I decided that I was embarrassingly overdue in terms of featuring a western on Cinema Sips, so fans of gunslingers and dirty saloons rejoice- this is your week! Generally it’s hard for me to get emotionally invested in a western because I’m always so distracted by the dirt, dust, and tumbleweeds. How could they stand it??!! However, there are a few films in the western genre that I actually do like, mainly because the acting and script are so good. This week’s film, Unforgiven (DVD/Download), falls into that category.
Unforgiven is the story of hired assassins that come to a small town to avenge the disfigurement of a local prostitute. In a pretty gruesome scene, her face and body are slashed by a knife-wielding disgruntled customer, and in a tale straight out of today’s college campus headlines, the perpetrator fails to be justly punished by local law enforcement. The town prostitutes all band together and come up with a $1,000 bounty for whomever can kill the cowboy and his accomplice. Retired gunslinger William Munny takes the bait, accompanied by his old partner (played by Morgan Freeman) and a hotheaded young kid. Clint Eastwood directed this film and stars as Munny, and frankly his involvement is why I gave it a chance in the first place. There’s something about that wiry, blue-eyed old man that is so darn…. sexy. I’ve already talked about his appeal in my post about The Bridges of Madison County, so I won’t bore you further. Gene Hackman also deservedly won an Oscar for his portrayal of town sheriff Little Bill. I found myself spending the majority of the movie trying to decide who was a good guy, and who was a bad guy. However, I think the whole point of the film is that nobody fits entirely into either of those boxes.
Unforgiven is a great movie to watch with a drink because many of the pivotal scenes happen in the town saloon. With a town named Big Whiskey, you know there’s got to be a lot of drinking going on. In homage to feminist prostitute Strawberry Alice, I’m making a variation on the whiskey sour. While watching Unforgiven, I recommend drinking a Big Whiskey Sour.
Big Whiskey Sour
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz bourbon whiskey
½ oz simple syrup
2-3 fresh strawberries, sliced
Muddle strawberry in the bottom of an old fashion glass with a dash of simple syrup. Pour remaining simple syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour mixture (with ice) into prepared glass. Top with strawberry.
If you’re like me and don’t generally care for westerns or whiskey cocktails, this pairing is a good gateway. Both the film and the drink are more complex than their typical counterparts, and watching Clint Eastwood in anything is always a good idea in my book. As you’re trying to decide who should live and die in Unforgiven, remember- they all have it comin’. Cheers!