The ides of March are quickly approaching and that means several things:
1. If we have learned nothing else from Julius Caesar, it is that we should fear both March 15 and senators;
2. St. Patrick's Day will soon be upon us;
3. It finally feels appropriate to start preparing your spring wardrobe;
4. It's almost time to emerge, pasty and weak, from hibernation season.
As this extremely brutal winter is coming to a close, I've began to catch up with friends I haven't spoken to since the onslaught of snow began. It's as if we've all been cryogenically frozen for four months - we haven't traveled, we haven't seen the sun, we haven't done much of anything.
I don't know about you but I've been counting the days, elementary school-paper-chain-style, until I can retire my winter coat, freely frolic in the grass and revel in the sunshine. It's so close you can taste it.
DRINK OF THE WEEK
While we're on the subject of tasting sweet, delicious springtime, here's a cocktail to fit the mood: Spring Fever. There are many, many variations out there but the best one I've found - with some help from Google - was on a blog called Foodies Like Us (www.foodieslikeusblog.com). It's a spin on the classic Mint Julep with some added fruitiness.
You will need: two strawberries, five to seven mint leaves, 1 oz. of simple syrup, 1/2 oz. vanilla cognac, 1 1/2 oz. bourbon (spring for the good stuff and you'll thank yourself later) and a mint spring for garnish if you're feeling fancy.
Muddle one strawberry with mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass. Add the vanilla cognac and bourbon, then add ice and shake it up in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a tall Collins glass filled with ice and strawberry slices. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish (if you wish) and enjoy.
REEL TALK: "The Adjustment Bureau"
"The Adjustment Bureau" is not quite what it appears to be.
It isn't an action movie with added doses of science fiction and romance. It's a heavy-handed love story combined with a thinly-veiled religious message, and I personally frown upon having a religious message foisted upon me where it is not expected, warranted or wanted.
"The Adjustment Bureau" stars Matt Damon as a politician who has a chance meeting with the free-spirited, wedding-crashing, ballet-dancing woman of his dreams (Emily Blunt). His attempt to be with her is quickly thwarted by a mysterious agency responsible for keeping the "unseen forces" on track. The helpfully-named Adjustment Bureau decrees that he and his would-be soul mate mustn't be together which, of course, has the same effect on him as a parent's rules on a teenager: instant rebellion. This brings me to my first problem with the film: doesn't everyone want what they can't have? Is Damon's character really just compelled to chase after a woman he barely knows because he was told not to? If you were pulled aside by some official-looking men in fedoras and instructed to never see someone again because fate couldn't allow it, wouldn't that alone make you want to see that person again?
In "The Adjustment Bureau," however, it's a big, gooey romantic saga never mind the fact that all Damon really knows about his dream girl is that she has a penchant for kissing complete strangers in men's rooms and utilizes public transportation. It involves a lot of running, a lot of drama, a lot of fedoras and a grand suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work. The movie's only saving graces were the always-charming Emily Blunt and getting to see Roger Sterling from "Mad Men" (John Slattery) during the show's off season.
There are currently slim pickings at the cinema and while I'm sure you could do worse than "The Adjustment Bureau" - like the unjustifiable "Big Momma" sequel - you could probably do better.
"The Adjustment Bureau" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
Every Tuesday in March is Jean Harlow night on Turner Classic Movies. On March 15, I strongly suggest you check out classic gangster picture "The Public Enemy" (1931) with Harlow in a breakout role as James Cagney's moll. There is an infamous scene wherein Cagney smashes a grapefruit into costar Mae Clarke's face that inspired protests across America (it's pretty tame by 2011's standards, of course).
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org