Tipping Point: Our picks and pans
A Jim Gaffigan standup special without takes on fast food is like a day without, well, fast food. Distressing to contemplate. Part of the fun of anticipating a new Gaffigan release is anchored in seeing how it’s possible to come up with something fresh about Starbucks. And yet he pulls it off. More significantly is that Gaffigan — known for his sparkly-clean PG humor — continues a recent, COVID-reflective trend of increasingly unsettling and dark jokes. He’s not gross or offensive for the sake of it; rather, Gaffigan tells the audience up front that our increasingly dismal world is gnawing away at his once-sunny worldview. Old-time fans needn’t worry. The transformation isn’t werewolfian. But for every bit about Montezuma’s Revenge or riding with his daughters in a hot air balloon, there are funnier and ongoing routines about plane crashes and planning your own funeral.
— Rick Koster
This is heresy, but my favorite thing about “Barbie” was Ken. And by that I mean Ryan Gosling’s hilarious performance as the none-too-bright guy whose goal is only to get Barbie’s attention … until he travels beyond the female-led confines of Barbie Land and discovers the masculine joys of the patriarchy. Sure, Gosling captures the character’s striving and confusion at first, followed by his preening confidence. But he’s best when he’s focused on just finding the funny. Even his expression when Ken gets his mug shot taken is priceless. So. OK. The rest of the movie is pretty great, too, including Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie, and the story by director Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach that has big things to say about the real world. The socio-political talk bogs down parts of the film a bit, and the ending goes on too long. But … Gosling!
– Kristina Dorsey
Lotus Biscoff Cookie Butter
A jar of this creamy confection looks like peanut butter but is COOKIE butter — which is what happens, ah, when you make butter out of a specially spiced Belgian cookie from the Lotus Biscoff folks. Or something like that. It’s thick and gooey and spiced in a sort of wintry-holiday fashion but is nonetheless excellent any time — as I’ve proven many times over the course of the recent Heat/Humidity Wave. My particular twist is to spread the cookie butter lavishly on Nature Valley Cinnamon Crunch granola bars. It’s completely healthy and no bad things can come of this! You can find a 14 oz. jar at Shoprite in New London for about $7.
— Rick Koster
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