Category Archives: Travelogues

Drinking Like A Skywalker

Blue milk first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the first installment in the original trilogy. Luke drinks it during a meal in his home on the moisture farm on Tatooine, no big deal. Not even a hint of blue mustache, unfortunately.

According to Star Wars Fandom, blue milk, also known as Bantha milk, is also used in ice cream, butter, yogurt, and of course in blue milk custard. It is widely avaialbe on Outer Rim planets such as Tatooine, Lothal, and Lah’mu.

Mark Hamill was not a fan of its taste: “Oily and sweet and euch! Triggered your gag reflex. But I said, ‘Look – if they gave me blue milk, you bet I’m going to drink it on camera, because what other chance am I going to get?’ So there’s an indication that I’m an underrated actor – I gulped it and acted like I liked it without vomiting.” Bravo!

Green milk made an appearance in a much later film, The Last Jedi (though it wasn’t the milk that killed him…or was it?). Green milk comes from thala-sirens, which we know because we literally see him milking one’s teat and drinking it down thirstily on the spot. The good news is it must have tasted slightly better this time around; according to Hamill, the green milk was coconut milk that was colour graded in post production.

You may have heard that Disney World (and Disney Land) have very recently opened up Star Wars wings in their theme parks called Galaxy’s Edge inside which there just happens to be a milk bar, serving both blue and green milk, and you know the first thought through my head was “I’m making Sean drink that!” If you’re reading this around the time it was posted, now would be a good time to head over to our Twitter feed (@AssholeMovies) to see this thing go down live.

Actually, there’s little to fear from Disney’s blue milk, other than the price. Neither comes from any earthly animal, but instead have somehow been extracted from the tiny tits of coconuts and rice. Blue milk tastes of dragonfruit, pineapple, watermelon, and lime while green milk tastes like orange, passionfruit, orange blossom, and grapefruit and they’re served frozen, sorta like a milkshake.

If milk doesn’t quite do it for you, you can bypass the milk bar and head straight for Oga’s Cantina, much like the spot where we first met Han Solo. As you might have guessed, Oga’s is run by Oga Garra, a Blutopian. The Cantina is found in Black Spire Outpost on planet Batuu near Smuggler’s Alley which is all recreated on Disney property for fans to enjoy. Pilot droid RX-24 is the cantina’s DJ and he’ll be spinning tunes for Disney guests as they order from a weird selection of drinks like the Fuzzy Tauntaun, the Jedi Mind Trick, and of course, the Blurrgfire for which the establishment is known.

Cheers!

Update: Watch Sean build a custom droid and drink along with us as we visit Oga’s Cantina:

 

Alice In Wonderland

Alice may have avoided her unfortunate tumble down the rabbit hole had her mother not been such a bore. She’s reading to her in a tree from a book that doesn’t even have any pictures. Practically a textbook. No wonder Alice resoundly rejects it, and the boring, logical world that it espouses. She’s positively ripe for following a charismatic leader, or tardy hare, into a world of nonsense and nonconformity.

Alice, as it turns out, is a self-pitying, impetuous crybaby. She is such a little deviant, in fact, I wonder if 1951 audiences figured her for a commie. Now, as an adult, I can see her for the petulant spoiled brat that she is, but as I kid I was blinded by her pristine blue pinafore and her perfect blonde hair. I writhed with jealousy when my mother cast my youngest sister as Alice in our school’s entry in the Christmas parade one year. The theme was story books and our float was Wonderland-themed. My mother, god bless her overachieving soul, was determined to make a costume for each and every kid in the school who wanted to participate (not quite as terrible as it sounds: we had less than 100 students). There were caterpillars and psychedelic flowers, the white rabbit of course, and a mad hatter. And dozens of people trailed the float as either story books of a different ilk, or members of the Queen of Hearts’ playing card army. The Queen was played by the school’s tiniest, most taciturn teacher – a part she was born to play, but I don’t know how my mother proposed the idea without being threatened with her own beheading. Meanwhile, as the eldest daughter who routinely ‘took one for the team’, I walked in front of the float, just me and my childhood crush carrying our school’s banner. We were dressed as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I don’t remember which one I was, but pictures would prove clarifying as my little propeller hat identified me rather firmly. We lacked a proper costume from the neck down and were compelled to wear matching California Raisin costumes for uniformity, and perhaps just flat-out maximum humiliation. My mother must have WANTED me to hate my sister. She made it fairly impossible not to.

Anyway, if I sound bitter in this review, it’s because I am.

Drinking helps, which is fortunate, because Sean, Matt and I are in Disney World for the forseeable future, where we’ll have ample opportunity to meet Alice, should we want to. She hangs out by the teacups ride which is actually called the Mad Tea Party, and is often accompanied by a Mad Hatter at the very least. When I visited the park with my sister back in February (NOT the one who played Alice), she turned an alarming shade of green as her 4 year old son put an extra spin on our trip. But should we miss her in Magic Kingdom, she also hangs out in Epcot, in the U.K. pavilion, directly across from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in The Tea Caddy Gardens. Mary Poppins can often be seen strolling about with a parasol on her arm in the U.K. portion of the World Showcase. Other countries have their own princesses: Belle in France, Anna and Elsa in Norway, Mulan in China, Jasmine in Morocco. There are no princesses in the Canadian pavilion, just a bunch of poutine and some maple-flavoured popcorn (though I sort of think Duke Caboom should hang out there, revving his motorcycle).

The World Showcase is fun in many ways, not least of all because you can literally drink your way around it, with each country providing many samples of their finest hooch. There are margaritas in Mexico and prosecco in Italy and Oktoberfest beers in Germany. Because I’m ambitious, and mean, I intend to subject Sean to this booze tour, so I’ll take the opportunity to suggest you visit our Twitter feed at @AssholeMovies because there are 11 countries and countless opportunities to get your drink on, including an alcoholic popsicle stand, and a Frozen-themed blue lemonade spiked with moonshine. I predict Sean will need propping up by the time we hit Japan.

Anyway, please pardon my little digression. Back to the movie. I’m still rather astounded at how much they got away with, stuff that feels like pretty blatant drug references to me, counterculture stuff that seems out of place in a Disney movie, especially one with a little girl for a protagonist. I mean, she literally eats mushrooms.

The Cheshire Cat sounds awfully familiar – like Winnie The Pooh really, without much embellishment. I check IMDB and I’m right: Sterling Holloway voiced both. He was also Mr. Stork, in Dumbo, adult Flower in Bambi, Kaa the snake in Jungle Book, and Roquefort in The Aristocats. Disney’s casting certainly was incestuous. Sean and I ate at the Cheshire cafe last time we were in Disney, and we can certainly recommend the Cat Tail, and the Wonderland slushy. This time we’ll be dining WITH Winnie the Pooh (can you stand the excitement?) – and his pal Tigger too!

This movie actually takes from Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (fun fact: I once saw a Looking Glass play in Stratford starring a young Sarah Polley, then known as Canada’s sweetheart for roles in Ramona and Road to Avonlea). Alice is here voiced by Kathryn Beaumont, who also voiced Wendy in Peter Pan, and continued to do so until her retirement in 2005 (reminder: this movie came out in 1951!). You can still hear Beaumont narrating the Mad Tea Party ride to this day in Disneyland. That’s her here, providing a live action reference for Disney animators.

And somewhere in the Disney parks, I am currently the live action reference for a grown woman having far too much fun.

[In fact, I believe today we are attempting to ‘Drink Around the World’ in Epcot. Epcot’s World Showcase has 11 country pavillions and we’ll be grabbing a drink in each one. Sounds like potential disaster! Why not keep tabs on us via Twitter – @AssholeMovies, and be sure to play along on the Disney Bingo card.]

Update: Watch the Assholes accept the Drink Around the World Epcot challenge – and watch us demolish it???

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Jim Dear gives his wife Darling a hat box for Christmas, and inside she finds a beautiful golden cocker spaniel she names Lady. Better than a hat any day. This was taken from Walt Disney’s own life – having once forgotten a dinner date with his wife, he made it up to her with a puppy and was immediately forgiven. As you would be. Take note, Sean.

The story belongs to the dogs. We rarely seen the owners’ faces, and their home is mostly seen from a dog’s eye view. It is simply told and simply felt – simple, but awfully sweet.

Lady is a well cared for, sheltered dog who’s lived an indoor life having her coat brushed until it’s lustrous and shiny, her meals served on a china dish. When she meets the Tramp, he’s a street-wise mutt who’s seen some shit. They’re opposites, but after the obligatory initial turning up of the snouts, the two can’t help but sniff each other’s butts. Which in dog speak is hot hot heat. Instant dog lust.

Would I watch a reality-based dating show featuring dogs? I really might.

But I won’t have to, thanks to Disney+, a new streaming service to rival Netflix that will host movies but also lots of new episodic programming from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Aside from the movies you’d expect, there will be lots of new comic book content, including Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and shows that will get to know some of the lesser-known Avengers like WandaVision, which will star Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), plus Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and something or other about Loki (Tom Hiddleston). And Jon Favreau is overseeing an extremely big-budget Star Wars series called The Mandalorian, and you can expect a spin-off of Rogue One about Rebel Alliance freedom fighter Cassian Andor with Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their roles. And rather excitingly, Ewan McGregor will once again suit up as Obi-Wan Kenobi for a series that won’t begin shooting until next year.

You might also find yourself anticipating The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a reality show featuring you know who explaining different topics. Or maybe you’re more excited about the Toy Story 4 spin-off, Forky Asks a Question. Or the “short-form unscripted” (whatever that means) Muppets comedy series unimaginatively titled Muppets Now. Or the announced series remake of High Fidelity starring Zoe Kravitz.

Personally, though, I’m in it for the new movies. And just our luck, a Lady and The Tramp live-action remake is among the first, with voices by Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux (and Kiersey Clemons, Thomas Mann, Janelle Monae, and Sam Freaking Elliott) so you can fall in love with this movie all over again.

I’m talking about Lady and The Tramp today in particular because as you may have noticed, Matt, Sean and I are at Disney World and today we’re eating dinner at Tony’s, which just happens to be the restaurant where Lady and Tramp have their adorable spaghetti dinner date in the alley out back. As far as I know, we’ll get a table inside, but spaghetti IS on the menu, and if the three of us are feeling particularly romantic, we may just be nosing meat balls at each other and two-mouthing noodles to meet in the middle. Do tune in to Twitter @AssholeMovies to see the things you cannot unsee, and check out the new Lady and The Tramp on Disney+ November 12.

p.s. I hope you’re all playing along with our Disney Bingo card.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Her Universe?

Yeah yeah, we’re in Disney World, no big deal, you’re tired of hearing it. But guys: we’re here for a LONG time. We’re seeing all the things! And we’re hanging out extra long time in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Disney built an entire outpost in their Hollywood Studios park – that’s 14 whole acres devoted to recreating a slice of planet Batuu. The deal with building this place was that every single thing that happens inside it is official Star Wars canon. Matt, Sean and I are now officially part of the Star Wars universe. But so are a whole host of surprising things. Like Coke. There’s a lot of thirsty Earthlings visiting Batuu right now, and they like to drink familiar carbonated beverages, so Disney has had to import Coke to a galaxy far, far away, and now that’s canon too. The Coke bottles look like grenades, excuse me, thermal detonators and are labelled in an alien language (Aurebesh), as is nearly everything in Batuu. At $5.49 a bottle, they make for a fun souvenir and amongst the cheapest – as long as you don’t mind being strip-searched and detained for hours in the Orlando airport and missing your flight home. Cause yeah. They look like grenades. Even replica grenades are banned on airplanes and TSA has been very squeamish about these. They immediately called them a no-go but seem to have reversed their decisions, but whether the agents can tell the difference when your checked luggage is another matter. Are you willing to risk it? At any rate, these have proved popular enough that Disney is limited purchases to 3 per guest, to prevent hording.

Galaxy’s Edge will not only look canon, it will sound canon too. Composer John Williams composed a music theme for the park, and there are another 29 original compositions that make up the planet’s ambient music. Over in Oga’s Cantina R-3X the DJ is spinning tracks from his booth but you can check out his playlist on Spotify right now if you like – search for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Oga’s Cantina: R-3X’s Playlist #1. Here’s a little sample of what Disney is calling “A PULSATING GALACTIC-TECHNO REMIX OF A CANTINA CLASSIC.”

Disney is in the habit of being very meticulous about details, so you know even the bathrooms are themed to within an inch of their lives. In fact, they’re not even called bathrooms but ‘refreshers’ while you’re in Galaxy’s Edge. If you pee on Batuu, that’s canon too! I think I’m just going to spend like 80% of my time yelling that at people. Little girl crying over spilled ice cream: “That’s canon!” Matt reapplying sunscreen: “That’s canon!” It probably won’t get old. But if it does: “That’s canon!” The slightly weird thing is: every day at Galaxy’s Edge is the same day. It’s always repeating. So though everything is canon, it’s contained to just a single day in the universe, thus, probably not that consequential. I mean, I can’t say for sure. Introducing the likes of me might just have some monumental effects. If you hate The Rise of Skywalker, it’s probably due to some ripple effect I’ve had from walking around wearing a Millennium Falcon dress. Yeah that’s right: mama don’t mess around. I have a Little Bo Peep dress for Toy Story Land and an Alice In Wonderland dress for Magic Kingdom and an Up dress for Animal Kingdom (those of you with good memories will no doubt remember that I wore an Up dress to meet Dug and Russell when I visited them earlier this year; yes I bought a 2nd Up dress. Sue me! It was necessary!) – in fact I have a park-appropriate dress for all 9 days of our visit, just I did for all 6 days of our previous one. Yes that’s 15 Disney dresses. What, is that weird? It’s not weird. It’s canon!

Anyway, I bought my Star Wars dress from a site called Her Universe, which specializes in all things Fangirl. I have never ever used that word for myself and I never will again, but Ashley Eckstein brilliantly saw a hole in the market for geek stuff for women, and she created an online store to fulfill the need. A couple MORE cool things about Eckstein: 1. all year long, Disney has been releasing special, limited edition mouse ears designed by the likes of Coach, Heidi Klum, Betsey Johnson – and most recently, Eckstein, who put together a Princess Leia pair that I hope hope hope are still available when I get to the park, and 2. Eckstein was already canon because she voices Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars. This woman’s got Star Wars squirting out her wazoo and I didn’t even mention when she had her motherfucking wedding reception at Walt Disney World!

So yeah, Galaxy’s Edge is legit. Legitimately legit. You can visit Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities for Jedi or Sith Holocron artifacts should you want them. You can make your way to Mubo’s Droid Depot and assemble your own custom droid. You get to pilot the Millennium Falcon. You can eat fried Endorian Tip-Yip and wash it down with blue milk. A little Batuu lingo: “Bright suns” = hello; “Til the spire” = goodbye. Prices are listed in Galactic Credits, which seem to be roughly (totally) equivalent to USD, which is a shame for us Canadians and our currently underperforming dollar. And if you’ve got 200 spare Galactic Credits you might ask around for some scrap metal. What you are indeed wanting is Savi’s Workshop where you can put together your own freaking light saber, but since light sabers are contraband, let’s keep that on the down-low.

Today we’re building droids and visiting Oga’s Cantina, so hop on over to our Twitter feed (@AssholeMovies) and take a peek, see if anyone’s got a blue milk mustache or a thermal detonator in their handbag. Yeah, that’s right, I just made Twitter canon, bitches!

Don’t forget to play along with our Disney Bingo card!!



Update: Watch Sean build a light saber

Disney Bingo

Matt, Sean and I are on our way to Disney World where you can expect to see our goofy smiling faces from Toy Story Land, Pandora, Galaxy’s Edge, and more. There will be loads of Disney coverage here and on Twitter @AssholeMovies and just so you don’t miss us TOO much, you can play along with this Disney Bingo card. Once you score a Bingo, leave us a comment and you’ll be entered to win a prize pack.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Q: How many witches were hanged in Salem?

A: The official death count for the Salem Witch Trials is 20 people: 19 victims were hanged at Proctor’s Ledge, near Gallows hill, and one person was tortured to death. Four people also died in prison while awaiting trial. But ZERO of them were witches – they were just socially inconvenient women put to death for some man’s ulterior motive.

Except.

Except 300 years ago, the Sanderson sisters were hanged in Salem for practicing witchcraft, and they actually deserved it. Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) are a trio of old hags who kidnapped a little girl to suck the youth right out of her, and then turned her would-be hero older brother into a cat for daring to interrupt. And that’s just the stuff we know about. They were soon dangling from the gallows.

Alternate A: If you count the Sandersons, and we definitely do, Salem’s dead witch count is actually 3. And the townsfolk are definitely aware of their legend, even 3 centuries later. And it turns out those witches were never very far off: a group of kids including new-to-town Max (Omri Katz), his kid sister Dani (Thora Birch), and the girl he’s crushing on who’s “really into witches” Allison (Vinessa Shaw), accidentally call them back when a virgin lights a black flame candle (so don’t say I didn’t warn you). Anyway, the witches immediately want to eat Dani and it takes an immortal talking cat to offer up pro tips for defeating witches.

For some reason this movie has achieved cult Halloween status, and as one of the few films in the genre that isn’t horrifying, it makes for nice, family-friendly fare. I say this like I can’t understand the appeal when in fact as a kid, I loved it too. One year my cousin and I made our own Sanderson Sister costumes (and yeah, it’s problematic that there were only two of us, but since we both probably imagined ourselves to be the ‘sexy one’, it hardly mattered) and we were really proud to wear them, up until some well-meaning lady complimented my cousin’s teeth…who was not wearing prosthetics. It is hands-down the worst thing that ever happened to me on Halloween and I once had the candy ripped from my little hands by teenage bullies. And technically it didn’t even happen to me! But anyway, up to that point we were really smug and self-satisfied young witches with probably embarrassing handmade costumes.

Anyway, Disney World makes great use of Halloween time to break the Sanderson Sisters out of the vault. Not normally seen in the parks, they host the Villain Spectacular at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (other rarely-seen characters that also make an appearance for Halloween: Jack & Sally, Elvis Stitch, Cruella De Vil and more). We Assholes are actually headed for Disney on Saturday and November 2nd just happens to be the magical day when the parks erase Halloween and embrace Christmas, and yes, we’re going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Sandy Claws only knows who we’ll meet there.

Fun Facts about Hocus Pocus:

  1. Brother and sister Garry and Penny Marshall play husband and wife in the film. The dog held by Garry actually belongs to Kathy Najimy.
  2. The animatronic cat was used again on Sabrina The Teenage Witch.
  3. Rosie O’Donnell turned down the role of Mary. Jennifer Lopez auditioned for Sarah. Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the role of Max and did What’s Eating Gilbert Grape instead.
  4. Doug Jones, as in Shape of Water Doug Jones, appears in this film as a zombie (see below).
  5. This movie came out in July of 1993 so that it would not compete with Disney’s other Halloween offering that year, The Nightmare Before Christmas, which got the coveted October slot.
  6. Real moths came out of Doug Jones’ mouth. Sarah Jessica Parker ate a real spider.
  7. While researching her family history for the show Who Do You Think You Are?, Sarah Jessica Parker discovered that her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Elwell, was arrested in Salem in the late 1600s for committing “sundry acts of witchcraft” and choking a neighbour to death. Esther’s case never went to court; she escaped with her life and the accusation ended the Salem Witch Trials.

Movies + Food

So you may have heard that I like to cook and I like to bake, and I often infuse one passion with another. A few years ago I replicated the Golden Globes menu for my own viewing party. One Oscars night I featured cocktails inspired by the best picture nominees. And I often decorate cakes on a movie theme. My favourite among them was probably the Up cake, where the cake itself was the house, and a mess of colourful cupcakes hovered over top like the most fluffy and delicious balloons ever. My sister only sorta kinda got the reference. But her son speaks my language. Last year he had two parties, one for his friends, which featured a Batman cake made by his bakiest aunt, and one for his family, where we ate a Mickey Mouse cake, it being his favourite character in the universe, really, and the celebrity he most looked forward to meeting when we were recently in Disney World.

As if missing a week of school for a dream vacation to Disney isn’t enough for a kid, we were there for Jack’s birthday, and I felt that this kid needed and deserved a Mickey cake like no other. Now, Disney is great at celebrating birthdays. We started the day at Chef Mickey’s, where the mouse himself brought Jack a cupcake with Mickey’s face right on it. Breakfast, mind you. And then we had dinner at the Beauty and the Beast restaurant, Be Our Guest, where the beast also offered up a birthday sweet treat. But the best was yet to come, because earlier Sean and I had snuck away to take a cake decorating class with Disney Spring’s most beloved patisserie, Amorette’s.

Sean was not much of a cook before he met me but I believe he genuinely loves being in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and he’s a pretty good sous-chef. He’s slow and self-doubting, but if my directions are good, so is his follow-through, and we love spending time together, and feeding people, and pouring our love into baked creations we’re happy to present our loved ones. When we were in Paris we took a couple of classes together, one to learn to make macarons, and another to make a 3-course meal that included potatoes that were legit more cream than potato. Anyway, all that to say that I count myself lucky that Sean was willing to lose a few hours at a theme park in order to don an apron and learn about glacage. Was there day drinking involved? Of course there was. We made a beautiful Mickey Mouse cake for our nephew and brought home some new skills and knowledge, which is an awesome kind of souvenir.

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