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Shag

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Shag

Image credit: Shag, 1989.

If you’re a fan of Dirty Dancing and Where the Boys Are, let me introduce you to their love child- Shag (Disc).  This 80s-made/60s-set gem is the kind of movie I would have watched in my VCR until the tape finally wore out.  It’s the summer fling flick I’ve been waiting my whole life for, and luckily, it found me after I was of legal drinking age.

Set in 1963, Shag follows four female friends who take a road trip to Myrtle Beach.  One is escaping a fiancé she’s just not that into, one is escaping her reputation as the “fat girl”, one is trying to be a Hollywood starlet, and then there’s Luanne- the buzzkill with the rad car.  Think Sex and the City, but at the beach in retro dresses.  Of course they meet boys, of course they drink, and of course they find themselves during this wild weekend.  But what I love even more than the production design, costumes, and cheesy script is witnessing the bonds of female friendship.  These girls are there for each other, through sexist beauty pageants, TP’d houses, and beyond.

Because Luanne lays down the law early that her daddy’s bourbon is strictly off-limits, we’ve gotta make do with tequila.  For a fun, summertime movie like this, you need something sweet, sparkling, and deceptively boozy.  I recommend drinking this Strawberry Shag.

 Strawberry Shag

4 strawberries + 1 for garnish

½ oz agave nectar or simple syrup

1 oz lime juice

2 oz tequila

2 basil leaves

6 oz club soda

Blend strawberries, agave nectar, lime juice, tequila, and basil in a blender, without ice.  Strain, and set aside.  Then, add crushed ice to a glass, and pour in the blended mixture.  Top with club soda, and garnish with a strawberry.

Strawberry Shag

I didn’t know until this movie that “shag” was a kind of dance, and not a particularly sexual one.  Plus, Bubble Flip is a hairstyle, not a drink.  JFK is a sweet potato, which means he’s dreamy; but also, I never realized how much he actually looks like a sweet potato. Thank you Shag, for expanding my sixties slang horizons.  Cheers!

Mystic Pizza

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Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza

Image Credit Samuel Goldwyn Company, 1988, Mystic Pizza

 

Recently I was so excited to see that actress Annabeth Gish had joined the cast of TV’s Sons of Anarchy. Where has she been all these years? Aside from a small part in Beautiful Girls, I really hadn’t seen much of her since her star-making role in this week’s film Mystic Pizza (DVD/Download). That appearance got me excited to re-watch one of my favorite movies, which is an absolutely perfect pick for autumn. It makes me long for fall in New England, filled with crisp leaves, cold nights, and chunky sweaters.

Mystic Pizza follows three female friends on the cusp of adulthood as they navigate tricky romances and their future dreams while living in the small town of Mystic, Connecticut. Kat (played by Annabeth Gish) enters into a torrid affair with the married father of the little girl she babysits, Daisy (played by a very young, big-haired Julia Roberts) gets involved with a wealthy playboy, and Jo Jo (played by Lili Taylor) is debating whether or not to marry her long-time boyfriend. They work at a pizza parlor together, and I swear the pizza in this movie looks so good that I always crave it mid-way through. Just do yourself a favor and order one about half an hour before the movie starts. You’ll thank me later. What I love about this film is that these women manage to find themselves and figure out what they want out of love and life, without sacrificing their friendship. That’s the central key to why this movie works so well. Men may come and go, but the friendship among these women is forever.

As for my beverage choice this week, nothing says fall to me like apple cider. I do a little happy dance every time I see it appear in grocery stores next to the bushels of fresh apples. Over the years I’ve paired it with everything under the sun- spiced rum, whiskey, brandy, even an ill-fated night with Bailey’s Irish Cream (I do NOT recommend this if you value your stomach lining), but this week I’ve decided to go girly and make an apple cider sangria. While watching Mystic Pizza, I recommend drinking a Mystic Sparkler.

Mystic Sparkler

2 cups apple cider

½ cup cognac

750ml bottle of cava (or other dry sparkling wine), chilled

2 apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Add the apples to a large pitcher 1/4 filled with ice, reserving ½ cup of the apples for garnishing. Add the cognac, apple cider, and chilled cava.   Stir. Add more ice if necessary. Serve in wine glasses and top with more apple slices.

apple-cider-sangria

I like to think these ladies would have mixed up a big pitcher of this and sat around dishing about their trysts in abandoned houses. Seriously, haven’t any of their boyfriends heard of electricity? The characters say at the end of the film that they wonder where they’ll all be in ten years, and frankly I wonder that too. Who’s divorced, who has kids, and who still lives in Mystic, CT? I’m just putting it out there to the cinema gods that there NEEDS to be a sequel to this movie. This can’t be the end of it for these ladies. How will we ever know what Leona puts in that pizza??  Cheers!