12inchpetetreat

The place where pizza comes to be written about

Movie And A Pizza #5: Parenthood accompanied by a Topps Medium Stuffed Crust with meatballs and chicken

In any modern relationship, there has to be give and take, which is why, rather than waste precious time arguing about what films we should be watching, Rosie and I agreed that we would put a “rotation” system firmly in place, and so for every one of the “bloke” films that I make her endure, she gets to show me a “girl” film that she thinks I might like. This means that in recent weeks, I have been introduced to the delights (actual) of The Princess Bride and the delights (sarcastic) of Pretty Woman, for example. And so it came to pass that, this weekend, we decided to watch Parenthood, which I can only guess from the shoulderpads was a film made very firmly in the 1980s, and which stars Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Keanu Reeves, Leaf Phoenix (who we all now know as being Joaquin) and a bunch of other 1980s types like Martha Plimpton, who I think is dead now. To accompany this film, I went for a medium create-your-own from Topps Pizza with a garlic and herb stuffed crust, chicken and meatballs.

You are not a good film

Let’s do the pizza first. Not going to lie to you here, the pizza was almost an afterthought really, we weren’t even in a pizza frame of mind, it was, to be frank, a pizza to fill a gap rather than one to love and cherish. Ironic, then, that I would end up cherishing mine and, unless I miss my guess, young Miss Rosie liked her own serving (we did “two medium pizzas for £13.99” deal, and you cannot, as they say, be upset with that) of chicken with barbecue dip. It may not look like much, but my little beauty was fluffy and surprisingly light, with a quite subtle garlic and herb stuffed crust, rustic meatballs and chunky chicken bits. Topps’ garlic and herb dip isn’t going to win any awards – that’s assuming that there ARE awards for pizza industry dipping pots, I’m tempted to guess that there aren’t – so I ended up going it alone, but it mattered not. I would describe my Topps experience, which was probably my first for several years, as a welcome walk on the dirty side on a night when, with the wind howling outside and the radiators struggling manfully to expunge the chill in Cashmore Acres, a nice little dirty pizza is just what the soul required.

It didn't come like this - I'd eaten a slice already, you understand

What the soul DOESN’T require, though, is a toss-awful load of grievously dated 1980s navel-gazing bilge without a storyline of which to speak and precisely no sympathetic characters. To make matters worse, at one point Steve Martin wears a pair of pants so tight that you can clearly see his junk. There are no well-rounded people herein, just walking bundles of tics and neuroses – you don’t want them to work through their difficulties and achieve some collective understanding, you just want them all to burn in an unexplained electrical fire for the entire final reel. So you have Tom Hulce as a middle-aged dick with gambling debts. You have Dianne Wiest as a thin-necked she-dick with a face like a tortoise whose kids, like, TOTALLY don’t get her. You have Phoenix playing a pre-pubescent dick who, irritatingly, carries a mysterious paper bag with him wherever he goes to communicate his innter torment – I never got to find out what it was because I fell asleep, maybe it was the actual point of the film written on a stone tablet. You have Rick Moranis, a man who has never knowingly been a prominent part of any half-decent film and who did his best to befoul the sublime Ghostbusters, as a nerdy dick (what a stretch THAT must have been) trying to pipe excess knowledge into his young daughter. Basically, every major character in the film is a dick, apart from Mary Steenburgen, who is just there and cooks a lot, like gastronomic anaglypta. It’s not funny, it’s not smart, there’s no great empathy or insight into The Way We All Are here, it’s just a teeming petri dish overflowing with complainers and those about whom they complain. The only things that interested me at all were a) that the young Phoenix looks uncannily like Kieran Culkin, who plays Phoenix’s nephew in Signs (look, I was really struggling at this point) and b) director Ron Howard’s creepy brother Clint, the dude from Gentle Ben, apparently has a cameo role in all of his bro’s films. Which is nice for him. Awful film. And I’ve just done some additional research and apparently Martha Plimpton now looks like Rebecca Adlington. Here she is, look.

One of either Martha Plimpton or Rebecca Adlington, I'm not saying which

THE VERDICT

THE PIZZA: If this is what Topps can be bringing to me to accompany my Saturday night movie adventures, then they may just find they get to do it more often. Here, Topps, have an 8/10.

THE MOVIE: I don’t want to trash any movie that my beloved recommends too heavily but Parenthood is just AWFUL. She tells me that I have to watch Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café next – they have laws against this kind of thing, right? 2/10 for Parenthood and I’m being generous.

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