Commentary

April 19, 2013

Fly Over: Scary Movie V’, and Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

In theaters:

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‘Scary Movie V’

In desperate need of Ritalin

Let me just start by saying every spoof movie that will ever come out again has already lost an approximate 40-percent chance of not being any good since the death of Leslie Nielson. However, I always have my fingers crossed for the next hilarious parody that I’m constantly being promised. “Scary Movie V” is not that movie. Where “Scary Movie 3” had a good comedic pace, and even the fourth installment had great slapstick, “Scary Movie V” just suffers from poor timing and terrible production values.
After the mysterious death of Charlie Sheen (that’s right), the police put out a search party for his three missing children. These kids, later discovered by Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller (yep), are given into the custody of Dan and Jody Sanders (Simon Rex and Ashley Tisdale), Dan being Sheen’s brother. They soon learn, however, that Charlie Sheen’s children had been under the care of a supernatural being known as Mama, who plans to kill Dan and Jody in order to sacrifice them to the forces of darkness.
Yes, the Scary Movie films have a plot, though I think this installment seemed to forget that. Not only do they make a lackluster attempt to tie it into the rest of the series by keeping Simon Rex’s character as Charlie Sheen’s brother (which made better sense in the other films since Sheen didn’t play himself), but I’m not even sure the writers knew what they wanted to do.
Plotlines are brought up and then dropped, like Dan working with apes at a research center a la “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (that was a horror movie?). Characters change personalities at will in order to deal with the random movie references, like Jody going from punk rocker to ballet enthusiast in a second. I understand some people don’t care about the plots to parodies, their job first and foremost is to be funny after all, but without any structure it’s difficult to really get involved with the film.
One thing I’ve always liked in the “Scary Movie” franchise is how the characters give those strange, almost fourth wall-breaking looks when something odd happens. Simon Rex seems to have this down very well, and he and the loud Erica Ash as Kendra are probably the highlights of the film. Everyone else including Ashley Tisdale whom I’ve never really had a problem with is just bland. Charlie Sheen is fairly funny, but at this point in his life I don’t think he really has to try. Above all else, it was very disappointing to have only one “Scary Movie” veteran, Simon Rex, who was only in the third and had a bit-role in the fourth.
When the blooper reel is funnier than the film itself, something went wrong with the spoof. While I am very pleased they cut way down on the unbearable celebrity “cameos,” and some good slapstick never hurt anybody, jokes were thrown at the audience so fast I barely had a chance to register some of them. And because of the bland performances, even the well-written jokes lost their color. Then there are those jokes that made no sense and came out of nowhere. Also, excluding the few times when they’re clearly intentional, the effects were very bad; blood never looked so fake, and I watch the SyFy channel.
Really, is anyone surprised? I know there are people who enjoy all the “Scary Movie” movies, but since Scary Movie 3 hit the high mark, it’s all been downhill (though I do kind of like Scary Movie 4). I really didn’t want to have to beat the dead horse again, but “Scary Movie V” is just another indication of how bad many of today’s parodies are.
This film is rated PG-13.

and then for dine-in or take-out:

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Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Pizzerias are very commonplace across America. The landscape is dotted with commercial pizza chains and the occasional “Mom and Pop” spots. But Grimaldi’s coal brick-oven pizzeria rises above the others like the legendary Phoenix.
Grimaldi’s has multiple locations in Nevada, Texas, Florida and South Carolina, and several across Arizona. On a recent date night, my wife and I visited the Park West in Peoria location across from the Harkins Park West movie theater and only 6 miles from Luke.
While we sat at the bar waiting for our table, we perused the menu. Before boredom set in, the bartender asked if we would like drinks while we waited. In less than five minutes, the staff showed us they are friendly and attentive.
Soon after we were seated, our server appeared, introduced himself and asked if we had eaten there before. We said it was our first time so he gave a brief spiel about the restaurant and the pizza they serve. He was very friendly and polite throughout our meal without being obnoxious by bothering us every two minutes.
From our experience, I recommend asking for an outdoor table. It’s a great way to enjoy the Arizona sunset and the mild evening weather we’ve seen this past week.
I know people on both sides of the fence when it comes to sparkling or carbonated mineral water – they either love it or hate it. There are obvious brands on the market, but I believe Italian sparkling water tastes better than similar water from other countries. Grimaldi’s offers San Pellegrino in 500 ml and 1 liter bottles with only a $2 difference between them. This water was a perfect match with our meal.
Grimaldi’s offers a nice selection of fresh salads to start. We opted for the caprese salad, a simple but tasty dish of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Eating this salad transported me back to last summer’s trip to Italy.
Sometimes my wife and I don’t agree on pizza toppings. Luckily, the chefs at Grimaldi’s make half-and-half pizzas, as any self-respecting pizzeria chef should. The price for toppings is the same whether it’s on a whole or half pizza, unfortunately. My wife went with white sauce with artichoke hearts, black olives and grilled chicken, and I asked for traditional red sauce with sun dried tomatoes. The combination of well-seasoned sauce, fresh toppings and toasty baked crust came together to produce a top-notch pie we couldn’t get enough of, at least until dessert arrived.
Other topping choices include ricotta cheese, kalamata olives, jalapenos, anchovies, pesto, ham and yes, they have pepperoni and sausage as well. All pizzas are thin crust. At Grimaldi’s pizzas are sized as a 12-inch “personal,” a 16-inch small pizza, and an 18-inch large pizza.
There are only three items on Grimaldi’s dessert menu but they are essential Italian restaurant fare: three styles of housemade cheesecake, Grimaldi’s Famous Cannoli and tiramisu, my wife’s favorite. Cannoli is a traditional Sicilian dessert consisting of a pastry tube filled with sweet ricotta cheese. Tiramisu consists of layers of mascarpone cheese and sponge cake soaked in coffee.
We ordered the New York-style cheesecake with raspberry drizzle. At $5 a pop, Grimaldi’s serves up a nice, healthy wedge of cheesecake we couldn’t finish.
Overall, Grimaldi’s is a great place for incredible food and excellent service but at upscale prices. Go there when you’re tired of commercial pizza and feeling good about your budget and diet.




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