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Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor

Image credit: Pearl Harbor, 2001

“It is hard to remember what we came to remember.”

Joan Didion may have been writing about her own experience visiting the Pearl Harbor memorial, however she may as well have been talking about the Bruckheimer/Bay disaster pic Pearl Harbor (DVD/Download). After 3 hours, only one of which was actually about the attack on Pearl Harbor, I struggled to recall why I’d pressed “play” in the first place.

If the filmmakers were trying to capture a Casablanca tone of romance during wartime, I’m not sure they succeeded. Same goes for accurately conveying the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. But if the goal was to create a showcase for pyrotechnics, special effects, and cheesy lines, consider this film a rousing success. I’m not sure that I expected much, given that it stars a very tan, blonde Ben Affleck before he got his sh*t together, but still- his tepid love triangle with Kate Beckinsale and Josh Harnett was pretty disappointing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing the cavalcade of cameos by actors who are SO much better than this movie. Michael Shannon! Alec Baldwin! Ewen Bremner! Cuba Gooding Jr.! (well, okay maybe Cuba belonged in this).

One thing that makes the long flight to Hawaii worthwhile is the fresh pineapple waiting on the other end. Well, that and all the tiki drinks. I’ve already featured Midori and vodka in another post about a doomed ship, so this week I’m putting a Honolulu spin on it. While watching Pearl Harbor, I recommend drinking a Tiki-tini.


1 ½ oz vodka

¾ oz Midori

4 oz chilled Pineapple juice

Pineapple chunk

Shake well over ice to chill, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with pineapple chunk.

I can say without a doubt that this historic tragedy deserves a lot better than a Michael Bay schlock fest. Luckily, we have Tora! Tora! Tora! and that really great pilot episode of The Twilight Zone (“The Time Element”) to fill in the gaps. I encourage you to check out these titles, and if you have the means, go see the Arizona Memorial in person. But, to quote Alec Baldwin, “Leave your goddamn hula shirts at home.” Cheers!

Good Will Hunting

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Image credit: Good Will Hunting, 1997

Image credit: Good Will Hunting, 1997

It FINALLY feels like fall outside, and I’m surrounded by apple spice/pumpkin spice everything. This time of year always makes me nostalgic for crunchy leaves underfoot and college co-eds in sweaters. I can think of no better movie to watch in autumn than Good Will Hunting (DVD/Download). So curl up with a plaid blanket, fix a drink, and prepare to be lulled in by a soothing Danny Elfman score and the timid songs of Elliott Smith. I feel like skipping class all over again!

Good Will Hunting will always be known as the film that made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck famous, as BFFs, actors, and screenwriters. It’s the Hollywood story everyone loves to hear- two childhood best friends write a script, Robin Williams decides he wants to be in it, Harvey Weinstein decides he wants to produce it, the film is made, released, it’s a big success, and the two best friends bask in Oscar glory. Of course, there’s probably a lot more to the story than that, but that PR-approved legend is just as heartwarming as the movie itself. I know this film about a young mathematical prodigy overcoming childhood trauma to find love gets criticized for being too saccharine at times (It’s Not Your Fault) but no one can deny the brilliant performance by Robin Williams as a down-to-earth psychologist, the charming Southie accents of Matt Damon and his crew of friends, or the perfect, weepy Elliott Smith soundtrack. It still kills me that “Miss Misery” lost out on the Oscar to Celine Dion and “My Heart Will Go On”. I demand a recount.

One of the best, and most oft-quoted lines of the film is when Matt Damon’s Will Hunting announces he got the number of a girl in a bar and, well, “how do you like them apples?” I’ve recently fallen in love with Argus Cidery’s Ciderkin hard apple cider, and I’ve been dying to use it in a cocktail. So while watching Good Will Hunting, I suggest drinking Them Apples.

Them Apples

1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

1 oz butterscotch schnapps

3 oz apple cider

4 oz Argus Cidery Ciderkin

Build drink over ice, stirring gently to combine.

Them Apples

It’s still fun to watch this movie and see how incredibly young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck look. They’re major blockbuster stars now (in fact I just caught Matt Damon in the stellar film The Martian over the weekend), but back then they were just a couple of kids with some Kevin Smith film credits. And of course, my heart aches for all the Robin Williams performances we’ll never get to see in the future. This one is just so damn good. So bundle up, settle in, and if you need me- sorry guys, I gotta go see about a drink. Cheers!