A reader named Marci sent me an email a while ago asking if I ever watched movies.  I, like most other people who haven’t plucked their eyeballs out and then juggled them in an attempt to gain YouTube fame, have indeed watched movies.  Because I work from home, technically I could watch movies all day long if I wanted to, as long as when someone called here I remembered to say Don’t bother me, I’m working instead of Don’t bother me, I’m watching a movie.  

Saturdays are usually my movie night – assuming I don’t have to do real work due to watching movies all week long.  I rarely go “out” to see movies in theatres anymore mainly because of Avatar, a 37 hour, 3-D movie about the cast of Cats living in the future.

When you’re in a movie theatre no matter how badly you hate the film most sane humans just cannot get up and leave.  You paid $12 to rent a sticky seat, and you sweated right through your tee shirt, sweater and jacket trying to make your way to that seat while carrying a bucket of hot buttery mortgage payment with the care of someone transporting a nuclear bomb so as not to drop a single kernel of what’s apparently the world’s most precious commodity.  I mean, only a lunatic would leave after that.

If you’re at home and you’re watching a bad movie on the other hand, you have a lot of options.  You can yell at the screen telling it, it’s the worst movie ever, you can turn it off, you can wander into the kitchen and make enough popcorn to fill a clown car (and it’ll still only cost you $4 even if you pour an entire pound of hipster artisan butter on it.)


I usually go the turn the movie off route if I know right away I’m not going to like it and revert to whatever my backup movie is for the night.

The other thing you get to do when you watch your movie at home is have dinner sitting in front of the television with it.  Sometimes I worry about the fact that a bowl of chili and a great Western is my idea of an ideal Saturday night.  That’s not the sort of thing you could video and parlay into a becoming a YouTube sensation.

So today I have for you what I think are a good combination of movies and dinner ideas for those of you who also have the same elevated standards for Saturday nights as I do.

My movie choices are based on ones that I’ve watched and really, really liked PLUS they’re movies that aren’t exactly mainstream, which means you probably haven’t seen most of them.  Each movie is accompanied by a dinner idea that pairs well with the location of the film.

Because I may not have an appreciation for cats in space, but I DO know how to have a little fun.


Chili Con Carne paired with The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Movie set in Texas the birthplace of Chili Con Carne



(Three Burials is a good movie but it’s a bit of a slow movie.  You’ve been warned)


Potato pancakes and grilled sausage paired with Sing Street

Sing Street straight from the streets of Ireland where the voices are musical and potatos rules the land.




The trailer for the movie starts with a song by The Jam.  That is all you need to know.



Cheap n’ Chic meatballs paired with A Man Called Ove

This Swedish movie could obviously only be enjoyed properly with … meatballs.

~ this one’s subtitled so get your pretentious glasses on ~





Easy beet salad paired with The First Monday in May

The First Monday in May tells the tale of how the annual collaboration between Vogue’s Anna Wintour and the Metropolitan Museum of Art happens.  So just a salad please.  Dressing on the side.




Spaghetti & Meatballs paired with Cinema Paradiso

Nothing else would do for this Italian foreign film classic.



I can highly recommend every one of these movies and recipes so it’s just a matter of which suits your taste this weekend.  Unless you plan to be busy juggling your eyeballs of course.

Have a good weekend!



  1. catole says:

    I like your suggestions. This should be a regular feature.

  2. Ofelia says:

    The Three burials of Melquiades Estrada won three Palm d’or at Cannes Film Festival 2005, is not a the “mexicana” one. The screenplay was written by a Guillermo Arriaga, a mexican writer, but the history is about an american guy (performed by Tommy Lee Jones)… Is a good movie even when is easy find some goofs on it. Guess what, Im a mexican…

  3. Shelagh says:

    So, I will watch Sing Street before judging it….seems only fair but from the preview it reminds me of an awesome movie called The Commitments….which to this day remains in my top ten of all time movies.

  4. “A Man Called Ove” was one of the most fantastic books I’ve ever read. I believe, in fact, I recommended it to you a while back. Anyway, I didn’t know they’d made it into a movie!

    I know what I’m doing this weekend. :-)

  5. WeesieOnPI says:

    Thanks, Karen. I share many of your likes and dislikes, so am pleased to have some of your movie choices to look forward to. I saw “A Man Called Ove” on Friday night at an alternative film series screened here at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. Wonderful!

    I have Netflix, but hey, folks, don’t forget the public library for borrowing DVDs, especially popular oldies like “Cinema Paradiso”. I’ve placed requests for three of Karen’s recommended titles at my local library. I don’t care if there’s a list of borrowers waiting ahead of me for a DVD because it’s such a treat when it finally arrives, kinda like an unexpected gift.

  6. Kelli says:

    Karen, you must have tapped into my brain somehow. This is precisely what I did last night with some friends. We watched the hilarious but now *very* UN-PC classic, “Blazing Saddles.” Last time I saw this movie I was in high school, and on a first date with Mr. BMOC. NOT what you’d call your typical “date movie.” I was not impressed.

    These are all fantastic recommendations, I want to see them all (even the trailers made me tear up!) Especially looking forward to Sing Street, I love 80s music, and anything Irish/Ireland related. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Mia says:

    Just finished watching Sing Street. Beaucoup thanks! Amazing music. Somewhere out there is a talented lyricist. Really talented. And when the two guys were writing songs together, didn’t that bring Lennon/McCartney to mind?

    • Karen says:

      Isn’t it great!? America could stop making movies and television tomorrow and I could deal with it, but I don’t know what I would do if Ireland and England did! ~ karen

  8. savitri says:

    Thank you Karen;
    Your menu and movie suggestions are a hit……
    Thank you

  9. Miriam says:

    Some brilliant suggestions in there!

    Re potato pancakes, have you ever tried making Boxty (has other names too), it’s raw grated potatoes, flour and eggs. Yum! In the days before food processors, our job was to grate the potatoes for like 12 people (a lot of potatoes)! We served Boxty with a Fry..bacon, sausages, eggs (yes, more eggs! Karen would be happy!) and loads of brown sauce.

  10. jill garrett says:

    Karen, you must see “The Light Between the Oceans” if you haven’t yet. Wonderful movie and book!

  11. Ardith says:

    Thank you for these delightful pairings, Karen. I am particularly intrigued by “A Man Called Ove.” But all of these films have something that is missing in most productions these days. And Cinema Paradiso is one of my all time favorite movies.

    99% of the time I don’t like Netflix original programming, but I was so surprisingly taken by one I watched last night: Fundamentals of Caring. It is refreshing and personal…in the best way. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

    Cheers, Ardith

  12. Grammy says:

    Thanks for these, Karen. The only one I’ve seen is The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and it was great. All the others look like my kind of movies, too, so I’ll try them all.

    I’m glad to have these tips because last night my husband and I couldn’t “find anything on TV” (because, you know, there are so few channels nowadays) and I suggested we find The Big Lebowski, because we saw it when it was new in the theater, but I figure a good movie is worth watching again and again. The Mr. doesn’t much share that view, but time has dulled our memories and he was willing to give it another go because he did remember liking it the first time around. It was a very satisfying this time, too, maybe even moreso because so many of us are saying “Shut up, Donny!” to our screens on news sites nowadays. But we can’t live on just reruns.

  13. Sakura Sushi says:

    Walked out of Avatar after 15 minutes. I just couldn’t take the motion – it was either leave or barf on the people in front of me. The nausea lasted for 2 hours afterward. No more 3D IMAX for me. Ever.

    Walked out of Pulp Fiction and refused to see any Tarantino films since. That guy’s got ISSUES.

    I’ve given up on movie theaters. They are packed with rude, noisy people who think it’s OK to eat entire meals and discuss all kinds of things (loudly) during the film. Or those brats who invariably sit in back of you and kick your seat repeatedly. Plus, if the movie sucks, I get really angry – usually at my poor husband – and start yelling things like, “Well, that’s 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back!”

    I’m happier just doing the dinner part of dinner-and-a-movie. And NOT doing carrot cake for dessert. With tea, of course.

  14. Anne MacKay says:

    Thanks, Karen. Love all these ideas. Started to read the Man Called Ove and it felt kinda down – now I know that it gets happier, so I’m in. The recipes too have grabbed me, gotta try them. ‘Can’t imagine a better Saturday night. Lately, I started putting my homemade pesto and butter on my popcorn, yummy.
    Couple of very old favourites The Milagro Beanfield War (directed by Redford), Crossing Delancey Street (wonderful New York characters) and the Maysles Brothers documentaries about the installation artwork of Chris1to (remember the Gates through Central park – these are the brothers who filmed the Gray Garden documentary).

  15. Melissa says:

    When I was in high school, TBS used to air a program called “Dinner and a Movie.” It was hosted by two people who would provide commentary about the movie while cooking a dinner that was loosely related to the content of the movie, much like you have done here. I loved that show. Maybe you could resurrect the idea, thereby creating a new YouTube sensation. And now, I’m hungry for all those dinner ideas. I <3 this post! Thanks for the ideas and for sparking some old memories.

  16. Trish ORiordan says:

    I needed this. Thanks. You must have been pleased with ‘buttery mortgage payment’.

  17. Robyn says:

    Look for “Bread and Roses”….great movie but I cannot remember which country it is from! I love the quirkiness of foreign movies but how on earth can you eat anything while watching them but popcorn? I am eating-challenged (I tend to drop most of my meals on my chest) even when I am concentrating on only eating! I need to make myself a plastic bib with a pocket hem so then I could eat and watch!!!!

  18. Garth Wunsch says:

    If you like beautiful love stories, check out Sabah: A Love Story, on Netflix and YouTube (in seven parts). Canadian Muslim woman falls in love with Canadian man (from Sudbury, ON – my home) . Canadian film shot in Toronto. Don’t know what to eat with it though… maybe some snack foods like Zatar , olive oil and Pita bread with olives… and a bit of wine – your choice.

  19. Thanks for all the great movie and menu suggestions. I still love going out to the movies and I usually go at least once a week. I especially like the movies set in unusual places with beautiful scenery. The big screen makes me feel like I am part of the story. I much prefer the little art houses that show independent movies that don’t make it to the large 12 movies at a time places. And their popcorn is cheaper and so much better.

  20. Tammy S says:

    Your description of Avatar was so spot-on perfect! It caught me by surprise – because I hated that movie and was made to feel inferior because of that hatred. SO glad to hear that there are others in the same camp. Truly guffawed when I read that description – 37 hours – Cats in the future!

  21. Terri J. says:

    You are a creative genius.

  22. Susan Whelan says:

    I’m a little suspicious of your taste because you didn’t like Avatar. Being a huge Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark fan, (definitely a sixty-something nerd) I found it just a little cheesy but still enjoyed it. Along with the above movies, my favourites are Waking Ned Devine, Into The West, and The Man From Snowy River. I don’t collect movies but purchased those three because I could watch them over and over.

    • Alena says:

      I intended to mention Waking Ned Devine but it slipped off my mind. Isn’t that an awesome movie? I watched it on New Year’s Eve because TV was crap (every single channel).

      Avatar didn’t impress me either. It was too predictable, too “for the kids”, plus I am one of those 5% of the population that cannot see 3D. So there.

      • Susan Whelan says:

        I didn’t watch it in 3D, watched at home on a plain old DVD player. My taste is probably a little childish for an old girl – I like to be entertained but not frightened, sickened or left wondering if I should be living alone. So give me dogs or horses or sci-fi But if anyone hasn’t watched Into The West, it’s well worth the search.

  23. Nicole says:

    OMG, the description of Avatar was perfect! I was trying to describe Cats to my 12 year-old last night. It boiled down to: you had to be there in the 80s to understand (and even then…). I hate 3D movies because they trigger my motion sickness and also movies should stay ON THE DAMN SCREEN.

    • Karen says:

      I had the additional unfortunate experience of having to watch it in 3D, FROM THE FRONT ROW. omg I could throw up right now just thinking about it. ~ karen!

  24. Debbie says:

    Perfect timing. I feel a nasty cold on the imminent horizon. It will be a weekend of lounging on the couch, eating some yum food and watching these movies.

  25. Melissa says:

    Brilliant! I now have my meal plan and Saturday nights planned for the entire month. Sadly, you didn’t include wine pairings. Oh dear, I guess maybe a good chardonnay will go well with eyeballs and popcorn?

    I’m from Texas, so I’m going with your chile con carne and burials first….something tells me I’m not gonna get lucky after that meal, but hey, what’s a girl to do. The movie will more than make up for it. I mean, who doesn’t love a good Tommy Lee Jones and chili!!

  26. Rene Walkin says:

    Oh what a great selection! The only one I’ve seen is Cinema Paradiso when it first came out-so looking forward to tracking these down. I’ve never quite got why Chile Concarne is so loved! I’ve always thought it was highly overated, however, I am willing to give your version a go and review my opinion. I also love your blog. Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rene! Well if you don’t like Chili then you don’t like Chili. You won’t like mine any better than others you’ve tried, lol. My recipe is great, but it tastes just like .. chili. Which we’ve established you’re not a fan of. :) ~ karen!

  27. Alena says:

    I had a dinner and a movie night last night, in the opposite order. Started the movie and when I got hungry an hour later I heated up leftover chili.
    I watched The Face of Love – I like to watch it from time to time. It failed miserably with the critics but it’s my favourite Annette Bening movie. Plus I love the house she lives in (in the movie) and I find the story fascinating.
    Thanks for your picks, Karen, I’ll watch them.

  28. Susanne Larsson says:

    Thanks for movie tips!
    FYI (if you didn’t already know…), A Man Called Ove got two Oscar nominations this week – for best make up and best foreign movie!
    And if you like to read, the book the movie’s based on is one of the best I’ve ever read.
    Guess what – I’m Swedish…

    • Karen says:

      “Guess what – I’m Swedish…” Ha! You must have been happy to see A Man Called Ove on my list then! I didn’t know it was nominated for Oscars this week. I’ll have to look at the other foreign film entries but I really, REALLY loved A Man Called Ove. You know a movie’s good when it sticks with you. :) ~ karen!

      • Lynne says:

        Loved the book “A Man Called Ove” – gave it to my husband for Christmas – he is loving it too – am waiting for him to finish it so I can read it again. ? Had no idea they made it into a movie. Yay !!

      • Karin in NC says:

        I am happy to hear Ove is a good movie! It was a great book and they don’t always make good movies out of great books (I hate it when that happens!!). I also didn’t know it was available on Netflix already, so thanks for that. The only other one on your list that I haven’t already seen is the First Monday one, but on your recommendation I will add that one to my list, too.

        • Karin in NC says:

          But not this weekend :D – going to Charleston (SC) for a fancy dinner in a new restaurant down there and I am soooo excited!

  29. Robert says:

    Where did you find The First Monday in May? I’ve been figuratively dying to see it along with several other movies that never make it to any of the 18 movie screens close to me and as of now it still not on Netflix Mexico.
    Did you saw Arrival? You definitely should

  30. Stephbo says:

    Thanks for such great recommendations!

  31. Janie says:

    I cant believe you didnt like Avatar. I saw it in 3D and LOVED IT. So beautiful….and if those were cats, they were awesome cats. Guess I am a crazy cat lady after all ?

  32. Mary W says:

    OK, Now I want to see them all but have no idea how to do that. First of all I’m old. Can you rent them? Are they on some secret channel that no one but you knows about? Do I have to go to Canada to view? Where on earth have I been all my life and where do you find such interesting films? (I’m never too embarrassed to ask stupid questions.) Maybe they are on my laptop? I would choose Ove first, then the western, then Sing Street. I know that I want to see them all and it isn’t because I’m sick of watching DTrump You Tube recordings! I just need to escape reality.

    • Tina says:

      Do you have amazon prime? You could rent them through prime and watch on your laptop. Otherwise you’d need either Netflix. Or there are still a few rental shops around, google them.

      Or come to my house! I’m old, too and plan to watch them all. The 3 burials sounds great and the beet salad has me salivating! (I’m in Boston)

      • Mary W says:

        Thanks so much. Well I live with my daughter and family in a mother-in-law suite. They just laugh at me for my inability to use the remote. So I use my laptop most of the time. I will have to ask my gkids to teach me about Netflix since I’ve heard them all (even the 7 yo) mention having this. I would rather come to your house so I didn’t have to learn anything new – yeah I’m that old. I think visiting Boston would be great so how about this Sunday? I’ll bring beets with goat cheese. pecans and balsamic vinegar. Just kidding. You’re so sweet to respond to my “help me I’ve fallen and can’t get up”!

    • Alena says:

      Yes, come to Canada. It’s more fun up here.
      It may be a bit of trip though, depending on where you currently live, so if you prefer to postpone until spring I won’t blame you. In the meantime, google up Popcorn Time and install it, and then watch movies there from the comfort of your couch. I checked and Sing STreet, A Man Called Ove and Cinema Paradiso are on it. Didn’t find The First Monday in May and I didn’t check the Mexicana one.

      • Mary W says:

        I’m in Florida so maybe I’ll wait till spring. My son honeymooned in Canadian Rockies and said how wonderful it was in January. It’s the one place out of US that I wish I could visit and Canadians all seemed so friendly when they vacation down here. I’ll ask my daughter to get Popcorn Time on my laptop – really want to see the Ove movie. Thanks for your help!

  33. TucsonPatty says:

    They are all on my NetFlix queue to watch. Looking forward to them. Thanks. Years ago I read an article about which service to have for which kind of movies/television you liked to watch. Any new hints? I can’t remember the recommendations except that NetFlix was movies, but not first run or newish movies.

  34. Jennifer Lee says:

    I’m not much for fashion, but I love art. These all look good! Thanks for the recommendations. As for the food, I’m eating to please my doctor. You’re cruel.

  35. MrsChris SA says:

    Oh wow – I watched the trailers and now all I want to do is watch the movies.

    This is a post I am bookmarking………………………….

    Wonder what my husband is going to do this weekend whilst I overindulge in movies, just need to find where to download them here.

    Thank you Karen – have a stunning weekend!!!

  36. Paula says:

    I am now hungry.

  37. Victoria says:

    Good choices! I’ve been running around telling everyone about Sing Street. Such a good story and the music is perfect.

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