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Category Archives: Top 5 Lists

Top Five Oscar Party Ideas- 2018 edition

Oscar is turning 90 this year, we’ve just witnessed an incredible year of films and I, for one, am ready to celebrate!  Here are my top five suggestions to make this year’s party the best one yet.  Cheers!

1. Gold drinkware

Flutes, highballs, stemless wine glasses- go crazy! It’s Oscar night!

 

2.  Red Felt Coasters

Give your drink the red carpet treatment.

 

3. Deviled Egg Tray

Share an egg with a friend, a la The Shape of Water.

 

4. Henry Mancini- The Classic Soundtrack Collection

You know why The Party is still the coolest movie about a party that was ever made? Henry Mancini.

 

5. Peach gummy candy

Make your guests blush with this Call Me By Your Name-inspired snack.

 

And what will I be drinking on Oscar night?  I plan on toasting Call Me By Your Name with this sparkling peach cocktail.  Saluti!

la pesca

La Pesca

1 oz Peach Liqueur

1/2 oz Orgeat syrup

2-3 dashes Grapefruit Bitters

Prosecco

Combine peach liqueur, orgeat, and bitters in a chilled flute.  Stir gently, then top with prosecco.

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Top Five Films of 2017

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Was it just me, or were movies REALLY good this year?  Maybe filmmakers are finally realizing that people want to watch unconventional love stories, fabulous 1950’s clothes, and exotic locations.  Maybe writers are realizing that everybody’s mad, and it’s time to say something about it.  Whatever happened in Hollywood to make such an incredible year of pictures, I say keep it up.  As hard as it was to narrow down my list of favorites, I’m finally able to settle on my Top Five Films of 2017.  Cheers!

  1.  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Image credit: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017.

Take all the rage I feel about social injustice/violence against women/police misconduct, bottle it up, and give it to Frances McDormand to turn into a Molotov cocktail of a film. This is the movie I desperately needed this year.

2.  Call Me By Your Name

Call me by your name

Image credit: Call Me By Your Name, 2017.

Is there anything more beautiful than summer in Italy? Maybe this love story.

3.  Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

Image credit: Phantom Thread, 2017.

1950’s couture gowns, Daniel Day Lewis, and the sexiest breakfast order ever.

4.  The Shape of Water

Shape of Water

Image credit: The Shape of Water, 2017.

I didn’t expect to fall for a slimy underwater creature, but damn it Guillermo Del Toro- you got me. More Douglas Sirk-inspired romances and six-pack abs please!!!

5.  The Florida Project

The Florida Project

Image credit: The Florida Project, 2017.

This film still haunts me, months later. If you’re not angry about the state of poverty and child welfare in America, you obviously haven’t seen tiny masterpiece yet.

*Honorable Mentions: Dunkirk (sound editing like WHOA), Good Time (um, hello Robert Pattinson, can you please be in all the movies now?), and Baby Driver (that soundtrack!!).

Top Five Holiday Gifts for Movie/Cocktail Aficionados- 2017 edition

Maybe you have a friend who likes movies and cocktails.  Maybe you have no friends and want to drink alone while mainlining Scorsese films.  Either way, Cinema Sips has your back with this handy gift guide.  Cheers!

1. I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers’ Oral History of a Vanished Era by Tom Roston (forward by Richard Linklater)

Top filmmakers reminisce about the halcyon days of video rental.  Essential reading for anybody who remembers the phrase “Be Kind, Rewind”.

2.  Set of Coupe Glasses

You’ll be styling like Myrna Loy with these vintage-inspired glasses!

3.  Road Soda: Recipes and Techniques for Making Great Cocktails, Anywhere by Kara Newman

If you love to travel like I do, you know that trips can only be improved with the right cocktail. Whether you’re glamping in the desert or just can’t take another mediocre glass of chardonnay at the hotel bar, this book has you covered.

4.  Outdoor Movie Projector

Ever dream of watching Moonrise Kingdom under the stars? Or maybe Cinema Paradiso in a rainstorm? You need this projector (and a date).

5. Ice Ball Mold

Exactly what your old-fashioned has been missing. Cubes are so 2016.

High Fidelity

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High Fidelity

Image credit: High Fidelity, 2000

True story- the one and only time I’ve ever been carded and turned away from a movie was High Fidelity (DVD/Download) in April 2000. I was 16 years old, a recent transplant to Central Pennsylvania, and stunned to find myself smack dab in the Bible Belt. For months afterward, I waited impatiently to see what erotic, taboo tales awaited me in the R-rated and undoubtedly-risque High Fidelity.  Imagine my surprise and outrage that not only was there nothing “R” about it, but also that I was unnecessarily delayed from seeing what would become one of my all-time favorite films.

My Top 5 lists on Cinema Sips are a direct homage to this comedic gem, so in lieu of a proper plot description I think it’s more appropriate to list off my Top 5 High Fidelity Scenes:

  1. When John Cusack plays the new Beta Band LP in his niche Chicago record shop, causing all the customers fall under its spell. Perfect music moment.
  1. Lisa Bonet sings “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton. I too, always hated that song. And now I too, kinda like it.
  1. Jack Black berating a customer for wanting to buy a copy of Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. In answer to his subquestion, it is definitely better to burn out than to fade away.
  1. The making of a Top 5 List of songs about death. This is absolutely a conversation I want to be a part of.
  1. Barry Jive and the Uptown Five singing “Let’s Get it On”. And just like that, Jack Black the Movie Star was born.

Although the Nick Hornby novel this film was based on is set in London, I love the decision to set the movie adaptation in Chicago. The city itself becomes like another character in the film, so to that end we should definitely celebrate this midwestern metropolis with its namesake drink. While watching High Fidelity, I recommend drinking a classic Chicago Cocktail.

Chicago Cocktail

2 oz Brandy

Dash of Triple Sec

Dash of Bitters

1 oz Champagne

Stir Brandy, Triple Sec, and Bitters together in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe, and top with champagne.

If you happen to find yourself celebrating Record Store Day later this month, don’t be too put off by the employees at your local vinyl shop. They actually do know a lot about music, so let them make suggestions. They may not be able to give relationship advice, but if you’re looking to find a band that picks up where Echo and the Bunnymen left off, they’ve got your back. Cheers!

Top Five Films of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close it’s time for my annual Top Five list.  Full disclosure, I didn’t get a chance to see everything (sorry Moonlight), but I saw a lot, even some I wished I hadn’t (lookin’ at you The Lobster).  This is always a tough list to make, but these five films were the ones that entertained me the most in 2016.  Yes Manchester By the Sea is great, but it sort of made me want to slit my wrists.  Thank heavens La La Land was around to pick up the pieces.  In ranking order, my Top Five Film picks for 2016:

1. La La Land

lala-land

Image credit: La La Land, 2016

True story- I left the theater and my cheeks ached from smiling so much.  This musical about struggling entertainers feels both timeless and fresh, and reminds me of why I love movies.  Simply stunning!

2.  Arrival

arrival

Image credit: Arrival, 2016

This intelligent sci-fi film isn’t about aliens, but rather about communication.  I’ll never look at language the same way.

3.  Hell or High Water

hell-or-highwater

Image credit: Hell or High Water, 2016

Chris Pine, where have you been??  Nobody else could make a dusty bank robber in West Texas look quite so appealing.  Quit hiding behind Star Trek and be the actor I know you can be!

4.  The Edge of Seventeen

edge-of-seventeen

Image credit: The Edge of Seventeen, 2016

Hailee Steinfeld makes my Molly Ringwald-forged heart beat once more in this homage to classic (read- good) teen films.

5.  The Nice Guys

the-nice-guys

Image Credit: The Nice Guys, 2016

Was I the only one who saw this?  If so, that’s a shame because this Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe LA noir comedy was witty, sharp, and energetic.  I’ll watch these two together any time, any place.

Top Five Movie Presidents

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Happy Election Day! I know, the future of our nation rests on the results tonight. However, I felt it time to weigh in on an even more important topic- fictional presidents. There have been so many memorable performances, making it incredibly hard to choose. Nevertheless, here are my picks for Top Five Movie Presidents.  They may not be who I’d want in office (except you Michael Douglas!!) but they are the most memorable:

  1. Bill Pullman, Independence Day
bill-pullman

Image Credit: Independence Day, 1996

Ah, Bill Pullman. Or is it Paxton? No, it’s Pullman. He’s the voice of reason in an otherwise campy doomsday fest. He will not vanish without a fight!!!

2.  Billy Bob Thornton, Love Actually

billy-bob-thornton

Image credit: Love Actually, 2003

Is this supposed to be Bill Clinton? With the accent of a Bush? Either way, his performance is smarmy and perfect, and gives America a sense of what the rest of the world thinks of our elected officials.

3.  Michael Douglas, The American President

michael-douglas

Image Credit: The American President, 1995

He’s handsome, he’s single, he’s a Democrat- what more could a girl want? Oh, he also gives fantastic inspirational speeches, wants to pass meaningful gun legislation, and still gets nervous around a beautiful woman. *sigh*

4.  Terry Crews, Idiocracy

terry-crews

Image Credit: Idiocracy, 2006

This one hits a little too close to home. Political satire or Mike Judge’s crystal ball? Only time will tell.

5. Dennis Quaid, American Dreamz

dennis-quaid

Image credit: American Dreamz, 2006

Oh, thinly-veiled W.  Bless your little heart.

Top 5 Andy Warhols

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My latest television obsession, HBO’s Vinyl, has gotten me thinking of all the great Andy Warhol portrayals in cinema. John Cameron Mitchell plays him on the TV show (unfortunately not very well), but throughout the years there have been some fantastic, creepy, and just plain weird versions of the eccentric pop artist. This week, I’m highlighting the Top 5 Andy Warhols, in ranking order.

1. Jared Harris, I Shot Andy Warhol

jared harris i shot andy warhol

Image Credit: I Shot Andy Warhol, 1996

This is by far the best Andy. Harris plays him as bored, lonely, and slightly naïve. Or is he? I want to check into the Chelsea Hotel and find out.

2.  Guy Pearce, Factory Girl

guy pearce factory girl

Image Credit: Factory Girl, 2006

Here we see Andy as part cinematic auteur, part heartless manipulator. Leave it to an Australian to nail the voice.

3.  David Bowie, Basquiat

David Bowie Basquiat

Image credit: Basquiat, 1996

I like to think of this as “Whimsical Warhol”. Bowie seems slightly stoned, like the looney old man down the street who wandered out without his nurse.

4.  Crispin Glover, The Doors

Crispin Glover The Doors

Image credit: The Doors, 1991

By far the creepiest Warhol. Do not let him put you in a movie Jim!! Walk away!!!!!!

5.  Bill Hader, Men in Black 3

Bill Hader Men in Black 3

Image credit: Men in Black 3, 2012

This one just makes me laugh.  I’d have believed it more if Hader played Warhol as an alien rather than a MIB agent, but still funny.