Tom Douglas and Leo DiCaprio Are Invading Your Dreams

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The Dinner: Porcinis, Soft Egg and Arugala Pizza with a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon at Serious Pie (316 Virginia St).

The Movie: Inception at Meridian 16 (1501 7th Ave).

The Screenplate: Besides the unavoidable James Cameron mention, 2010 has been a pretty dire year for the summer blockbuster. It seems most of Hollywood's big guns have either tanked miserably, been a pretty uninspired adaptation, or tanked miserably while being an uninspired adaptation. Christopher Nolan's Inception comes to some jaded moviegoers as the July release that will help us all forget about The Last Airbender.

Inception's plot focusses on mazes and dreams within dreams, meaning that the "I Didn't Get It" detractors are going are out in droves, particularly now that they don't have ol' Lost to kick around. I really never understood this criticism, particularly in a time where most Hollywood blockbusters have little to no plot at all but are still passively lauded for their CGI and explosions.

I guess I just don't see the harm in putting a hard-to-grasp storyline in place of one that's totally throwaway, especially because finally getting a grasp on Inception's enigmatic world is so satisfying. Look no further than the neat passion projects or the thesis-length dream-travel explanations spread evenly over nerdy blogs throughout the internet as the moviegoing public tries to decipher just what the hell happened.

Within the span of one movie, we see a tense urban kidnapping thriller culminating in a bullet-ridden car chase, a surreal hotel filled with MC Escher-influenced paradoxical architecture that ends with a mindblowing "how-the-hell-did-they-do-that?" anti-gravity fistfight, a paramilitary gunfight in a secret antarctic base and lastly, a post-apocalyptic nightmare that brings its two god-like creators back to revisit their terrifying history.

No glowing review is going towards simply how many different exotic settings can be stacked upon each other without rhyme or reason. The real reason to be excited about Inception lies in how seamlessly those layers are brought together.

You can say the plot is needlessly confusing, but in terms of cinematography, it's quite difficult to say that Nolan put anything in Inception that wasn't absolutely intended to be there. The Michael Bays and McGs throw in high concept setpieces with little or no coherency or reason, like a mindless filmmaking drone going down some action movie cliche checklist. Meanwhile, Nolan's ability to tie together such disparate settings and images provide a sense of uninterrupted wonder that reminds me of the original Star Wars trilogy.

It's the same freshness and attention to coherency that makes Serious Pie, the pizzeria of famed Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, so amazing. Much like Nolan, Douglas is a vanguard who found his cash cow years ago, but isn't satisfied with building the same production over and over again. Although some of Serious Pie's pizzas are infused with the flair for seafood that put Douglas on the map (the penn cove clams, house pancetta, lemon thyme pizza being a particularly delicious example), his eclectic menu is not bound by any of his audience's expectations -- besides delicious and perfectly crunchy crust underneath every pie.

Serious Pie offers a variety of veggie-friendly pizzas, outnumbering the animal-topped ones by about three to one -- so you might want to save your Meat Lover's order for Hot Mama's. I mostly for the curiosity of how an egg could possibly fit into my preconceptions of round bread, cheese and sauce. I was not disappointed with the egg's ability to bind the greens and protein-rich mushrooms into that heavenly crust,

I'm not suggesting in the least that Tom Douglas should stop making crab cakes, any more than I saying Nolan shouldn't continue his consistently strong treatment of the Batman franchise. The "moral" of Serious Pie and Inception is that artists of any medium who branch out from their proven successes are usually the ones worth paying attention to. Risk and experimentation not only open creative minds up to new audiences, but almost always provide experience that strengthens other installments of what made people love them in the first place.

 
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