TCM: 31 Days of Oscar

image via TCM

At 6:00 AM EST on Wednesday, February 1st, Turner Classic Movies will be kicking off their 31 Days of Oscar series – a month-long event that will showcase more than 300 award winning and nominated films from years past. Last year they built the schedule around trivia categories such as “The Most Writing Nominations” and “Best Picture, But Not Most Academy Awards”. This year’s theme is Around the World with Oscar, so every day of the schedule is broken up by film locales to “take you around the world and beyond”.

I’m looking forward to watching The Wild Bunch (a Sam Peckinpah film set in Mexico), which I’ve seen many times before, as well as films I’ve never seen like The Last Metro (France) and East of Eden (California). The series will definitely eat up space on my DVR and I’ll have to put my scheduled recordings of Cheers and King of the Hill on hold for the month.

The interactive schedule and film information site is here, and the PDF schedule is here.

Also, here is an excellent promotional video from TCM.



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Queso Flameado

Cheese baked in a small cast iron skillet is available with a few different mix-in options. The one I tried was “Norteno” style, with ground up chorizo beneath the thick and gooey blanket of cheese. The tasty crust that formed on top from being under the broiler (or maybe by being sprinkled with tequila and set on fire?) was the best part.

Tacos de Carne Asada

Extremely pricey at $7 a taco, but the meat was flavorful and perfectly grilled.

Taquitos de Chilorio

Of the three dishes these small, crispy pork rolls had the least oomph, but the duo of dipping sauces was delicious.

The steak tacos are also available in an entree size, and the skillet of queso is accompanied with a cup of guacamole and flour tortillas. This amount of food was perfect for two people.

The Margarita Clasica (not pictured) that I ordered to wash all this down with was not good. The tartness was overpowering and the tequila seemed non-existant, so I was basically drinking a watered down, sour limeade. I have a hunch sitting at the bar during happy hour (when the margaritas are only $5) makes a difference with how the drinks turn out.

Downton Abbey Parody

image via The Telegraph

A bit late to the craze, I jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon last May, several months after Season 1 had finished airing in the United States. I enjoyed Season 1 and had been looking forward to the U.S. premiere of Season 2 this month. What would become of Mary and Matthew?  How would the war affect both upstairs and downstairs?

Shortly before the new season started, a friend showed me a parody that was produced by BBC for last year’s Red Nose Day called Uptown Downstairs Abbey. It’s a spoof depicting life behind the scenes of a Downton Abbey-esque period drama. Starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley (aka Eddie and Pats from one of my favorite British comedies: Absolutely Fabulous) and American actress Kim Catrall, this comedic production is pure genius. It even uses the real set and music from the show.

I’ve already watched it several times and will probably come back to it time and time again when I need a laugh. The YouTube links for Part 1 and Part 2 (complete with a “recap” sequence at the beginning of Part 2) are:

The only drawback to watching this video is that I’m often reminded of it while watching the real show, and sometimes I can’t keep a straight face through scenes that are supposed to be serious.