In review: Movie ('The Butler') and Tex-Mex (Chuy's) | Arkansas Blog

In review: Movie ('The Butler') and Tex-Mex (Chuy's)



Short takes from a rare night on the town:

* MOVIE: "The Butler.' See it. Painful history with a feel-good ending. It's been called "Forrest Gump does civil rights" as seen through the eyes of a black White House butler. There's a Little Rock cameo when Dwight Eisenhower (Robin Williams) learns Gov. Orval Faubus has lied to him. Forest Whitaker is the big acting news, but smaller roles by actors playing presidents and first ladies are uniformly good — such as Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan and John Cusack as Richard Nixon.

Which reminds me. A certain retrograde Arkansas politician, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, has vowed on Twitter not to see this movie because Jane Fonda has a role in it. Hanoi Jane, remember? But I suspect there's more at work in such animus than Jane Fonda's small role. The celebration of President Obama's victory that caps the show still goes down hard in Arkansas.

It was a joyous ending. (The audience clapped.) But I drove away somewhat downhearted after a few more moments of reflection. The embedded resistance to President Obama — evident in this region every minute of every day from coffee shop conversations to social media — is too reminiscent of the resistance met by the cast of characters marching through the tortured history depicted on screen. Things may indeed be better. And triumphs there may be to celebrate. But old times here are not forgotten. And if success is measured by equal access, treatment and achievement, the battle is not over. No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court might say.

  • TEXAS MARTINI: At Chuy's.
* TEX-MEX: A mid-afternoon movie gave us a window to sneak into Chuy's, the new chain Tex-Mex on Chenal Parkway, just ahead of the hordes that have been slamming the place. If there's something special here to explain the crowds, I missed it.

Franke's makes better Tex-Mex enchiladas and lots of places make better chicken enchiladas (Trio's for starters). I did like the Texas Martini — a margarita on the rocks served in a plastic cocktail shaker. And the side of beans was full of plump , rich beans, rather than a pasty mixture. Otherwise, my primary memory is salt, particularly in the pulpy non-saucy "salsa" that came with chips, and the alternative creamy jalapeño salsa (pepper-injected ranch dip).

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