Given that, however, we decided finally that if she really could finish the meeting at 11am, we could race out to Celebration North for a movie, then lunch at Twisted Rooster after 2pm -- a place we've never gotten into because its lot is always jammed for lunch and dinner when we go by on Beltline.
For just an hour meeting, I figured I'd just stay in the Blazer and work from there. Besides, it gave me a chance to test whether I really could log into the eduroam WiFi (DW) on GVSU's campus using my WMU .edu e-mail account. Mmmm, not so fast. I tried several times and kept getting Authorization failure messages on my Kindle Fire HD. Okay, but I had my cellphone and I had WMU's Help Desk on speed dial -- so I called down to Kalamazoo. They determined that indeed, authorization had been granted. But after a brief Connect, we realized that the parking lot outside of Eberhard and Kennedy wasn't getting a strong signal. Between either dropping the signal in the middle of the transaction or timing out, the authorization wasn't going well. But I did get it to work.
Yay. Next time I'm in a GVSU building, I should be able to do Internet same as in my office. Cool.
As for the Twisted Rooster, we'd been to their second restaurant the Crooked Goose in Standale by Meijers once -- the latter features Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches amongst its signature items, while the latter does macaroni and cheese. As a huge fan of mac & cheese, I've been wanting to try Twisted Rooster for a couple of years. Didn't want to go all out, so we each had a Mid West salad -- which turned out huge -- and split a regular Home Made mac & cheese, rather than splurge on the Lobster mac & cheese or one of the others. Very pleased and we will go back sometime and sample some of other goodies. Ooh, they do calamari.
Twisted Rooster is right next to an Appleby's -- I don't know why anyone bothers with the latter when TR is right there. But I suppose lots of people go for the boring name brands, and it may be that Appleby's is cheaper.
In between all this, we went to the movies...
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [PG]
Celebration North Theatre 13, 11:40am, 2×$8.50
This is a sequel to Memorial Day 2012's surprise and delightful The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful (DW) -- which itself was based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach. The new movie merely says it is based on characters by Moggach. And everybody's here, except for Tom Wilkinson, of course.
A review on the formerly-known-as-Roger-Ebert website calls it dull, listless and I suppose, without heart. Look, both movies are British comedies which have to tread a narrow line between drama and comedy, and spend a lot of time making fun of everyone's age and hijinks ensue as the inevitable culture clashes and misunderstandings occur.
Rotten Tomatoes says, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is about as original as its title — but with a cast this talented and effortlessly charming, that hardly matters."
Predictable? Perhaps. But how many sequels are truly original and not predictable? The first movie made a decent $137 million and employed a whole lot of beloved actors -- Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Tamsin Greig, Lillete Dubey -- plus our desperate hero Dev Patel and his fiance Tena Desae, and adding in David Strathairn and Richard Gere to the mix.
Speaking of Richard Gere, he may be one actor who is getting better looking and has more sincerity as he gets older. We've thought that since we saw him as the superstar chef in Autumn in New York.
India is, of course, showcased here and gets much better showcasing than in the first movie -- these British seniors are no longer such fish out of water, so we don't have to see the gravest culture shocks. But India has a vibrant and growing economy, one which our Hero is desperate to be a part of. That these grandiose plans are thwarted at every turn, plus throwing in the full-bore Indian wedding to his fiance in the middle of all this -- I can see how some would rebel. For those people, 122 minutes of this is probably too much.
And yet... much like the first one, it is the mix of miscommunications and feelings and a bit of pathos, which still has its charm. Maybe because we aren't kids ourselves, two hours was a fair play for us. And remember, we are not your typical comedy audience. Indeed some of the scenes induce a feeling of wanting to flee in me, but that's always been the case. Oh, and the best fish-out-of-water scene in Second is in the opening, where our Hero takes Maggie Smith to America to try to secure the financing to create the titular Second hotel.
Others might have pieced things together themselves, but the way this is all resolved at the end is not anything I had seen coming, though the clues were all there. Our Hero gets his triumph and the girl AND the wonderful Bollywood wedding dance. This is not exactly spoiler material, given the heart of both movies, it could not end any other way. And we knew Dev Patel could dance with joy, having seen him in the wonderful train platform number tacked on to the end of Slumdog Millionaire.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (If you enjoyed the first movie.)
Trailers: For the West Michigan crowd, two Christian films: An Easter release from part of The Bible series done the other year. And Do You Believe?, which cynically looks like a story about a guy who gets people to carry around these small but thick crosses and hold them up, possibly in lieu of say, good works, to prove your faith and show that God loves you and not those other people. Among other trailers, were one we've seen before, Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren trying to get back Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer -- the painting of her aunt which was stolen by the Nazis. And Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd gets a remake.
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