Pizza, Salad, and a Movie: Sully

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Corn
  • Jalapeños
  • Garlic


For me, spinach salad.



Dinner was good, and the film was great. I had my doubts about whether to see it (since I’m mildly afraid of flying), but I’m glad I did. Tom Hanks was terrific, and the story unfolded very well.  If you see it, I think you’ll feel good about pilots, New Yorkers, and just about being an American. And don’t miss the credits at the very end – they almost make the movie!

My verdict: A+


Pizza and a Movie: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Feta Cheese
  • Garlic
  • Green Peppers


I was ready for feta cheese on a pizza, but somehow the toppings we chose didn’t quite work well together.


Whisky Tango Foxtrot

This was more of a drama than a comedy, and at times it seemed a little slow. However, it kept me engaged in the story, and I thought Tina Fey did a great job in her role as a journalist in Afghanistan. There were some very good lines, too, although – due to his Scottish accent –  I didn’t quite catch everything that one character said. That’s too bad, and it made me wish that the film had had English subtitles throughout.

This was a decent to good movie, something that seems hard to find right now, just after the Academy Awards. It did a good job touching on what life is like in Afghanistan, and on the culture. All in all, it was a nice change from some of the less than great films we have been to see lately, and the cast of this movie did work well together. My advice, if you go to see it: brush up on your Scottish first.


Pizza and a Movie: The Gift

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Italian Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Green Peppers
  • Onions
  • Garlic



The Gift

Yes, that’s 7 toppings, not just 3; we went off the page (or, to the bottom of it) this time, and ordered a Specialty Pizza called “The Upper Crust.” It was very good – and colorful.

Then we went to see the film, a suspense that, at times, seemed to borrow from Hitchcock. I was on the edge of my seat (literally) during most of it, and was thankful I had someone’s arm to grab (my husband’s). It was so scary that once or twice I even had to remind myself, This is a movie! It’s not real!

Maybe I liked it because I write thrillers. Or maybe because it was super suspenseful, and was well done. Perhaps both. In any case, if you like that kind of thing, I think you’ll like this film. The bad guy was very bad, and in my opinion, he got what he deserved.

One thing that intrigued me was the title. There were several gifts in The Gift – I didn’t count them up, but like our pizza toppings that night, there were more than 3. Let me put it this way: every time someone opens up one of them, brace yourself.

And make sure you have somebody’s arm to grab.





Pizza and a Movie: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Fresh Garlic
  • Portobellos
  • Spinach



Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

This one was another vegetarian pizza, and all topping selections were my husband’s.

Initially, I balked at the choice of garlic, and even offered to switch it for jalapeños (on only half the pizza, though). But I like garlic, it’s healthy, and with all the other ingredients on the pizza, I knew it wouldn’t be overpowering. Besides, he didn’t agree to switch.

The pizza was very good, and someday, I’ll agree to jalapeños – just not yet.

Now for the movie. Poignant, witty, cleverly done, well cast, and well acted…and, in the words of one reviewer, “rips your heart out.” Shades of the films The Fault in our Stars and 50/50. The awkwardness of high school faces cancer (the “dying girl” has leukemia) – and the result is both relatable and difficult to imagine.

However – as a mom (and a caregiver), not as the patient – I could relate to the film more than I couldn’t. My son was in college, so a little older than the dying girl, when he was diagnosed with cancer. In my latest book, ALL THE ABOVE, I tell his story from my perspective.

The movie brought one particular passage in that book to my mind:

“My thoughts traveled back to when I was nineteen and in college, a time when my biggest concerns were writing papers, studying for exams, and meeting boys. If I had been told one day that I had a brain tumor, my whole world would have crashed and collapsed. 

I would have cried for days, if not weeks. Like Jack, I would have mourned the loss of my summer, the plans I had looked forward to. [But unlike Jack,] I would have felt very sorry for myself. I would have wanted to stay in my room and hide.

I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the crushing blows that just seemed to keep on coming for Jack.” 

Unlike pizza topping choices, you can’t even try to bargain about cancer, notwithstanding that bargaining is one of the stages of your grief.

But you can hold onto hope.

me, Jack 11-6

Me and Jack in Fall 2010. His hair was just starting to grow back after radiation treatment.

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