I recently had the good fortune of attending a CMYE (community manager Yelp event) where I was able to snag a pizza from &pizza while watching a screening of The Trip to Italy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, at the Landmark E Street Cinema. (One of my favorite spots in all of DC, seriously.)
The Trip to Italy was originally broadcast as a 6-episode television series on BBC Two, as a sequel to The Trip, which took place in England (and is available now on Netflix!). I believe both TV series/films had similar premises: Coogan and Brydon play slightly-fictionalized versions of themselves and play off each other as they take a foodie road trip.
What you need to know about The Trip to Italy is there is no point. Once you have accepted this, the movie is pretty enjoyable. It’s mostly improvised by brilliant comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. I’m personally more familiar with Coogan — who I haven’t seen without his longer hair before!
Here are a few things you can expect when you sit down to watch The Trip to Italy:
PLENTIFUL. IMPRESSIONS. Coogan and Brydon are talented impressionists. Some of the impressions you’ll hear include:
References to The Dark Knight Rises
References to how impossible it was to understand Bane in The Dark Knight Rises
References to The Godfather and The Godfather II
References to how The Godfather II is maybe the only time a sequel was as good as/better than the original
(This clip wasn’t shown in its entirety in the edited-down film.)
Alanis Morrisette songs
Following along the poet, Lord Byron, and his time in Italy
Nods to several old Hollywood films that were filmed in Italy
Gorgeous Italian scenery porn
Gorgeous Italian food porn
Every so subtly, two aging actors acknowledging their changing place in the world and mortality
I really recommend watching this for just a little aimless stroll of a comedy. If it gets released on Netflix, as The Trip has been, I really really encourage checking it out.
Last time on “Starr blogging regularly and in time with actual current events in her life”, I had started telling you guys about my family trip to Alaska by telling you about the cruise ship where I spent most of the vacation.
Let me tell you about Alaska itself. In brief, I loved Alaska. It left a really deep impression on me that I’m going to attempt to summarize in a 3 key points.
1) There’s something incredibly patriotic about visiting Alaska, our last frontier. I felt more American coming home. Seeing the vast expanses of untouched land out there and thinking about the folks who came out here in search of a better life really helps you think about the history of the state and of our nation. This is the same pristine beauty that people beheld during the gold rush. Even though we think of the United States in terms of the cities, seeing Alaska makes me think of the scenic beauty in this country that many Americans will never see outside of a calendar or screensaver. I was seeing a side of America that seemed unmarred by modernity. I felt connected to the grandness that Americans before me had fallen in love with.
Seeing bald eagles soaring everywhere definitely lends to the overall feeling of AMERICA.
2) Another thing that lent itself to my increased feelings of American identity was how much respect there was for the First Nations people. Each state has its own culture, and the culture of Alaska seems very much connected to the cultures of its First Nations people. I learned as much about the Tlingit during this trip as I did about the Lenni Lenape (the First Nations people of New Jersey that we learned about in the fourth grade). I saw more Native American art on this trip than I have maybe ever seen, and a great deal of it wasn’t in a museum. From the totem pole outside the governor’s mansion to the sculptures in the airport, it was clear to me that the First Nations people of the region are held in reverence, and I can only hope that the rest of the country can follow suit.
3) A very uniquely Alaska point in American history is its rich gold rush history. Most towns/”cities” in Alaska started out as prospecting towns, so I learned an immense amount about the incredible pasts of these towns. The preparation that went into going out to Alaska was massive. To leave home and go thousands of miles to live in this cold frontier, you had to bring literally one year’s supply of food with you. Think about people making multiple trips over mountains and ice fields with pounds and pounds of cans and sacks so that they could feed themselves and their family for possibly an entire year. One big takeaway is that where there is gold, you will find so manysaloons and brothels, oftentimes more than there were prospectors!
Other fun tidbits from my trip:
I went ziplining for the first time in my life with my brother — on North America’s fastest, longest, and highest zip-line. It was GREAT.
The state flower of Alaska is the forget-me-not. I’ve always liked forget-me-nots but I think I came home loving them.
I wasn’t able to see any live salmon but Alaskan salmon is a big deal and you likely already know that
No aurora activity while we were there, but remember the great thing about summers farther north in latitude: crazy early sunrise, crazy late sunset.
I tried reindeer meat via reindeer sausage included in some dishes. I don’t really eat non-Chinese sausage but it was pretty good!
FUN BONUS: Finding my name in random places!
All in all, I had a great time in Alaska and was so rejuvenated by the time we made it to Vancouver for the last leg of our trip. Here are just a few random fun photos from our trip:
In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Little Rascals and the cast coming together to recreate the movie poster, I thought I’d reminisce a bit and think about some of my favorite childhood movies. These are the ones that I watched really often, either in school or at home. (Also, I’m not including any Disney animated features here because well, that list would get really long.)
It breaks my heart a little bit when people don’t get that I’m making references to (memorable scenes that I often quote included!):
The Little Rascals
When people don’t understand why I squeak through this song, I am almost as embarrassed for them as for myself.
A friend once thought I was having a stroke because I was saying “for-ev-er” so weird. I wept for him on the inside.
Starring a young Lalaine, Sarah Hyland, and Victor Garber, who I would always refer to as “Daddy Warbucks” no matter how many other roles I saw him in.
The Brave Little Toaster (technically distributed by Disney)
This movie was kind of scary, I had a hard time finding non-nightmare-inducing clips!
The Land Before Time + sequels
I think about “Big Water” really often… and tree stars.
Older Scooby Doo films
I had a teacher who loooooved Scooby Doo and rewarded the class if we behaved by showing Scooby Doo movies. Every single one had this old theme song.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The only film to have Disney characters side-by-side with Looney Toons. This was a great one, rest in peace Bob Haskins.
My brother was TERRIFIED of the poacher in this movie but I watched it multiple times at home anyway. Rest in peace Robin Williams.
The Parent Trap
My friend who teaches fencing says that a lot of kids used to cite this movie as the reason they started fencing. Now they’re getting too young for that. Rest in peace Natasha Richardson.
Baa ram ewe! I didn’t go vegetarian for a long time after watching this, but I definitely thought about Babe when I did.
That’s a good list for now. I need some time to reminisce and be nostalgic for a little bit.
Are these movies as important to you as they are to me? What are some other key movies from your childhood that you still quote today?