Some might know him as Magic Mike. We gonna see if he still got some magic in that Mike.
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Well, we have reached it, then end of Magic Month. There’s no need to be sad, though, because we’re ending with a bang. To close out the month, we’re watching the most magical movie of them all: Magic Mike XXL. Touting both magic and a dude named Mike, we knew we were in for a good time. We just didn’t expect the experience to blow us all away and be an affirming experience for so many who watch it. We were caught up in its spell.
To start, we got a healthy serving of vegetables in the form of spinach balls served with a roasted eggplant. These bad boys were a mix of frozen spinach, onion, garlic, parmesan, and breadcrumbs all held together with melted butter and eggs. Because of the butter, our hands got really greasy while we were handling the balls. You have to make sure you lubricate your hands with enough oil to handle the balls effectively.
Once the balls are formed (it’s okay if they’re a little misshapen – no balls are perfectly round), you put them in the fridge for a bit to firm up then pop them in the oven. Once you whip the balls out the oven, you may want to put them in your mouth immediately, but you have to wait a few minutes. The balls will be too hot to handle.
To follow up the spinach balls, we made some big meaty Sonoran Hot Dogs. It has been a long time since our last experience with a Sonoran Hot Dog, but it was everything we remember it to be. What is a Sonoran Hot Dog you might ask? Well, you take a plump salty hot dog and make sure it is wrapped up tightly in bacon to protect the meat inside. Those dogs are tender so that step is very important. Next, we turned up the heat to really firm it up. Finally, we slapped that sausage between some buns and added some pico de gallo, avocado, and topped it all off with some 100% pure unadulterated Mexican crema, generously splashed all around. The hot dog was definitely bigger than expected but an extremely satisfying experience nonetheless.
To close out the night, we made some banana splits with two scoops of ice cream: chocolate and peanut butter, for an extra nutty flavor. We topped it off with a maraschino cherry, walnuts, and whip cream drizzled down the side. We were surprised how quickly the whipped cream came out, so it did get a little messy, but it was still delicious. It was a nutty, creamy, chocolatey mess and we loved it.
Drink time! Something that has been tempting us for a long time is the Pisco Sour: equal parts mysterious and tasty. Using what was were told to believe was an authentic Peruvian recipe, we whipped up this liquid jazz. A Pisco Sour is comprised of Pisco (obviously), but also lime, bitters, simple syrup, and some lightly beaten egg whites all coming together to make the liquid silk that makes up this drink. The result is a white honey like flavor and color that is tasty on your lips and great when you swallow. We loved them so much we each took on a couple of these bad boys.
The rules are the same as always for Magic Month.
💫Drink whenever magic happens.
🙅Drink whenever someone in the movie expresses disbelief in magic
✨Drink whenever you, the viewer, are in shock.
Magic Mike XXL was a classic bros road trip movie but managed to subvert the genre and rise up higher than the competition, like Sex Drive, Road Trip, and Paul. Remember Paul? The one where Seth Rogen was an alien on a road trip with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost? That was a weird one.
Anyway, back to bro road trip movies in general. There’s always a long drive to a destination that isn’t reached until the last 15 minutes of the movie, there’s always some conflict between friends, there’s always a ton of sex jokes, and there’s always a happy ending. Magic Mike XXL had all of these elements, but it managed each element really well and surpassed our expectations.
Magic Mike XXL was all about the journey. They got the friend conflict out of the way early, so we could spend the rest of the movie watching Mike and his friends explore, get to know each other better, and bring out the best in each other. Unexpectedly, Magic Mike XXL is an extremely character driven movie. You end up getting pulled into the conversations happening in each scene and satisfied with where they go. You actually form a bond with all these male strippers – sorry, we mean male entertainers – and see different dimensions to all of them. Well, almost all of them. Tarzan never really got his chance to steal our hearts.
Were there sex jokes in this movie? Of course, there were. We were following five male entertainers across the country. There were going to be sex jokes, but these were good sex jokes – very sex positive and not demeaning at all. Magic Mike XXL got us to chuckle because these men were just so comfortable with their sexuality. They talk openly (and move openly) in ways we don’t, enjoy life in ways we don’t and it is hard not to get a little wrapped up in it all.
It is a film whose one goal in life is to spread joy and entertain and the magic of it all is that they were able to pull it off and keep our attention through the entirety of the film.
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Andre – Good enough to make me want to watch the original. I was the only member who was completely new to the series, so I had no idea what to expect. I figured it would be in the vein of Bring it On, the last movie we watched featuring something like a dance competition, and one I really didn’t enjoy. However, Magic Mike XXL was way better than your standard dance movie. It defied every expectation I had based on the cover and trailer, and ended up being a very deep movie about friendship, ambition, and finding the joy for yourself and for others. I hear the original has even more of what I loved about XXL, so I’ll be sure to watch it at one point.
Leanna – On a scale of XXS to XXL, this movie is a solid XL. This movie feels so much more natural than the first one, and I think that’s partially because the dialogue feels more friendly and improvised. It didn’t work for me at first, but after a scene or two, I really started to enjoy how authentic all of the interactions really felt. You may come to this movie for the dancing and the removal of clothing, but you stay for the friendship and the journey that these men go on together.
Ben – 85%. I legitimately love Magic Mike XXL. What at one point was a flippant choice to watch this movie has turned me into a fan hoping for another entry in the series. It is equal parts dance film, and road trip film, while having a positive joyful force driving its core. And from a distance, you wouldn’t expect this film to be an opportunity for women of all types to see themselves as beings deserving of love, joy and sex. It is one of the few films released in any year that is focused on satisfying the female gaze, and it is a welcome entry for that reason. Perhaps the most unfortunate issue about all of this is that many won’t give Magic Mike XXL the time of day purely based on the movie they perceive it to be, and that is an unfortunate occasion. If you need a little convincing here is a recap of the film written by Roxane Gay, that will both spoil the entire movie while instilling within you that “I gotta see this for myself,” kind of attitude. There is a lot more I could write about this film but I do want to mention just one last thing and that is how absolutely perfect Jada Pinkett Smith is in this film. Her role as MC is so powerful and multifaceted that it has the fortunate effect of transforming the room around you, letting your true surrounding turn into that of her club DOMINA. I would love to see a prequel film that is all about her. And with that Magic Month is finished, but the magic is everlasting for Magic Mike XXL.