For a great movie soundtrack, sharp wit, and the screwball comedy genius of George Clooney, look no further than this week’s film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (DVD/Download). One of the top films in the Coen Bros. canon, the plot is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey. Except here we have a hair tonic-obsessed Clooney standing in for Ulysses. He’s a Dapper Dan man, dammit!
Upon its release, the bluegrass-inspired soundtrack sold like gangbusters, even surpassing the film’s box office. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this film perfectly captures the look and sound of the Mississippi Delta. Of course, it wasn’t all banjo riffs and sepia tinted landscapes. Chain gangs and KKK rallies also find their way into the journey of Ulysses Everett McGill and his two prison buddies. It’s an epic tale that must be seen (and heard) to be believed.
One of my favorite scenes involves a group of beautiful sirens calling to the three travelers along the banks of a stream. They feed the men moonshine and lure them into a trap. I’m not advocating getting black-out drunk (there are still a lot of good scenes to watch!) but moonshine can be a fun spirit to experiment with. While watching O Brother, Where Art Thou?, I recommend drinking a Siren Song.
1 ½ oz white moonshine
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
¾ oz pineapple juice
½ oz honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water, boiled)
1 dash angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Strain and serve in a mason jar filled with shaved ice. Garnish with lemon peel, if desired.
The big hit song from this film is “Man of Constant Sorrow”, but there are also so many other great examples of Appalachian music. With this flawless soundtrack, and the silver screen charm of Clooney, it’s no wonder that O Brother became an instant classic. To me, it will always be bona fide. Cheers!