Movie Night Meal: Cat’s Eye

Stephen King movies are generally hit-or-miss. And it seems that the more personal input King has in the movies, the worse they are (just compare Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining with the TV miniseries version that King wrote the script for). Cat’s Eye (1985, directed by Lewis Teague) has a screenplay by Stephen King and is actually three short films in one. The chapters are connected by a cat that wanders from story to story, as well as Drew Barrymore playing a different character in each section. Since the main focus is a cat, we made a bunch of smelly ol’ seafood.

Menu:

Albacore-Stuffed Tomatoes
Salmon Cakes*
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Crispy-Skinned Salmon Filets
Goldfish Crackers
Swedish Fish (for dessert)
*recipe below

The first short film, “Quitter’s Inc.” stars James Woods as a man trying to quit smoking. The self-help guru he hires uses an interesting form of persuasion: threatening to electrocute Woods’s wife and rape his retarded daughter (Barrymore) if he is caught having another cigarette. The second story, “The Ledge” is about a gambler who bets his wife’s lover (Robert Hays) that he can’t walk around the ledge of a skyscraper. Yeah, that’s about it. The third section, “The General,” is the most memorable for all of us who saw this movie as children on daytime TV; about a troll living inside the walls of a little girl’s bedroom. At night, the troll breaks through the wall to suck the breath from the girl (Barrymore) while she sleeps.

Some thoughts:

-Drew Barrymore was in her awkward Cindy Brady stage at this point in her career. The question is, how adorably coked-up was she during filming?

-If we’re ranking the stories, “The General” is the best, then “Quitter’s Inc.” with “The Ledge” way back in last place. After the first “whoa whoa whoa I’m about to fall!” scare, that’s all the story really is, over and over. But at least the pilot from Airplane! got a gig out of it.

-“The Ledge” also really shoehorns in a Barrymore appearance. She’s a hallucination that the cat sees in a TV screen. A hallucinating cat? Who was more fucked up during this thing, the cat or Drew?

-I think Barrymore was trying to win an Oscar by playing the retarded daughter in “Quitters Inc.” Unfortunately she was a little too Other Sister and not enough Rain Man.

-I liked how “The General” was a take on the old wives tale that cats suck the breath of babies while they are sleeping. Housewives in the ’50s needed an excuse for why their babies were dying of SIDS. I’m sure the fact that they were swigging martinis and sucking down Virginia Slims during the pregnancies had nothing to do with it.

-Some cameos from Stephen King characters, like Cujo and Christine.

-’80s movies had a lot of cunty mothers, and “The General” is no different. Candy Clark plays Barrymore’s mom who wants to murder the girl’s new pet cat. She sucks hardcore.

-I made it through this entire review without any pussy puns. Who’s proud of me?

Cat’s Eye-Style Salmon Cakes Recipe:

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
15 oz. canned salmon, drained (make sure you get boneless and skinless. ‘Cause that shit is gross).
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups breadcrumbs (you should make your own. Store-bought breadcrumbs make it too dry and sandy. Just take some stale bread and run it through a food processor for a minute).
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Add onion and celery, stir around and cook until the veggies get soft. Stir in the parsley and remove from heat. Put salmon in a bowl and flake with a fork. Add the egg and mustard and mix well. Add onions and celery, the breadcrumbs, and pepper and mix it all together. Mold the mixture into about 8 patties, slightly smaller in size than hockey pucks (I’m manly ’cause I use sports references in cooking recipes).

Heat the rest of the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Use a spatula to turn them over onto the baking sheet, so the raw portion is side-down. Bake the patties for 15-20 minutes until they are cooked throughout. Serve with a lemon wedge and a side of Tartar sauce. Then brush your teeth. No one likes fishy breath. Except lesbians.

*Recipe adapted from EatingWell.com

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