If I Wrote My Perfect Hallmark Christmas Movie

The Diner That Saved Christmas (2014)

Our story begins with Rex (Lee Pace), a marketing executive with an unfulfilling job and even more unfulfilling relationships. His mother has just died, his last serious girlfriend just got married, and now he has no one. His background music is a lot of Joni Mitchell and Ed Sheeran. 

Feeling broken and alone, he packs up his navy cardigans and grey henleys and goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his only remaining living relative, his grandpa playfully but accurately known as Grumps instead of Gramps (Christopher Plummer). 

Grumps owns the Sunny Side Up Diner that's fallen on hard times. His lack of business savvy has recently led to a sharp decline in regular customers, not to mention his increasingly gruff manner that is known to scare little children and offend their mothers. The script will obviously include references to Grumps as Scrooge. 

The only customer who sees past the tough exterior is Annie (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a history-buff librarian who spends her daily lunch hour in the diner with a ham and cheese omelet and a book. Annie is charmingly spunky, so she easily charms war-veteran Grumps and they become friends. Over daily lunch conversations (since other customers are rarely there), Annie sees glimmers of passion and love that Grumps has for the diner but knows that without some direction and gumption, it's going to close in a matter of weeks.

Armed with her own passion and a sweet, go-get-em spirit, Annie quits her job as a librarian and comes to work at the diner full-time, determined to get Sunny Side Up back on the map and give Grumps something to smile about. She's been working there with slow but steady results for a few months when December rolls around and Rex comes to stay with Grumps for the holidays.

He's immediately taken with Annie, but he's too raw from his mom's death and too scared of being rejected again to make a move. After a few days though of playfully interacting behind the counter and making lame muffin puns that surprisingly make Annie laugh (all of this is montage style of course), Rex finally works up the nerve to ask Annie out. As they share "a look" and he opens his mouth to bravely speak, the door opens and a sharp-suited guy's guy enters the diner - Annie's recent boyfriend, local real estate hotshot Jeremy (Jerry O'Connell).

Rex is crestfallen. It seems he can never win at love, and he is baffled that someone like Jeremy could be luckier in love than he is. But he already cares enough about Annie to want her to be happy, so he internally wishes them well and sinks into his default state of melancholy. Cue more Joni Mitchell.

I mean. Look at those eyes. 

One night while he's walking downtown, mentally flipping through is own montage of Annie, Rex overhears a conversation between Jeremy and Mickey Cantavari (Judd Hirsch), a sleazy real estate developer who is taking over the town bit by bit, demolishing whatever he can to make room for big box stores and high-rises, richly lining his pockets along the way. He is Scrooge. And the Sunny Side Up property is next on his list.

Rex listens cautiously behind a dumpster, and Jeremy is clearly a big part of making this deal happen. And since they're whispering, we as the audience and obviously Rex know that something is amiss.

He then assumes that Jeremy initiated a relationship with Annie just to get her to convince Grumps to sell the business, and Rex thinks that it's here! This is his chance to win Annie for himself! He goes to Sunny Side Up where she's doing some late-night baking, and he tells her that Jeremy is playing her. Annie is appalled and angry, believing that Rex is just jealous and hurt and needs to grow up and see the good in someone for once. She probably throws kneaded bread on the counter harder and harder as her anger builds. Flour flies and she finally tells him to "just go," her voice breaking a bit.

maggie mad.jpg

Rex leaves defeated, wondering if he should just go back home to his empty apartment and his dead-end job, even though Christmas still isn't for a couple of weeks. It hurts too much to stay and watch Annie be with someone else, especially a slime ball like Jeremy that he doesn't trust. But he loves Grumps and is too good of a guy to abandon family, so he stays. 

Annie, meanwhile, is bothered by Rex's accusation, and it continues to grate on her, but mostly because she wonders if he might be right. She decides to confront Jeremy who naturally denies everything, saying that he loves her, that he would never lie to her, and that he wants to marry her. This is clearly a surprise and on the desperate side. Is Jeremy deflecting attention from the truth, or does he really love Annie? 

 Annie is speechless and tells him she needs time to think. The whole thing is perfectly awkward with stuttered speech and "sure, whatever you needs." Annie goes to the person who always gives her great advice,  her old boss and trusted friend, Margery (Viola Davis).

They share a bottle of wine, laugh about old times, and eventually Annie shares what's been going on. Margery patiently listens, and when Annie asks her what to do, Margery's response surprises her: she can't marry Jeremy if she has feelings for Rex. Naturally, Annie refutes this over and over because she would never cheat on Jeremy or anyone else. But deep down, she knows that she does care about Rex, maybe more than she's been allowing herself to feel. Annie sits in silence as Margery sips more wine.

Still confused after a sleepless night, Annie arrives at the diner the next rainy morning to see Grumps sitting at a table with Mickey; they're discussing selling Sunny Side Up. Annie is appalled, knowing this isn't what Grumps really wants. But, he says, he's afraid this might be his only option... that or watch Sunny Side Up - wait for it - go down, disappointing her, Rex, and everyone else. Annie knows that she can't convince Grumps and defeat Mickey on her own, so she turns to the only person who can help - Rex. 

They stand in the rain as she tells him what's going on. She also tells him that Jeremy proposed but there's something keeping her from believing him and saying yes. Does Rex have any good reason why she shouldn't marry Jeremy? 

Her words hang in the rainy silence. Rex knows he should tell her the truth, that he loves her and wants to be with her and that she deserves better than Jeremy because she's exquisite. But he can't. He knows that that's not the way to be with Annie forever; she needs to find it out for herself. 

Rex's silence impacts Annie more than she could imagine. She wanted him to say that he loved her, and his silence stripped her soul. Despite both of them being in hidden states of romantic turmoil, they move past the awkward silence, individually shake it off like it never happened, and decide then to band together to save Grumps and Sunny Side Up.

When they push through the doors, someone else has joined Grumps and Mickey - Jeremy. He admits to being part of the deal but continues to protest that he didn't know about it before meeting her. In that moment though, she realizes that she would rather be with Rex than with Jeremy. At least Rex was honest with her upfront, even about hard things. And even though he was silent earlier in the rain and doesn't seem to want to be with her, she realizes that she deserves better than Jeremy.  He can see it on her face and desperately declares his love for her again, but she shakes her head. No, Jeremy, she says. It's over. I'm not going to let you steal this business out from under a man who deserves it far more than Mickey Scrooge over here. 

Jeremy seethes. Mickey quickly looks back and forth from Annie to Grumps. And Grumps smiles. Someone really does believe in him and is willing to stand up to Mickey Cantavari for him. That's all it takes for Grumps to tell Mickey to scram. He even calls him Scrooge just like Annie had the guts to do.

Rex now has a little hope, and with a renewed sense of purpose, he uses his marketing skills to create a buzz around the diner as Annie and Grumps work together to create a place that will serve the community for years to come. During that time, Rex and Annie spend more time together montage style again and the comfort level grows, but neither is brave enough to say anything. 

One week later, Sunny Side Up has a grand reopening on Christmas Eve. As the snow falls, the townspeople line up outside the door, anxiously awaiting this place that will bring comfort to the belly and to the soul. Grumps, Annie, and Rex stand on the front porch and together say, "Welcome to Sunny Side Up!" as the people gleefully enter and the Christmas snow falls. They serve food and have conversations and host a Christmas Eve gathering that the town will remember for years to come. 

As the final customers start to file out, Rex and Annie say goodbye to them, happily exhausted from such a successful night. A little girl shyly says goodbye, holding her stuffed bunny in mittened hands. She says, "Mommy, is that mistletoe?" and points above Rex and Annie. Sure enough, it is. 

Rex and Annie sheepishly glance at each other, laugh it off, and then say goodbye to the girl and her family. The diner is now empty except for Grumps hiding in the kitchen, watching their every move. Rex and Annie turn to each other, their eyes anxious with hopefulness only reserved for Hallmark movies, and Rex kisses her with the tenderness of a single snowflake. And somewhere back in the kitchen, Grumps smiles.

We see the following epilogue photos as the credits roll.

// END CREDITS //

Okay so I would TOTALLY watch that movie. So many times. Lee Pace in all the things.

(Special thanks to my sister for helping me craft the story. Now if anyone knows anyone at Hallmark who can make this happen, we only require 30% of production profits and merchandising. And a personal meet-and-greet with Lee Pace. Make it happen.)

Who do you want to see in a cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movie?

The One Where I Convince You to Watch The Walking Dead

"I just don't really get into zombies!" you say. My friend, I was once you, uttering those exact words to a most trusted and beloved sister who was convinced I would fall in love with this show. But I put it off for months, and she accepted my ambivalence and waited patiently for me to begin this new television adventure on my own terms. I owe her everything that I finally did because it miiiiight be my favorite show ever. And I think it could be yours, too.

Dead on Arrival

So it's just a show about people fighting zombies, right? A sorely inaccurate misconception, my friends. Here's what to expect as you start.

Yes, there are zombies. Here, they're called walkers. Walkers have taken over the country, and a small group of people - some strangers, some not - try and survive. But what happens when you are faced with choices that the regular world would never force? What happens when you have to choose between survival and people you love? What happens to the person you were before? Does crisis change you, or does it enhance who you truly are at the deepest place?

Just as Friday Night Lights is not just about football and LOST is not just about an island, The Walking Dead is not just about zombies. It's about people. It's simply a catalyst for experiencing characters and how they move through the world; it just happens to be a rather gross catalyst, a grossness you'll accept shockingly fast. 

Dead Man Walking

It's violent. I won't gloss over that. And sometimes it's super gross. But the violent grossness isn't there just for shock value. Sure, sometimes it makes you cringe and look away, but I think that's because living in a zombie apocalypse would make you cringe and look away, too. We're seeing a shockingly believable world that's overrun by walkers and experiencing it through people who are just like us. I'm not trying to philosophize it; I'm just saying it's real, not gratuitous. Don't let the violence stop you, unless of course you'll never sleep again. Then go watch Gilmore Girls and we'll talk later.

In the Dead of Night

It will begin slowly.

The first month, I watched the first six episodes. The second month, I watched the next FIFTY. This is not an exaggeration; you can check my Netflix viewing history. I am chronically tired because I've stayed up well into the dark thirty hours to watch "one more episode," but I have zero regrets. Only a few bags under my eyes.

Why did I take so long to get going you ask? I was intrigued by the storytelling but unmoved by the characters. A bit too much melodrama and some bad Southern accents. But they righted that ship fast shortly into season one. The storytelling became FABULOUS, the action was engrossing but not manufactured, and some new characters brought life to a rather unlikeable group. So stay the course in season one. You need to watch it - lots of stage-setting - but don't expect to hit binge speed until a bit into season two. 

Then be prepared. Because you won't know how to stop. 

Drop Dead Gorgeous

One of those reasons? A single word I have for you.

Daryl.

daryl

There are pretty faces and bulging biceps aplenty, including a sweet Korean guy named Glenn who reminds me of my husband and is the dearest, but DARYL. I will sound like a lunatic, but once you watch it, you'll understand.

His effect is surprising and haunting and I love him vastly more than my aforementioned TV men that make me swoon. Like, it's NO CONTEST. More than Jack, more than Tim Riggins, more than all the Bravermans combined. Daryl is it lock, stock, and barrel... or whatever the equivalent is for a crossbow since that's his weapon of choice. He's mysterious, broken, kind, a badass, and sexy as hell. Forgive the slight color, but there's no way to talk about Daryl without getting a little saucy. He's also the comic relief of the very not-funny show with the best lines hands down.

I think the reason the first season feels slow is because Daryl isn't in it the whole time. The producers and writers didn't anticipate The Daryl Effect, and once they figured it out? Mighty fine, sunshine. The point? Don't give up on the show until you see Daryl. If you're a guy, you'll want to be him, and if you're a girl, you'll want to be with him. Everyone loves Daryl. Which is why real people, including myself, wear this with pride.

Time to Beat a Dead Horse

Don't make that face. I know what you're thinking. I understand because I thought it, too. The show can't possibly be that good, right? WRONG. SO. SO. WRONG. It's better than you think. And not just better... it's AMAZING. Millions of people in this country agree; it's the highest rated show on television for two years running in the 18-49 range. They can't all be stupid.

So let's look again at why you'll love it. It's fun, immensely entertaining, full of characters that you really care about, and has some of the best twists and surprises of any show I've ever seen. The only show that comes close in terms of smart and compelling storytelling is Breaking Bad, and with The Walking Dead, there are a lot of good people to root for. It's the best of both television worlds.

Dead Ahead

After a few episodes, I started seeing walkers in drainpipes underneath my walking trails. I brutally killed a fly with one swat against my kitchen window and thought how proud Daryl would be of my marksmanship. My youngest son bit my oldest son in the face like a boss and I could only attribute it to the Walking Dead in the air. (I don't condone biting. It was terrifying and gross. Just really thematic with my TV watching at the time.)

I implore you to start watching this show so you can start seeing drainpipe walkers, too. What a wonderful fandom to be part of.

The Walking Dead is currently in its fifth season on AMC, and the previous four seasons are on Netflix. Here's your plan. The mid-season premiere is on February 8th. That gives you almost two months to catch up. Then you'll get to watch it live every week like it's 1999. 

Sidenote: it's brutal going from binge-watching to waiting for an episode each week. Waiting is the WORST. But it's also oddly exciting. It's how TV was originally meant to be enjoyed. So don't run from the event-television model. If you start now, this show can capture both ways of watching for you,  and you'll love me forever.

So today? I commit to waiting patiently for you, just like my sister did for me. I trust that eventually this show will call your name, that it will beckon you from the shallow pools of How I Met Your Mother reruns to the deep well of brilliant storytelling and Daryl's beautifully dirty biceps. 

You won't be sorry. 

Everything You Need to Know About This Year's Golden Globe Nominations

Today? The Golden Globe nominations. January 11th? The actual Golden Globes hosted by our best pals Tina and Amy. Every day in between? Giddiness seeping from our collective pores (ew) because this awards show is the most fun of all. TV! Movies! Actors sit at round tables and are allowed to drink alcohol! Nothing beats it. Let's dive in to what you need to know from today's nominations. The full list is at the bottom of the post. TV is up first!

The Ones You're Excited About

1. Downton Abbey

Our favorite aristocratic family received a nomination for Best Drama, and Joanne Froggatt got a nod for Best Supporting Actress. Considering that category includes drama, comedy, and miniseries/TV movie, it's well earned. If you'll remember, Anna went through some heavy emotional stuff this past season with a certain visiting servant working for hot tamale Lord Gillingham. Poor Anna. At least she might get a globe. (She won't; Allison Janney probably will because the Hollywood Foreign Press is legally obligated to give her any award she's nominated for, but we don't have to tell Anna that.)

2. The Good Wife

I don't watch it. Yet. Too many of you have sung its praises, and I will join that choir one of these days. Alas, I personally have no reason to be excited about its nominations, but a lot of you are. Three nods - Best Drama, Best Actress for Julianna (she won the Emmy this past year), and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Cumming. The show has had a hard opponent in Breaking Bad for the last couple of years, but maybe this year they bring it home. 

3. True Detective

This could fall into the next category  of The Ones That Aren't a Surprise, but I have an emotional connection to this show, much like McConaughey has an emotional connection to Lincolns. It's dark and gritty and not for everyone, but it's fascinating television. It received four nominations - Best Miniseries, Best Actors for both Woody and Matthew, and Best Supporting Actress for Michelle Monaghan who is a quiet force in each episode. I'm surprised it's taken this long for her to get some credit.

Side note: during the Emmys, TD entered as a television drama. For the Globes, it entered as a miniseries. I guess it learned its lesson and now just wants to win. But joke's on you, True Detective, because you're going up against Fargo and The Normal Heart. This is not a home run. We can only hope that if the show loses again Matthew McConaughey will do an unintelligible monologue about loss and regret while driving a Lincoln.

The Ones That Aren't a Surprise

1. The Subscription Service Heavy Hitters (and Fargo)

Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Girls, Orange Is the New Black, and The Normal Heart. Also Fargo which is on FX. Regular TV networks just can't cut it anymore apparently. All of these shows/movies are up for the top honor plus a good number of Best Actor/Actresses in there, too. Everyone loves them, they're groundbreaking, we get it yawn. I'm not saying the shows are yawns; some far from it. It's just like when you know your creepy Uncle Daryl is going to show up at Christmas dinner with yet another new girlfriend. It's hours of entertainment, but it's not exactly a surprise. 

2. Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates

They're so dang creepy. And they're both nominated again, this time for the Freak Show installment of American Horror Story. I refuse to use a picture though because I don't want to Google search the show and have nightmares for weeks.

3. Julia Louis Dreyfus and Louis C.K.

Well deserved Best Actor/Actress nominations by two of the funniest people on television. Comedy gold forever. If they're not nominated, all televisions would come alive and turn into robots that would kill us all, starting with the Hollywood Foreign Press. Let's avoid that robot apocalypse, even though Michael Bay is probably making a movie about it right now.

4. Claire Danes

Homeland didn't get any other nods like in recent seasons, but an awards show is not an awards show without Claire Danes being up for a Best Actress.

The Ones That Got Snubbed

This category is CRAZY. 

1. Modern Family

Not a SINGLE. NOMINATION. This show has been a juggernaut for years, winning EVERYTHING, including the Emmy for Best Comedy just a few months ago! To not even get nominated? Even for the actors? I mean, WOW. 

2. Parks and Rec slash Amy Poehler

PEOPLE. This will not stand. She won the Globe last year. She would've won the Emmy this past year if JLD wasn't such a powerhouse. It's CRAZY that she not even on the list. She's hosting, so I'm pretty stoked to hear her slam the HFP for leaving her off. Also the show is amazing and needs more recognition, and WHERE ARE THE NOMINATIONS FOR NICK OFFERMAN?! Ron Swanson has been too quiet for too long. 

3. Sherlock

Nothing. Emmy wins all around a few months ago, but nary a nomination by these stupid foreigners. Don't they know that the BBC is foreign?! At least we still get both Martin Freeman and my beloved Benedict in other categories, but still. What is happening.

4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

It won two Globes last year for Best Comedy and Best Actor for Andy Samberg. Yes, I was as surprised as the rest of you, but this is one of my favorite shows on TV and HILARIOUS. The fact that its second season has been better than the first and still got nothing this year makes zero sense.  

5. Mad Men

Again. Nothing. They didn't even throw Jon Hamm a Best Actor bone. Perhaps the show has indeed slouched a bit in recent seasons, but oh how the mighty have fallen. They better have Hamm present though because the world needs to see him in a tux. Plus he's pals with Tina and Amy; they'll rope him in somehow.

6. Everything Else

Zooey is usually nominated for New Girl. Negative this year. Also nothing for Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black which is ridiculous since she plays practically every character in the show and plays them flawlessly. No Scandal. That's sad because Kerry is a red carpet vision. Nothing for The Newsroom which is another I haven't seen, but those of you that have are probably upset about its absence on the ballot. And even though JLD was nominated for Best Actress, Veep didn't get any additional love. That's hardcore surprising.

And can we at some point in our lives get a little love for The Mindy Project? Chris Messina is perfect in that show, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his nationally accredited stalker. He's PERFECT as Danny, and somebody needs to figure that out before Mindy and her pointy heels take someone out.

Also nothing for Parenthood or The Walking Dead. The world is a broken place. 

The Ones That Finally Went Away

1. Jim Parsons

PRAISE HIM. This idiot who's been stealing Best Actor in a Comedy statues from my beloveds for years didn't even get nominated this year. It's about time is all I'm saying. (Although his Emmy speech was lovely. Stupid Jim. Why does he have to be nice.)

2. Boardwalk Empire

No one cares. No one watches. It's been taking nominee spots for a long time, and now it's gone. Hooray. 

The Ones You've Never Heard Of

1. The Affair

A Showtime original about two couples who are entangled. Best Drama nod as well as leading acting for both the male and female leads. I haven't seen the show, but Ruth Wilson was amazing in Luther, and Dominic West was equally amazing in The Hour. I don't like watching shows about affairs because hello depressing, but it's gotten some good traction in its freshman showing.

2. Transparent

It got a coveted Best Comedy Series nomination plus Best Actor for Jeffery Tambor who plays a transgendered dad whose kids all have their own secrets. It's an Amazon show that I haven't seen yet, but dude have people been talking about it for awhile. 

3. Jane the Virgin

This is the only comedy nominated for Best Series that isn't on a subscription cable network. And it's on the CW. Why does that make me laugh so much. NBC, CBS, and FOX go through comedies like old napkins, and here the CW sits with a nomination for its freshman comedy like they're old pros. Jane is a young woman who wants to remain a virgin until she gets married but then accidentally gets artificially inseminated at a routine doctor's visit. It sounds ridiculous, but critics have been raving since it came out of the gate. Anyone watched this one? She was nominated for Best Actress, too. Not Amy Poehler. The world shakes its head. 

Now on to the movies!

It's rare that an awards season offers up movies that I actually want to see and not just ones that I feel like I have to in order to not have my pop culture card revoked. Here are some movies/performances of note that we can all get behind.

1. The Imitation Game

Uh, duh-oy. It's Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and Allen Leech (Tom in Downton) in an historical biopic. There is no question I will be seeing this one. Nominated for Best Picture (Drama), Best Actor (Ben), Best Supporting Actress (Keira), Best Screenplay, and Best Score. I smell some major Oscar nominations coming for this one in about a month.

2. Into the Woods

We all know how psyched I am about this, but I had no idea it would be nominated for stuff! Because, you know, IT HASN'T BEEN RELEASED IN THEATERS YET. How does this happen? The timelines are weird. Selmaabout Martin Luther King, Jr., releases in theaters on January 9th, and it'll compete in the Best Picture category on January 11th. I mean okay. I guess we can get behind it though, but Selma's director is nominated as well - the first African-American woman nominated for that spot. Pretty historical and great. But back to Into the Woods! Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Best Actress (Emily Blunt), and Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep... she squeaked into yet another awards show).

3. Foxcatcher

This one boggles the mind. Steve Carrel plays an out-of-control wrestling coach based on a true story, and you seriously can't even believe that it's Michael Scott under there. Actors are incredible. I can't wait to see this movie. Nominated for Best Picture (Drama), Best Actor (Steve), and Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo).

4. Boyhood

You've heard about this one, right? It was filmed over twelve years with the same actors. It follows a boy as he grows up, and Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents, both of whom were nominated for Globes along with the Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay nods. It's hard to imagine a guy who directs a movie over twelve years, who pulls out performances from aging people, and who crafts a poignant relevant film that has a 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating (that's a rare thing indeed) won't win for Best Director, but we'll see.

5. Gone Girl

Still haven't seen it. I'm such a slacker. But I'm obsessed with the book and can't wait to see the movie. Rosamund Pike got a Best Actress nomination along with David Fincher for Best Director, Gillian Flynn for Best Screenplay (she wrote the book, too), and Best Score. Popcorn movies don't get a lot of love amongst all the historically heavy films, so this is a breath of fresh air. Even though the story is the darkest of just about anything you'll read/see.

6. Birdman

I'm fascinated by this one, and it'll definitely be around come Oscar time. Michael Keaton plays a has-been actor, once the anchor of a superhero franchise, and now faced with a professional and personal crisis of relevancy and success. It's really meta since it's easy for us to think that Michael Keaton is playing himself. It has the most nominations by my count - Best Picture, Best Actor (Keaton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton). Basically all the bests. We'll see if it actually is.

There are many other exciting nominations, but that'll get us through for now. Suffice it to say, the audience at the Globes is going to be LEGIT. So many of my favorites and perfectly normal crushes - Steve Carrel, Mark Ruffalo, BENEDICT, Keira, Allen Leech, Eddie Redmayne (for the Stephen Hawking biopic that has everyone talking, too), Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Aniston, Rosamund, Reese, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Emily Blunt and her arm candy husband John Krasinski, Meryl, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Adams, Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Kevin Spacey, Clive Owen, Viola Davis, all of the adorable Silicon Valley nerds, JLD, Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Matt Bomer, McConaghey, Woody, Maggie Gyllenhaal (WILL SHE AND JAKE BE EACH OTHER'S DATES?!)... sorry, that one put me out of commission. I can't go on. It's too much for nerves. 

JANUARY 11TH IS GOING TO BE THE BEST DAY EVER. 

And here are all the nominations. 

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

BOYHOOD
FOXCATCHER
THE IMITATION GAME
SELMA
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

JENNIFER ANISTON: CAKE
FELICITY JONES: THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
JULIANNE MOORE: STILL ALICE
ROSAMUND PIKE: GONE GIRL
REESE WITHERSPOON: WILD

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

STEVE CARELL: FOXCATCHER
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH THE IMITATION GAME
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: NIGHTCRAWLER
DAVID OYELOWO: SELMA
EDDIE REDMAYNE: THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING 

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

BIRDMAN
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
INTO THE WOODS
PRIDE
ST. VINCENT

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

AMY ADAMS: BIG EYES
EMILY BLUNT : INTO THE WOODS
HELEN MIRREN: THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
JULIANNE MOORE: MAPS TO THE STARS
QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS: ANNIE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

RALPH FIENNES: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
MICHAEL KEATON : BIRDMAN
BILL MURRAY: ST. VINCENT
JOAQUIN PHOENIX: INHERENT VICE
CHRISTOPH WALTZ: BIG EYES

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 

BIG HERO 6
THE BOOK OF LIFE
THE BOXTROLLS
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
THE LEGO MOVIE

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM 

FORCE MAJEURE TURIST (SWEDEN)
GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE (ISRAEL)
AMSALEM GETT (FRANCE)
IDA (POLAND/DENMARK)
LEVIATHAN (RUSSIA)
TANGERINES MANDARIINID (ESTONIA)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

PATRICIA ARQUETTE: BOYHOOD
JESSICA CHASTAIN: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: THE IMITATION GAME
EMMA STONE: BIRDMAN
MERYL STREEP: INTO THE WOODS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

ROBERT DUVALL: THE JUDGE
ETHAN HAWKE: BOYHOOD
EDWARD NORTON: BIRDMAN
MARK RUFFALO: FOXCATCHER
J.K. SIMMONS: WHIPLASH

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

WES ANDERSON: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
AVA DUVERNAY: SELMA
DAVID FINCHER: GONE GIRL
ALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ: BIRDMAN (IÑÁRRITU)
RICHARD LINKLATER: BOYHOOD

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE

WES ANDERSON: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
GILLIAN FLYNN: GONE GIRL
ALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ BIRDMAN (IÑÁRRITU,NICOLÁS GIACOBONE, ALEXANDER DINELARIS, ARMANDO BO)
RICHARD LINKLATER: BOYHOOD
GRAHAM MOORE: THE IMITATION GAME

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE

ALEXANDRE DESPLAT: THE IMITATION GAME
JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON: THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
TRENT REZNOR & ATTICUS ROSS: GONE GIRL
ANTONIO SANCHEZ: BIRDMAN
HANS ZIMMER: INTERSTELLAR

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE 

“BIG EYES” — BIG EYES (Lana Del Rey)
“GLORY” — SELMA (John Legend and Common)
“MERCY IS” — NOAH (Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye)
“OPPORTUNITY” — ANNIE (Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck)
“YELLOW FLICKER BEAT” — THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART ONE (Lorde)

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

THE AFFAIR (SHOWTIME)
DOWNTON ABBEY (PBS)
GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
HOUSE OF CARDS (NETFLIX)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

CLAIRE DANES: HOMELAND
VIOLA DAVIS: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
JULIANNA MARGULIES: THE GOOD WIFE
RUTH WILSON: THE AFFAIR
ROBIN WRIGHT: HOUSE OF CARDS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

CLIVE OWEN: THE KNICK
LIEV SCHREIBER: RAY DONOVAN
KEVIN SPACEY: HOUSE OF CARDS
JAMES SPADER : THE BLACKLIST
DOMINIC WEST: THE AFFAIR 

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

GIRLS (HBO)
JANE THE VIRGIN (THE CW)
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (NETFLIX)
SILICON VALLEY (HBO)
TRANSPARENT (AMAZON)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES –COMEDY OR MUSICAL

LENA DUNHAM: GIRLS
EDIE FALCO: NURSE JACKIE
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS: VEEP
GINA RODRIGUEZ : JANE THE VIRGIN
TAYLOR SCHILLING: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

LOUIS C. K.: LOUIE
DON CHEADLE: HOUSE OF LIES
RICKY GERVAIS: DEREK
WILLIAM H. MACY : SHAMELESS
JEFFREY TAMBOR: TRANSPARENT

BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

FARGO (FX)
THE MISSING (STARZ)
THE NORMAL HEART (HBO)
OLIVE KITTERIDGE (HBO)
TRUE DETECTIVE (HBO)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL: THE HONORABLE WOMAN
JESSICA LANGE: AMERICAN HORROR STORY:FREAK SHOW
FRANCES MCDORMAND: OLIVE KITTERIDGE
FRANCES O’CONNOR: THE MISSING
ALLISON TOLMAN: FARGO

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

MARTIN FREEMAN: FARGO
WOODY HARRELSON: TRUE DETECTIVE
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY : TRUE DETECTIVE
MARK RUFFALO: THE NORMAL HEART
BILLY BOB THORNTON: FARGO

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

UZO ADUBA: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
KATHY BATES: AMERICAN HORROR STORY:FREAK SHOW
JOANNE FROGGATT: DOWNTON ABBEY
ALLISON JANNEY: MOM
MICHELLE MONAGHAN: TRUE DETECTIVE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

MATT BOMER : THE NORMAL HEART
ALAN CUMMING: THE GOOD WIFE
COLIN HANKS: FARGO
BILL MURRAY: OLIVE KITTERIDGE
JON VOIGHT: RAY DONOVAN


The Easiest Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Candy

crunch-candy-graphic.jpg

Most of our knowledge of making candy from scratch comes from food competition shows hosted by eccentric Germans and ex boy band members, so I understand if it's something you've never thought possible in your own kitchen. 

But if we don't keep our eyes open for impossible things that are actually very possible, we'll miss out on having Matt Damon as a husband. 

I bet when Luciana Barroso went to tend bar that night in 2003, she never expected to wait on Matt, have him ask her out, and then marry him two years later. You just never know what might happen if you keep your options open. The moral of the story? Making candy could help you marry a celebrity. Wait, that's right, right?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Candy

Melt. Stir. Chill. Cut. Those are the only steps to achieving an addictive Crunch-esque candy that is dangerously perfect. This is a great Christmas treat to package up for the nieces and nephews because it's delicious and only takes a few minutes and a spoon. Worried the peanut butter might kill them? Use almond butter. No death-by-allergy necessary. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6.5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Melt. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of water and place over medium heat. Place the chocolate in a metal or glass bowl and fit snugly on the pan of simmering water. This is called a double boiler, and it will gently melt your chocolate. You can also melt in the microwave for a minute at a time, stirring each time, but frankly, I adore the double boiler method so much more. It feels more Laura Ingalls and isn't a bit harder than babysitting the microwave. Once the chocolate is almost fully melted, take it off the heat and keep stirring until it's all melted. The reason you don't melt it all the way over the heat is that you run the risk of the chocolate seizing and getting wonky. It's such a chill ingredient until it isn't, so let just remove it from danger before it turns into a diva.
  2. Stir. Stir the peanut butter, salt, and vanilla into the chocolate until combined. Then add the cereal and stir until everything is incorporated. 
  3. Chill. Line a small dish, shoe box, bread loaf pan, or anything that measures about 4x8 with parchment or wax paper. This recipe is just a tad too small to fit in an 8x8 pan, but you could always double it and put it in a bigger pan. It's just dangerous to have too much around. Trust me on this. So find something smallish, line it, and press the mixture into the "pan" evenly. Leave it on the counter or in the fridge to cool. 
  4. Cut. It's great in sticks, cut into larger dollar-bill sizes like the Crunch bar, or in thick squares. It all depends on your pan and how thick the candy is. It matters not. I've done it all the ways, and they're all fabulous. 

That's it! Feel free to play around with the chocolate if you'd like. That's my favorite combo, but you could use all milk, all semisweet, all dark, even white if you're into that sort of thing. It really makes no difference.

Again, be open to the possibilities of this simple candy and then pretend you're eating it with Matt Damon. He compliments you on how welcoming your home is, how that apron makes you look like a cute and modern Donna Reed, and can he help with the dishes. You then laugh because there's just a bowl and a spoon to wash, but sure that's very thoughtful and would he like to stay for dinner. Then you make spaghetti, make out a little, and then one of you dies because SURPRISE you're in a Nicholas Sparks movie! 

And here's where you can make your own Nicholas Sparks movie. It's FANTASTIC.