“Avengers: Endgame” A Review

“Avengers: Endgame” 2019; Marvel Studios; Directors Anthony Russo, Joe Russo; starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson

I was excited, looking forward to sitting in one of our local theaters for three hours to watch “Avengers: Endgame.”

I woke up yesterday feeling under the weather, and even though my symptoms calmed down an hour or so before show time, I hoped I’d be able to sit three hours watching the endgame unfold and experiencing again the Avengers team’s responses to crisis.

I made it. I couldn’t eat popcorn (I know, how did I resist theater popcorn?) nor did I purchase a drink from the concession stand. My reward for going the length of the entire movie without leaving my seat was a free trip to the ladies room afterward.

One piece of advice. In my opinion, having watched all the films and most of the associated Marvel television series, it would be to your advantage to watch “Avenger: Infinity War” before seeing this one. It will help keep in mind all the action that preceded the “endgame” Doctor Strange referred to at the end of “Infinity War” and some of the motivations of the characters.

This probably is, in fact, not a review at all. I will have to let you know how I liked the movie when I’m done weeping. Not really. But there are some sad parts in this story along with all the anticipated action and the typical Marvel humor.

Schedule for Stuff

Here at The Fruitful Life I like to post regular features. I may have started the blog to write about how the Christian faith molds my life. But since I began, I realize the word “fruitful” can mean more than that. I want to live the totally abundant life Christ came to give me.

My interests are many, thanks to God who created me. But to post about everything isn’t realistic.  However, you’ll find on this site essays about things I can’t help but share. Reading is a passion of mine. I reeeally enjoy watching movies (even old B&W ones!). So occasionally I feel a stirring and write about those things.

I also have a passion for food, learning more about cooking and baking, and discovering new recipes. Sometimes I’m precise in the process; sometimes I cook ‘by guess and by golly.’ That’s here too.

Below is a tentative schedule for postings on The Fruitful Life. Sometimes I take little vacations or life gets hectic and I have to skip a post. Remember that abundant life? Yep, that’s what happens.Blogging-shakespeare


Media Monday  Some Mondays will see either a book review or a movie review. Those offerings are strictly my opinion and the reviews may not be for media recently released. I believe that, after reading a book or watching a movie, I may help someone make a decision about whether to try it too. If that’s media which is not so new, it’s okay. I’m often influenced by the reviews–good and bad–that I read. You might even see an occasional mention of music here.

Wednesday is for Faith  The middle of the work week has been the usual day when I share something about how my faith instructs all I do. I’ll be the first to say I don’t live the Christian life perfectly. That’s why I so desperately need a savior. Writing about what I believe and using the Bible to explain it helps confirm my faith.

Foodie Friday  Friday food posts will be instantly recognizable since they’ll have the word “foodie” in the title. Friday features tips, recipes, ideas you may not have tried, or something heartfelt about how we respond to food and eating. I’m not a professional photographer so bear with me when I post my own picture stuff.

Good News Any Day  I decided recently, after some time being involved with social media, that I want to share some good news. “How do I do that?” I wondered. So far, I have a couple ideas. One is obvious: search the Internet. It’s not all bad news out there and we need to hear good news to keep our psyches afloat. Hope buoys us up and knowing people are doing well or ‘doing good’ gives us hope. I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground and either telling the story in my own way or offering links to various good news stories.

And speaking of Good News, please remember that I write from a Christian perspective. Even when I’m not writing about food, I pray what you see here will be seasoned with truth and grace. Just as Jesus offered everything he said and did.

Your comments are always welcome. It would be great to know if you found me on WordPress, Twitter or Facebook, if you care to say so.

Be a blessing to someone today.

A Visit to Zootopia

Released in theaters March 2016, Zootopia is now on DVD. I have to say if you didn’t catch it at the theater, you must see it now.

Zootopia is smart, funny, and full of color. That’s typical of Disney movies. We can also expect endearing characters, a great plot, and a moral to the story.

Zootopia brings it home in all respects.

A cute little bunny, Judy Hopps, is determined “to make the world a better place” by becoming the first rabbit police officer. Her parents prefer she stay at home with her 275 brothers and sisters living a risk-free life. But carrot farming isn’t in the stars for Judy and she knows it.

She attends Zootopia Police Academy and, although she graduated at the top of her class, is assigned to ticketing cars at expired parking meters.

Zootopia police have been stymied by 14 cases of missing predators. When an otter goes missing, Judy convinces Chief Bogo she can solve it. Bogo gives her 48 hours.

Judy decides to enlist the help of Nick Wilde, a fox who lives up to the stereotype. He’s clever and sassy. Judy uses Nick’s shady practices to trick him into assisting her and the story begins to unfold as a true detective tale.

Rabbit and fox are fortunate enough to discover a license plate number in the sketchy file Judy’s been given. That plate number leads them to the DMV where Nick has a friend, Flash, who proves a big help. But Flash, like his co-workers, is a sloth.

Uh-oh.at the DMV

For anyone who’s waited at the DMV, you’ll relate. Nick and Judy get to the counter immediately. But…er…you’ll love the sloths. Watch Judy be her usual upbeat self. Watch Nick bait Flash into a conversation. Watch Flash finish a sentence. Watch Judy lose her cool. Watch Nick’s smug expression.

The plate number results in an address which leads the duo to the naturalists. The naturalists give them enough information to take them to Mr. Big. He has enough information to lead them to a place where they hear about night howlers. Wolves?

In their search for the missing otter, Judy and Nick play the roles of detective with everything they have in them. Judy proves she’s not a “dumb bunny.” Nick’s foxiness comes in handy, but he also begins to soften. They form a bond that could only happen in Zootopia, where predator and prey can live in harmony.

Zootopia includes the dense, color-rich scenes you expect of Disney Studios. The soundtrack is amazing. As usual, there’s visual humor and lines that kids probably won’t understand. (Think: Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy.) But that’s okay. Disney knows it’s the parents who bring the kids.

In the end, Zootopia shows us that we need friends who are loyal and always believe in us. We see that we can live in harmony with those who are different if all parties are willing to work together. Disney does it all so well. It’s a movie you’ll want to own so you can watch it whenever you need to see a great story told well. Or just for the laughs after a rough day.

One critic’s review named it “the best Disney movie in 20 years.” So hurry to the store and buy your copy.

Because you must see Zootopia now.

Mr Big

For parents: Zootopia is rated PG-13 for thematic material (animal violence), action scenes and some crude humor.

Foodie Redux

It won’t be long and my movie buddy will be gone. She’s moving to sunny Florida and I’ll remain here in the Midwest. I will miss her. She and I have similar tastes in movies and books. We both like to play Scrabble and we both can talk a mile a minute.


Today’s Foodie post is re-blogged for Gina, my movie buddy, and a tribute to that quintessential concession stand treat: popcorn.


“I Can Hear It Now”

Popcorn is a snack food that has been compared to social media. I suppose it’s true; the more generous you are with it, the more people you attract.

When you think of popcorn, do you think of

a) Jiffy Pop
b) Microwaved
c) Theater-popped
d) Air-popped
e) All of the above

When popcorn pops, it creates not just a sound in the ear, but an aroma in the nose. The unique treat in your hand belies the soft crunch you’re about to feel between your teeth (and the nasty hulls stuck there later on). Popcorn is a sensual experience only the eater can describe.

I come from the era of Jiffy Pop, but my family could neither afford it nor would one package have fed our large family. We popped our kernels from a bag the old fashioned way.

f) In a pan on top of the stove

My earliest association of popcorn involves Mom serving up the surprise, usually on a Saturday night. The seven of us–Dad and we six kids–would be sitting in the living room watching TV when, all of a sudden, “It” would begin.

Pop! Pop! Pop! POP-POP-POP! POP-POP-POP-POPPITY-POP! An unmistakable sound, those kernels hitting the lid of a pan. Mom couldn’t hide now what she was up to. And inevitably, one of us would hurry to the kitchen to confirm and report back, “We’re having popcorn!”

By then, the aroma of those tiny popping kernels wafted through the house; we needed no one to tell us. Imagine six kids full of anticipation for a rare treat. Then Mom came first with a bowl for Dad and, in turns, a bowl for each of us children. She’d give the popping another go because one pan didn’t feed everyone.

I confess that I can eat popcorn until it’s coming out of my ears (pun intended). At a movie theater, I’ve actually had friends with whom I’m attending keep tabs on me. Or talk me down from the ledge of even getting in line to purchase a bushel basket of it.popcorn 2

Whew, I just walk in the door and I’m a theater popcorn junkie. How can those youngsters at the concession stand possibly feel good about trafficking refills for a paltry fifty cents? Dripping with butter, for me, it’s a cross between Mom’s love served in a bowl and Paula Dean’s favorite recipe.*

Now, just in time for my blog post–I’ve wanted to write about popcorn for a couple weeks–the New York Times publishes an article about scientists “discovering” the mechanics of popcorn popping. Is this really news? Did no one ever figure this out before?

As if the average kid about to get a bowl of air-popped, Jiffy Popped, microwaved, or theater popcorn cared. **

At heart, I’m a kid when it comes to popcorn. It reminds me of sitting with my sibs and the folks watching the boob tube. That truly felt like family time. I didn’t need bowl after bowl of it to enjoy it. I didn’t need the buttery-flavored junk on top or the special toppings they offer these days. It didn’t have to come quickly like microwaved popcorn.

The sound and the scent were enough. And Mom knowing just when it was a good night to treat us. That’s another sensual experience, I suppose. One that evokes pleasure in my heart.

Somewhere, kids must still be sitting in living rooms listening to the poppity-pop out in the kitchen while Mom prepares to serve up a little fun and love. I know this because I see that popcorn can still be found in kernel form on supermarket shelves; the kind you have to pop without a microwave.

But if you’re interested in microwaving without buying the commercial microwave brands, here’s a great article with tips for just that.

Why not pick up some popcorn–your choice–this weekend and enjoy the treat with your family? Don’t forget the dental floss.

*I realize that’s not real butter, only some buttery-flavored concoction but still…
** Actually, my geeky grandson would probably love to study the principles of corn popping.