Monday, April 18, 2016

Project Date Night '16: April (Star Wars!)

For Project Date Night this month, M and I did a dinner and a movie date with a Star Wars theme. Yep, I confess...I'm a Star Wars junkie. I've been eagerly awaiting Episode 7 on DVD so I could do a date night - it was fun!

Setting the Mood
To get us in the Star Wars mood early in the day, I took a picture of my screen (high-tech, I know) with the R2D2 love note up on my screen and texted it to M... saved on printer ink! :)

I also sent him a link to the John Williams is the Man youtube video. I think I've watched this video about 47 different times, but it still makes me smile. I walked around singing the song for the rest of the day!!

I think it's fun to do plays-on-words with food and theme events... obviously...

  • Han-burgers (hamburgers) - We just ate them with a knife/fork on a plate.
  • Leia-ed salad (layered salad) - Got the idea here, but decided not to do the mexican thing. We did sort of a chopped salad with chopped mixed greens, sliced black olives, diced grape tomatoes, diced cucumber, chopped green onion, sauteed diced red bell pepper and topped with crumbled bacon and homemade italian vinaigrette....YUM.
  • BB-8's (baby carrots)
  • Poe-tato chips (Boulder Canyon coconut oil kettle chips) - Wicked yummy, simple - and can you believe it, HEALTHY - chips.
  • Wookie Cookies (chocolate macaroons) - I'm so glad I found this recipe! It's hard to find egg-free macaroons, but these are great. I did the stevia sweetened (sugar free) version. When the cookies were done I drizzled them with some almond butter for a Chewbacca-like two tone look.
  • Lightsabers (fruit kabobs) - Green grapes for the 'blade' part, blueberries for the 'handle' threaded onto a bamboo skewer.
Movie Review
As most of you know, I have a sort of obsession with Star Wars and Harrison Ford. I loved the original 3 movies (Episodes 4-6) and tolerated Episodes 1-3... So, it was 50/50 for me whether I would like the latest installment, The Force Awakens. 

*** Spoiler Alert ***

Let's talk talent... 
  • Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) gets top billing and yet he's only in 1 scene. What's with that?
  • Carrie Fisher's (Princess Leia) performance seemed a little forced, but being that she's playing a character who by now is a little road-weary and has survived quite a lot of loss, it's workable. 
  • Harrison Ford is the man. Ok, so I'm a little biased. I enjoyed his performance. He's his typical Han Solo cranky, sarcastic, charming, rakish self. And underneath that crusty exterior, he's loyal and has a good heart. 
  • Daisy Ridley (Rey)... whoop, whoop! The girl power this series needs to take the franchise forward. Loved her character and spunk! And I mean, lightsaber duel? Yes, please.
  • John Boyega (Finn) did a fantastic job. I enjoyed his portrayal of a stormtrooper-turned-hero and he plays well with Daisy's Rey.
  • Oscar Isaac... apparently, "they" decided the younger cast needed a cocky pilot, so they chose Oscar to play Poe Dameron, a rebel pilot. While Poe has his good points (loyal to the cause, cares about others), I just wasn't swooning. Sorry, the role of hunky, charming, sarcastic pilot has already been filled.
  • Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) also didn't impress me too much. He did a good job with the part, I just wasn't impressed with the character. Kylo Ren seems a little unstable and not nearly conflicted enough about the dark side/light side dichotomy and overall I felt the character was a little flat. 
  • Throw in some random droids (BB-8 is cute) and aliens and of course, the 'bad guys' to round out the cast.  
Let's talk plot...
  • Ok, so here's the rundown...scavenger/pilot desert bedouin teams up with a cocky pilot and an evil organization escapee to join the rebellion and destroy a machine capable of obliterating entire planets. 
  • The evil villain was 'seduced' by the dark side of the force, is being trained by a super-evil (and really old/decrepit) genius and is prone to fits of temper, but might possibly be convinced to return to the light side of the force. 
  • After much epic-ness, leaps to hyperspace, the Millennium Falcon breaking down, 'feel the force' mumbo-jumbo, lightsaber duels, and heartbreaking loss, the heroes emerge scarred, but victorious and we feel some sense of closure and an anticipation of the next installment.  

Sound familiar? Yep, I thought so. What's weird is that even though the overall plot is pretty much the same as the original trilogy, I truly enjoyed the movie and I do look forward to the next installment. To me it feels as if history is repeating itself in this franchise, but really, that's pretty true to life. 

Let's talk recommendation...
I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars. It's a movie I will enjoy watching again in the future. Although I may not pull it out to re-watch frequently, and it's not quite on par with the original trilogy, I would still recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of the previous movies. 

Check out the trailer and more information here
And if you're interested, look through the parent guide here for information on language/violence/etc.

Additional Date Night/Family Fun Activities
We didn't add anything else to our date and opted for a plain jane dinner-and-a-movie date because that's what we felt up to. However, if you're looking for some additional "fun" activities...
Total Cost: Free
Food came out of the grocery budget, so nothing extra on that. I got a great deal on the movie through TopCashback - Free after the cashback during a special offer! I was planning to rent the movie from Redbox, but now I get to keep it!
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