Praise the Lawn and Pass the Asparagus

April 28, 2009


American Beauty, the last Best Picture of the 90’s,  is a masterful, dark satire of American (suburban) life.  Ahead of its time, American Beauty mocked suburbia before those housewives got so desperate.  Everyone on Robin Hood Trail has a beautiful house with a beautiful lawn.  Carolyn Burnham keeps her roses looking good with help from eggshells and Miracle Gro.  And everyone seems to be a completely different person than they appear.  Look closer indeed.


Written by HBO’s Six Feet Under scribe Alan Ball and directed by first time director, Sam Mendes American Beauty is a rare bird for best picture winners:  it’s a comedy.  A dark comedy or “dramedy” yes, but a comedy nevertheless.  And it’s got a stellar cast.  I love Kevin Spacey, I think he’s a truly gifted actor.  Same goes for Annette Bening:  she’s perfect here.  I love the scene of her singing along and performing  “Don’t Rain on My Parade” in her car.  I do that too–same song, different singer–I like the Barbra Streisand Funny Girl movie soundtrack version the best.  Interesting to note, Carolyn was singing in her car to the Bobby Darin version; a few years later Kevin Spacey portrayed Bobby Darrin in the biopic Beyond the Sea.

A couple of before they were stars moments:  John Cho, Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies ( a guilty pleasure, sure) has a tiny role as a prospective home buyer.  1980’s pop sensation Paula Abdul (“Straight Up’ “Forever your Girl”) and future American Idol flibbertigibbet choreographed the cheerleader scene. And before she won a Tony as the terrific Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray and before she danced on Dancing With the Stars a peppy Marissa Jaret Winokur showed up as the Mr. Smiley’s Counter Girl.  She’s got one of the movies’ best lines, too.

Other movies nominated in 1999:  The Insider, The Cider House Rules,  The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense.  They did good that year American Beauty is the best of the bunch.

For dinner we dined at a combo of Mr. Smiley’s and the Burnham’s house.  I made burger’s ala an In-and-Out Burger.  I only wish I could have made beef and cheese pot pie on a stick. LOL.

1/4 pound ground beef
1 fresh hamburger bun
Dash salt
1 tablespoon Kraft Thousand Island dressing
Large tomato slice (or 2 small slices)
Large lettuce leaf
2 slices American cheese (Singles)
-or- 1 slice real American cheese
1 whole onion slice (sliced thin)

Preheat a frying pan over medium heat.
Lightly toast  the hamburger bun, face down in the pan.
Set aside.
Form each half into a thin patty slightly larger than the bun.
Lightly salt  patty and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side.
Flip it over and immediately place slice of cheese on.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Assemble the burger in the following stacking order from the bottom up:
bottom bun  dressing/tomato/lettuce/beef patty with cheese/
onion slice or grilled onions/top bun.
Makes one hamburger.

Serve with a side of OreIda Fries (I wish I would have remembered Smiley fries) and some steamed asparagus (break off spears’ end, steam for about 3-4 minutes–serve with lemon slices).

For dessert we had a home baked frozen apple pie (once again, not on a stick). How American.

%d bloggers like this: