Shakespeare, you slay me. Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing: Movie Review

Over Spring Break, while vacationing in Florida and running around Disney World and Universal like I child, I happened to find time to watch Much Ado About Nothing, a 1993 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name. It is a delightful comedy, telling two love stories of very different natures.

The film tells the tale of Beatrice and Benedick (played by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh), who scorn love and marriage but of course, the pair is drawn together in the end. On the other side of the story are Claudio and Hero, a young enamored couple. Kate Beckinsale made her debut in acting as Hero, and although she is pretty and embodies all that is beautiful and pure about love, there’s not much to say for her acting, other than a few tears and longing looks at her lover.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of those films that screams, “Nominate me!” so I was surprised to find it was not among the listed Oscar nods. Other than a few scene transitions, where images fade in and out over each other while cheesy, whimsical music plays in the background, the film captured each scene well enough, and other than Keanu Reeves (don’t worry; we’ll get to him), every actor did a fine job in their role.

Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh are fierce as lovers in a “merry war” and perhaps some of their chemistry arises from their real romance at the time the film was made. Branagh played a duel-role as actor and director, and it made me curious to see what other films he starred in or directed. Emma Thompson never surprises me nor am I ever disappointed by her acting abilities. She reminds me of Meryl Streep in the fact that whenever I watch her in a film, she just brings it. Even if it was some pathetic movie, that chick will give her utmost. However, unlike Streep, I find Thompson incredibly hard to dislike, no matter her role. (Trelawney fans anyone?)

The actors who played Hero and Claudio did their jobs: I honestly have nothing negative or positive to remark on. They were certainly the pretty faces of the film; Thompson and Branagh were the real meat. Denzel Washington also starred, as Don Pedro of Aragon, who seems quite marriageable yet remains single by the end of the play, quite literally. Don Pedro is just standing there while everyone is celebrating at the end. He even puts himself out there for Beatrice, but alas, she rejects him – gently – and they remain friends. I’m sure that’s what he was going for.

Poor Denzel. You’ll play a love interest in another movie.

Keanu Reeves – sadly enough – plays the villain as Don Pedro’s half-brother, Don John, who is forlornly dissatisfied in life and seeks to wreak havoc on others. He does a shoddy job at all acting; I honestly don’t think Reeves knew what he was saying half the time. I know Shakespeare can be hard to understand, but somebody get this dude a tutor.

 So, if you can suffer through Reeves’ performance…

After conspiring with his men, Don John manages to ruin Hero and Claudio’s wedding by calling out Hero as – well – a whore. Or you know, a wilted flower or something if it’s in Shakespeare’s terms. He escapes when he is found out but is later imprisoned.  We must have our happy ending after all.

Spoiler warning: Much Ado About Nothing ends with everyone celebrating and in pure bliss, happily in love and matched perfectly (except for Denzel).

I was pleasantly surprised by Much Ado About Nothing and would even recommend this play or movie to someone who isn’t a Shakespeare fan. Although it is in the analogy ridden, convoluted, slightly confusing language and all that, it is still incredibly easy to comprehend the plot and what each person is trying to communicate. There are also many quips and jabs that are quite amusing.

My only warning would be this; Much Ado About Nothing is a old-age romantic comedy, thoroughly. So perhaps not all men would plop down on the couch to watch this one. Regardless, it is a well done film – despite silly Keanu Reeves – and very enjoyable.

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The Flying Tomato: Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review:

 The Flying Tomato branches off of the bar and grill, Trolley’s, as a more family-oriented restaurant. You can literally walk through the bar into the restaurant, separated only by a narrow hallway and a drastic lighting change. From the outside, The Flying Tomato’s green building stands out amongst all the bars and coffee shops and fortunately, it is easy to get to, despite the hassle of parking downtown.

The building itself is brighter than most, and once you step inside, you can feel an exaggerated Italian atmosphere around you, with murals on the walls of Italian scenery and a few depictions of tomatoes splattered about. It’s slightly ironic that through a hallway lies the complete opposite: a dark bar and grill.

My group arrived around 6:30 and we immediately noticed the building was practically empty. Only a couple women sat at a table, and one server stood near the entryway. Typically, empty restaurants don’t bode well for the experience. I’m glad to say this wasn’t the case.

The waitress, Ashley, immediately offered us any table in the house, and after seating ourselves, she treated us with nothing but pure courtesy and fine service. She regularly refilled my drink, constantly checked if we wanted more bread, which of course we did, and even chatted with us a little, without butting into our conversations too much.

After debating for some time, Marily and I split the Tuscan Spinach Dip, made fresh from spinach with a three-cheese dip that came with chips or bread. The appetizer spread before us in no time flat. Marily and I both agreed that while the dip was good and we continued to devour it, it definitely could have had a richer taste.

The menu is the basic American selection: pastas, pizza, steak, chicken, and sandwiches, even though the restaurant definitely seems more grounded in the Italian flair. Because of that, I ordered the Cavatelli, which, according to the menu’s description, is a “shell pasta tossed in our rich cheesy alfredo sauce and touched with fresh garlic and parmiagiano cheese.” I also ordered a salad with the house dressing.

The nice thing about the salad: free refills.

The sad thing about the salad: I didn’t want any.

The lettuce tasted watery and the dressing was a little too sweet for my liking. This was a slight disappointment but nothing dampened my spirits about eating pasta.

As soon as the server set the Cavatelli in front of me, I was immediately reminded of Springfield Brewing Company’s delicious Mac & Cheese. The presentation was lovely, with cheese bits scattered on top, as well as garlic sprinkled over the shells. Upon first taste, the dish was a little too hot to actually absorb the flavor, but after waiting a little bit, I finally dug into my meal.

The Cavatelli not only looked like Brew Co.’s Mac & Cheese, it also tasted quite a bit like it. Excluding the fact that the Cavatelli was spicier, the dish definitely reminded me of macaroni and cheese. Whether or not they were going for that, I’m not sure, but regardless, it was rather enjoyable. I felt like it could have been cheesier, especially after the repeated advertisement in 99 percent of The Flying Tomato’s pastas that said, “rich, cheesy alfredo sauce.” Overall, it was a typical Italian meal at a low cost.

Also: I advise future customers to order the smaller sized dishes. There are two prices listed for each meal: one is for the large portion, the other for the regular sized. Either way, you definitely won’t spend a fortune on a meal, but the smaller one is more than worth it. Additionally, if you order any appetizers or even a salad, the regular dish will fill you up completely. All four of us girls had leftovers to take home with us.

Price Range: $7-$15

Contact Information:

The Flying Tomato on Facebook

(417) 799-0309

Location:

Downtown Springfield

107 Park Central Sq., Springfield, MO 65806

Chi Straightener vs. Hot Shot Tools Flat Iron

So here’s the deal. Since childhood, I’ve been a little fro-baby, the person with black-girl hair, and the one with the crazy hair. Needless to say, my curly locks have a very unique texture and thickness and not every product will work with it. Recently, I’ve been curling my hair, and I decided that I would set up a test:

Which is better: A $75+ Chi Straightener or a $50 Hot Shot Tools Flat Iron?

Now, onto the curling. Usually, one would show a tutorial, a video, but seeing as how I’m not interested in the process, here is the result:

Now let’s back-track.

After spending a good two hours and running Chi Silk Infusion through all of my hair, I started out with the left side, curling with my roommate’s lovely straightener.

The Hot Shot Tools Flat Iron:

– formed loose curls and I had to re-curl several strands

– fuzzies (pieces that refused to curl/straighten) remained near my skull

– the flat iron steamed every single time I curled a strand. So much that the steam made my eyes hurt!

– separated the strands of hair too much, to where I had to work to make them mesh   together

 

 

 

 

 

The Chi definitely fared better.  The expensive straightener:

– formed tighter curls and fell in line with other strands better

– smoothed out fuzzies

– steamed less! My eyes weren’t hurting this time.

– definitely gave the better overall  appearance

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I must admit, I figured the Chi would do better. It’s a well-known, highly sought-after brand, and after my test, it was well worth the money. Then again, you always have to take into consideration different hair textures and thicknesses. As I said, my hair is not the most conventional type. Additionally, because I lack the oils in my hair that most people have (as I said, black girl hair!), I don’t wash my hair every day. I actually wash my hair every 4-5 days. Thus, I cannot assess the damage a Chi or Hot Shot Tools flat iron could wreak on my hair until a week or two later.

Regardless, I do recommend shelling out the extra cash on the Chi if your hair looks half as well as mine did after using the flat iron.