Blue Apron Sweet Chili Chicken as told by a guy who still doesn’t know how to cook.

Sweet Chili Chicken with Tinkerbell Peppers, Green Beans & Coconut Rice 
(The second Blue Apron meal I’ve ever cooked.)

Okay, I came into this meal armed with a little more information from last time, namely: It takes me a long time to chop things up, and I need to plan ahead for what I’m going to do with all of the things I chop up. (Answer: use that big ol’ pot again and dump everything into it.)

But there’s an added wrinkle with this one, and it’s something that’s disturbed me all 37 years of my life: RAW CHICKEN. (More on that later.)

Okay here we go.

Step 1:


I’m not going to say I went in cocky with this step, but I feel like I knew a little bit more about how to chop up these veggies. I still just have the one huge chopping knife (one of my friends told me it was actually a big bread knife, I guess?) and I also have a couple of sharp steak knives.

So I was feeling pretty good about chopping the peppers and onions. But how does one “peel and mince” garlic and ginger? I had no idea. But, thanks to some insider information last time  from a friend who also has Blue Apron – she said you can recycle the packaging by going to the Blue Apron website and printing out a form. With that intel, I deduced that maybe the www.blueapron.com/recipes/909 page that references this recipe would help me out with some extra stuff. And it did… only partially. They’ve got a video there that explains how to peel and mince ginger, but not garlic.

Here’s my chopping station. I grabbed another plastic cutting board so I had a little more surface area. I put that big pot in the sink and dumped my chopped items in that.

I kind of just chopped the whole garlic thing in half, which was surprisingly difficult. The recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic. It was only thanks to the ingredients picture that I learned cloves are what come in the whole (bloom? blossom?) thingy of garlic. Otherwise I’d think “clove” was the unit of garlic (a whole clump?) that I received. Anyway, chopping the garlic in half was not the way to go. I wound up picking the cloves out and peeling the top part off. It was work for tiny fingers, not big meat hooks like I have.

I dumped all of the chopped veggies with the exception of the ginger into my big ol’ pot because I don’t have little fancy glass dishes, like I talked about last time. 

(I learned that Blue Apron sells these things to you on their website. They must’ve heard clueless non-cookers like me complain about it and saw an imminent cash grab.)

Stay with me on step 1, here. It’s the longest part. Coming up next: RAW CHICKEN.

Oh god, do I hate raw chicken. I hate it so much. Maybe it’s because of some conversations I had with my dad as a kid? However it came to be, I hear the word “salmonella” and the first things I think of are raw chicken and turtles (thanks, microbiology class at Santa Fe Community College [Seriously, if you rescue a turtle from the side of the road, you should sure as hell wash your goddamn hands or you could wind up in an observation room with a bunch of doctors scratching their heads until Dr. House comes in and figures it all out.]).

So, this part of Step 1 told me I have to pat this raw chicken dry with paper towels and chop it into bite-sized portions. What they don’t tell you is that you have to get the damn thing out of the packaging which I tugged at for a bit, to no avail. I eventually had to use my own knife to chop it open and slide out these slimy pieces of chicken onto my plastic cutting board.

I patted them dry with a metric fuckton of paper towels. Then I had to hold the chicken on the cutting board with one hand and saw at it with my huge bread knife thingy until I’ve got it chopped into pieces and then I put it into a cereal bowl. (I was making gross-out noises the whole time.)

At this point, I washed my hands like 10 times, and used 5 of those Lysol wipes on my counter. I’m not a super clean person, but as I said I just don’t want to be the basis for a bad TV medical drama.

Whew, that was the bulk of it. On to step 2!

Step 2:




The coconut rice was straight forward. I trudged onward and mixed the stuff and put it in a pot, this was before I started in with the gross raw chicken. It said cook the rice for 14 minutes, which I did, but it was really crunchy and all the water had gone. I put more water in and cooked it on a higher heat for like 5 minutes and it turned out okay at the end.

Step 3:


I have those black measuring spoon things, so I figured out how much 2 teaspoons of olive oil was that way. It says to cook the olive oil until hot. How do I know when it’s hot? Steam? I just left it in there for like a minute or so and figured that was good. It says to cook the chicken for 4 to 6 minutes- I cooked it for like 10 minutes and kept breaking the bite sized chunks open to make sure they weren’t pink on the inside. (Again with the salmonella nightmares. I don’t care if the chicken was overcooked or a little dry.) They were decently brown so I figured I was okay.

(Sidenote: I somehow don’t have pepper in the apartment. I just have salt. So every place it’s been saying to put salt and pepper on, I’m just salting.)

Step 4:


I dumped all the veggies in like it says. I set a timer for 2 minutes because I don’t really know how “soft and fragrant” should be measured. Just give me the minutes I need to set on my timer.

Step 5 and 6:



Easy peasy. Just do exactly what it says. They say to cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until “liquid is slightly reduced in volume”. That’s fine. 2 minutes.

Okay, so here’s my meal:

I didn’t have a big fancy looking bowl to put the stuff in. I think it looks okay on a plate, though.
Compare to their meal:

I don’t know, food photographers- I think my blue plate looks better than your lame brown bowl.
What’s great about this: Blue Apron gives you these ingredients that I would never in a million years buy for myself and they give you a good amount of confidence in working with them. I hate cutting raw chicken, but at least I know how to fry it up with a little olive oil. I also now know what people do with garlic cloves and ginger.

What’s not so great about this: Still, the biggest downside appears to be packaging. A friend of mine said that it’s cool that Blue Apron saves you the trouble of wandering around the aisles with this recipe trying to find ingredients you’d never buy. That’s super stressful. I agree, but I think now that I’m armed with this recipe card I can find this stuff with reasonable ease. Maybe not ponzu sauce. What aisle is that on?

How it tasted: It was tastier than the gnocchi I made last time. The ponzu and chili sauce were great and the peppers and scallions added a lot of flavor. It was good. It made my house smell good according to my friend who came over right after.

Blue Apron Gnocchi as told by a guy who doesn’t know how to cook.

Blue Apron- Brown Butter Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Almonds, & Soft-Boiled Eggs.

I’m not a guy who cooks much at all. I’m not a guy who owns much in the way of cooking implements, either. I’ve got one big sharp knife I use for everything- it slices my bagels, it cuts up whatever vegetables I actually wind up cutting (I mostly buy frozen stuff). I’ve got a couple of medium sized pots, one big pot, a couple of frying pans, a colander (I had to look up how to spell that. Strainer? Drainer?)

So I signed up for Blue Apron. I don’t like eating out all the time and the limited number of things I cook needs to be expanded. But I’ve never cooked seriously before, and I have no idea where to start. This seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

Anyway, the box came today, Saturday. The thing is huge. It’s heavier than you’d think. There’s enough stuff for three meals inside, but even considering that I didn’t expect it to be so heavy. I opened it up, and the first thing I said (my friend was there for moral support and audience) was: “Wow, that’s a lot of packaging.” 

Huge box. Bike in there for scale.
I should’ve taken a pic of the box with all the stuff in there. A bunch of things are now randomly floating around in my fridge in these very specifically made cardboard containers. 

Why is the thing so heavy? There are little cardboard holders for just two eggs. Little paper sacks that contain “knick knacks” for each meal. In the paper sacks are tiny plastic bags with stuff like the exact right amount of parmesan cheese for the Gnocchi and a little plastic ramekin with the exact right amount of butter that you’re supposed to brown. It comes with two huge reusable ice packs. (I play roller derby so these are actually going to come in handy.) On the packaging it says it’s made from recycled and recyclable material, but how many people are actually going to recycle this stuff? 

Okay, so I started cooking it. Here I go, following the directions:

Step 1 and 2-


As a guy who really doesn’t chop things, ever, I couldn’t do step 1 and 2 at the same time and be okay on time. If I were to do this again, I’d chop the things ahead of time because I’m slow at it. Also, what does “medium dice” mean? I cut the squash up, but they weren’t perfect cubes or anything. It didn’t seem to matter at the end.  Roughly chopping almonds was both harder and easier than I imagined. Little pieces got everywhere on my tiny plastic cutting board, but my big dumb knife was able to actually chop through the things.

Here are my chopped items. Well, some of them. I didn’t have a little bowl for the almonds so I threw them into a plastic container I had from Chinese food takeout. 

Actually, after cutting the squash – the first thing I chopped up- I realized I didn’t have anything to put chopped stuff in. You go over to someone’s house and they have all of these little glass bowls and things in their cupboards, right? I’d always think, “What the hell are all these little dishes for? Why would you need something other than just plates and bowls?” Turns out little glass bowls are good for putting chopped up things in.

All my bowls were in the dishwasher, and besides I didn’t have any regular bowls big enough to hold all the chopped up squash, so I had to throw it into my big pot. It’s like a big chili cooking pot. I rested it on the dish dryer because I have no counter space.

Meanwhile, my two eggs were cooking. I got them out at the appropriate time, used that colander I mentioned before to hold the eggs while I ran cold water over them, and then carried on with cooking the rest of the meal while the eggs just sat there. I eventually moved them out of the colander when I needed to use it for the gnocchi. (More on the eggs later.)

Anyway, the rest of step one and two was pretty easy. On to step 3. 

Step 3 –


Browning butter. I don’t think I have ever purposefully done this in my life. I think I did it right this time? I was iffy on the whole thing. They said be careful not to burn the butter, so I definitely didn’t do that, but I think when I was eating it, it tasted way too slick and buttery.

Step 4-


This was straight-forward. Add squash and almonds. Squeeze the lemons in. Okay, that’s easy enough. Stir for a couple of minutes, sure. I got that. I like that Blue Apron gives you the time and some other cues like “until the almonds are fragrant”. That cue is great, but how do I know what a fragrant almond is? I just relied on the time.

Step 5 –


The gnocchi(s) weren’t (wasn’t?) floating at the end of 3 minutes, so I left them in there until they started floating. Thanks for telling me about the floating thing, Blue Apron. I’ve never boiled gnocchi before so I had no idea what I was doing. When I got around to eating the meal they seemed doughy, but not awful I guess.

Step 6-


So the combining of things was actually pretty easy with the exception of (and here we have to go back to step 1) peeling soft boiled eggs. Guess what, it’s not easy. I mean, you can get the shell off if you want to, but I found that big chunks of the egg whites were coming off with it. My egg came out all misshapen.

Here’s the end result of my meal:

I’m surprised a stray dog hair didn’t wind up on my dish. They’re everywhere. Thanks, Zobie.

It doesn’t look so bad, but go ahead and compare it to their pic:

Professional food photographers earn their living.

The whole thing tasted okay. The gnocchi was kinda doughy, but I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be. And it was pretty damn buttery. I’m a guy who likes to eat buttery food and I feel like this was a little over the top for me. I think maybe I should’ve added some oregano, also. It needed some type of extra seasoning. 

What’s good about it: I think the convenience lies in the fact that all the stuff is portioned out for you and you don’t have to make a decision as to what to cook that week. Also the easy to follow steps are written so that a person like me who’s never cooked that much at all before can follow it.

What they don’t tell you: you might need more than one knife. You’ll need a big cutting board and things to hold the chopped up food in. Also, you’ll have a bunch of random things in your fridge. There’s a ton of random packets with names of the other meals in there. I had to also put some left overs in the fridge and find ways to do things that I never do, like store small amounts of chopped parsley. And don’t forget: a HUGE box. Seriously, if people freak out about k-cups, this is going to quickly get out of hand. 

This meal was okay. I’ll see if the other ones are any good.

April – Lots of Music in MPLS

April 4th- 

Tonight! Iggy Pop’s playing at the Northrop on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. This new record he partnered with Josh Homme from Queens of the Stonage and made an album that feels kind of like what you would think that combination would sound like.  I haven’t listened to a ton of Iggy’s stuff, but I’m looking forward to this show. I was kind of surprised at how much crooning Iggy does on this album. I’m not the biggest fan of the single from it – Gardenia. I think it’s one of the weaker songs on the album. For my money, Paraguay or Vulture are better singles. Oh, and I actually won tickets by being a tenth caller into The Current – the mostly alt-radio station here in the Twin Cities. First time for everything!

April 21st –

Buckethead is playing at The Cabooze in Minneapolis. Buckethead is a ridiculously talented and prolific guitarist who wears a bucket on his head (often times it’s a KFC bucket) and a weird porcelain mask that makes him look like some kind of demented demon doll. His stuff is similar to Joe Satriani or Steve Vai- very technical and fast, with no lyrics. I first encountered him when I had the VHS of Primus’ Rhinoplasty album. Buckethead  made an appearance on that to… spin? (is that the right verb?) nunchucks while a DJ was scratching records and then coming back on stage to do a crazy guitar solo.

April 22nd and 23rd- 

 

Bob Mould is playing at First Ave for two nights, on the 22nd and 23rd. He just released a new album, Patch the Sky. He’s been putting out records like clock work- one every two years since 2012. I’m new to the Twin Cities, but I know Mould is a favorite of the Minneapolis scene. He and The Replacements were battling it out in the ’80s for midwesterners’ hearts when Bob was in Hüsker Dü. I started listening to him in the 1990s when I was in high school. My brother’s friend would routinely let us borrow weird CDs I’d never heard of. One day he brought over this band called Sugar– Bob Mould’s band at the time. It was so good. If you listen to Sugar and Hüsker Dü, you can hear where a lot of 90s bands – Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, The Foo Fighters – got their inspiration from. They’re poppy songs with really great distorted heavy guitars thrown in.

I’m sure there’s more that I’m missing out on this month, but those are the ones that bubbled up to the top of my list.

Minnesota Roller Derby Bouts, April 2-9th.

Some upcoming Minnesota Roller Derby Bouts! (In chronological order.)

Or, watch the whole damn bout:

As much as I’m a fan of Denver, The Minnesota RollerGirls are by far my favorite WFTDA team. I’m a transplant to the Twin Cities as of last year, but quickly this league has shown itself to be full of really welcoming people not to mention amazing athletes. MNRG hosted the WFTDA championships at the Roy Wilkins auditorium here in St. Paul, and it was a blast. I think that place seats close to 2 thousand people  just under 5 thousand people (thanks to Birdie from MNRG for the correction), and it was packed. MNRG played a really close game (it seemed like all of the games at champs this year were very close) against Texas Rollergirls. Losing by only 12 points, MNRG fought hard but Texas eventually took the win – 185 to 173. Read the recap here. Or, you can watch the whole game below. (Edit: It was a complete coincidence that both of the most memorable bouts I posted were of these two teams playing Texas.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKqCaz8i2ZU

My team, Minnesota Men’s Roller Derby, just scrimmaged the MNRG All-stars last night. (Photos and some short videos here.) Let me tell you, Denver has their work cut out for them.

The Terrors- Minnesota Men’s Roller Derby’s All Star team, is traveling to Sioux City to take on the Kornstalkers. We (The Terrors, that is) have  just come off of our first win of the travel season versus Fargo’s Rock City Riot last month. The Terrors managed to make it to the MRDA championships last year, and we’re running strong again this year. The Terrors took a win and a loss at champs- the win against San Diego (180- 151) , and the loss to Bridgetown Massacre from Portland (314 to 33). You can watch the games below.

 

I’ve never played against the Kornstalkers, but from what I understand they’ve got some big dudes who deliver big hits on their team. From what I can tell on their Facebook page, this’ll be the first game for these guys this year so I’m sure they’ll be well rested and ready for a hard-fought game.

  • April 9th in Sioux Falls, SD: 

Sioux Falls Roller Dollz (Sioux Falls, SD) vs Mankato Area Derby Girls (Mankato, MN)

I don’t know much about Sioux Falls’ team. I’ve seen the MAD Girls play once. They were part of our double-header we did in Fargo. Merci Mae is a regular guest skater at our bouts, and I can attest to her skill as a blocker and a jammer. Sioux Falls is going to have to work to contain her, for sure.

Some commentary about roller derby bouts in general: 

Since roller derby is a grass roots league-run thing, it’s difficult to know what’s going on if you’re an average fan wanting to watch some bouts. You’ve got to subscribe to teams’ Facebook pages. You need to talk to people, figure out who’s who in the scene. It’d be much better if each league made a practice of publishing their away games on a page that the public can see, but often bout contracts get changed at the last minute, or teams drop out.

Moral of the story is: if you’re into roller derby and want to catch a game on an upcoming weekend, do some googling and asking around to find out when the next one is.

If there’s one that I’ve missed that’s coming up, please shoot me an email:

the-slamurai-jack@ gmail dot com

A bunch of reviews: Rick and Morty, The Magicians, and some Comic Books

A bunch of reviews this time. I should have chunked them all into bite-size pieces, but I figure you folks on the internet are savvy enough to scroll down and see the ones you’d like to see. That said, I’ll definitely deliver these one by one in the future.

Onward!

Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver

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This is a good little comic by a Denver artist. It delivers what you’d expect from a title like that – a character who is part John Fante, part Charles Bukowski. The character changed his name to that because they both influenced him to be a writer.

The book puts the character in the present day world of cellphones, texting, and trying to find an agent. It’s sort of like Larry David, only younger and with a beard. It’s a good quick read. The art is purposefully low-fi. The complete package works, though, especially if you’re fans of those authors.

Moving Target – A Princess Leia Adventure- Audiobook

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Let’s just say that this was pretty lackluster. There’s a plot involving… something. Honestly it was really hard to keep my attention. And yes, I know it was a young adult novel, but still- there are plenty of good young adult novels out there. The best part of this book was the audio production. You get a John Williams score, cool blaster noises,  and mood music. Other than that- don’t give this a listen if you’re over the age of 10, I think.

X-Files: Season 1 Episodes 1-6

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I hadn’t ever watched X-Files before. I naively thought I could get caught up on the show before these new episodes that are on Netflix have aired, but that is definitely not going to happen. Even without this show I feel like there are so many cool media things to absorb and talk about, not to mention actually doing things outside of my life. So, I think I’ve watched up to episode 6 of X-Files. If you check out my twitter, @pdzim , you can see some of my brief episode reviews which I think also double as good plots for Seinfeld episodes.

The show is creepier than I thought it was going to be. For some reason when it was on when I was a kid, I remember it moving more slowly than it does, but then again there’s not a ton of crazy action in the show. The episodes I’ve seen have ended on question marks rather than tying up the story into a neat little bow, which I really appreciate. I don’t know that I can make it through the whole damn show, though. It’s already seeming like a pretty daunting task.

Grayson: Vol. 1 – Agents of Spyral by Tim Seeley

I used to be a pretty big Nightwing fan. I related to Dick Grayson’s demeanor and everything. I was really into it. I saw on some comic book list that he had ditched the Nightwing name and was now just going by his own name since the Crime Syndicate had revealed his true identity.

The art in this book is great, and they attempt some cool things in it – the last comic in this collection goes backwards like Memento, and reveals some things along the way- Hey, it’s also like that one awesome Seinfeld episode (two Seinfeld references in one post) where George goes to India and doesn’t use the bathroom the whole time and Kramer is eating a ridiculously large lollypop that keeps getting bigger as the episode goes along.

I found myself scratching my head more than once during this book, though. They don’t tell you Dick’s motivation for infiltrating Spyder until a little bit into the collection. I thought I’d missed something or they had explained it outside of this run. All in all, not my favorite iteration of Dick Grayson. I like him better as Nightwing. They’re trying to sell him as a lady’s man like James Bond who is sleeping with a different woman in every book, and the tone of it all just kind of missed for me.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

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This book took me completely by surprise. I think I’d found it on a list from AV Club because of the recent SyFy series coming out. I had placed a hold on the audiobook at my library and so it automatically downloaded to my phone. (For those of you who are not taking advantage of the audiobooks and Overdrive at your library, you are severely missing out.)

What struck me was how GOOD the writing is in this book. The quick tagline that I’ve been telling my friends is: This book is to Harry Potter and Narnia what Game of Thrones is to Tolkein. But that doesn’t even do it justice. It covers what every fan of scifi thinks but doesn’t want to talk about: how all of scifi is escapism and wish fulfillment. Grossman goes out of his way to make sure that while this might be escaping to another place, it sure as hell isn’t wish fulfillment. The problems that follow us around in the real world will follow us around wherever we go.

Because he sticks with that, it makes the story so much more compelling. You should definitely read or listen to this book. The audiobook is a great listen. The voice actor reading it does a fantastic job at every character’s voice.

Another thing that’s thrown in the book for good measure are a bunch of insights into the way people interact with each other. The way he describes Quentin’s dating relationships is so on-point that it made me feel a little uncomfortable. His friendship group interactions are dead-on also. Really, for a genre book that can grab an audience, it’s ridiculous how well written this thing is.

If there’s a downside to this novel, I can’t really think of one. Perhaps at one point in the plot it felt a bit rushed, but other than that, I’d say it’s near perfect.

Rick and Morty Season 1 

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I checked this season out of the library at the behest of a friend who said I’d like this show. It’s pretty great, actually. I had expected that it was going to be a Futurama / Family guy rip-off, and it definitely isn’t that. The animation style is similar to that batch of shows, but it also has it’s own unique style.

I like how each show takes a different twisted moral issue and puts a magnifying glass on that issue through the lens of Rick and Morty’s traveling to different dimensions. This show is full of existential questions – is it better to have free will and do terrible amounts of damage, or is it better to be controlled completely for the sake of order? If there are other versions of ourselves in alternate dimensions, would we care if they got destroyed? And on and on.

In a way, it reminds me of Star Trek and Star Trek : The Next Generation – both shows were trying to tackle moral and civil dilemmas in a way to bring them to a mass audience, and that’s what Rick and Morty are doing on this show, but it’s much in the same way that it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia talks about issues- crassly, and from all vantage points. You’d be hard pressed to figure out what the writer’s take is on any issue from watching Rick and Morty.

A huge negative- there’s one show that completely bombed for me. They go to a planet where women are in control and every joke just felt super misogynistic- “I’m here to talk if you want to talk” , “Nice top”, etc etc. From a bunch of writers who showed that they could do a LOT, that episode was really disappointing.

Shamelessly plugging my movie podcast

Hey, I’ve also got a movie podcast where my friends and I talk about whatever movie we feel like talking about. Check it out – I’ve got some Coen Brothers movies, Big Trouble in Little China, and Her (the Spike Jonze movie).

Here’s a link to the blog, and you can get download or subscribe to the podcast from there:

https://11telegram.wordpress.com/

 

Movie Review: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

It’s January of 2016. Here in Minnesota we’ve got the state caucuses coming up March 1st. I guess that’s in lieu of a primary election. I’m a Bernie supporter, myself. I think he’s going to do well. In the midst of all of those politics – the commercials, the folks popping up on talk shows- we’ve had some deaths that kind of caught us off guard. David Bowie died last week, and so did Glenn Frey.  Before that it was Hans Gruber, aka Alan Rickman. Abe Vigoda just died today. The greats are leaving us. Passing on to whatever their next adventure is. Hopefully making more awesome movies and music for us to be entertained by in the after life.

And in the middle of all of that media-hype, that death and politics gossip – I feel like I’ve been non-stop lately. Work. Dating. Roller derby. Movies. Comic books. There’s so much to do that I feel like I can’t keep up with it all.

Mad Max : Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – George Miller

There’s so much right about this movie. It’s one of the most 80s of all 80s movies.  It’s hard to encapsulate all of the things I love about it – Miller continues to reflect back at us all of the ideas and tropes that Eastwood had for us with The Man With No Name. Max doesn’t say much because Max is everyone. He’s all of us. He’s the audience’s surrogate that we get to experience the weirdo drama of pseudo-BDSM bad guys and good guys in the desert. Tina Turner sits in a high perch above Bartertown and yells through steampunky tubes at Master Blaster. Mel’s still at the height of his career and charisma. Long hair Mel? Sure, I can get on board with that. There’s a chase scene at the end of this one, and it again feels like we’re one step closer to the amazing balls-to-the-wall adrenaline fuel of Fury Road – the cars look more “Mad Max-y”. Okay, that’s self-referential. They look more apocalyptic and otherworldly than they did in Road Warrior. More spikes and cobbled together auto mobiles. Miller’s love of physically out-there folks is apparent, too – Master Blaster is an icon in the sci-fi movie scene. The huge lug with the little person calling the shots. In Fury Road, we’ll get glimpses of different types of people, but they’re all in the background, not front and center like it is here in Thunderdome.

master-blaster
Master and Blaster – I wonder if they got voted in.

We see the same actor who played the gyrocopter pilot back in the road warrior first thing in this movie. He’s flying above Max in the desert with a kid who we presume is his offspring. This time it’s a plane not a gyrocopter. The compelling thing here is – is this the same guy? This is the gyrocopter guy, right? I mean, it’s the same actor. But Miller’s not one for making just a straight-up linear narrative. Yeah, it could be the same guy. Yeah, this movie COULD be a sequel that comes after- there’s proof for that in his grey-er and longer hair. But that’s not the point. This is just another Mad Max story swirling around in the ether. Events and chronology don’t matter. Max will be there to blast into the next weird encounter of a post-apocalyptic society with a demented leader.

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They’re looking into the future – Sorry, no Fury Road parts were available. 

Miller also made this one softer- not as many gruesome deaths. A story about children finding their way out of their Peter Pan-like existence and into the cityscape. The bad guys don’t die under the wheels of semis in this one. Hell, even at the very end once the children and the pilot dude escape, Tina Turner doesn’t even get all that mad. She gives Max the grin that we’ve seen in many cartoons and movies of “Boy, you’re a worthy opponent” and then she leaves him in the desert as she heads back to her dust-steam-punky land of Bartertown.

I grew up with this movie. I’ve watched it many many times. I’m not sure why, exactly. I don’t think my dad was the biggest Mad Max fan. Maybe it was because HBO had the rights to show it in the 1980s. For whatever reason, this movie is solidly ingrained into my brain and soul. It remains probably my favorite Mad Max movie. One of the reasons it’s my favorite is for Tina’s song at the end – We Don’t Need Another Hero. I was watching this movie with a friend who’d never seen it before. The credits rolled and the song started up, and I pointed out that she says “All we want is what’s beyond the Thunderdome” – she’d never put it together that the song was written specifically for the movie. We’re missing that in today’s pop movie landscape. More movie-specific songs by bands made to play over the credits!