There Will be Grub

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I’d been looking forward to seeing There Will Be Blood. It had been nominated for about a hundred Academy Awards, and my more serious film-nerd friends talked about it like it was a singular work of staggering genius that would shape the way Hollywood made movies for decades -- the Citizen Kane of their generation, and on and on like that. But I can sum up the entire movie in two lines: Daniel Day-Lewis begins as a miserable bastard with a fondness for silver and unusual facial hair. Daniel Day-Lewis ends as a miserable, drunken bastard with a fondness for oil and unusual facial hair. There is precisely one reason for seeing this movie, and that is to see Daniel Day-Lewis play a miserable, drunken bastard with unusual facial hair. There’s an even bigger reason not to bother: You’re going to spend two and a half hours watching Daniel Day-Lewis play a miserable, drunken bastard and, after about the first half-hour, the only thing that’s going to change about him is the unusual facial hair.

Are you getting the impression here that I did not like There Will Be Blood? Because if you are, you would be exactly right. I did not like the movie at all, and the time I spent watching it was only saved by the fact that I was watching it at Neighborhood Flix.

That's because the menu at Neighborhood Flix, a dinner-and-a-movie theater, bar and café combo that opened last fall in the Lowenstein project, was designed by none other than James Mazzio, and it's executed by a kitchen which knows its way around a bowl of macaroni and cheese.

Oh, and the several beers from the bar helped, too.

After spending what felt like a hundred hours trapped in the theater watching Daniel Day-Lewis grow an increasingly bizarre conglomeration of moustaches and Van Dykes, my intent had been to forget my job as a restaurant critic for one week and just burn up a bunch of column inches offering the sole dissenting opinion on the genius of this particular film (in addition to a glowing review of the second movie that Laura and I took in at Neighborhood Flix: In Bruges).

Unfortunately, my boss didn’t think that would be the most efficacious use of the Cafe page in the print edition of Westword, so the bulk of my critique of Blood was cut from my review of Neighborhood Flix. For those of you who are interested, it will run in its entirety right here in From the Gut, and should go online right around the time the paper hits the stands. For those of you who prefer to get your movie reviews from the experts and would prefer that I contain my ire to things edible, you don’t have to look.

The cinematic abuses of PT Anderson aside, I did have a good time at Neighborhood Flix, and am a wholehearted supporter of the recent movie/café mash-up craze. And while not all experiments in combined entertainment work (see this week’s Second Helping on the Movie Tavern in Aurora for an example), I do think that Neighborhood Flix -- with its intelligent design, cool menu, excellent sweet-potato french fries and generally polite movie-goers—pulls it off admirably.

Of course, that could just be the Tecates talking. -- Jason Sheehan

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