05 Mar

Secretariat

Recently, we watched the Netflix original series BoJack Horseman. We loved the dark humor, the ongoing mystery of what’s really inside Vincent Adultman’s trench coat, and the recurring jokes that were so brilliantly interwoven throughout the season. By the final episode, we were inspired to watch the movie Secretariat because BoJack idolizes Secretariat (we realize now that he idolizes the horse and not the movie) and because he (Secretariat in the show) was voiced by the one and only John Krasinsky, so how bad could the original film really be? More on that later… We cooked several meals that Todd (a supporting character in the series) invented. Although we laughed at first, when it came to actually constructing the dishes ourselves, we were pleasantly surprised. Todd very well might be the next big James Beard Foundation Award contender.

The Meal

One of Todd’s many half-developed ideas over the course of the show was the fawaffel. Though Todd never developed the idea into an actual recipe, we picked up where he left off (a drawing that he presented for a split second to Mr. Peanutbutter) and created fawaffels from scratch. We took a typical falafel pita sandwich, but replaced the pita with thick, delicious Belgian waffles. Since Todd didn’t provide many details, we took some creative liberties and created both a sweet variety, falafel and waffle doused in maple syrup, and a savory variety, covered him home made tzatziki and served with tomatoes, lettuce, and red onion. The results speak for themselves.

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We washed down the not-so-suprisingly heavy fawaffel sandwich with smoodies. For those of you who aren’t familiar, smoodies are “moods that you drink, like a smoothie.” Again, Todd never really went in to how you drink a mood, but we at Munch believe we figured out the secret: blend up a bunch of mood-altering ingredients and drink it (like a smoothie).

Our first smoodie was designed to make you feel angry. We took foods that raise your body temperature – green tea, coconut oil, ice cream, and ginger – and drank it down.

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As I’m sure you can imagine, we were feeling pretty hot and bothered by the time we finished it, so we washed it down with a smoodie designed to help you feel calm and collected. H2O, watermelon, and spinach are all known to calm you down, so this smoodie was the perfect way to even the keel after our first drink.

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Finally, we crafted a smoodie that makes you really gets you in “the mood.” Chock full of aphrodisiacs like dark chocolate and cayenne pepper, this smoodie is guaranteed to make you feel sexy (or something).

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For dessert, we decided to make something for BoJack after we brought all of Todd’s dreams to reality. In the series, BoJack can’t say no to cotton candy, one of his many flaws, and always ends up throwing up everywhere. After opting out of DIY-ing our own cotton candy due to a failed attempt to modify a whisk with a pair of wire-cutters, we began the surprisingly difficult search for BoJack’s guilty pleasure. We finally found it in a store called the Dollar Tree where, if you can believe it, everything is a dollar!

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It seemed only appropriate to drink Bourbon as a tribute to BoJack and Todd’s failed Guten Bourbon, the urban German bourbon, commercial. Conveniently, 95% of the world’s bourbon is crafted in Kentucky, the same location as the infamous Kentucky Derby in which Secretariat competes. Ben provided three varieties which started out as a tasteful sampling but later allowed us to drown our frustrations with the movie.

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The Rules

1. Drink during closeups of the horse.

2. Drink whenever a misogynistic comment is made.

3. Drink whenever someone beats all the odds.

The Movie

At its most basic, you could describe Secretariat as an underdog story. The movie starts with the main character, Penny, taking over the family farm after her mother passes away (her father is elderly and thus is considered confused). Penny doesn’t want to sell the farm because she believes her father’s final genetic experiment will produce a uberhorse capable of beating all the odds and winning lots of horse races. Of course, Penny intends to take the male-dominated horse racing world by storm.

As you can see, Secretariat is a true underdog story! Oh, whoops… actually, it looks like we forgot to mention a few things. Penny decides to pay for one of the best veteran horse trainers (played by John Malkovich, who really phoned in his performance here) and one of the best jockeys. Once she does that, they start winning a bunch of races! Money really can buy you talent! Sure, there is more nuance to the entire affair but it was hard to buy into the idea that this was an underdog story. In our opinion, the true underdog story goes to the abscess in Secretariat’s mouth, trying to to do what it could to dismantle the horse racing dreams of a bunch of rich white people with big Kentucky Derby hats. The abscess ultimately meets its demise and Secretariat goes on to win the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont at 31 lengths. I guess you can’t win them all, but by the end of the movie we were decidedly #teamabscess.

We could write a lot more about this movie but unlike our experience with Secretariat, we wouldn’t want to bore you. And to be completely truthful? We couldn’t even sit through the entire two-hour movie. After about 30 minutes we started fast forwarding to watch what we hoped would be the most exciting part, the races. It was painful to sit there, watching horrible acting, not able to believe the underdog story and the racist clichés. The portrayal of Eddie Sweat is very poor at times, especially considering he spent the most time with the horse and was considered one of the best groomers around. In addition, his work ethic and natural love for horses would have made for a much more compelling story than Penny’s.

Oh and we just remembered that in the final race it plays a song ABOUT JESUS WASHING AWAY YOUR SINS!!! ALMOST AS IF IT WAS TRYING TO CREATE A PARALLEL BETWEEN THE TWO!!!! JESUS CHRIST! Now I could see if the main characters came from a “sinful past” and atoned through the process of raising the horse and saving its life, then the song would make more sense, but as it is the song feels deeply of place.

As you can see, we did not enjoy this movie, and as you can guess our scores will most definitely show that.

The Scores

Andre: Snooze. This was one of the most boring films I’ve ever watched. I’m not usually one to stop something once I’m in the middle of it, so the fact that I chose to fast forward through ¾ of this movie should attest to how bad it was.

Leanna: Two thumbs down. TBH, I was looking forward it. Horse movie. Black Beauty was my favorite film growing up – I think I made my mom watch it with me multiple times a year, second only to maybe The Lion King. “It’s another Disney movie,” I thought. “How bad could it be?” It was just so utterly and completely boring, and the strong religious undertones were more than a little unsettling and shoehorned in. By all means, pick a different underdog tale if you’re looking for inspiration, or a different horse movie if you just really like horses.

Ben: I am not sure if I even want to give this film a score. And my opinion of the movie has only deteriorated the farther I get away from the film. This movie should be good. It follows the well tread Disney plot structure and has what is arguably a pretty awesome woman, in Penny, taking on an old boys club. But the movie is dragged down by the acting, its attempts at being sentimental, and equating winning a major race to a miracle on the scale of something Jesus would do. Winning the triple crown after stacking the deck does not make for divine intervention. 5%. Secretariat had Vampire’s Kiss levels of frustration.

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