29 Jan

Hot Rod

“I’m freakin’ pumped! I’ve been drinking green tea all goddamn day!”

– Rico

The Setup

It’s time for another Birthday Super Munch – Leanna Holly Robb edition. You may be wondering why I am writing this now and why we didn’t watch this movie on my actual birthday since you should all know when that is. Well, as you may have noticed from reading our Star Wars series, I was busy making friends with some of the native species of South Africa during the month of December, and my Birthday Super Munch had to be postponed. I know you’re probably upset you had to wait this long to see what movie I would choose, but Sebastian here took priority. Look at how cute and comfy this little guy is.

Okay, okay. The movie. It was a tough choice for me. For a long time I was considering Almost Famous and Moulin Rouge, both of which I watched at an impressionable age and connect to some of my most melancholy adolescent memories. I highly recommend both films, and I hope one day we’ll watch them for Munch, but after coming off of a high of petting a cheetah, hiking around one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Christmas, and GETTING ENGAGED… Those movies just didn’t seem fitting for my Birthday Super Munch. What sealed the deal was when we came up with our meal approach for Hot Rod (we’ll get to that) which seemed so fun and weird that I couldn’t resist. We had to do it. So, without further ado, let’s ride.

The Food

I had the hardest time picking an opening quote for Hot Rod because this movie is rampant with brilliant one-liners and casual humor that keeps you laughing practically nonstop. Among those lines is one that captures the absurdity of the dialogue and the dramatic turning point of the film: “Cool beans.”

And we made just that. Some very cool bean dishes.

We opened with some crispy black bean flautas with a creamy avocado dip. Surprisingly easy to make but incredibly delicious, these flautas are a mixture of black beans, spices, lime juice, and onions wrapped inside a corn tortilla and fried to perfection. We topped ours with a little cotija cheese, added a little hot sauce, dipped them in some guacamole, and dug in.

We barely saved room for the main course which was a delicious and hearty white bean and Italian sausage cassoulet. We combined the beans, cherry tomatoes, some spices, balsamic vinegar, and sausages from Rain Shadow Meats in a large cast iron pan and roasted it until the tomatoes burst and created a fragrant and flavorful sauce. It was the perfect meal for a cold winter day, not to mention it made wonderful leftovers.

I wish I could tell you we topped it all off with a bean-based dessert that same day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my shit together in time for game day, but before you call me out, let me describe the recipe I had to work with. I was tasked with making baked bean ice cream. Baked. Bean. Ice cream. Those are two things that shouldn’t even go together! The recipe instructed me to buy dried beans, soak them overnight, and cook them in a pressure cooker. Note: Cooking the beans on low in a slow cooker overnight will not produce the same results as a pressure cooker for 45 minutes. Who knew? But I can tell you this, I won’t be making that mistake again.

Lacking a pressure cooker, I began round two with canned beans and improvised some of the cooking instructions. This mixture then had to cool overnight. Next came the actual ice cream base which required not one, not two, but fourteen egg yolks. I never promised these desserts were healthy. While the base is cooking on the stove, you actually blend in part of the baked bean mixture from before. I’ll admit, at this point I’d sunk more hours than I care to count and practically destroyed my slow cooker, so I was feeling a little nervous about the final taste test. Surprise, surprise… This mixture also cools overnight.

Another day later, we were finally able to hand it off to the ice cream maker. The end result… Actually pretty amazing. Imagine the brown sugar and caramel flavors in baked beans amplified a bit, a hint of that distinct bean flavor, and a perfectly creamy ice cream just melting in your mouth. It blew us all away. Worth all the drama? Maybe. Would I make it again? Never. But it was a fun experiment and it does indeed embody the very essence of this movie. I guess you could say this ice cream was “cool beans.”

And before we move on to the drinks, let us be completely honest with you and admit that this high bean diet can take a toll. Luckily, we were prepared.

The Drinks

Our inspiration from the movie didn’t just end at cool beans. Another epic exchange in the movie happens as Rod is training for his big stunt and announces his new and very important safe word: “hwiskey” (pronounced like whiskey but really, really emphasizing the “H” sound). Side note: safe words are very important. So, of course we made a hwiskey cocktail, but not your average hwiskey cocktail. This was a Hazy Hwiskey Cocktail.

With this cocktail, you torch some cloves and cinnamon until they begin to smoke. You then capture the smoke in an overturned, chilled snifter glass and strain a mixture of rye hwiskey, B+B liqueur, and bitters when the glass is filled with smoke. Squeeze some orange rind above it, and enjoy. This drink was fragrant and delicious and brought out all the right flavors in the hwiskey. It was really surprising just how much the smoke prepped your palate for the cocktail.

The Rules

  1. Drink whenever Rod mentions fighting or saving his dad.
  2. Drink whenever Rod gets hurt.
  3. Drink whenever Rod calls upon a spirit for help.

The Mustaches

Bonus section! We got in character and donned some fake mustaches to embrace the spirit of Rod Kimble and the stuntman in each of us.

We looked and felt amazing. Just read our Amazon review if you don’t believe me.

The Movie

Hot Rod is the story of aspiring stunt man Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg). Rod aspires to be a “legendary stuntman” like his father, who he believes died in a fiery stunt-related accident. He spends his time doing small time gigs at public pools and practicing in his neighborhood with his rag tag crew, The Lonely Island Kevin (Jorma Taccone), Rico (Danny McBride), and Dave (Bill Hader). Rod’s biggest problems in life are executing more impressive stunts and earning the respect of his stepdad, Frank. It’s not clear which is more likely to happen first.

Everything changes when Rod finds out that Frank has a bad heart and he’ll die soon if he doesn’t have an expensive surgical procedure that his family currently can’t afford. I guess by everything changes, I mean nothing changes because Rod declares that he will save Frank so he can beat him in a fight and earn his respect by raising the money through his stunts. The pacing of this movie is extremely quick so imagine that everything that we have said above, happens in the first 10 minutes or so and what is left is a wonderful and glorified training montage which includes:

Romance:

 Dancing:

Punchdancing:

And of course, lots of stunts:

All in all, It’s a story of friendship, camaraderie, and never giving up on your dreams. Sure, Rod Kimble is a haphazard hero, but he overcomes discovering the truth about the death of his father, resounding criticism from his community, and grave financial setbacks (I may or may not be propping these up to be greater than they actually are). Rod picks himself up after every failed stunt, and tries again. Not to mention the whole story is carried by the quirky, random humor that is characteristic of Andy Samberg and the actors in his crew.

It would be remiss to not mention that this film is not for everyone. It is a weird movie, and you have probably seen or heard of similar films: Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, or Blades of Glory. All of these films are simple, which is their greatest strength as well as potentially their greatest weakness. Hot Rod relies on very specific, situational, over-the-top, comedy that will either work for you or it won’t. The film itself has little to no narrative substance and is encouraged on by what amounts to small vignettes that leads to what could arguably be a greater whole. There are dance interludes, drug-induced sequences, an extensive tumbling montage (both gymnastics based and injury based), infectious singing that soon turns into rioting, a jazzy remix of the phrase “cool beans,” and more than a handful of one-off riffs in between. To some, it will seem like a collection of skits loosely tied together by the merest threads of a story, but others will enjoy it for precisely that aspect.

Moving past the story, at the film’s center is a man-child character that is roughly the equivalent of a 12 year-old, dipped in sugar, and placed in a 20-something’s body. Depending on who you are, you will either see that as humorous or be confused/bored by it. If you haven’t seen the film and are interested in it, the only piece of advice that we can give you, if you chose to watch this film, is to watch it with a group of close, like-minded friends with a cold, alcoholic beverage in hand, and let the movie play out for itself.

The Reviews

Andre: Simply Samburg-tastic. I don’t always like Andy Samburg, but I loved this movie. Often times I’m put off by his specific type of whacko comedy, but in Hot Rod, it worked for me. The more I think about the movie, the more surprised I am that I liked it, given that this was a 90-minute movie that would arguably be a better 5-minute SNL skit, but I still keep thinking about the movie and chuckling. I guess I can’t explain why I liked Hot Rod, but I sure did.

Leanna: Cool beans. We’ve watched other movies that I’ve loved in the past but haven’t revisited in a while, and some of them (like Mean Girls), have really fell flat. Hot Rod is not one of those movies. It’s exactly my type of humor: random, good-natured, weird, and just fun. Most of all, I love how everyone in Rod’s crew has their own distinctly bizarre quirks, but they stand together with Rod on his ridiculous journey to stunt-man fame giving everyone else in their small town some serious #squadenvy. For me, this movie just works, and it always makes me laugh.

Ben: 85%. Hot Rod is one of those films that will be very divisive. It is fast moving, jokes are sometimes said under an actors breath, it is stupid, over-the-top, and my gosh is it stupid. But there is a certain charm to it that I really enjoy, and they really went all the way with the film, and it pays off. The ridiculous team supporting Rod all hold their own, and the film is full of moments that you will reenact with your friends. Hot Rod is simple, and it is beautiful because of it.