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CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill

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Scott Roberts
CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 20, 2015 at 5:24:39 pm
Last Edited By Scott Roberts on Jan 20, 2015 at 5:50:18 pm







American Sniper has been a bit of a polarizing experience, if you happen to have read any articles about it. I guess the central figure, Chris Kyle, has gone under some scrutiny for actions not really shown in the film, while at the same time the movie has been glorified and praised for its flag waving American pride type themes. There's a lot to be discussed, and it's all a very serious matter, so I'm going to do everyone a favor and let the two sides of the story speak for themselves... One one side, there's the heavily Oscar nominated Clint Eastwood film American Sniper, and on the other side is the lunch I had at Naf Naf Grill yesterday.





Wait, before you begin, I've been living under a rock. Literally. Please help! But... what are these things?

American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle, the military's most lethal sniper ever, with like 160 kills or something (I forgot the number). He struggles with going back to his civilian life after so many military tours, and it's basically like a true story version of The Hurt Locker but with sniping things instead of disarming bombs. Naf Naf Grill is a yuppie midwestern chain restaurant, kind of like Chipotle, but with Middle Eastern food.



How was the directing?

Clint Eastwood did better than he's normally been doing lately. I guess if you just make randomly different movies all the time, a bunch of them will probably suck, and every fourth film might actually be a hit, like American Sniper was. It's way better than whatever Jersey Boys was supposed to be. I unfortunately did not get to speak to the manager of Naf Naf Grill. He/she might have been on their lunch break.



How was the star the movie?

You can't fault Bradley Cooper for anything, he did an awesome job. He nailed whatever Texas accent he was trying to do, and gave an all around somewhat emotional performance. The guy who made my chicken pita, Jeff I think his name was, was also very good. He guided me through the ingredients and explained to me how they would mix together well.



Do you think they'll win awards?

I think Michael Keaton will probably win over Cooper at the Oscars, but Jeff might be due for an employee of the month plaque.



How were the supporting characters?

The army guys seemed like accurate army guys, and Sierra Miller did an acceptable job as Chris Kyle's wife. The yellow rice bowl I got as a side dish to my shawarma, though, was not that great. I mean, it was alright, but it definitely could have used more spices. The tzatziki sauce, however, was a revelation.



Did it have a good music score?

Yeah, I kind of liked American Sniper's music score, it was fitting. But Naf Naf Grill had like Foreigner and Taylor Swift playing over the speakers, it didn't seem suitable for the food I was eating.



Were they good values for the money?

I paid $18 for my fiance and I to see American Sniper for two hours and fourteen minutes. We also had a 10 minute discussion in the car ride home, making it $18 for 144 minutes of entertainment, or about 12 and 1/2 cents a minute. Naf Naf Grill cost my fiance and I $24 for about six hours of having satisfied stomachs, coming in at around 7 cents a minute. So Naf Naf was a better value for the money. Unless I did the math wrong, which is very possible, because I hate math.



Would you go back?

I'd watch American Sniper again on HBO or Redbox or something cheap/free. I don't know if I'd ever buy it for full price. I'd definitely go back to Naf Naf Grill, even though I should probably just save money and eat the Cup O' Soups I bought at the grocery store for lunch instead.



Are these good representations of what they stand for?

I kind of liked how American Sniper showed how much trauma this guy was going through, despite the fact that all he seemed to want to do is serve his country and save his fellow soldier's lives. It was totally a pro-military film, in a way, but it also had a heavy asterisk next to that to show that serving your country is hard, and when you come back stateside, you might not be the same person you were before. Naf Naf Grill doesn't feel very Middle Eastern, it seems more like a Chipotle than anything. I mean, where's all the chaos of a shawarma restaurant trying to serve twelve drunk guys at 3 am? That's the Middle Eastern style restaurant I'm used to.



Do you find it offensive or insulting that you're even comparing issues about the war in the Middle East, in which countless amounts of lives have been lost on both sides, by using a Hollywood movie as your metaphorical representative of the American side of the conflict, and an American run Middle Eastern food chain, created in hoity toity Naperville, IL of all places, as some sort of foreign opposition to the other side?

I don't know. No?



Oh ok. Do they have Coke products or Pepsi products at Naf Naf?

They have Coke, thankfully.



But if they left that Coke out in the sun for a couple of days, they could easily have Pepsi, right? [goes up for high five]

[returns high five] Nice, that was a good one.



Was this like your dumbest FAQ, or what?

It's definitely up there.



What scores would you give these things?

I'd give American Sniper an 8 out of 10. I'd give my Chicken Shawarma Pita a 9 out of 10. But I'd give my yellow rice bowl a 6.5 out of 10 to be honest with you. I think I'll get the soup or the fries next time.


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Mike Cohen
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:12:53 pm

Good point about Eastwood. He seems to make an ambitious movie like this, then something like "Trouble With the Curve" which was probably filmed in a week and is mostly scene of Clint acting grumpy. He should do an Odd Couple movie with him and Harrison Ford out-grumpying each other for two hours with the occasional shooting or punching.

Now on to the Schwarma. In all of my travels I have not tried this cuisine yet. I am not a fan of Chipotle. How spicy is Schwarma? Do you add things like sour cream or avocado, or is it more like Indian food?

Do you think Eastwood likes exotic food? I can see him eating a cheeseburger and a Coke at every meal.

Interesting review, I am definitely more interested in the food.

Mike Cohen


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Mark Suszko
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 20, 2015 at 8:38:55 pm

The food is less important to Clint than the decor... he likes empty chairs around.


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Scott Roberts
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 20, 2015 at 11:02:42 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Now on to the Schwarma. In all of my travels I have not tried this cuisine yet. I am not a fan of Chipotle. How spicy is Schwarma? Do you add things like sour cream or avocado, or is it more like Indian food?"

It's closer to a gyro than anything. It has zesty flavors more than spicy ones, but you *can* get a hot sauce on it if you want. So it's like a gyro on a delicious pita with different kinds of meat, and some nice chopped veggie medleys. They have a couple sauces to put on it, like a garlic one, or a Greek-ish one, but you can definitely avoid spices if you wanted. It tastes FRESH. I only said it's like Chipotle because this particular restaurant looks and operates like a Chipotle from a business point of view. I think Shawarma just means it's that meat they cut off the rotating poles like most places do with gyro meat. It's good, I recommend it.


[Mark Suszko] "The food is less important to Clint than the decor... he likes empty chairs around."

And fake babies...

http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/2015/01/american-snipers-screenwriter-blames-cl...


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Kylee Peña
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 21, 2015 at 12:59:38 am

This is my new favorite Scott Roberts review, mostly because I learned two important facts: I don't care to see American Sniper, and more importantly, there is a midwestern middle eastern style mid-level fast foot eatery!?!?!

I definitely prefer the chaotic version of getting schwarma or falafel, but there's something to be said for the Chipotles of the world. Yeah it's not like, authentic and life-altering, but you're reasonably sure it's gonna do the trick. In much the same way I can sit here and contemplate leaving my house to go see American Sniper: might be good, might be life-altering, but if I sit here and continue to burn through every episode of Friends on Netflix, I'm guaranteed to be entertained at an acceptable level.

Tell us more about the tzaziki sauce.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Jeff Breuer
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 21, 2015 at 2:49:26 pm

Great review, as always Scott. I'm starting to think you missed your calling to do this professionally.


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Stephen Smith
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 21, 2015 at 3:36:28 pm

I agree, this review was great! You have a real talent for this.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Scott Roberts
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 21, 2015 at 4:51:28 pm

[Kylee Wall] "midwestern middle eastern style mid-level fast foot eatery!?!?! "

This needs to go underneath the name of the restaurant on every Naf Naf sign in existence, like right now.



[Kylee Wall] "but there's something to be said for the Chipotles of the world. Yeah it's not like, authentic and life-altering, but you're reasonably sure it's gonna do the trick."

I 100% agree with this, Kylee. I've had some mind blowingly amazing meals from authentic Mexican restaurants, like I couldn't even comprehend how they made what they made so good, and I've also ordered food from THE SAME authentic Mexican restaurants that got to me dry, flavorless, and possibly swarming in food poisoning. But every time I go into Chipotle, I'm pretty confident that I'm going to have the *exact* same quality of meal as I've had for the previous 40 times I've been there.

Also, side note... Does Chipotle even have a marketing team? I don't think I've ever seen an advertisement for Chipotle (ok, maybe on the internet, maybe), and I've DEFINITELY never seen a Chipotle TV commercial before.



[Kylee Wall] "Tell us more about the tzaziki sauce."

Ohhh, it's got good consistency, it keeps everything nice and moist, and most importantly, I got the hot sauce on mine, and the tzaziki perfectly offset the heat from the hot sauce, giving me full enjoyment of the flavor of the hot sauce while not desperately needing to drink water to free my mouth from pain. If no one was looking, I probably would have taken a tiny sip from my fiance's cup of tzaziki she got on the side to dip her fries into (she's been there before, she's a pro). But that might have looked weird.



[Jeff Breuer] "Great review, as always Scott. I'm starting to think you missed your calling to do this professionally."

[Stephen Smith] "I agree, this review was great! You have a real talent for this."

Thanks guys! Maybe if I start submitting to places that would hire me to write, this review will help me get the in as a movie reviewer AND food critic!


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Stephen Smith
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 21, 2015 at 5:58:43 pm

[Scott]
Thanks guys! Maybe if I start submitting to places that would hire me to write, this review will help me get the in as a movie reviewer AND food critic!

Plus think of all the money you will save by not having to pay to see the film you watch and the food you eat. Nice perk of being a critic.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Kylee Peña
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 22, 2015 at 12:36:12 am

[Scott Roberts] " I don't think I've ever seen an advertisement for Chipotle"

I think they only do the occasional TV commercial, and it doesn't actually air on TV much. Like maybe once during the Superbowl or something similarly important? It gets shared online way more. Both the ads I can think of are pretty good. Like this one.



blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 22, 2015 at 6:56:07 am

We have one in Springfield. They make a very good, large, burrito. Also carnitas, until recently. A tad pricy, but consistent. I like their lime-infused corn tortilla chips. My son used to work there but got a better job.


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Stephen Smith
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 22, 2015 at 3:19:40 pm

And Chipotle ( CMG ) has one heck of a stock!

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mike Cohen
Re: CLASHING IDEALS: American Sniper vs. Naf Naf Grill
on Jan 31, 2015 at 1:00:48 am

I have a love hate relationship with Mexican food. Obviously there is the bottom of the barrel tourist style food (ie, El Torito in Norwood MA circa 1985, where we actually had a high school Spanish class field trip. Everyone was excited for the fried ice cream). Then you have your smaller chains, such as Hacienda in Colorado. Basic Mexican food - burritos, fajitas, enchiladas. Nothing fancy and not awesome quality, but edible. That being said I happened to be at one on Cinco de Mayo and they seemed to give the chef a day off - the food was really awful, ironically. I'd put Chipotle in here somewhere - obviously it is take out food, but the quality is consistently good. i just don't really care for a lunch with refried beans in the middle of the work day!
Next up the list is 80% of the restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk. There are a few gems like Boudros and Little Rhine Steakhouse, which are more steakhouse and less tourist trap. But there are a lot of awful choices despite the high prices.
On my last trip there we asked the hotel concierge for a suggestion (a hotel ON THE RIVERWALK (Hilton Palacio del Rio)) and the guy sent us on a mile walk to Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia - a much more seemingly authentic place, but basically the same menu.

Then at the top tier are what I would call "gourmet Mexican" such as my all time favorite Uncle Julio's in Dallas. Technically Tex-Mex, the menu has traditional items but also more American oriented dishes. In looking for the menu I learned that this too is a chain, though I have only ever been to the Dallas location.
http://www.unclejulios.com/locations/dallas/menu/

As for American Sniper, the news media is having a field day with this movie, so let's stick to the food in this discussion.

Buenas Noches.

Miguel.


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