Atlanta Restaurant Review: Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Ah, Southern food.  How I do so very much love you – at least when you come out of my mother’s kitchen.  But alas, most restaurants fall short of my mother’s brilliance and I’ve never found that go-to comfort food spot.  Would Mary Mac’s come to the rescue?

The restaurant is an Atlanta staple and somewhere I urge all visitors to check out.  Even the Dali Lama has dined at this most Southern of establishments!  The decor is somewhat dated, but you can enjoy browsing through the wall-of-fame photos taken of all the famous people who have visited.

I’m going to dock the restaurant a couple of points on service solely because of the hostess who seated us.  She was obviously in a pissy mood and wanted nothing to do with customers.  She brought us into a dining room and just stood there while we had to guess which table we were supposed to sit at and then threw our menus at us.  Wow.  But then we were rescued by our server who was fantastic and super helpful.  So things turned around quickly.

People will tell you to order the fried chicken and I’m not going to argue with those people, but I ordered the cubed steak with brown gravy.  Cubed steak with gravy is my most favorite meal of all time EVER.  My mom cooked this for me instead of baking a birthday cake.  Served with lima beans and mashed potatoes, all mixed together, is my idea of heaven on earth.  Mary Mac’s didn’t have lima beans, but did have butter peas which are just as yummy.  And they didn’t have mashed potatoes – WHAT?  So I substituted cheese grits and hoped for the best.

The sides were awesome.  Loved the peas and grits – both were a bit under seasoned but a little salt cured this travesty.  The cubed steak wasn’t so lucky.  Try as I might, the salt just couldn’t save this particular serving of beef.  The steak itself was tough and filled with grizzle.  I wasn’t able to cut it with my fork which is a huge no-no.  Plus, the gravy had a chalky flavor, so obviously the flour mixture wasn’t done properly.  I believe the gravy was missing milk or cream.  My mom makes this dish with milk gravy which works well.  Perhaps Mary Mac’s should do the same.

So, I’m still on the lookout for my perfect Southern comfort food outside my mom’s kitchen.  Jimmy did enjoy his chicken liver and onions – saying that the liver was a bit over salty but still managed to retain a lovely liver flavor.  He was less impressed with his turnip greens and sweet potato souffle.  He also liked the batter on his order of fried okra.  We both agreed that the prices were fair so we’ll probably go back at some point, and this time I’ll order the fried chicken!

(Picture courtesy of restaurant’s website)

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

I’m fascinated by Louisiana and the New Orleans area – always have been.  There’s just something so uniquely Southern about this part of the country, an almost haunted feeling of past meshing with present that intrigues me so much.  So when I know a story is set there, I absolutely cannot resist.  The Cutting Season, Locke’s second novel, captures the tension of antebellum plantations and modern day perfectly, only enhancing my obsession with the spirit of Louisiana.

Caren Gray has come home again, back to Belle Vie, the plantation where her family spent generations as slaves cutting cane and where she grew up while her mother played cook to the current day owners, the Clancy family.  But now Caren is manager of the property and trying to come to terms with her family’s history and how to reconcile an ugly past with a promising future.  To complicate matters, a migrant field worker is found murdered on Belle Vie’s property and now a killer is on the loose.  Before long, Caren realizes that this present tragedy is all too similar to a past crime against her ancestors.  Can Caren find the killer before someone else gets hurt or an innocent party is thrown in jail?

Attica Locke can write, plain and simple.  I loved settling down in her prose for hour after hour of time more than well spent.  The Cutting Season really transcends any sort of typical murder mystery to become this haunting historical mystery novel full of atmosphere and a strong sense of place.  There’s so much more to care about within these nearly 400 pages besides the whodunnit.  Caren’s relationship with her mother and her own daughter is nuanced and complex.  The bridges and gaps between who we were, who we are, and who we will be are deeply studied and brilliantly realized.  I believe Locke has written a novel worthy of any college classroom that simultaneously satisfies picky plot-driven readers.  I can’t wait to pick up a copy of her first novel – how did I ever miss it to begin with?

I will say that the first third of the novel travels a bit slowly.  Locke spends a hundred or so pages painting a detailed picture of Belle Vie, her characters, and the murky past that will come into play so heavily during the much more quickly paced latter half.  But hang in there and you won’t be disappointed.  And the killer is far from easily spotted.  I suspected multiple shady and not-so-shady characters throughout the pages!  The resolution was so tightly plotted and realistic – these events could so easily happen in real life that it almost felt like really well done narrative nonfiction.  I literally googled the historical facts surrounding the murder case before remembering everything was fiction!

All-in-all, a great read and a perfect selection for October – just the right amount of spookiness and atmosphere for Halloween.  Attica Locke is an author you don’t want to miss out on, I promise!

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Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing the review copy in exchange for my honest review.  Check out the other tour dates here!

Black Water Rising, Attica Locke’s first novel, was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize in the UK in 2010. It was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Strand Magazine Critics Award.Black Water Rising was also a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

Attica Locke has spent many years working as a screenwriter, penning movie and television scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, HBO, and Dreamworks. She was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab and is a graduate of Northwestern University.

A native of Houston, Texas, Attica now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most recently, she wrote the introduction for the UK publication of Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. Her second book, The Cutting Season, will be published by HarperCollins / and Dennis Lehane in September 2012.

Monday Rambles…

Happy Monday everyone!  Here’s to a fantastic week!

Just wanted to ramble for a minute about a couple of things.  First, congrats to Heather from Raging Bibliomania for winning the Paul Harris giveaway!

In other news, I’m super excited to participate in the Read-a-thon this weekend.  It will be my first time joining in and only the second time I’ve pledged to read for 24 hours straight.  We’ll see how well I do!  I think I’ve got my book selection narrowed down to three titles, but the TBR shelves are always available for backups!  Now I just need to concentrate on what snacks will keep me strong.

I didn’t do a Sunday Salon post, but my weekend in general was mostly fabulous.  We’ll ignore the ridiculously terrible UGA loss.  Yesterday, Jimmy and I attended the Taste of Atlanta food festival in Tech Square.  We had so much fun and the fall weather was fantastic.  Basically, 90+ restaurants set up booths and you get to go around tasting their food.  Eating is one of my favorite activities so this event is essentially heaven.  Then we went tie shopping for Jimmy and who knew ties were so freakin’ expensive?  Geez.

Okay, y’all, my ramblings are coming to a close.  I have a book review of The Cutting Season by Attica Locke scheduled for this Wednesday, so be on the look out!  Not sure what book I’ll pick up next, but have been eyeing our next book club selection Arcadia by Lauren Groff.

Enjoy your week!

Atlanta Restaurant Review: Baci

Baci is a local joint just around the corner in Town Brookhaven. The same people who run Cafe at Pharr also own Baci. Jimmy and I decided on dinner and a movie Saturday night – then headed out with nowhere in particular in mind for our grub.  We generally end up in Town Brookhaven when we’re craving supper and don’t have a ton of time.  They also regularly have good Scoutmob deals at several restaurants and that’s exactly what landed us at Baci.

The decor was lovely, the lights were turned down low to create a romantic atmosphere, and there was even a bar with a couple of televisions that didn’t take away from the small restaurant’s ambiance.  We opted to sit outside and had no problems getting a table.  Not very crowded for a Saturday night, but I suspect the price point affects many diners as well as lack of marketing.

Our waitress was super sweet – almost too saccharine in the way only Southerners can be (I’m allowed to say that being a Southerner and all).  But she kept our glasses full and checked up on us the proper amount.  She did have a couple of mess-ups – never bringing us our bread and forgetting to apply the Scoutmob discount first time around, but her genuine effort allowed us to forgive her.  She seemed rather new.

Baci’s food is an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and Eastern Asian cuisine.  Jimmy was immediately put off by the prices and the fact that they misspelled gyoza – their special appetizer of the night (they wrote geyoza both on the menu and the specials board).  I’d also like to add that Jimmy was in a very grumpy mood and nothing would have satisfied him so I’ll temper his moodiness with my own opinions, promise!

For our appetizer, Jimmy wanted the fried goat cheese balls so that’s what we ordered.  They came out very quickly and Jimmy approved.  They had a lovely fried coating and the goat cheese flavor was strongly satisfying.  I’m not the world’s biggest goat cheese fan, but these were good.  The cheese was slightly on the dry side and had a fun texture.  Jimmy also noted that the sauces drizzled on top were delicious.

Our entrees were also served in good time.  I ordered the Baci burger made entirely of Kobe beef.  What impressed me most was that all the toppings (besides the cheese!) were served on the side so I could make my own burger.  These sides included mixed greens, tomato slices, housemade pickles, mustard, ketchup, and onions.  I slapped on some greens and tomatoes and went to town!  The burger was supposedly cooked medium, but I think probably closer to medium well.  It was tender and juicy, but nothing particularly flavorful.  A decent burger, but I’ve had better.  The housemade pickles were divine.  The fries that came with the meal were also tasty, even Jimmy approved!

Jimmy selected one of the night’s specials – Israeli schnitzel with fingerling potatoes and side salad.  He cleaned his plate – I mention this because he said his meal was okay, but a bit too simple – groan, groan, moan, moan.  If he cleans his plate, he liked it despite what comes out of his mouth!  He did say his schnitzel had a nice crisp to it, but that it was a little too greasy – you could definitely see a shine going on.

Our first impressions of this restaurant were lightly positive.  Our meal totaled $39 and we both ordered cheaper entrees.  Without the $20 off due to the Scoutmob, we’d probably not have eaten here.  I think we’d give this place another shot as long as we had a coupon in hand.  Of course, most restaurants now charge an arm and a leg except for fast food which is such a shame.  Thank goodness for websites like Scoutmob!

(Pictures by Angel Wings Photography)

A Storm of Swords Journal – Part 15 (SPOILERS)

Pages 803 – 863

Danaerys:

Dany sacks the unsackable city.  How?  By tearing up Illyrio’s ships and making weapons, battering rams, and shields.  She also sends Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan with a group of men through the sewers to free the slaves (causing an uprising/rebellion within the city itself).  She is ruthless – slaying men and hanging their bodies from the walls just as they did the slaves in a greeting to her.  Dany doesn’t play – she keeps shit real.  She sees it as a hard justice.  I do think she questions her actions though – I believe she wants to be merciful, but fears it will make her weak.

Reports from her previously sacked cities are not good.  The same old corrupted systems are being rebuilt.  She’s beginning to feel like she doesn’t actually know what she’s doing.  She doesn’t want the same to happen here in Meereen.  She knows the people have heard of these other cities and will want to follow her.  She has neither the food nor experience to lead this many people.  Dany’s inexperience is beginning to shine through.

Dany summons Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan to come before her and answer for their crimes.  She sort of wishes they had never returned from the sewers because facing them is difficult – especially Jorah.  Ser Barristan is kind, honest, and honorable in his intentions towards her and she forgives him easily.  Jorah is the opposite – cocky, argumentative, and feels like she owes it to him to forgive him.  She banishes him – a hard decision, but one she believes in.

Finally, Dany decides to end her conquering march through these slaver cities.  She wants to rule the city of Meereen and learn how to be a queen.  A good decision, I think.

Jaime:

I think this was one of the best Jaime chapters and honestly, one of the best character development chapters we’ve seen. Jaime sits with the new King Tommen as the young boy signs many parchments and royal decrees.  You can kind of see Jaime’s mind spinning – understanding this whole kingdom and ruling faction as a complete farce.  He’s been out secretly practicing sword fighting with Ser Addam and realizes just how miserably weak he is.  The beating he takes is really more symbolic than physical (even though he’s sore as a son-of-a-bitch).

He discovers that Tywin has found a fake Arya Stark and is sending her off to marry Roose Bolton’s son Ramsay.

Jaime feels like his new sword is a kick in the gut and a mockery of the man he now is.

Tywin is in a bit of a position with Prince Oberyn dead and demands Pycelle save Ser Gregor’s life, but Gregor is near death.

Cersei is waiting in Jaime’s chambers ready for some disgusting lovin’.  Jaime, for the first time, really doesn’t want Cersei and sends her on her way.  I mean, he does want her – badly – but as a wife, not just a whore sister.  She really is convinced now that he’s lost his mind.  He also informs her that Joffrey probably sent the assassin after Bran and that he believes Tyrion is probably not guilty.  Cersei is livid.

Jaime summons Ser Loras to bring him Brienne.  Loras has had a change of heart after speaking with Brienne and believes she could be innocent of killing Renly.  Jaime wants Brienne to hunt down Sansa Stark and take her somewhere safe.  He wants to try to do the honorable thing now.  Not sure how much we can trust this because Jaime is very deceptive – but something really rings true here – he just seems tired of all the scheming and game playing.  He gives Brienne his new sword and sends her on her way.

He pulls out the White Book to update his entry and writes the truth – ugly though it is and I respect him so much even if he is having a whiny pity party.

Jon:

Slynt and his cronies still think Jon a turncloak.  But since Aemon and the other swear to his innocence he’s giving Jon one last chance to prove his loyalty – by going beyond the wall to parlay with Mance Rayder who wants to talk.  Jon thinks this is a bad idea, but he basically has no choice.  Off he goes.

Tormund rides out to meet him and bring him to Rayder.  Can I just say that I love Tormund and his ‘Har’s!  I think he’ll be a super fun character in the show – as long as they cast him properly.  You can tell that Tormund and Jon have a mutual respect for each other which is nice.

Mance Rayder isn’t super happy to see Jon.  Dalla is in the corner giving birth – no big deal.  Rayder shows Jon that they do have that magical horn thing and will use it unless the Watch agrees to his terms.  Basically, this horn possesses the power to bring down the Wall, thus allowing anything and everything into the Realm of Westeros.  Not good.  Rayder wants he and his people to be allowed to cross the Wall peacefully.  Jon knows this will never happen.

Very suddenly, an attack is upon the Wildlings – not from the Wall, but from the north.  Rayder thinks he’s been betrayed, but Jon swears he doesn’ t know what’s happening.  Essentially, Stannis and his men (thank you, Davos!) have come to save the Wall from the Wildlings.  A battle breaks out and Stannis is obviously going to win.  A fun little twist – and one I predicted at the end of Davos’ last chapter.

Like Jon, I miss Ghost.  Hopefully, he’ll reappear soon enough.  I also still like Mance and the Wildlings.  I think everyone should learn to get along and that each group can really learn something from the other.

Janos Slynt is a sleazy bastard.

Oh – and I kind of want the horn to be blown.  Is this wrong?

Arya:

Arya and Sandor find themselves at an Inn and are reacquainted with the likes of Polliver and The Tickler – some of the men are on Arya’s hitlist.  I love that her hitlist is also her prayer list.  They end up fighting.  Arya kills two of them herself and Sandor is seriously wounded.  Arya also reunites with Needle!!

They also discover that Joffrey’s dead – perhaps by Sansa’s hand!

Continuing on their journey, the Hound grows weaker and weaker.  Arya tries to take care of him and even removes his name from her hitlist which surprises her.  Eventually, the Hound is so weak that Arya decides killing him will be best, but when she goes to do it she can’t – despite the fact that he asks her to.  Instead, she just goes off on her horse, leaving him for dead under a tree.

She makes her way to the coast, hoping to pay her way onto a ship that will take her to the Wall.  She sells her horse and then finds a ship.  The ship won’t take her to the Wall because they are sailing for Braavos and the waters around Westeros are too dangerous.  Arya remembers the coin Jaqen gave her, pulls it out, shows the captain, and speaks the magic phrase – Valar morghulis.  The crew stares at her in wonderment and invites her aboard – no questions asked.  AWESOME.

Samwell:

Sam and Gilly make their way to Castle Black after leading Bran and the others through the gate and swearing not to tell anyone they are still alive.  Sam is astonished at how devastated the Castle is but so happy to be back among his friends again.  He is especially happy to see Jon.

Sam is obviously smitten with Gilly.  Jon tells Sam he can’t keep her (what is she, a dog?).  Sam has this idea of writing to his family, asking them to take her in by saying the child is his own.  Jon’s not sure a bastard upbringing is such a good idea.

Jon, despite capturing Mance’s son and the Horn of Winter, is still seen as a traitor by Slynt and his men.  The Brothers are currently voting on the next Lord Commander.  Each night at dinner they vote – the winner has to receive a huge majority and so far none have achieved this feat.  Jon knows that Slynt is destined to win.  Sam is desperate for this not to happen and begins to plot a way around Slynt’s victory.  He’s terrified though.

I love Sam.

Atlanta Restaurant Review: Marlow’s Tavern

Marlow’s is a chain that resides in many places, but we just got a brand new one in Dunwoody!  Jimmy and I decided to eat there Friday night since it was open late.  It was my first time at Marlow’s and Jimmy’s second – although he doesn’t remember much of his first time thanks to more alcohol intake than food!  Wow, I totally just made him sound like an alcoholic, but you must understand – two drinks in and Jimmy’s a little out of it.

Anyway, the new location (pictured above) is really well done.  The patio is large and a great place to spend watching a game and chowing down during the lovely fall weather.  Our waiter, Harold, was super nice and we spent a lot of time talking to him about our current car shopping exploits.  He even let us take a look at this brand new car – a car we’ve been considering buying ourselves.  He did a great job serving as well – our drinks stayed full and he was more than helpful with our questions about the menu.

Food-wise, Marlow’s Tavern tries to be a bit more upscale than most sports bars.  Sort of in the gastropub niche.  I always try the fries at every bar because I’m a fry freak and generally believe bars should have awesome potato offerings.  The truffled parmesan fries were pretty good, but not the best.  When the fry was coated in the truffle oil and parmesan it got two thumbs up – the remainder fries were sort of tasteless.

For my entree, I went with the customer favorite shrimp and grits.  I love shrimp and grits in general in various varieties.  Marlow’s serves the shrimp, roma tomatoes, and roast tomato beurre blanc over two white cheddar grit cakes with spinach between the cake layers.  The sauce has an interestingly mild flavor while the diced tomatoes had a wonderfully fresh taste.  I do wish the sauce had had a bit more kick to it.  The shrimp were so-so, but the grits really threw me off.  And this could just be entirely personal bias.  I’ve never had grit cakes before – only soup-like grits.  The cakes make the grits taste slightly dry and overcooked.  Not a huge fan of that outcome.  All-in-all, my food was decent, but way overpriced for the quality and for bar food in general.

Jimmy had the Everything and the “Kitchen Sink” burger and fries.  He gobbled up the burger, but left most of the fries sitting.  He’s not a huge fry guy though and not overly fond of potatoes if I think about it.

In short, we’ll probably be back for some appetizers and to watch a game.  Like I said earlier, the patio is terrific and the service great.  As long as you order reasonably priced dishes, a worthy addition to the neighborhood.  Welcome Marlow’s!

(All pictures courtesy of Marlow’s Tavern’s FB page)

The Candidate by Paul Harris + Giveaway!

I was excited to get my copy of The Candidate by Paul Harris since I can be quite the political junkie.  And reading a book about a presidential campaign during our real presidential campaign seems remarkably fitting, ya know?  Make it a political thriller where a presidential nominee deals with an assassination attempt in the first couple of pages and I’m hooked.

While I’d love to dish all the plot goodiness with y’all, I’ll restrain myself to the above mentioned assassination attempt which opens up a can of worms and a dangerous journey to discover the secrets of candidate Jack Hodges’ past, present, and future.  You’ll travel throughout the US – Iowa, New Hampshire, D.C., South Carolina and into the bowels of Guatemala.   It’s a fast-paced journey to discover just who this murderous woman really is (that’s right – a woman wants the maybe president dead!) and one that I highly recommend.

The characters were fun to read and many seemed very realistically written.  I loved the campaign manager, Dee, and campaign lackey, Mike Sweeney.  The politics are downright dirty which I suspect is also heavily grounded in reality and something Harris has much real life experience with.  And the pacing is pretty spot-on.  I read the final 200 pages in a couple of hours.  This is a book you’ll sit down with and not get up for quite some time.  So make yourself some coffee and prepare for a long night!

But obviously, no book is perfect.  I think Harris is a great plot-driven writer and story teller, but he needs a new editor.  I know the average reader may not notice some of the sloppiness I did, but getting the characters mixed up more than once is just not good.  I also thought that the candidate, Jack Hodges, was way beyond too good to be true.  Harris should have really dirtied him up a bit more to make him at least resemble human.  And the outcome, the unveiling of all the answers, was so obvious it bordered on cliche.  I wasn’t too bothered by this since I enjoyed the journey getting there, but how awesome would it have been to have a truly shocking ending?

I definitely recommend The Candidate to anyone who enjoys a good political thriller and is looking for some fluffy intensity during the next couple of months counting down to the election.  The best praise I can give Harris is that I’d definitely read another novel he writes and hope he continues to fine tune his talent.

One lucky reader will get the chance to win their very own copy of The Candidate by clicking here and filling out the form.  I will be selecting a winner on Monday October 8th.  U.S. and Canada residents only, please.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

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Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the opportunity to receive a copy of The Candidate in exchange for my honest review.  Check out the other book tour blogs here!

PAUL HARRIS is a US Correspondent for The Observer, a British weekly that is the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, and also its sister daily paper The Guardian. He has been based in the US for the past nine years covering all aspects of American political and cultural life from Hollywood stars to Washington politics. He is currently covering his third presidential election having previously reported on George W. Bush versus John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain versus Barack Obama in 2008. His experiences covering those races, especially the epic battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic nomination, were the inspiration for The Candidate.

Prior to his posting in the US, Harris was a journalist based in Britain and Africa. He has covered wars and conflicts in Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, South Africa and Sierra Leone. His first novel, The Secret Keeper, was set in Sierra Leone against the backdrop of that country’s brutal civil war. He lives in New York (but fantasizes about living in France).

October Meetup: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Litwits met Sunday at Katherine’s house and had a lovely time discussing Hurston’s classic novel.  We may have had too much fun and gotten a little wild with our post-book convo!  Always a pleasure to share laughter with these ladies and it’s what makes the group so fabulous.  Can”t wait to celebrate 2 years next month!

Anyway – the book.  TEWWG was not unanimously loved!  I was shocked because it’s one of my favorite books of all time, but some of our group were really able to critique it well.  For those who weren’t as enamored, they tended to see Janie as a very week protagonist – a woman who needed a man to help her make all her decisions and someone who didn’t have much of a backbone – someone who just kind of let stuff happen to her.  We had a great debate about whether Janie was actually a strong, independent woman or not – with much discussion about the time period, racial issues, feminism, and the ultimate war of free will v. nature.  We sounded quite brilliant, to be sure!  And the next time I read Janie’s story, I’ll be looking at her a bit closer!

Also debated was Janie’s relationship with each of her three husbands and what idea of happiness they represented.  She had stability, then prestige and money, and finally love and passion.  All three things are said to bring happiness and yet only her final marriage of love and passion with Teacake seemed to actually accomplish anything resembling that happiness.  And even then, most members weren’t thrilled with Janie and Teacake’s relationship at all.  He did, after all, hit her.

What we all agreed on was how beautiful Hurston’s prose reads.  She’s an amazing writer and was able to pack so much literary beauty into such a small novel.  For her turn of phrase alone, everyone seemed to believe the novel was worth reading.  Hurston’s own life was also discussed in great detail – she has a very interesting back history!

The rest of our evening was filled with wine, giggles, babies, and Vin Diesel.  We were loud, crude, and had the best time.  Our new members were lovely and we hope y’all come back!  We’ve also come to realize that certain topics constantly find their way into every meetup – Twilight, fanfiction, and – wait for it – horse porn!  Can’t wait ’til next month!

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Another successful Classics Club book down!

At the Cinema: Looper

Happy Monday, folks!  Hope all is well.  This weekend was a ton of fun and part of that fun involved seeing the new film Looper.  It stars current Hollywood darling Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt.  And it is worth paying money to see.

The year is 2044 and time travel has yet to be invented, but will be in the future.  JGL plays a looper who is hired in the past to dispose of people (kill them dead and dispose of the bodies) from the future.  Eventually, he will close his loop by killing his future self – played by Bruce Willis.  And that’s all you’re gonna get!

Looper is a smart, complex, and intense sci-fi flick – the kind of movie I geek out for and that is so rarely made.  The story is far-fetched, sure, but stops short of being eye-rolling.  Perfection.  JGL is AMAZING.  He’s such an amazingly talented actor and does a spot-on Bruce Willis right down to the squint and gruff voice.  Willis is in the movie just enough to please his fans and not enough to annoy his naysayers.  Emily Blunt was great and at times I completely forgot who she was and entirely bought into her character.

But what I loved most was how well this movie has been advertised.  So often, trailers give away entire plot lines and Looper does not suffer from that in the least.  The film I thought I was going to see was not the movie I ended up watching and it was so refreshing.  And even though the end was a tad bit on the melodramatic side, I loved it – maybe even teared up a little!  So do yourself a favor in this age of remakes, reboots, and sequels and go see something fresh, intelligent, and finally worth the ticket price.

For Atlantans: You guys – have you been to the Phipps Plaza AMC?  It’s undergoing a much needed remodel and now they have reclining leather seats in every theater.  Go immediately – take a blanket and prepare to get cozy!