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Weekend at Bernie’s II

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Weekend at Bernies 2

Image credit: Weekend at Bernie’s II, 1993.

I harbor a secret (or not-so-secret) love for most of the terrible sequels I’ve featured this month. A lot of them were favorites from my childhood that still bring me a certain amount of glee. I went into this week thinking that Weekend at Bernie’s II (DVD/Download) was actually pretty good, based on my memory from 20 years ago. Welllllll……. I admit. I was wrong. Go ahead, put in me in movie jail and make me watch Ingmar Bergman films as punishment. I deserve it.

I get a shocking amount of traffic on Cinema Sips from my original Weekend at Bernie’s post, so I know there are a lot of Terry Kiser fans out there. The first movie was ridiculous, but it was FUN! You kind of believed that it was possible for a self-centered group of one-percenters to not notice an actual human corpse in their midst. But in the sequel, all believability goes out the window with a trio of asinine plots. #1- Bernie is raised from the dead by a voodoo priestess working for mobsters. #2- the people who actually perform the voodoo ceremony are two random dudes with no connection to anything, yet they spend the whole movie following a shuffling Bernie around in search of the mob’s money. #3- Rich and Larry are back, and decide to look for the money Bernie embezzled in the first movie. They’re being trailed by Barry Bostwick, who is hired to prove that the two doofuses were in on the embezzlement. Essentially, all these people are following Bernie, I can’t keep anything straight, and I eventually throw my hands in the air and accept that this movie MAKES NO SENSE.

The one thing Weekend at Bernie’s II has going for it is a gorgeous tropical locale in the Virgin Islands. Richard and Larry spend most of their time at the hotel bar, avoiding the stench of a rotting corpse in their mini fridge (don’t ask). If you’re like me, you’ll need a lot of rum to make this funny. While watching Weekend at Bernie’s II, I recommend drinking a Voodoo cocktail.


2 oz aged rum

¾ oz Martini Rosso Vermouth

2 ½ oz pressed apple juice

½ oz lime juice

¼ oz simple syrup.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks filled Collins glass.

I’d like to think I’ve always had impeccable taste in movies, but this one proves that there are a few missteps in my past. It also proves that not all sequels are created equal. For every Before Sunset, there’s a Weekend at Bernie’s II, which (like Bernie himself), is long past its sell-by date. But if you must watch, by all means please- do it with a cocktail. Cheers!

*Side note-  Pretty, pretty please do not judge Andrew McCarthy for participating in this film.  I like to think that he financed his later career as an AMAZING travel writer with the money he got from this schlock.  In my opinion- totally worth it.  I highly recommend his book The Longest Way Home.

Weekend at Bernie’s

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Image credit Weekend at Bernie's, 1989

Image credit Weekend at Bernie’s, 1989

Happy Memorial Day, Cinema Sips readers! This day traditionally heralds the start of summer (which in Texas means that I can’t venture outside comfortably until October). If you are lucky enough to have the day off work, then I suggest you spend it not at a picnic getting eaten alive by mosquitos, but rather in an air-conditioned house watching this week’s film, Weekend at Bernie’s (DVD/Download). I love that it has gained a cult following over the years, though I’ve secretly always been partial to the even more bizarre Weekend at Bernie’s II, featuring a voodoo priestess and a brief appearance by Patti Mayonnaise.

Weekend at Bernie’s is about two lowly financial employees at a big Manhattan insurance firm. They accidentally discover evidence that their boss (Bernie) has been embezzling from the company, and before he can have them killed, Bernie himself is murdered at his house in the Hamptons. His employees, played by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, discover his body, but before they can do anything about it, party guests descend on the house. They decide to keep up the ruse that Bernie is still alive, which involves some great work by actor Terry Kiser, a master of the art of jelly limbs. The movie then turns into one big party full of guys in Miami Vice apparel and women with moussed perms and unflattering thong bikinis. The house itself is pretty great in an 80’s sort of way, full of glass brick and neon bar lighting. Even with a corpse in the middle of the living room, Bernie’s party is the place to be.

Although tempted to feature a Corpse Reviver this week, I think a more appropriate drink for this particular film would have to be the Long Island Iced Tea. Too many of them and you’ll be staring into space with Bernie’s amused smirk on your face while people try to pose your limbs into a lifelike arrangement. Plus, what’s a Hampton’s party without this boozy drink? While watching Weekend at Bernie’s, I recommend drinking a Long Island Iced Tea.

Long Island Iced Tea

1 oz vodka

1 oz white rum

1 oz silver tequila

1 oz gin

1/2 oz triple sec

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup Cola, or to taste

Lemon wedge

Mix alcohol and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker full of ice.  Shake until chilled, then pour entire contents (ice included) into a Collins glass.  Top with cola and a lemon wedge.

Long Island Iced Tea

I read an article last year about a company (BBQ Films) that recreated the Weekend at Bernie’s party in New York. All I can say is, pretty please come to Austin. After all, Bernie is a resident here!! If I ever see him shuffling down the street, I might die of excitement. (Bad joke?) Cheers!


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          Image credit Twentieth Century Fox, 1987, Mannequin

How I’ve gone over a year on Cinema Sips without discussing one of the best things to come out of the 1980’s, I have NO IDEA. Sure, Roger Ebert declared this week’s film Mannequin (DVD) “dead” and full of clichés, but clearly he didn’t understand the brilliance that is Hollywood (the window dresser, not the place). I was so excited to see the title song from this movie, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ referenced in the surprisingly good film The Skeleton Twins recently, and it just reinforced my opinion that this gem deserves a comeback.

Mannequin stars Andrew McCarthy as starving artist Jonathan Switcher, who creates a mannequin at one of his short-lived jobs, only to see it come to life later on in the form of Emmy, played by a young Kim Cattrall. However, he’s the only one who can see her in human form, and there are some unintentionally funny scenes of Andrew McCarthy riding a motorcycle around Philadelphia with a mannequin draped around him. The supporting cast makes this even better, with Golden Girl Estelle Getty as the owner of Prince & Company department store (where the mannequin resides), and a nearly unrecognizable James Spader as the creepy manager. It’s been years since I’ve set foot in a department store, but as a child I totally wanted to spend the night in one- raiding the make-up counter, trying on whatever I wanted, and falling asleep in the bedding department. As an adult, this dream has been amended to include relaxing in a fur-lined hammock with Andrew McCarthy and discussing cellulite with Hollywood.

Throughout the film, Jonathan and Emmy enjoy role-playing in the store’s various vignettes. Ooh they’re punk rockers! Now a mob boss and his wife! Now tennis fans! Now just naked under their fur coats! My favorite look is the cruise-wear. To that end, I’ll be making a tropical rum drink that’s totally appropriate for sipping on a fake cruise ship, with a fake sky, while Andrew McCarthy rubs Coppertone on your back, even though there is no sunshine. While watching Mannequin, I recommend drinking a Man Overboard.

Man Overboard

6 Mint leaves

2 oz Malibu Rum

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Crushed ice

Club Soda

Mint Sprigs and sliced lime for garnish

Muddle mint leaves and lime juice in the bottom of a glass. Add rum and crushed ice. Top with club soda.  Stir gently to mix. Add a sprig of mint and lime slice to garnish.

man overboard

It’s refreshing to see Kim Cattrell before Sex and the City turned her into an oversexed caricature, and she does the best she can in a pretty ridiculous role. I love the flashy 80’s sets, the shoulder pads, and Hollywood’s amazing sunglasses (which Kanye totally stole). Come prepared with a sense of humor and a strong cocktail when you watch this, and you can’t go wrong. Cheers!

Pretty in Pink

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Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1986, Pretty in Pink

Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1986, Pretty in Pink

This May on Cinema Sips, I’m excited to highlight a few of my favorite high school movies. I figured, what better time to do so, what with prom season coming up, graduation, etc. As we all know, the reigning king of high school movies is of course John Hughes. It’s difficult to pick my favorite among his 80’s teen classics, but if pressed, I have to choose Pretty in Pink (DVD/Download). It’s the perfect blend of romance, social commentary, humor, and New Wave music, and I never get tired of watching it.

Pretty in Pink is the story of Andie (played by Molly Ringwald), the creative, pretty girl from the wrong side of the tracks, who falls for rich, sweet, and spineless Blane (played by Andrew McCarthy). Duckie (played by Jon Cryer, in a fantastic role that thankfully makes me forget about ‘Two and a Half Men’) is Andie’s best friend, who is also in love with her. Rounding out the cast are the brilliant Harry Dean Stanton as Andie’s kinda pathetic but well-meaning father, and Annie Potts as the hilarious and hip owner of the record store where Andie works. James Spader also has a great role as preppy sleaze Steff (seriously- Blane? Steff? What country club directory did Hughes consult for these names??), and his feathered hair is truly a masterpiece. Of course, anybody that’s seen this movie also knows that it features maybe the ugliest prom dress in the history of prom dresses. What makes it particularly bad is that all the characters say how beautiful and stunning Molly Ringwald looks in it. Are they blind? Drunk? We’ll never know. Yes, it was the 80’s, but still, there is no excuse for someone making this dress happen.

My cocktail tonight is obviously pink, and obviously kinda girly. I’m using gin as the base because Steff and Blane seem like the kind of guys to get loaded on gin & tonics at the country club pool. It’s also a bit on the sweet side, just like Duckie. Generations of women have argued over whether Andie should have chosen Blane or Duckie in the end, so I’m happy to feature a cocktail that celebrates both of them. I stumbled upon a great recipe on The Kitchn blog last week, and with a little tweaking, I’m serving up a Cats Club Cocktail.

2 oz dry Gin

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz raspberry syrup (see note)

1 egg white

Fresh raspberries

Combine the gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds. Then add ice, and continue shaking for another 10-20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with raspberries.

Recipe Note: To make raspberry syrup, heat ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and ¼ cup fresh raspberries on the stove until the berries break down and the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain out the solids and chill before using.

cats club

Full disclosure- I never actually went to my prom in high school. Frankly, I’d seen so many proms in movies that I knew the real thing would never measure up. Without a cute guy in a bolo tie and alligator shoes calling me stunning, what’s the point? I’d much rather experience high school vicariously through Molly Ringwald, as I’m sure many girls out there would. So what if most of her classmates appear to be in their early 30’s? That just means they have no problem getting carded at the liquor store. While I have zero desire to relive my high school days, I always look forward to watching Pretty in Pink. And I always look forward to drinking while I do so- beer, scotch, juice box, cocktail, whatever. Cheers!