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The Martian

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Image credit: The Martian, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much over this summer weather. The sun is a relentless flaming ball that scorches me the second I walk outside, and my yard has become a barren wasteland. I’m actually seeing a lot of parallels between Texas weather and life on Mars in this week’s film The Martian (DVD/Download). Those scenes of Matt Damon gasping for breath as his space suit fails and he’s exposed to the atmosphere? Me, on the walk to the car in the morning.

I didn’t expect to like The Martian as much as I did. I thought it would be yet another big budget sci-fi/action film with a ton of special effects and not much real acting. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It turns out that director Ridley Scott made a compelling film about the triumph of the human spirit against terrible odds. In the end, surviving life on Mars isn’t all that different than surviving life on Earth- you just solve one problem at a time. Granted, problems like a lack of water, oxygen, and food are bigger than, say, my Wi-Fi going out, but we all have our struggles. As Matt Damon MacGyver’s his way through farming and rocket engineering on a planet not meant to support human life, it reminds me that if he can do all that, I can handle a power-cycle with a tech support guy from India.

To survive on Mars, you have to get creative with food and beverages. Left with only a limited supply of rations, astronaut Mark Watney is forced to make his own water and grow his own potatoes. If he’d had more time, and if his space station hadn’t blown up, he might have parlayed this into vodka production. I have no doubt he could do it. While watching The Martian, I recommend drinking a Martian Screwdriver.

Martian Screwdriver

4 oz Tang

2 oz Potato Vodka

Build drink over ice, stirring gently to combine.

martian screwdriver

Although it features a strong supporting cast (um… Kristin Wiig what are you doing in this??), The Martian really is Matt Damon’s tour de force. His performance brings laughs and tears, and the fear on his face as he’s about to lift off into space in an open-air space craft gets me all choked up, every time. All I can say is- welcome back to the world of great actors Mr. Damon. There’s nobody else I’d rather be stranded with. Cheers!

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