ChooseMyPlate.gov has published the recipe for a healthy alternative to S'mores, that melted-chocolate-and-marshmallow-on-graham-cracker concoction that's so messy and wonderful, especially in the summer.
Ready? Instead of chocolate, strawberries. Instead of marshmallow, yogurt.
And instead of graham crackers, a couple of pieces of cardboard.
Okay, that last part's not real, but it might as well be.
Nothing wrong with strawberries and yogurt - they make a nice parfait.
But they pale in comparison to melty, drippy, messy chocolate and marshmallow.
Ever since I can remember going to movies, I loved disaster films. One of my earliest favorites was the original Poseidon Adventure. I loved watching mass destruction, panic, survival, redemption, and kick-ass special effects. The older I got the more intense my pallet became and I demanded a larger scale. The summer of '96 was the best when I sat with my best friends and watched all our major US cities get demolished by aliens in Independence Day. I even had a soft spot for the doesn't-hold-up-but-still-love-them-for-nostalgia films like Volcano, Armageddon, and Twister. I lived in Central Pennsylvania for the release of all of those and no one was interested in destroying that. San Andreas completely obliterates San Francisco which is only 100 miles from where I live now and it dramatically changed my enjoyment of such disaster...or maybe it's just not that great of a flick.
I have a rule as a critic and fan of film; if Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) is in a movie, it can't be all that bad. I know that's dumb but I trust in him so much that I can't imagine he would ever agree to be in something so awful he didn't see worth in being in it. I've been wrong though and The Hangover 2 and Rock of Ages made me see that. In San Andreas, he plays the token "expert" character that no one believes until it's too late and I should have sensed something was up about the quality of the script when I started to notice that he is one of the stars but not in a single scene with any of the other stars. He shot almost all of his footage in a single set in only a few days which feels as much as keeping San Andreas at arm's length away from him as he possibly could.
The real star is Dwayne (are we still using The Rock at all?) Johnson. There is nothing unlikable about Johnson. He's charming, funny, a somewhat decent actor, attractive and can carry a film on his ungodly large shoulders. However, you get out of him what you expect...not very much. No one sits in a film of his expecting Oscar-worth performances or even characters with an ounce of depth yet I find myself disappointed that that's exactly what we end up with. San Andreas is no different and he plays the cliche "hero" role who has a broken marriage and is trying to save his family during a disaster. It's not a challenging part, nor does he challenge himself with it...despite trying really hard to squirt a tear or two that almost seems convincing.
Director Brad Peyton does a fine-enough job ushering us through San Andreas but it feels like he is just reading along the step-by-step instructions on how to make a disaster film. His previous accomplishments are all children's movies so I give him credit for branching out but the only thing he brings to the table is his experience making effects-heavy productions and getting his performers to act like they're not just in front of a green screen for 70% of their scenes. The same can be said for the script which is decent for a disaster film yet is still nothing more than a paint-by-numbers formula. There's no creativity in anything you see and all you're left with is tense CGI of destruction galore, which I don't say with judgement since it's still entertaining on most levels.
I was in San Francisco just a few months ago and I've been there more times than I can remember since moving to Sacramento eight years ago. Watching that amazingly unique and beautiful city get leveled didn't feel fun in San Andreas. I don't know if that's because I'm too emotionally attached to it or because the movie forgot that disaster films are still supposed to get you to chomp popcorn with a big smile on your face. When I sit down to see something in this genre I don't want to be bummed out despite seeing mass death and destruction; I want to be excited by the action. San Andreas lacked something I can't put my finger on and fell short of my expectations. I'll fully admit that the problem might be in my own head but the more I think about it, I don't think it was. It's a movie that entertains on the most basic level and never seems to get solid footing on its shaky ground. (See what I did there?)