One Week, What Would You Do?

I seldom write movie reviews. Primarily because most movies these days are utter nonsense.
Last night I stumbled across an independent film on streaming Netflix titled “One Week”.

The movie launched with a bizarre and shocking initial scene in which a twenty-something Ben Tyler is told he is dying of cancer, which has already reached the final stage and spread throughout his body. I won’t spoil what happens in that initial scene for you, but if you watch this film and that scene repulses you, keep watching. It’ll be worth it.

What attracted me to this movie was the box office poster image: the main character leaning against a vintage Norton 850 Commando.

No way I could pass up a movie that has an 850 Commando old enough to still have a kick-starter.

Halfway through the movie I was nearly wishing someone would diagnose me with cancer. Mind you, I wasn’t wishing to actually have cancer (And this is by no means intended to make light of a horrible, painful, and catastrophic disease), just be diagnosed with it. What better excuse than a terminal illness could a man get to hop on a motorcycle and just take off in a semi-general direction without a plan and leave everything behind for awhile?

“One Week” is the Canuk motorcycle adventure vesion of Stienbeck’s “Travels With Charlie in Search of America”.

But it’s more about Ben than the people he meets. And there’s only a brief appearance by two dogs…one in a coffee shop window and one lying dead along a lonely country road.

Dead canine notwithstanding, this movie had treasures. Aside from the vintage British two-wheeled iron.

The music and lyrics were woven into the story with masterful precision, and every time a new song began to underscore some scene I found myself thinking, “I gotta find out who sings that” and “I gotta go buy that sound track”.

Another reason I seldom write movie reviews is that it is so darn difficult to convey how good a rare gem like this is without spoiling the story. There are no mind-bending twists or astonishing political revelations. It is a vehicle that conveys some gently philosophical ideas about how one life can’t impact others, even when the encounter that sparked the impact was merely a casual meeting or a few moments spent conversing on the street. It quietly and subconsciously implies that everything we do, every decision we make, can change the fortune of people…even people we have never met and never will meet.

That’s about all I can say regarding plot and effect without spoiling the story.

But the content alone is also worth seeing. The scenes of an old Norton gliding alongside hills and streams, with mountains and glaciers in the distance, are the stuff every man or woman who ever threw a leg over a saddle at the start of a journey hoped to see.

The palpable freedom of two wheels rolling over smooth pavement, the smell of coffee and cold glasses of beer. The idea of a cafe meal with your motorcycle hitched outside the front window like an old westerner’s faithful mount.

You would think under the premise that the entire thing hinges on a terminal cancer diagnosis that this movie is as much about death as anything else.

You would be wrong.

It’s about:
Solitude.
Freedom.
Life.

I highly recommend this movie. It may bring you to tears in a spot or two, but by the time the closing credits start rolling you will be smiling and thinking about having an adventure yourself…I don’t care how old or young you are.

A word of advice: If you own a motorcycle watch this movie while it’s cold and wet outside. Any hint of sunshine will see you out the door and on the road to heaven knows where as soon as it’s over otherwise.

Press Box Grill Opens in Grapevine

All the good Grapevine restaurants used to be clustered around William D. Tate Avenue and SH 114. That really made it a pain for dining out the least 12 months due to the massive highway construction project going on in that area.

That’s all changed now, because the Press Box Grill has come to Grapevine and is easily accessible on the north side of town away from the construction and traffic jams.

Located at the Northwest Crossing Shopping Center (corner of Dooley and East Northwest Hwy) in the suite formerly occupied by Las Cabos, the Press Box Grill has moved in with the same great menu as their downtown Dallas location and more plasma big screens than Best Buy.

There’s even a 120 inch (that’s ten feet, folks!) big screen in the bar area and plenty of room for special events and large parties.

Whether you’re in the mood to watch a game and have a beer, looking for a great lunch, or an evening meal with the family, the Press Box Grill is ready to roll. Take out service is available as well if you want to enjoy items from their awesome menu at home.

I highly recommend the Heart Attack Sandwich and the Chili Dog. Despite being a long time friend of the owner I still haven’t been able to get that secret Shiner Bock Chili recipe, but I’m gonna keep trying.

I have word from the owner that there will be a monthly “Bike Night” to take advantage of the ample parking lot at the Grapevine location. He’s a Ducati fan (and a hell of a racer), but all makes will be welcome. If you see a white Triumph Rocket III in the parking lot you’ll know I’m inside.

Even if I’m not there, tell them Tim Frazier sent you.

Menu download links:
Full Menu
To Go Menu

In-n-Out Burger Review

As promised, here is my review of the In-n-Out Burger in Irving, Texas:

The fries look big because the burger is so small
Last Saturday I cruised by the new In-n-Out Burger to see if they were open yet.

Sure enough, the parking lot was jammed, they had security directing traffic in and out, and they were even running a complimentary valet service. There were two lanes going into the drive-through and an army of Mr. Peppermint impostors in their In-n-Out uniforms taking orders from the long double-line of customers in the drive and waiting in line at the counters.

I don’t care how good someone claims their burgers are, I’m not dealing with crowds like that for fast food…or slow food, for that matter.

So I passed and figured I’d catch them after the “new” wore off.

Today I scrambled out for a quick early lunch at 11, since my entire afternoon is booked with meetings from noon onward. The In-n-Out Burger looked like it was only moderately busy so I popped in to try out one of their fabled burgers and fries.

I’ll tell you right now in case you’re in a hurry: Directly across from the Irving Las Colinas In-n-Out Burger is a Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Go there instead.

The burger I got had two quarter-inch thick hamburger patties that tasted exactly like the “blend of a thousand cows” patties used by McDonald’s, only they were smaller in diameter. The lettuce, tomato, and onion were very fresh, and the sauce was something very close to Thousand Island dressing. The fries were possibly one notch better than McDonald’s.

Needless to say I was highly disappointed after all the hype.

I ate about one-third of the burger (more of a salad on a bun than a burger) in about five minutes and a few of the fries.

In-n-Out Burger?

Yeah, I was In-n-Out in eight minutes.

I will not be returning. Especially with Smash Burger and Five Guys both within walking distance and only about 1.5 times the price with ten times the flavor.

I don’t think this chain is going to make it in Texas when McDonald’s is on every corner with eqivalent fare and Whataburger is almost as proliferate with much better goods than either of them. Here’s my personal top-ten ranking of burger joints for the Dallas Fort Worth area:

1. Smash Burger
2. Snuffers
3. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
4. Griff’s
5. Urban Eatz
6. Burger Island
7. Burger House
8. Kincaid’s
9. Jake’s Hamburgers
10. Whataburger

In-n-Out Burger doesn’t even make the list. It ranks well below Wendy’s and slightly above McDonald’s…both of which are below Burger King.

I MIGHT eat at one of those three if I’m travelling, very hungry, and don’t know of any other options within the next 30 miles.

Far Flung Outdoor Center

Last spring the “Frazier Gang” embarked on a motorcycle adventure to the Texas Big Bend region.

We stayed just up the road about a half mile from the famous Terlingua Ghost Town at a brand new Casita nestled in the desert on the property of Far Flung Outdoor Center. This little mom-n-pop adventure provider will be happy to set you up with a short half-day canoe trip on the Rio Grande or a full blown multi day canoe and camp adventure with gourmet meals served on the river banks. Or a jeep tour, or an ATV tour…

The Casitas at FFOC were spanking brand new and had all the amenities, including kitchenettes, wireless internet and flat screen TVs with satellite service.

I’ve already posted about the motorcycle riding in the Big Bend area, including video and my encounter with the King of Big Bend, but I haven’t said much about our canoe adventure which we booked with FFOC.

It was all-inclusive: our guide carried all the gear in her canoe, including drinks and enough food to supply a small army for lunch, which she prepared on the river bank while Robin and I climbed up and down the giant boulders (against the advice of our guide, who didn’t want to haul me out of the canyon with a stupidity induced sprain or broken ankle).

I’ve misplaced the photos of the Casita (little house, in Spanish, I believe) but it was a great deal, along with the canoeing and provided a perfect base from which to launch our daily Big Bend adventures.

With fall approaching rapidly you might consider a jaunt down to see the folks at Far Flung Outdoor Center to escape the cold that will be blowing into the more northerly regions of the Lone Star State in the next several weeks.