Pizza and a Movie: Lady in the Van

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Black Olives
  • Pineapple
  • 1/2 Italian Sausage, 1/2 Jalapeños



Lady in the Van

Just one thing to mention about the pizza: I wanted pineapple, he wanted jalapeños, and this is what we came up with. Some people love jalapeños on a pizza. I don’t.

Now, for the movie. I found this film disturbing, and not very entertaining.

I love Maggie Smith in (almost) anything, and I adore her in Downton Abbey. The best part of this movie was her performance. But the story (billed as “mostly true”) didn’t do it for me. Because of that, and because her character is so different (mentally, and in other ways) in Downton Abbey, it was difficult for me to watch Maggie Smith in this role.

I wondered, afterward, what parts of the story weren’t true, and what parts were left out. If you see it, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about.  The treatment of the (real and fictional) lady in the van’s mental illness was terribly unsatisfying for me. Watching the film was like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces. And I don’t like that kind of puzzle, anyway.

I’ll be watching the Oscars this weekend, and I don’t believe Lady in the Van has been nominated for anything. Some people, I’ve heard, loved this film, and the performances.

To each his own.

Pizza and a Movie: Star Wars (encore)

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Black Olives
  • Anchovies
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes



Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Yes, we saw Star Wars again (see “Pizza and a Movie” post of 12/30/15), but this time, at our favorite theater in the USA. Without the French subtitles, it was even better (and easier for me to follow) the second time, here at home. I dare say that’s because, in France, I kept checking to make sure the French words on the screen were what the actors were saying. It was slightly distracting.

This is an absolutely great movie, and if you haven’t seen it, I urge you to do so.

As for the pizza we ordered, my husband demanded really wanted Black Olives, and he wanted me to choose the other two toppings. I chose what I did off the top of my head, and it seemed to work.

By the way, since the Oscar nominations just came out, I wanted to compare the nominees for Best Film with my top rated movies of the year (see my “List Post: Nouvelle Année – janvier 2016” of 12/31/15).

My top 5 were (in order):

  1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  2. Bridge of Spies
  3. The Gift
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Inside Out

and my “Want to See” movies were: 

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. The Martian
  3. Creed
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. The Big Short

The Oscar nominees were:

  1. The Big Short
  2. Bridge of Spies
  3. Brooklyn
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road
  5. The Martian
  6. The Revenant
  7. Room
  8. Spotlight

How did Star Wars not make it? Je ne sais pas. And I really enjoyed the other 2 movies on my top 5 list that didn’t make it. But 2 of my top 5 did, and 3 of my want to see’s did, too. I saw The Big Short, finally (and also, twice), and I now want to see The Revenant. The only nominees I’m not keen on seeing are #s 7 & 8.

So, there you have it.

Pizza and a Movie: Star Wars, Episode VII – the Force Awakens, in FRANCE!

Our Pizza Toppings at La Piazza Papa in Montpellier, France!

  • Black Olives
  • Ham
  • Mushrooms
  • Red Onions



Star Wars: Le Reveil de la Force


Our final “Pizza and a Movie” for 2015 occurred during our vacation in the south of France for the Christmas holidays. Our first (and last) stop in France was in Montpellier, and on a rainy Sunday afternoon (and evening), we decided to go see Star Wars (in English, but with French subtitles, or the “Version Originale ST”). There were long queues for the Version Française (French dubbed version), but not for the Originale, so we were able to get tickets just before showtime.

What a great movie! I absolutely loved it, and if you saw the first and second movies (episodes IV and V) when they came out in theaters like I did in the 1970s, I believe you will, too. If not, I still think you’ll enjoy it. They seemed to take everything that worked really well in those two movies and do them again in this film.

Le résultat? My favorite movie of 2015.

In my French conversation class, we often talk about movies, and also about how an American film title is sometimes completely changed instead of just translated. This time, I like the translation better than the English title. “Le Reveil de la Force” does mean “The Force Awakens,” but, more literally, it means “The Awakening of the Force.”

That may seem like a small thing, but it’s significant to me, as an author who often agonizes over the exact wording of titles.

Another note: one scene in particular reminded me of the famous line in Episode IV: “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” which has become a family saying chez nous. When you see this movie, you’ll know which scene I’m talking about.

The Pizza:

We had a drink first at a café on Place de la Comédie, then walked over to La Piazza Papa and asked to share (partager) this pizza. When the serveur brought it, the pizza had already been divided in two. It seemed fitting for a country that values l’égalité!

Vive la France! et Bonne Année 2016!



Pizza and a Movie: Amy

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Bacon
  • Black Olives
  • Shallots




This weekend’s toppings were (eerily) similar to the “BBC” pizza we had a few weeks ago when we saw the film Inside Out, and there was a little negotiating involved:

  1. My husband initally suggested something other than Bacon (I don’t remember what, exactly, but I think it was vegetarian). I vetoed it, though, saying we needed something with a little crunch, so we chose Bacon.
  2. I pushed back on the Black Olives (proposing Green ones), but he didn’t agree.
  3. And – the Shallots were his idea.

Like every pizza we’ve ever shared at Corner Pizza, it was delicious. However, we decided that we’ve had enough Black Olives * for a while.

Now, for Amy:

I like documentaries, and this one was very good. I didn’t know much about Amy Winehouse before I saw it, but I learned a lot. The music was fabulous and haunting at the same time. And there’s something about true stories…

I knew how the story would end, and watching such a talented singer spiral down so fast and so hard was difficult. But – maybe because of that, and because she was so talented – I still enjoyed it, tragic though the story was.

Life can be very complicated, even – or, especially – when it’s short.

* And after last week’s film and then this one, I’ve had enough of sad movies for a while, too.





Pizza and a Movie: Inside Out

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Bacon
  • Black Olives
  • Capers



Inside Out

Call it our BBC pizza, and like the British (maybe), it was a bit salty. I didn’t tell my husband, but I had mentally selected the toppings before we arrived (I don’t know why, but they just randomly occurred to me). When it was time to place our order, though, he agreed to my choices. We had talked about another vegetarian pizza, but bacon seemed appealing, for some reason.

You can hardly see the capers, but they’re there. And we hadn’t had black olives in forever.

The two of us had decided earlier on what film to see. We love Pixar, and I was expecting another Toy Story-like experience. I liked Inside Out a lot, and it was very clever, but was just a tad less good than Toy Story (any of them). It was funny and heartfelt, however; you may have heard that some of the characters are actually the main character’s feelings.

If you ever had to move when you were a kid but didn’t want to (I have), you’ll relate to it. All in all, I thought the movie was well done and very enjoyable, and it had a satisying ending. As a bonus, all the feelings had (sometimes, surprisingly) important roles…

There was one scene in particular I found very funny (but there were many). This isn’t a spoiler, but it had to do with remembering people’s phone numbers, the names of presidents, and a vacuum cleaner, of sorts. That’s all I’ll say about that. 🙂

Final verdict: entertaining, funny, and well-written. On the pizza: tasty, and unusual. Both were memorable, and evoked very good feelings.



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