what they say. Not good timing since I’m already in a really bad mood with some Texas politicians and the federal government in general.

  3. Joe where did the link go? I got so mad before I even read it. Now I want to read all about it.

  4. I just sent an email to Fox 4 News Investigating Team (a local Fort Worth station), asking them about this rumor.

  5. sigh…Andria sure tried to make a super nice event. At least you did enjoy the food and drink and you had great company – Akemi.

    Is this the place you had lychee sake? I’ve tried to find it, but out in the hinterlands of Chicagoland, it’s been one shrug after another.
    But, there are other sakes so it’s ok.

    Remember you are entitled to 2 weeks of birthday – so enjoy each day!!

    1. About two-thirds of the way through the collection. Some great stories and some not to my liking. A Good Man is Hard to Find has always been my favorite. I remember reading it in high school. Next up, Everything That Rises Must Converge.

      Do you like her work?

  6. Joe, you and Akemi could have stood up at the restaurant and sang yourself the Happy Birthday (non-copyrighted version) song. Maybe that would have prompted them to bring out a complimentary dessert.

  7. I have been thinking about the reason we idolize celebrity so much. I am not sure about sports celebs, but I think I have figured out the reason that actors are so high on the list – it’s all because they have an awesome PR team when it comes to everything they do in film and television. I’ve put together a short list entitled:

    The things I have learned from movies and television:
    1. During a disaster, the most well known celebrity will take charge.
    2. If you want to survive during a natural disaster, find the most famous celebrity and stay close to them. They always come out on top. However, there is no guarantee you will, even if you stay close.
    3. Whomever is most often the lead in films and television will know the answer to solve whatever crisis is looming.
    4. When choosing between two possible answers, always go with the one the star has come up with.
    5. If the solution to the problem to save everybody involves fixing some high tech equipment, the star will know how to do it – give the equipment to the star.
    6. Never ever wear red clothing during a disaster. If you are wearing something red, exchange the clothing with the person most likely to turn out to be the bad guy.

  8. Very nice of Sis to give you such a great gift. How was the meal overall, even if it was free dessert free?

    Dark Shadows sounds like it would have been a good candidate for the Cookie Monster reviews! No surprise that the writing was crap – that seems to be the downfall of most movies.

    What story/link are you guys talking about? *confused*

  9. Since I live in Fort Worth, I will see what I can do about this issue. I will email Mayor Price as well as my Councilman.

  10. Also, last time I reached out to the Mayor, I received a response from her office within an hour. My Councilman never did respond.

  11. I think Minamis staff go through a big risk sincee you take the ionizing radiations the other day, any alteration can end a big green joey destroying the building. Thanks Akemi as there with the ta ser. Lol

  12. Yeah, Dark Shadows was confusing at best. Could have been campy and hilarious, but it just wasn’t anything. And then end, what? Where did that come from?

  13. I’m glad I’m not alone in despising Dark Shadows. I adored the original show when I was a kid and had very high hopes for this movie, all of which were dashed like a dinghy against the rocks during a hurricane. I didn’t just want my money back from that film, I wanted the moments of my life I’d wasted…

  14. That was strange the restaurant didn’t acknowledge your birthday in some way. I bet it just slipped through the cracks. No harm done and it sounded like a great meal. Your sister rocks!

    Fondy is a class act for sending such great gifts too. It speaks highly of both of you really. I’m impressed.

    We watched Dark Shadows and wasn’t a big fan either. It may sound silly but I really like animation films. Films like, Hotel Transylvania, The Incredibles and Toy Story. The writers slip lots of humor for adults in those kid cartoons. If Akemi wants a fun movie, maybe she could try one of those next time.

    I hope your back is better and you have a great birthday weekend!

    PBmom: So sorry about the dog passing away! We get so attached to those sweet little souls.

  15. @And after we dropped $200+ on sake and sushi

    A bit expensive that. And I agree.

    Anyway speaking of movies, Escape Plan is pretty decent, Stallone movies seem to have the action down perfectly lately, he may be getting on a bit in age but it clearly hasn’t slowed him down.

    The cast is pretty interesting too, 50 cent, Vinnie Jones, Jim Caviezel(From Person of Interest), Schwarzenegger, Sam Neill. It really works.

  16. re:Dark Shadows

    Perfect write up! The whole premise of this could have been fun (although I’m pretty much done with vampire stories). Instead, this was a plodding, un-funny, and formulaic film (e.g. – who didn’t expect that Barnabas would turn Victoria into a vampire when she jumped off the cliff).

    I’m waiting for Hollywood to produce something fun and original that’s not just vampire-retreads.

    On Minami:

    What, no birthday card?

    I took Barb out for our 19th anniversary last night to the Melting Pot in Schaumburg. We had our first date in a Melting Pot in Maryland (the same restaurant I proposed to her in), and we tend to re-visit them occasionally over the years when we celebrate our anniversary. I had the restaurant provide roses for the table and they took that a step further and also provided an anniversary card signed by our wait-staff, which was a nice touch. No discounts on dessert though 😉

  17. Oh and I just watched a trailer for the Almost Human TV show from Fox. It looks like it has a lot of similarities with Asimov’s Caves of Steel.

    Since I first commented over a year ago that Caves of Steel might make a good TV show, maybe someone from Fox was reading your blog? Although, I think it’s more likely that someone at Fox was already thinking along those lines due to the I, Robot film with Will Smith.

  18. I haven’t seen Dark Shadows, but if you can’t figure out how a bad script gets made, the rest of us have no chance of explaining it! I wonder how the mood was on set as everyone slogged through the lame jokes. Or is there a collective denial response when people are making a horrible movie, sort of a self defense mechanism?

  19. After watching Dark Shadows in the theater with my Tuesday night movie crew, I turned to my friends and said, “what the hell was that” The previews made it look like a dark comedy but all it turned out to be a was soul suck of a disappointment. I pretty much kept waiting for the movie to start, and then it was over. It is one of the few times I have ever wanted a negative rating systems for movies. So I feel your pain at having to watch that movie. Sorry about that. Although it could be worse, you could have watched Cold Light of Day. There is still the fire of hatred in my heart for this movie. One of only two times I would have walked out of a movie before I hit the 1/2 way point. Unfortunately when I turned to my friend to ask what she thought of the movie, she was really enjoying it. So I sat through the rest of hit just hoping a meteor would hit the planet and destroy everyone.

  20. The funniest thing I’ve seen recently is Lifetime movies on Hulu, they are spectacularly bad and so much fun. My Name is Sarah stars Jennifer Beals as a lady who pretends to be a lush so she can join Peter Outerbridge’s alcoholics anonymous group and date him.

    And there is one with Estella Warren where her house gets broken into, but she doesn’t call the cops, and then her husband is attacked, but instead of calling an ambulance she cradles him instead, then is shocked when he dies on her. And when she moves to the country she continues to not call the cops when she’s threatened by pill popping mountain folk, has her house broken into by coked up teens and her home ransacked by hopped up hillbillies. And she befriends a dog, which summarily gets kicked by a pill popping teen bumpkin.

  21. Well, since the local TV station did not bother to respond to my email inquiry about Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and I haven’t seen a peep about this on the news, I’d say it is just a joke or baseless rumor. They probably think I’m a nut case. (They’re right! 😯 )

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