Pizza Quest 3: Mr. Jim’s Pizza

My decision to even bother trying a pizza place in Mount Pearl was entirely based off a friend of mine—jazz musician Patrick Boyle—writing a song about it: Mr. Jim’s Reels.  I figured song-worthy pizza must be worth a try.  The Superbowl viewing I attended in Mount Pearl gave me the perfect opportunity to try it, and to be a decent guest by bringing some pizza to the party.

Unfortunately, Superbowl Sunday had seen some poor weather, and thus my travel to Mount Pearl was somewhat hindered.  Since I had no idea how long it would take Mr. Jim’s to prep a pizza for pick-up (only about 15 minutes, it seems), I had ordered it far too early, and thus we were about 10 minutes late picking it up.  Coupled with another few minutes of travel time to our final destination, and the pizza may not have been at optimal freshness when consumed.

On the up-side, Mr. Jim’s pizza was good—certainly what I consider a proper sort of pizza.  The crust was thick and crispy, toppings were generous, and it was tasty.  I think this particular pizza had been slightly overdone, as the crust was more brown than golden in places, but it was certainly not drastically so.

The most significant drawback came when the toppings congealed together in a solid mass of cheese, pepperoni, and bacon (delicious, I know) that tended to slide off the top of the slices.  Of course, this made me nostalgic for similar pizzas of my youth, but it had been a while since I had experienced the phenomenon.  I would suggest that it may have been due to the lack of freshness by this point—if the pizza had cooled enough for the cheese to solidify in this matter, it would exacerbate any sliding tendencies.

As such, I think Mr. Jim’s definitely warrants a second tasting, to ensure my already-positive opinion is not of a sub-optimal pizza.  I do not think it is sufficiently stand-out from places closer to home to warrant becoming a regular pizza place, but it is definitely a good pizza.

Tangled / Green Hornet / Barney’s Version

The girlfriend came to visit for a few weeks, so—as we are wont to do—we frequented the movies.  This post contains my thoughts in brief on the movies we saw together, most of which are old news by now, but I felt they should not pass without comment.


Tangled may have the distinction of being the first Disney non-Pixar computer animated film that was any good.  I quite enjoyed it; more than The Princess and the Frog, I think, though the music was largely forgettable and it lacked the gravitas or dramatic oomph of that 2D film.  Tangled just felt more fun, although I’m sure Zachary Levi‘s voice work conjuring my warm feelings toward Chuck may have contributed to this.

I saw it in 3D, and it was thankfully inoffensive in that regard.  Of course, the 3D also didn’t add anything, and I would have rather done without, but unfortunately it wasn’t showing in 2D anywhere at that time.

The animation looked fine; the characters were amusing or cute as needed, and the scenery sufficiently lovely.  As is often the case with Disney movies, the non-speaking animal sidekicks stole the show, in the form of Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse.  The story had some fun adventures and clever set pieces and was, well, fun.

It has just occurred to me that, at this point, most 3D computer animated features are all looking pretty much the same.  I didn’t notice much difference in terms of the quality of animation between this, Megamind, and Despicable Me, for example.  I hope this means that we’re at the point where writers, directors, and producers realize that they have to distinguish themselves with the quality of the movies (story, characters, voice acting, etc.) rather than just the visuals.  If so, then Pixar might finally face some meaningful competition.

Anyway: Tangled.  Enjoyable and fun, but not too deep.

Green Hornet

I had been hoping that the Green Hornet movie would be awesome because I generally like Seth Rogen, and more importantly I like movies that are awesome and that are also superhero movies.  There was even some reason to hope that it might be, seeing as director Michael Gondry had produced weird, interesting, and excellent films such as Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Alas, my hopes were not quite met.

First of all, the movie had a truly atrocious 3D-conversion.  Yet another overwhelming piece of evidence that 3D films suck in general, and converted ones suck without exception.  The people who keep making these travesties happen should totally just be melvined.

Secondly, the movie felt like it was two very distinct scripts jammed together in the middle.  So early in the film we see some amusing buddy comedy that is typical Rogen fare, and then in the latter half we have an intense, violent, plot-driven action flick.  Cameron Diaz’s role also seems entirely superfluous—I get what they were trying to do with her character, but she was heavily under-utilized and didn’t become interesting until the very end.

Thirdly, the action sequences lacked any kind of consistent style.  The first fight scene featuring Kato was highly stylized.  It was not necessarily a good style, but it was distinctive.  Some elements of that returned in the final action scene, but were absent from the rest of them.  And for me, a movie having its own sense of style is what can elevate it from so-so or ridiculous to transcendent and sublime.  Green Hornet did not reach such an apotheosis.

That said, it was a passably-entertaining action comedy.  I have expounded upon its flaws—which are many—but in the hierarchy of all movies, it was okay.  I was entertained, I laughed, I enjoyed the action sequences, and there were some genuinely clever bits.  I did not feel it was a wast of my money (other than the 3D), but your mileage may vary.

Barney’s Version

This film is, admittedly, a little far off my usual fare.  But my mother had wanted to see it, so the girlfriend and I went with her.  Also, at the time, there wasn’t really anything else out.

Fortunately, Barney’s Version turned out to be a fine film.  As with many films starring Paul Giamatti, it was laced with humour but turned a bit dark and depressing toward the end.  (In this case, I believe it was true of the original book as well.  Though it had been many years since she had read it, my mother found the movie to be a pretty good adaptation of the book.)

The story follows the ups and downs in the life of Barney Panofsky.  I can’t really say much more about the plot without giving away spoilers.  What should be obvious, though, is that Barney (played by Giamatti) is front-and-centre throughout the film, and he does an amazing job.  As Barney ages in the movie, Giamatti adjusts his posture, his way of walking, of speaking.  Very impressive and convincing.  The movie also had an excellent supporting cast, though Dustin Hoffman as Barney’s father was the real standout.

So Barney’s Version was an excellent film, albeit a somewhat dark and depressing one at times.  If that’s what you like in a film, this one won’t do you wrong.

Pizza Quest 2: Old Town Pizzeria

After a couple of Pizza Delight outings, I finally managed to try a place that was entirely new to me: Old Town Pizzeria.  Their pizza is much closer to the kind I like: crispier crust on the bottom, a meaningful amount of crust to hold on to at the edges, reasonably thick and doughy, and a nice layer of toppings.

This was a very satisfying experience.  The only drawback was that I found their sauce a little too sweet; this was only really noticeable around the edges after some of the toppings had slid off.  While I think I’ll want to come back to them again to get a stronger impression of whether they might be “the one”, they are certainly a more favoured option than Pizza Delight just by dint of being closer to the kind of pizza I like.

The pizza quest is already becoming more and more delicious.

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

My familiarity with Harry Potter has, till recently, been entirely via the movies and various online wikis.  Unlike die-hard fans of the books, I have seen the films with no additional knowledge of the world or plot, and thus some movies that were most beloved by the book-lovers left me confused and dissatisfied, whereas my favourite of the films thus far (Prisoner of Azkaban) is often cited as the weakest by the book fans.

Now, I have started reading the books opportunistically; that is, whenever I am staying with someone who happens to have a copy on their shelves.  I have read the first three books, and while they are growing on me, I still stand by my choice of favourite film.  I mention this to establish that, when it comes to the seventh Harry Potter movie, I’m still approaching it as a film-goer rather than a reader of the specific books.

As such, I found Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 enjoyable but dissatisfying, as it sort of just ended.  Of course, I understand that is because this movie ends in the middle of the book, but that doesn’t make it any more satisfying as a movie.

Nevertheless, the action was interesting if a bit directionless.  There were cool scenes and revelations, and the “interminable camping” bits I’ve heard mention of in the book seemed eminently terminable.  And this movie, more than any of the previous, was relentlessly dark.  In the previous films, bad stuff happened, but always to someone other than our main trio of heroes.  In this film, it hits them all square on, as if someone flicked a switch to go from kids book to adult book (or movie, in this case).

Despite my grumbles about the dissatisfying ending, it did leave me anxious to see how the series ends.  (I mean, I’ve *read* how the series ends on various wikis, but I’m anxious to see it, which is no small feat.)  I may try and get through the rest of the books before the final film arrives just to see how it turns out.

Of course, the movie is not all roses and sunshine in terms of production quality.  There were a number of plot events that didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, in the form of a few scenes where they tried to explain something, but didn’t explain enough.  Also, I found some of the character motivations a bit thin, and the lead trio seemed to rehash the same personal drama we saw 2 movies ago.  All in all, it felt a bit meandering and directionless, with lots of cool scenes individually that failed to make a coherent whole.

In terms of recommendations, well, if you liked the other movies, you’ll probably like this one; if you didn’t, probably not.  It is a more grown-up film than its predecessors, but won’t make much sense without them.

Pizza Quest 1: Pizza Delight

Since I first started my Pizza Quest some months ago, I have been lax in posting updates.  Rest assured, gentle reader, that I have not been lax in my consumption of pizza.  This is the first of three posts intended to get me caught up.

The first contender is Pizza Delight.  This is my mother’s preferred place, primarily (I think) because it is the pizza place closest to us.  Thankfully, it is not a bad default option.  Their pizzas are generally quite consistent; only with the last pizza did I find anything off-normal.  In that case, we got it on a Saturday night that was unusually busy for them, and it seemed like it had been left in the oven just a bit too long.

Their pizzas are generally quite tasty, with a dough-thickness that I quite enjoy.  However, they have a bit of a softer crust on the bottom, and not much crust on the ends to hold on to.  Thus, while it is a good pizza, I’m not sure they are quite a contender for what I’m looking for.

We had pepperoni, cheese, ground beef, and bacon.  This (or something close) will be our test toppings for future pizzas.  We also had an order of garlic fingers, which turned out to be quite expensive, and not worth the cost, I think.  We could have almost had another proper pizza for the price we paid, and pizza is greater than garlic fingers.

So, overall impressions of Pizza Delight are favourable, but not quite the kind of pizza I’m looking for.