Movie night, every family needs them but sometimes they are hard to fit in, right? We’re trying to make it a regular thing around here and when a good movie comes out like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, it’s easy to get everyone together around the big screen, even the dogs!
**Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of the movie for the purposes of this review, but the opinions and movie photos are my own.**
We loved Sony’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It’s been a while since we watched it, but when Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 came out in the theater, my youngest was asking to see it. With all that was going on and just settling into the house, we never made it. He was bummed but I promised him we’d get it when it came out on DVD, so when I showed him the movie yesterday, he was beyond thrilled. We couldn’t get through dinner fast enough!
In addition to the movie, we were gifted with this adorable lunchbox (hands off, buddy, mommy wants it) and a plush strawberry. (The Yorkie tried to take off with the strawberry, but I had to say no. It’s too cute and took up residence on a tv speaker to watch herself on tv with us.
My son and his service dog loved watching the movie!
The movie takes up where the first one left off and you’re transported into a beautiful world of colors and adorable animals you will instantly want as pets, not to mention the hero, Flint Lockwood, the creator of the machine that turns water into food. This is a movie for the entire family – we all laughed at the witty lines and cute antics of the foodimals. (My personal favorite? “There’s a leek in the boat!” I’m still laughing at that one, and I definitely know that we’ll be saying “Put your idea pants on!” frequently. You have to watch it to see what we mean!)
Along with the movie, I was given a chance to interview Susan Spungen, the food stylist for the movie. As a foodie and a blogger who covers food a lot, this is a big deal. Susan has worked on other movies, including the popular “Eat, Pray, Love.” Those scenes in Rome and Naples? That’s her work!
I had an enjoyable 15-minute interview with Susan and got to ask her a lot of questions. My first was what got her into the food and photography/styling field. Susan stated she’d always been interested in them and it morphed into her career. She has an art background which led her to working in the food business but found that restaurant work wasn’t where she wanted to be. Combining her two favorite things – food and art – led her to styling and a job at Martha Stewart’s Living as Food Editor. She remained in that role for 12 years, where she was able to style food but then eventually found herself further away from the food than she wanted to be and instead focused on the very large team doing it all. She’d catered food early on in her career and that led her to develop a large repertoire of wonderful hostess skills and experiences, which lent themselves to her new book. She returned to food styling, working in movies and after Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 was made, she was asked to create foodimal creations based on the movie.
Susan’s favorite food to style is dessert, as the items photography beautifully. I asked her what one tip she’d share with budding food stylists and her suggestion is spot-on: don’t fuss too much. She also offered up another suggestion, something I really need to work on myself! When you are styling food, remember to look at the food/items from the angle which you will be shooting. If you are shooting from above, make sure the food looks best from that positioning; it’s great if you looks beautiful all the way around, but to show the food to its best advantage, make sure it looks perfect from the angle you will have the camera. Great tip, right?
Susan just recently published a new book, “What’s a Hostess to Do?” It’s 313 ideas and inspirations for effortless entertaining and includes 121 recipes for spectacular party food. I call it a necessary manual for any new bride, homeowner or a nervous hostess! (Check out the Tarragon Roasted Chicken recipe, it’s Susan’s favorite! Buttery and moist, you’ll love it even if you’re not a tarragon lover!) New hostesses need to do what’s comfortable, making it easy, so you can be gracious but without perfection as a goal. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, another wise quote. Planning something do-able is better than over-planning.
She shared a story with me about a friend who hosts a yearly party based on a certain food. One year, her friend and her mother prepped the food as usual, but during the freezing process, the food ended up sticking together and was unusable. What to do? Call Susan for her ideas, of course! Relax, head to a nearby store or restaurant (she chose a restaurant) and buy the replacement. No one will care, very few will even notice, and if they do, that’s okay! It’s all about the enjoyment of everyone being together, which includes making it as stress-free for the hostess as possible. This is something we should all aim for! I know I get caught up in ‘everything has to be perfect,’ when in reality, it doesn’t. Guests just want to have a good time with you!
You can check out Susan at her website here and her book on Amazon.
Are you hosting a big game party this weekend? Will you have kids in attendance, like we will? Look at these fun recipes based on the foodimals from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2! All are easy to make and will definitely be the hit of the party. I can’t decide which I want to make. I love the marshmallows (which are also Susan’s favorite foodimal) but the kids are voting for Taco-Diles. Which would you choose?
The smiles on these little marshmallows are adorable, both in the movie and on the foodimals you can create! This will be fun to do with the kids.
Have you ever seen a cuter hippopotamus?
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 came out on DVD on January 28. Even if you haven’t seen the first movie, be sure to pick this one for a fun, family night – with or without young ones! Lots of humor, funny lines and an engaging cast of animals sure to make everyone laugh. I now want a strawberry, a leak and a marshmallow.