BE Hive

This is one of my favorite hidden gems in Nashville!! It can be found in a tiny strip mall in East Nashville, and if you’re lucky enough to find a parking place, you will not be disappointed.  At first glance, you’ll see it’s dive bar meets deli.  As soon as you walk in, it’s a very industrial and grunge look, but don’t let that discourage you.  There are very few seats inside, so it’s definitely best for take out. 

If you’re looking for take out, they have a standard menu featuring Nacho Tots (featured below), Crunchwraps, and various deli sandwiches.  They also generally have one special each weekend, whatever the chef’s heart desires:  most recently was a phenomenal French Onion Dip Sandwich.

Vegan Nacho Tots

On top of serving some phenomenal chef-prepared food, they are also a full service vegan deli counter.  They have everything you could think of:  blocks of various cheeses, TRKY, Roast BEef, Pepperonis, sausages, chicken, and several thicknesses of seitan.  They even have prepared dressings like Ranch and Caesar.  They also have a new line of cBEd products, which includes some cookie dough (In case you haven’t caught on, most products play on their “BE” Hive name).

Don’t let the exterior scare you off, inside is some of the (if not THE) most delicious vegan foods in Nashville.  Follow their Facebook or Instagram to find out their specials every week, and check them out on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 – 4.

http://bethehive.com/

Dolittle

Robert Downey Jr.’s first movie following his epic run as Ironman is none other than Dolittle, a classic children’s adventure film in which he can speak to animals.

This movie has an all-star cast: John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Emma Thompson, Selena Gomez, Craig Robinson, and Octavia Spencer all provide voice-overs for the animals in this film. These animals, along with Antonio Banderas as a villain, make the movie mildly enjoyable. There are a few good jokes throughout, and a very memorable climax, so it was not completely torturous. But. . .

RDJ.

Robert.

When we first meet RDJ, he is a scraggly recluse, living in a mansion speaking to his animals. We get to hear him make gorilla noises, bird squawks, mouse squeaks, and more, which is shockingly not as terrible as his Welsh accent he adopts when speaking “human.” He is his same old cranky self, but it does not play as well as it does when he is an Avenger. The main antagonist, played by Michael Sheen, is even more dreadful than RDJ.

I’m not sure if it’s because I have such a soft spot for Eddie Murphy in Doctor Dolittle, or if I read too much about it beforehand, but it was a tough 100 minutes to get through. However, overhearing about a dozen people as we were leaving, other adults (including my fiancé) actually liked the film. It’s a toss up. . . If you see it, let me know where you stand!

AppleTV’s Servant

Now that all the episodes have been released, I feel like I can adequately review Servant, Apple TV’s thriller tv show directed and produced by legendary M. Night Shyamalan.

I had high hopes going into this– I am a huge Shyamalan fan, and after seeing the suspenseful previews for months I finally broke down and got a subscription so I could watch it.

This is a show detailing the lives of a young married couple who recently lost their newborn son. To help the wife cope with the loss, they got a doll made to resemble their deceased child. Due to a mental breakdown, the wife Dorothy treats the doll just as a real human baby. The first episode starts with her hiring a nanny for her doll/son.

The show is a slow burning one; the ever-present creepy music always seems as if something sinister is about to happen. Unfortunately, it almost never does. I can count on one hand the times I was actually surprised. The threat of it is always there, but it’s as if the writer relies solely on the feeling of suspense rather than writing any event of substance. You’re lucky if you get one “Wow, how creepy,” moment per episode.

The cast is just meh. The main couple — Dorothy and Sean– are some of the most disappointing. Sean ( both the character and the actor who portrays him) is hard to watch. Grumpy, brooding, and always gossiping about his wife to his brother-in-law Julian, he does not add much to the show. His portrayal as a husband/father who just lost their only child is so unrealistic, it makes everything about him seem inauthentic. Dorothy is slightly better, but something about her is just unnerving. The nanny Leanne, played by Nell Tiger Free, was a perfect casting for the role. Meek, sweet yet creepy, she is one of the most (if not THE most) thrilling parts of the show. Rupert Grint shines as the brother-in-law: angry yet protective, suspicious yet dismissive.

Weirdly enough, given it is a Shyamalan show, there is not a twist ending. The ending seems to attempt two surprises in its final moments, however both are referenced earlier in the episode. The only real, unexpected surprise in the whole season comes in episode nine, when you find out how their son Jericho actually dies.

If you are considering paying for AppleTV just to check out this show, I wouldn’t recommend it. The slow burn and the tension that builds throughout the season never amounts to much, and it did not live up to my expectations. If you already have an AppleTV subscription and are a thriller/horror fan, then you may enjoy this show. Be warned: You may want to watch it sooner rather than later. Filmmaker Francesca Gregorini is suing Apple and M. Night Shyamalan for stealing her story from a 2013 movie about the same subject matter, so it may get pulled from the app soon. (https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-ent-servant-apple-lawsuit-20200117-6qutorfv5faijben7cqpph3xaa-story.html)

Production has begun on season two already. But if they don’t add more blatant horror or excitement, I doubt it will make it to season three.

Underwater

I went into this movie with zero expectations. I knew it was a thriller, I knew it was about some workers in a station on the ocean floor, and I knew it was Kristen Stewart, but that was about it. . . . An odd combination. When we arrived at the theater, we were the youngest members of the audience by at least 30 years, which added to the confusion.

The movie was not horrible. It had a quick beginning and included lots of jump scares as the members of the oil rig crew tried to figure out how to survive once their station began collapsing, seven miles down into the ocean. It lasted only 96 minutes and nearly all of the time was spent in survival mode, so it did not give you a chance to get bored. The story was moderately interesting; you find out about 20 minutes into the movie what is causing the destruction of the rig. My fiancé and I enjoyed guessing what was to blame beforehand– I was closer to being right than he was.

For those of you who hate Kristen Stewart (and I know there are many of you), this is one of her more digestible roles. For the most part, she is too busy being a badass for you to focus on her lack of acting abilities. However in the last 20 minutes of the movie, there are a couple of cringey moments as she tries to feign some emotion towards one of her coworkers. The awkwardness of the encounter is soon lost in another jump scare. The ending is very predictable, but it’s not like I was expecting anything profound.

This movie was overwhelmingly average. If you enjoyed the tension of 47 Meters Down, you will likely enjoy this movie as well, however save your money. Wait a couple months until it’s on Netflix.

1917 in Regal 4DX

I had the pleasure of seeing Sam Mendes’s 1917 in the 4DX theater at Opry Mills, and WOW what an experience. Let’s dive into the actual theater first, and then I’ll get into the movie.

The signage outside the theater reads like an amusement park ride. Rain? Wind? Ticklers? When you walk in, there are seats in groups of four, just as you’d see in a 4D thrill ride. While the seats are not as comfortable as theater recliners, the experience is well worth it. The seats have airholes in the headrest for bursts of air to rush by your head. The seat in front of you emits a mist during water scenes of the movie. Industrial size fans on the ceiling provide the wind, and fog machines in the front round out the atmosphere. The tops of the headrests every once in a while spray out a mist of smell, which is probably my favorite feature.

Following the movie previews, there was a special 4DX preview that showcased everything the theater had to offer. It showed a high-speed car chase; along with the aforementioned features, the seats pitched forward and side to side with the car’s every move. At the end was a crash, complete with a bumpy “landing,” a burning smell, and smoke filling the air. There were plenty of shrieks and squeals throughout the preview from the audience, as we were getting used to the set up of everything. Luckily the movie itself was not as jarring, so no squeals interrupted the story. The 4DX features provided lots of excitement, which would be great for a more “fun” movie. However, it did not lend itself very well to 1917. I highly suggest checking out the 4D screen, but maybe with something like Frozen 2 or Star Wars (the previous two films shown there).

1917

This movie was an absolute beauty. When the preview first came out, it got a lot of play time alongside the Midway preview, however it is in a completely different league. While Midway was more of a typical blockbuster war movie, 1917 is a

m a s t e r p i e c e.

While the 4DX features did pull you into the action of the movie, it honestly didn’t really need the help. Sam Mendes filmed this in the “one-take” style, which puts the viewer right alongside the two main characters. Cuts between scenes are hardly noticeable; every so often, I found myself marveling at the genius it took to create such a thing. Mendes and his crew would follow the main characters across miles of movie sets, on golf carts or even boats at one point to make sure to create a seamless shot. They practiced the scenes without a camera for months, to ensure that the hundreds of actors knew their parts perfectly before attempting to film; they didn’t even start officially filming until April 2019. The camera follows two soldiers who travel to the front lines to relay a “halt battle” message to another unit. The soldiers run across fields, through blown up towns, float through rivers, and more. The movie makes you realize how difficult solders’ lives really were, and how many developments we have made in war and in society in general.

The beauty of this movie, besides its actual creation, is that it makes war tangible. It’s not just numbers of casualties on paper, or ribbons and medals won. It was thousands of humans who wanted desperately to survive and make it back home to their families. The two main boys are just that: only boys. They make silly jokes and act like teenage boys, they miss their mothers, and they daydream about old memories when they get scared. They are all of us– and would we carry their burden so gallantly if it was us in their shoes?

Without giving too much away, the movie is mesmerizing. You will feel pain and triumph along with the characters, and you will leave feeling satisfied. This is a lovely tribute to the “Great War,” which will hopefully ignite an interest in its often-forgotten history.

*If you want to read a little more about how 1917 was created, check out these links:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90411164/how-sam-mendes-wwi-film-1917-was-made-to-look-like-it-was-shot-in-one-astounding-continuous-take

https://ew.com/awards/2020/01/07/1917-sam-mendes-roger-deakins-interview/

Messiah, now on Netflix

Messiah is a new 10-part series on Netflix with some serious Jack-Ryan-esque vibes. Rather than John Krasinski, however, viewers will find Michele Monaghan as the CIA operative protagonist. She works with several other government organizations to work to solve the mystery surrounding the titular character who first garners attention out in the Middle East.  A stranger appears out of nowhere, preaching for 30 hours straight during a sandstorm in Syria.

The central question is this: is this new man who is drawing thousands of followers all around the world really the returned Messiah, or a new kind of terrorist determined to start some sort of holy war?

This man, dubbed “al-Masih” by his followers in episode one, journeys through Syria, Israel, Texas, and Washington DC, gaining the attention of both media and governments across the globe. Thousands of people see his actions and deem him a miracle– some think Jesus, others Mohammed or even a new prophet. However, Monaghan and her team are quick to find logical explanations for all of al-Masih’s behavior.

This show is a fascinating take on what it would be like if God’s Chosen did indeed return. Would he find follows via social media? Would society today be so skeptical that they would doubt his miracles? Would governments give him– an undocumented immigrant– asylum?

This show has some stellar performances from the cast; al-Masih is played by Mehdi Dehbi, a Belgium-born actor who has been in movies like 2013’s Mary Queen of Scots and 2016’s London Has Fallen. Throughout the show, he has such a peaceful aura around him, you almost believe he was born to play the role.

The show is clearly set up for a second season. It leaves the audience hanging in its final seconds, allowing each viewer to decide whether or not al-Masih is the returned Messiah. However, almost more exciting than that, much of the show was filmed in Nashville; BNA carpet gets a nice cameo in episode nine! A thrilling watch that is sure to cause some controversy as more people discover it (the country Jordan has already called for a ban of it), it is easily devourable in a weekend.

Dark Waters

Dark Waters is a fascinating law thriller starring Mark Ruffalo, a corporate lawyer who takes on Dupont in this true story. Mark gives a great performance, seamlessly transitioning from a wallflower new law firm partner to a passionate attorney fighting for what he believes in. His character Rob Bilott (an Ohio attorney still practicing today) flutters between bravery and meekness. He is an underdog, fighting a tough battle between an industry giant and risking both his career and family.

This movie will make you check your cabinets and your dishes for harmful chemicals. This movie will inspire you to fight for the little guys. This movie will make you angry: at our nation’s corporations, at our economy, at our government.

With a runtime of 126 minutes, this movie falls victim to the growing epidemic of the “too long” movie. (Vince Mancini wrote a great op-ed a couple years ago on this you can find here: https://uproxx.com/movies/movie-are-too-long/). However, while the movie does seem to drag at times, this is a very fitting representation of the wait that the 70,000 people in Bilott’s hometown had to suffer through to get answers from Dupont.

Dark Waters also includes cameos from several key players from the real-life story, including Rob Bilott himself, which was a nice surprise revealed before the credits. Overall, this movie is a great watch for a rainy afternoon that will really leave you thinking.

If you want to learn more about the story behind the movie, here are some resources:

https://thefilmstage.com/dark-waters-and-the-true-story-behind-how-dupont-is-poisoning-all-of-us-rob-bilott-mark-ruffalo/

https://time.com/5737451/dark-waters-true-story-rob-bilott/

https://www.ewg.org/release/toxic-truth-about-new-generation-nonstick-and-waterproof-chemicals

If, like me, you are now wary of nonstick coating, here are some examples of new (safer) cookware:

https://www.target.com/p/greenpan-rio-8-and-10-ceramic-non-stick-cookware-set-turquoise/-/A-50952615

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0723GHVYC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_fI8dEb7M3YCNF

New Year, New You

Welcome to my blog! Given that it is a new decade, I am picking up a new hobby: blogging. I hope you find the information useful — or at least entertaining.

Why do this?

The past few years I have discovered several passions: Travel, Movies, Theater, etc. And I would love to share all that I have experienced with you, so that you can enjoy them as much as I have!

I will be reviewing new movies and television with no spoilers so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should spend your valuable free time watching it. I will be doing the same with TPAC performances in a timely manner, in case you can still snag tickets to the tour while it is in town.

Lastly, I will be recounting my travel experiences so that you can discover new places and learn what to do — and what not to do.

If you ever have questions or suggestions, feel free to comment on posts or send me an email (found on the home page), and I will do my best to answer. *Happy 2020*