Difficult, Difficult, Lemon Difficult

As many millenials are wont to do, I love the Great British Baking Show (or Great British Bake Off for the UK fans). Every season, every challenge, every pastry fills my heart with joy. Whether it’s the overt positives vibes or the adorable narratives, I was foolish enough to try one of the cutest and most frustrated featured bakes. Enjoy this journey into the Lemon Swiss Roll with me. I sure didn’t.

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Step 1: Over Confidence

Being under the influence of an international sensation like the Great British Baking Show can cause many issues: destroyed kitchens, thousands of calories, broken spirits, and so much more. My folly began like most. I was tricked into the simplicity of this bake by the incredible editing powers of the BBC (or Netflix depending on the season). “It’s just a thin sponge cake…how difficult can it actually be?” The answer: very difficult.

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Step 2: Research and Gather 

Finding a great recipe is time-consuming and often frustrating. How do you know which one will yield the results you’re after? Easy! Pick a random one that has an arbitrary 4.5 Star rating. Are they actual reviews? Who cares! What do the stars mean? Who knows! Do you care? NO! Once you’ve settled on the recipe, screenshot it for reference and start gathering ingredients! Look how excitedly I gathered them for this photo. I was so young, so eager, so naive.

Step 3: Instructions

You should always read through the directions at least once to ensure you have a general understanding of the steps to take. Sometimes, I’m a little over-eager and I forget to think about the larger picture. So I tend to follow a step and forget that I should have prepped for the following one. The next thing you know, I’m stuck mixing eggs for 2 minutes and forgot to zest the lemon I have to immediately add. Mary Berry would not be impressed with my chaotic approach to things.

Step 4: Failure

As you probably guessed, this first attempt would not be without heartache. While trying to follow the recipe, I was afraid I would over bake the roll. So my alternative was to pull it out WAY too soon. The result was a mushy, messy, raw dough disaster. Please enjoy the photo of this massive fail.

Step 5: Cry.

Image result for mary berry memesStep 6: Try Again.

Like many GBBS contestants, I stared at the oven, I failed miserably, I cried, and I needed to pick myself up again. The second attempt was better.

I trusted my instincts more and learned a few things along the way. I found it much easier to roll with parchment paper dusted in sugar instead of a towel. The whipped cream and lemon curd filling was very easy to do. Every inch of my kitchen was covered in powdered sugar.

Image result for this is how we get ants archerStep 7: Results

All in all, I’m happy I did it. It was challenging and the result wouldn’t have gotten me a Paul Hollywood handshake. But, it was pretty delicious! I’ll continue to bake and next time I’ll work my way up to the more complicated bakes. I just hope they don’t involve powdered sugar.

Review: ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Features Frights and Vintage Horror

As Netflix continues to grow and expand, they’ve reached to interesting areas to collect more content. One of the wiser moves they’ve made in recent years is to acquire new adaptations of older properties. That’s the camp where the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will fall. While the show will carry some nostalgia for audiences under 35, the real triumph comes from the strong adaptation of the creepy comic book. Instead of a sitcom, this show brings to life the world of witches, demons, and warlocks in a gripping and sometimes comedic fashion. The result is a wholly unique, yet familiar show that should result in Netflix’s latest blockbuster series.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Poster

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina picks up days before Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) turns 16. Sabrina is the daughter of two worlds. Her father was the High Priest of the Church of Night, while her mother was a mortal being. After their deaths, she has lived with her aunts in the old Spellman house. Her Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis) are prepping her for her dark baptism, where she will sign her name in the book of the beast.

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Her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) tries to assuage her fears of becoming a full witch. Yet Sabrina does not want to leave her friends at Baxter High, including her beau Harvey (Ross Lynch), and BFFs Susie (Lachlan Watson) and Rosalind (Jaz Sinclair). She receives equal pressure from the students of the Academy of the Unseen Arts. Other witches, including Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) and the mysterious Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez) all push her towards the darkness. Which will Sabrina choose? A life with her friends or near immortality as a witch?

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The show sparkles to life with an extra fire that other shows don’t seem to have. Shipka showcases that she has far more talent than Mad Men would let her display. Here, she’s quick to take over the proceedings, refusing to be silenced by adults or teachers so she can pursue her own path. She’s undeniably the centerpiece of the show, and will likely receive praise in the vein of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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While Shipka’s performance will drive the series, Otto and Davis are both astounding as her aunts. Davis, a veteran of the British version of The Officesupplies the show with a strong comedic backbone. Otto comes off as an ice queen at times. She’s above the fray and a very powerful being. Her performance is reminiscent of Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada. Both fully commit to their roles, and are amazingly enjoyable to watch.

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The rest of the cast is fun and exciting, each giving their own important levels to the show. Each of the women involved in the story push boundaries in their personal lives. A nice theme for the show would be “Females are Strong as Hell” if another Netflix show hadn’t already taken it. The cast crystalizes when interacting with Sabrina, but there are B, C and D plots that all help build the world. Each character feels rich and layered, helping to craft a lived-in world.

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The actual aesthetics of the world of Greendale are exciting to bring to life.  Like Riverdalethe vintage pop design of the town and schools makes the show very pretty to look at. There are little easter eggs present throughout, especially in Chilling Adventures. This show is in love with old horror films, with televisions placed throughout the show consistently showing black and white classics. With age appropriate music and letterman jackets abound, the show strikes gold. Harkening back to the 1950s and 1960s of the comics, Chilling Adventures makes the most of its production budget.

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The creature design and horror are also very strong when needed. While some audiences will be disappointed that Salem the Cat will not wisecrack his way through the series, Salem still plays a big role, specifically when it comes to things that go bump in the night. The creatures that Sabrina, her family, and friends encounter are very creepy. It’s more than just goblins and ghouls. There are some creatures that make appearance that would easily fit into the world of Evil DeadThe Exorcist or Buffy. This helps craft legitimately fun horror, making it creepy but not too scary for those who shy away from the genre.

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Overall, this feels like a huge genre win for Netflix. The show is going to appeal to many, has a built-in wokeness, and actually works on a number of levels. The cast is huge, but each does an excellent job in their roles. Shipka is very good and should quickly become a folk heroine in the vein of Buffy. With a well paced, excellently built show, Chilling Adventures will become one of the biggest shows on Netflix yet.

GRADE: (★★)

What do you think of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Check out other horror film and television coverage here! 

2008 in Review: ‘Burn After Reading’

Growing up I wasn’t that big into film and was way more into television and video games. Sure I loved animated, but a mixture of being poor and not having a car meant that going to the movies wasn’t happening all that often. Which is why the year 2008 was such a formative year for me. 2008 wasn’t just a stellar year in film, I had just turned 18, moved out of my mom’s house, and started living the college life in Tallahassee. Florida State was an excellent school for nurturing my love of film seeing as they have one of the best film schools in the country (shout out to Moonlight) but also they had a theater on campus that students could watch movies for free. Every week my friends and I would walk from our dorms to the single screen cinema and watch new releases and classics alike. The film that stands out the most to me from that year was the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading.

Burn After Reading is a dark comedy revolving around a cast of characters dropped in the middle of high treason and espionage. The catch is that every step of the way there is a misunderstanding (mostly caused by idiocy) driving the plot forward. This leads to a truly comedic thriller with an all-star cast. Burn After Reading is one of the more…controversial Coen Brother films in that it had audiences heavily split. Lovers of their dark comedies (ala Fargo) found something familiar with this film, while the general audience was a lot less receptive to the incredibly dark film. The other issue is that most of the comedy is derived from the absurdity of the darkness in combination of the incompetence.

The film follows two gym workers (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) who discover a CD with what appears to be top secret CIA documents. Instead they are a former CIA analyst’s (John Malkovich) memoirs. Pitt and McDormand’s characters seek to blackmail Malkovich and thus begins this wild ride. Rounding out the cast we have Tilda Swinton as Malkovich’s estranged wife, and George Clooney as a womanizing federal marshal who is as horny as he is paranoid which makes for a very interesting character. Also J.K. Simmons plays the head of the CIA who throughout the film gets the plot synopsis read to him out of context and his reactions are oh so great.

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The Moment I Fell in Love With “Burn After Reading”

The first 30 or so minutes of the movie are pure build up. We get to meet the cast, and watch as the each misunderstanding leads to larger and larger consequences. The first time it comes to a head is when they gym duo decide to meet with Malkovich to try and get their money. Watching a hapless Brad Pitt, bike up to his car in a suit, and then try to extort $50,000 from John fucking Malkovich may be one of the funniest scenes in 2008. I still say “you think that’s a Schwinn” all the time (I’m pretty sure no one else does).

Most Rewatchable Moment

The most rewatchable moment has to be any of the scenes with J.K. Simmons. His complete and under disbelief as to what in god’s name has been going on mirrors our own. It makes for a good clip you can watch literally any time.

Best Moment in the Film
This is an easy answer for me because this is the moment the film goes deep into the DARK of this dark comedy. Brad Pitt’s character is snooping around Malkovich’s house and George Clooney stops by hoping to get his dick wet. Clooney discovers Pitt hiding in a closet and shoots him in straight in his smiling face. Up until this moment the stakes have been tempered by the fact that they were all idiots so what’s the worst that can happen. Clooney’s freak-out post murder is also incredible, finding a strange man in a suit, hiding in a closet with no I.D. ratchets Clooney’s mania to 11 as he is now convinced in a large government conspiracy to get him.

Why You Should Watch It Again (or for the first time)

You should come back to this film to celebrate the dark comedy genre. Great dark comedies are few and far between and when it works it can be one of the most satisfying experiences. If you haven’t seen this film you should give it a shot for its all-star cast and truly wild ride. For me personally, it will forever be remembered as a jumping off point for discovering the Coen Brothers, dark comedies, and my love of film.


Also Dildo Chair

Check out our other retrospectives on 2008 here