27 May


The Setup

The X-Men series has had a tumultuous run with movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine coming in at 38% on Rotten Tomatoes and X-Men: Days of Future Past sitting at an impressive 91%. Sitting somewhere in the middle is the first film in the series (simply titled X-Men), and this is the one we decided to watch in anticipation of the premier of X-Men: Apocalypse. The movie is sixteen years old (and now we all feel ancient for saying that), and we were curious if it was still relevant and interesting today. Having all seen it so long ago, we didn’t remember much:

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.36.40 PM

With a vague idea of what we were about to watch, we set out on a quest to cook some delicious, mutant-themed food.

The Food

All of our dishes are inspired by the powers of different mutants in the film. Some were more obvious (see: The Drinks) while others required a bit more ingenuity to fully capture the essence of a mutant’s powers.

We started things off with some sweet potato fries paired with a lime Sriracha yogurt dip. We sliced the sweet potatoes to give them a claw-like appearance, similar to Wolverine’s when he gets agitated. We like to imagine if the mutants were having a potluck, Wolverine would make a big show of tossing the sweet potatoes in the air and slicing them up as they came back down to simultaneously impress Jean Gray and annoy Cyclops. We tossed the sweet potatoes with a little salt, pepper, and oil and roasted them in the oven until their edges were nice and crispy. You can check out the full recipe over on Licorice Pizza Pie including the ideal music pairing while you’re prepping and dining (we tried it – it definitely works).

For the entree, we knew that we had to fit the awesome and iconic Rogue into the mix. This proved to be no easy task because there are no distinct visual attributes to her power, and other than her classic green and yellow suit or white-tinged streak of hair, there’s not much else to note. Her power is the absorption of other mutants’ powers and memories, and she holds her own form during the process, which brought us to the line of thinking, “What foods hold their form but absorb the power of another food?”

Enter Ramen burgers. With the typical burger patty in the center and discs of cooked ramen for the bun, this form of food fusion is a sight to behold. Add in some soy sauce, and sesame oil flavoring, a dollop of Sriracha ketchup, and some arugula and you have yourself the makings of tasty and filling meal. It was such a memorable burger, and we could barely get our mouths around it. The Ramen Rogue Burger was a success.

Lastly, we created some torched s’mores bars for Cyclops. If Cyclops had a party trick, it would be bringing these bars to a party raw, and when he had everyone’s attention, torching an elaborate design onto them.

We ground up some graham crackers and butter and packed it into a baking dish to form the crust. While this was baking, we melted bittersweet chocolate and condensed milk to form the chocolate layer. We spread this over the top of the crust, and placed the bars in the fridge. While they were cooling, we prepped the marshmallow layer. Homemade marshmallows sound intimidating, but it’s totally worth it to have the softest, fluffiest, stickiest topping you can imagine. We spread this over the top, chilled it again, then torched it. The only thing these bars were missing was a campfire.

The Drinks

We felt like Iceman was the perfect match for an X-Men cocktail since his powers could keep the mutants’ cocktails cool all night (Do the mutants party at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters? Because if not, we’ve been making a lot of assumptions about their party tricks…). We decided to just make the entire glass out of ice using some nifty ice molds we found on Amazon because that seemed like the optimal way to chill our drinks. You can really put whatever you want in these shot glasses, but we regretfully went with Tarantula Azul because our local Safeway was sold out of Blue Curaçao (c’mon, Safeway!). We thought the blue color would be more thematic, and it was, but that’s really the only nice thing we have to say about this drink.

The Rules

We were a little hazy on the finer plot details of this film, so we had to make some guesses and do some research as to what would be the best combination of rules. We finally landed on the following:

  1. Drink whenever you experience second-hand embarrassment from acts caused by a love triangle in the film. (This is prevalent in basically all of the films in this trilogy.)
  2. Drink whenever the claws come out, both literally and figuratively. (This is a fun one.)
  3. Drink whenever someone talks about being different.

Or, as an alternative for really any X-Men film, you can drink whenever terminology or descriptors commonly used in the Civil Rights movement are used by a white actor when no person of color is present on screen.

The Movie

Against all odds, the original X-Men movie stands up. Sure, there are better superhero movies. Heck, there are even better X-Men movies. But the thing you have to remember while watching X-Men is that it’s a 16 year old movie, and it still holds its own in terms of attempts at character development and interesting fight sequences rather than the deluge of superhero movies coming out now.

The biggest shock in watching X-Men was both how much and how little Hugh Jackman has changed over the years. Even now, he doesn’t look a day older than he does in X-Men (TBH he may even look younger), but he must have gained about 100 pounds in pure muscle between when that movie came out and today. In X-Men he’s bulkier than most people, but now he’s almost comically huge. Thank you, Hugh, for all your hard work.

2000 vs. 2013

Please note, that photo on the right is him in 2013… Meaning he’s had an additional 3 years to bulk up. Can’t wait to see you in X-Men: Apocalypse, Hugh! (Finally, please note that rope sized vein in his right arm, true work.)

ANYWAY, the special effects were a mixed bag in this movie. The CGI in some scenes, like the opening credits or when Magneto uses his mutant machine for the first time, is almost comically bad. They went over the top with how sci-fi it looked which made it a little campy and very much a product of its time. There were other scenes, though, which looked really great. The moment where Cyclops looses his glasses in the train terminal and seems to incinerate roughly half the room is really visually cool and one of the most memorable scenes in all of X-Men.

For the most part, the acting was also really great. We take it for granted now that superhero movies will be able to pull big names, but again, this movie came out before superhero movies were a really big thing, which makes it even more surprising they were able to land Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. On that note though, we do feel that Ian McKellan phoned it in a little bit and that Michael Fassbender makes a better Magneto. But hey, everyone has to make a paycheck now and again.

The Reviews

André: Rated X for eXcellent. I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I expected to! It actually made me want to re-watch more of the X-Men movies and maybe even watch X-Men: Apocalypse. Maybe. Definitely once it goes to DVD, but it’s still just a maybe as to whether I will see it in theaters or not.

Leanna: Assuming Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters uses a conventional grading system, I give this a B+. The last time I watched this film was when I was studying abroad in Ireland the summer X-Men: First Class came out. Some friends and I decided it would be a good idea to watch all of the other X-Men movies in preparation (despite the fact that X-Men: First Class takes place in the past and actually has nothing to do with the other movies for the most part). And you know what? It was entertaining then and it was entertaining now. I will always think of X-Men when I think of Ireland and vice versa. So, Shawn, Tori, or Veronica, if you’re reading this, those times were good craic and I’m grateful for our memories watching these movies before going out to the Dandelion on a Saturday night.

Ben: 85%. You know what? Consider me impressed that this wasn’t as slow or completely devoid of action as I remember it. Sure, superhero films have changed a lot since 2000, but this was relatively decent, except for some poor acting. My only hang-up is how un-buff Wolverine is in this film. *puts on glasses* It just… It really doesn’t line up with the timeline of the other movies. This hunk of meat to goes from Thor-buff (the newer Wolverine films that are presented as sequels), down to just toned (this film), and then up to Hulk-levels of buffness (X-Men: The Last Stand). It really makes it completely impossible to suspend my belief in a movie devoted to mutants with impressive abilities.