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Punch-Drunk Love

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Punch Drunk Love

Image credit: Punch-Drunk Love, 2002

With a title that includes the words “Punch”, “Drunk”, and “Love”, Paul Thomas Anderson’s dark romantic comedy seems like a natural fit for my collection. However, Punch-Drunk Love (Disc/Download) is not a movie I liked on the first watch, or even the second. It’s rare that my opinion shifts so drastically on a film, but that’s exactly what’s happened over the ensuing eighteen years. Now, in our cursed year of 2020, I adore it.

The reason I initially had a hard time connecting with this story was because I just didn’t know what to make of Adam Sandler’s character Barry. Was he being weird for weird’s sake? Was he simply shy with a dangerous undercurrent of anger? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure him out. But since this movie’s release, we have a new language to describe people like Barry. I don’t know that this theory has ever been confirmed by the filmmaker, but to me, this guy is very clearly on the Autism spectrum. And with that realization, I now root even harder for him to find love with fellow lonely-heart Lana. Paul Thomas Anderson did something really incredible in this movie, making us feel through the camerawork and music, what it’s like to be in Barry’s head. Adam Sandler gives an incredible performance (as if there were any doubt- he’s been my uncut gem for YEARS), and I want so badly for this novelty toilet plunger salesman to find the one person in the world who “gets” him. I long for him and Lana to take those pudding cup miles and ride off into the sunset.

Speaking of sunsets, how gorgeous is the scene on Waikiki Beach? I’ve been lucky enough to sit at that beachside bar at the Royal Hawaiian, sipping a Mai Tai, and it’s a memory I cling to during lockdown. Someday, I’ll get back there (in fact, there’s already a room booked for June 2021. Call me an optimist.). But in the meantime, let’s have a drink with Barry and Lana. While watching Punch-Drunk Love, get those Waikiki sunset vibes with this Mai Tai Punch.

Mai Tai Punch

1 cup Light Rum

1 cup Gold Rum

1 cup Cointreau

½ cup Lime Juice

½ cup Orange Juice

½ cup Orgeat Syrup

Dark Rum for topping

In a glass bottle or punch bowl, combine Light Rum, Gold Rum, Cointreau, Lime and Orange juices, and Orgeat. Stir or shake until well combined. Pour into cups filled with crushed ice, and drizzle dark rum on top.*

Mai Tai Punch

There’s a moment in Hawaii when Barry and Lana are in bed, and they start saying violent, mildly shocking things to one another. He looks down at her and says, “This is right. This is good.” Those words perfectly describe what love is—finding that one other person who understands your weirdness and jumps right on into it with you. Barry, I’m sorry it took me so long to get to the diving board. Cheers!

*This gold pineapple glass, while attractive in a photo, is hands down THE WORST container I have ever put a drink in. The top wobbles and falls off, and the bottom gets so cold and slippery that you can’t even hold it. I have a dried puddle of Mai-Tai on the back of my couch cushion to prove it. If you got this from Target on a whim, do yourself a favor and THROW. IT. OUT.


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Image Credit Columbia Pictures, 2004, Spanglish

Image Credit Columbia Pictures, 2004, Spanglish

This week on Cinema Sips, I’m making the bold choice to feature a movie so unabashedly girly and saccharine that I run the risk of being ridiculed for admitting I really like it. But, I will take the heat because it pairs so well with a delicious summertime sangria. See what love I have for you readers? The movie I’m watching is Spanglish (DVD/Download), a 2004 James L. Brooks film that was forgettable to most people, but for me, has cemented its place in my pantheon of Sunday-afternoon rom-coms that I never get tired of watching. Because air-conditioned Sunday afternoons are what summer is all about, I’m popping this one in the DVD player and ignoring all the haters.

Spanglish stars Adam Sandler as a loveable, talented chef whose family hires a beautiful Mexican woman to be their housekeeper. He’s married to a cheating, neurotic mess of a woman (played a little too over-the-top by Tea Leoni) so of course the lovely Flor Morales (played by Penelope Cruz-lite Paz Vega) becomes the object of his desire. She doesn’t speak English, he doesn’t speak Spanish, but they fall for each other anyway. Flor’s daughter is also thrown into the mix as the families become closer over a summer spent at the beach. Perhaps it’s my envy of their beach house that keeps me tuning in year after year to this comedic saga, but I like to think I’m also responding to the excellent (as always) script by James L. Brooks, and the unexpected charm of Adam Sandler. He’s absolutely delightful in this, leaving behind all of the juvenile frat-boy humor of his youth (and unfortunately his present, by the looks of the trailer for Blended). Cloris Leachman of course steals every scene she’s in as the boozy grandmother of the family, and it’s because of her character that I’m never without a drink when I watch this film.

Cloris sticks mainly to white wine in Spanglish, so in honor of her amazing comedic talent, I’m mixing up a white wine peach sangria this week. Of course, part of this decision was based on the fact that peaches are wonderfully in season in Central Texas where I live, and I was hankering for a way to use them in something. I’m not much of a cook, so a fruity cocktail it is. When watching Spanglish, I recommend drinking a Sparkling Peach Sangria.

Sparkling Peach Sangria

2-3 peaches, sliced

¾ cup brandy

1 bottle sparkling wine (such as Moscato)

1 liter white peach seltzer water, chilled

In a pitcher, place ¾ of the sliced peaches and brandy and lightly muddle. Add the sparkling wine and seltzer water, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to mix. Pour into glasses (over ice if you’re enjoying this outdoors, or into a champagne flute if you want to be fancy like me!) and top with a few fresh peach slices.


I had the pleasure of enjoying this drink at a party over the weekend, and it did not disappoint! It’s best to mix up a big batch of this because the movie does run a bit long, but for me, that just means more Adam Sandler to love. Also, kudos to Mr. Brooks for capturing the neuroses of the interior design professional PERFECTLY (I say this because I used to be an interior design professional). Tea Leoni plays it so well.  So sit back, drink up, and enjoy this movie about family, culture clash, forbidden love, and maybe the best looking sandwich ever captured on film. Cheers!


The Wedding Singer

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Image credit New Line Cinema, The Wedding Singer, 1998

Image credit New Line Cinema, The Wedding Singer, 1998

As my five year wedding anniversary approaches, I’m reminded of a film that was a big inspiration to me in the planning of my nuptials. Namely, it was an inspiration of the kind of wedding I didn’t want. No big hair, or behemoth dresses, or tacky reception halls, or drunken best man speeches for me and my beloved (though the orchestral version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” did make an appearance during my aisle walk, in steel drum form). The film I referenced was that classic homage to the 1980’s, The Wedding Singer (DVD/Download). I like to watch this every year in the spring as wedding season rolls around, to remind me of how lucky I am that I didn’t get married in the 80’s. Shoulder pads and perms- oh the horror!

The Wedding Singer is a sweet movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore as two people who are unfortunately saddled with fiancés that are totally wrong for both of them. He’s a wedding singer, she’s a waitress, and they meet cute at a catered event as Alexis Arquette covers Boy George songs and pre-teen boys drink too many rum-and-cokes. Sandler and Barrymore are absolutely adorable together, and the script is chock full of hilarious 80’s references. I never really cared for Adam Sandler before this movie, but in The Wedding Singer, he proved that he can be funny and heartfelt (and that he can totally rock a permed mullet). Supporting roles played by Christine Taylor, Jon Lovitz, and the always amazing Steve Buscemi add to the comedic scenes, and even Billy Idol makes a cameo toward the end. If you’re a fan of 80’s nostalgia and romantic comedies, trust me, this is your movie.

My drink this week was inspired by #1 Miami Vice fan Glenn Guglia, Drew Barrymore’s fiancé. Glenn is your typical 80’s smarmy frat boy/stock broker type, and his drink of choice is the classic 80’s cocktail, the Alabama Slammer. It’s sweet, boozy, it’s empty of anything substantial- it’s the 1980’s in a glass.

1 oz Southern Comfort

1oz Sloe Gin

1oz Amaretto

2oz Orange Juice

Garnish: Orange wheel and maraschino cherry

Add all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Give it your best Tom Cruise-in-Cocktail shake, then strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.

Alabama Slammer

My advice to you on this one- watch your alcohol consumption closely because you don’t want to end up like Julia Guglia, climbing into a Delorean with vomit in your hair. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore would go on to make many more movies together over the years, but this one is by far my favorite. The soundtrack is great, and I dare you not to be humming “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” long after it ends. Just be careful of “Ladies Night”- Jon Lovitz has a tendency to get into my head and never leave. Cheers!