Global Advent: Day 14

The Film: The Trip – UK

The Trip (2010) You really can’t be sad watching a film with Coogan and Brydon. It’s one of those indelible laws of nature like gravity or the way a good film can feel as satisfying as a good meal.

The Trip is a film about food, acting, comedic impressions, and life. It’s witty and acerbic, it sticks to your ribs. Just like a gourmet dinner it has it’s highs and lows, it’s sharp and mellow moments, but the strongest flavour is still the company.

Brydon and Coogan layer every moment of their meandering trip through the Northern countryside with the hilarity of their dueling impressions, the rivalry of their comedy, and a the questioning ache of finding yourself — all without the sickening sweetness that’s often paired with the theme.

The pseudo-documentary style from director Michael Winterbottom is relaxing. There’s no direct acknowledgement of the camera but it eases your expectations of a traditional narrative. If you want Hollywood road trip shenanigans, you’re watching the wrong film. In fact, The Trip directly challenges those stereotypical moments even while the actors talk about wanting to be cast in those kinds of films. This is philosophical art-house cinema disguised as a road trip, and is the kind of movie that gives hope to those of us who want something greater than set-up, pay-off, save the cat, the end.

I love every scene in this film. I love every little thing this film is and isn’t. I love that it’s deep and emotional, but from the male perspective. And yet I, someone who isn’t from the same age, gender, or nationality, find it incredibly relatable. A truly great film has that ability, to overcome any differences with it’s audience and connect on a more genuine human level. But this film also does so in a smart way. There’s nothing depressing about the inward glances. It’s rewarding but light.

If you’re not filled with tears of laughter and moved by the aching of a man who has more than most but still doesn’t have it all, if you’re not practicing your own Michael Caine impression, or shouting out at any chance “You’re Stuck In A Metaphor!”,  after watching The Trip — consider yourself starved of some of life’s delicious moments.

Holiday Spirit: +5

The Food: Bulgogi & Oi Namul

I was thinking about the first time I had Korean food — at Christmas in Uzbekistan. A memory which still brings me joy,  that fusion of cultures that so greatly expresses who I am. So when I saw this recipe for bulgogi, I had to try it.

Korean FoodI didn’t have exactly what was on the list but I was craving this dish so I went for it anyway. I’m going to point you back to the original recipe if you want to make a larger quantity, or a more authentic version from savorysweetlife.com. Cooking for myself, and working with what I had — this is how I made it.

Bulgogi

  • .5 lbs. of top sirloin steak, sliced paper thin across the grain.
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

Partially freezing the beef helps with cutting clean slices.

Whisk the marinade together and pour over the beef and shallots. Massage the marinade with your hands into each slice of beef. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Korean FoodPan fry, placing a few slices of beef in single layer and completely flat in a thin layer of hot oil. Fry until the edges have turned dark brown and crispy.

To compliment the strong beef flavour I wanted kimchi but I didn’t have any. I whipped up a poor-man’s version of kimchi but it wasn’t worth posting. However, it did remind me how much I love those vinegary, spicy flavours. I think I’ll make a better version soon.

I was going to make a spinach side dish but I saw this recipe for what is essentially stir fried cucumbers and thought it would really take me away from average flavours. I’m super glad I tried it. The texture was a great pairing with the meat and rice. I will definitely be making this again.

Oi Namul (Korean Cucumber Salad) [From ummayori]

Namul is a general term for a Korean seasoned vegetable dish. The name of the dish may vary slightly depending on what vegetables are used and how they are prepared

  • Korean Food3 small cucumber
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • a pinch of chili threads or other source of heat such as sriracha, optional

Slice the cucumbers in paper thin circles. Sprinkle salt over the cucumber slices, mix well and let them stand for 20 minutes.

Rinse in cold water and drain well. Squeeze out excess water from cucumber with your hands gently, then place the cucumber in a cloth or paper towel and gently but firmly squeeze out as much water as possible. The less watery the cucumber, the better texture. If you squeeze the cucumber too hard, then the cucumber will be bruised.

In a frying pan, heat canola oil over medium heat and saute cucumber 1-3 minutes.

Remove the cucumbers from the pan and spread them out on a wide, flat plate or paper towel to cool them down quickly; sprinkle shil kochu, sesame seed, sesame oil, and top with a little sriracha; mix gently and serve.

Holiday Spirit: +5

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About Saint

Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Cinephile, Coffee Zombie
This entry was posted in Adventure, Asian, Christmas, Comedy, Crossposted, England, Film, Film Genre, Food, Foreign Film, Holiday, Independent, International Cinema, Modified Recipe, Netflix, Salad, Screenwriting, Side Dish, Theme, Tumblr, UK, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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