Wednesday, August 13, 2008

toronto life square

owns a piece of my soul now, considering i just spent oh, i don't know, almost 10 hours of my life in there (or thereabouts). i feel like i know the monstrosity that appeared, seemingly overnight, on the northeast corner of yonge and dundas, intimately. we're bosom friends.

first of all, i rep that food court HARD. i think it's a well conceptualized, inviting, welcoming space that's airy and clean. you can get a very decent falafel and an outstanding chickpea salad at "milo's falafel", whose preparation may stretch the temporal limits of the definition of "fast" food, but whose execution and the care taken therein conspire to elevate the humble manipulations of chickpeas, cumin, and parsley above the mundane. thumbs up! the food court also features a harvey's, which is fast becoming a rare and storied sight as they seem to be closing down faster than you can say st. hubert's.

i really like the amc theatres because they're really tastefully decorated (if kowtowing a little too obviously to the over 40, turner classics, AFI's top 50 films of all-time crowd) and they're always EMPTY. like, eerily empty. we shared the theatre with about 8 other people tops. no complaints here! less people translates to immaculate bathrooms and nary a mystery sticky spot, lying in wait for a misplaced, wayward foot, to be found.

they're also opening a branch of chipotle's in the ground floor of the complex. chipotle's has been causing quite a stir in the toronto grub world and i'm excited to try it. they're giving out free burritos all day tomorrow so i might swing by on my bike and give myself a "soft open" opportunity to scope out the scene. in addition to notification about the opening of chipotles, i also got a bunch of coupons for buy 1 get 1 free cinnabons. score! these desperate (though effective) ploys to get traffic into the amc complex makes me a little frightened that my newly minted favorite downtown mega-entertainment complex isn't luring in the droves of customers a space like that needs to stay afloat. it's a fine balance. i want all the annoying kids to keep going to the scotiatheatre, but enough people to come to amc to keep the thing going.

we saw "american teen" tonight, which is being billed as a "real life 'breakfast club'" i can't comment on that, because well, i kind of dislike the trite, pat, stereotyping of "the breakfast club" and i've never been a fan. i don't like the redemption of ally sheedy's character through the magic of makeup and i don't relate to the sanitized depictions of teenage problems. give me "heathers" or give me "pump up the volume." i'll even take the equalizing class consciousness of "some kind of wonderful" (where the poor people actually WIN for a change in a john hughes flick).

"american teen" follows a group of teenage archetypes through their senior year of high school. there's the queen b (megan), the jock (colin), the nerd (jake), and the artsy oddball (hannah). the characteristics that make this film affecting are probably fairly similar to the rationale for why i'm drawn to sarah dessen's YA novels from yesterday. while teenagers of today are too busy watching the idealized versions of their existence (played by older, impossibly quick-witted, and urbane actors a la "gossip girl") or losing themselves in the escapist vapidity of "the hills," i think the appeal of films like "american teen" plucks strongest at those who have left that awkwardness behind and have the buffer of experience and time to provide a rose-coloured resituation of what are pretty traumatic events at the time. it allows you to remember when small things just seemed SO. VERY. DIRE. and how the peaks and valleys of life mixed with hormone-fueled emotional tumult means that high school is really full of the walking wounded.

the teens in "american teen" ring true and their stories are touching for the vulnerability and haunted quality that underlie the bravado and infrequent bursts of pluck. when mitch reinholt, pictured at right, the quintessential mostly-nice guy jock with the heart-melting smile and a secret reserve of sweetness, starts a dalliance with alternative heather, i defy any girl who WAS that one standing on the sidelines of high school to not feel the flutter of butterflies in her stomach. the improbability of such a pairing is what you long for. it's terrible, but the, "are you kidding me? you like me????" thing is such a girl trope. hells, i think **i** fell in love with mitch reinholt for a bit. sigh.

you don't know how much you were manipulated with this documentary. it's one of those ones that's tricksy like that. there are a few animated sequences that i think take away from the film and due to the number of figures the filmmaker is tracking, the movie flies by and you feel like you haven't seen enough. overall, i'd recommend's cute and sweet with a tart undercurrent.

*edit* i was talking to K today (who saw the film with me last night) and i agree with her assessment that this kind of documentary treatment is best suited to a mini-series format. the doc has been criticized by some as treating its' subjects as cariactures or a film that's under 2 hours, following 4 or 5 people over the course of a year, that's pretty much going ot be the end result. i wish i had gotten to know them a bit more or that the director could have had the luxury of fleshing out their relationships without resorting to animated sequences or dropping in character-illuminating events briefly and then discarding them.

thumbs down though, for the movie suddenly going black (we could hear the sound, but the screen went dark) just as the film is reaching the climax of senior year graduation. it was maddening trying to piece together what was happening from the snippets of dialogue mixed in with "pomp and circumstance" - a song that 99% of north americans associate with a touchstone moment. we waited and waited and then filtered out of the theatre only to be told that the problem struck the ENTIRE theatre (all 24 screens!) at the same time and that they would be rewinding the movie to the part when the problem started and reshowing it. this turned out to be a lie, as we missed the graduation sequence and move directly to the packing-up-and-moving-away-from-home montage. on the plus side, we got a free movie pass for our troubles. on the minus side, the free pass did little to ameliorate the further troubles we had to go through (standing in a disorganized and poorly operationalized line for what seemed like entirely too long) in order to receive said free passes.

phew. last night i cracked open the giordano's pizza that bwong brought me back from chi-town. true friends (nay, family!) bring back friends (read: family) deep dish pizzas. what a treat! it was delicious beyond belief. weak hearts will try to convince you that the pizza is just too rich to handle all but the slimmest of wedges. this is NOT true, if you're one karl lagerfeld, esquire...made of stiffer stuff than your usual chowhound. the thing weighed a TON.

it consisted of two layers of thin, buttery, crust that crisped up to a flaky-but-sturdy, lip-smackingly crunchy texture after an hour or so in my oven, sandwiching a solid 1.5" of gooey cheese, which in turn was topped and bottomed by thin, overlapping slices of pepperoni. the whole was glazed with a tart-sweet tomato sauce. this is a REAL PIZZA PIE. they're not kidding around with that. it was delicious. i ate more than i should but less than i wanted. i want more, more i say! chicago: you've been warned.



futronic said...

So how many pieces of deep dish *did* you eat? Assuming it was cut into 8 pieces.

Giordano's is good, but I like Gino's East better. But only the Gino's East on Wells, which is the original. The other ones suck.

Also in the le suck category is Lou Malnatti's. Good lord it's horrible.

I can mow down, but I could only tackle three slices of a large deep dish from Gino's East.

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

i'd say i had a little more than 1/4 of the pie. and i was also holding back, because i know that next week at the cottage i'm going to be eating like a whale.

i could have and wanted to eat more.

kitsch:in:sync said...

i thought uno's was the original?

anyway, the problem with the meat/sauce/cheese pile we know as the deep dish is that eating too much of it in one sitting is like listening to mobb deep's infamous AND hell on earth albums all in one sitting in that it leaves you feeling vaguely depressed about the bleakness of the world

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

i didn't have that. if anything, i was filled with joy and a profound sense of my own good fortune that i happen to share a world with such a wondrous creature as chicago deep dish.

you sound like you've been reading russian modernists again.