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While You Were Sleeping

While you were sleeping

Image credit: While You Were Sleeping, 1995.

Before I dive into a month’s worth of classic Christmas films, I’m easing into the holiday spirit with the movie that probably inspired countless contemporary romance novels and Hallmark productions. (Let’s pause to write the producers a thank-you note).  While You Were Sleeping (DVD/Download) is the Christmas movie for lonely hearts, the siren call for every schlubby transit worker who dreams of the guy in the suit, only to realize the guy in the Carhartt jacket is way sexier. Trust me- you want the guy who can build you a chair, not the one who can buy it for you.

Starring Sandra Bullock as a single, cat-owning, Oreo-eating heroine, While You Were Sleeping is a film not just about romance, but about family connection. After she saves her crush from being hit by a train, his family mistakenly believes she’s their future daughter-in-law, and she goes along with it because it kinda sucks to be alone at the holidays. But then she meets her faux-fiance’s brother played by Bill Pullman (honestly I was always more of a Paxton girl myself, but Pullman makes it work), and realizes he’s maybe kinda sorta her soul mate.  Hijinks ensue, Christmas trees are bought, presents are unwrapped, and Chicago looks really f*cking cold. Pass the eggnog!

One fun thing I discovered on a recent re-watch of this film is that the grandma-with-a-heart-problem (because of course) is played by none other than Glynis Johns, aka. Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins. Grandma Elsie mixes up a mean batch of eggnog, meant to be sipped slowly. So while watching While You Were Sleeping, let’s join in the fun by drinking Elsie’s Eggnog:

Elsie’s Eggnog

4 oz Store-bought eggnog

1 oz Rumchata

1 oz Southern Comfort

1 oz Bourbon

Whipped Cream and cinnamon for garnish

Stir together eggnog and other ingredients in a shaker with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into a chilled glass. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

eggnog

This movie is especially endearing because it’s not just a film about a girl trying to get a guy at Christmas. It’s about a girl trying to connect with a family, one that comes with drunk relatives, ugly furniture, and the kind of mom who will put up a stocking for someone she barely knows. And that’s what makes the holidays so great, when you stop to think about it. Well, that and boozy eggnog. Cheers!

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.

Newsies

Image Credit Walt Diwney Pictures, 1992

Image Credit Walt Disney Pictures, 1992

Page-boy caps. Attractive and well-choreographed boys singing and dancing on the streets of New York. Crutchy. That’s right, this week’s Cinema Sips headliner is…… Newsies (!!!!!!). I’ve been obsessed with this movie ever since it premiered on The Disney Channel in the early-90’s. I had no idea what a labor union was, but if it involved singing catchy tunes and Christian Bale as a hot teenager in a kicky scarf, by all means sign me up. This week, while coming down from my Valentine’s sugar buzz, I decided I needed a boost in the form of this totally entertaining movie musical.

Newsies (DVD/Download) was a pretty big flop when it premiered in theaters, but since then, it has gained the cult status it so richly deserves. Newsies tells the story of the newsboy’s strike of 1899, wherein the lowly newsboys battled the mighty Pulitzer and Hearst by organizing a union and striking for increased pay and better working conditions. Of course, this being Disney, there are some wonderful songs and brilliantly choreographed dance scenes interspersed among the drama, along with some truly terrible New York accents. Heavyweight actors Robert Duvall and Bill Pullman round out the cast, but it’s Christian Bale who really shines here. This film may be an embarrassing “what was I thinking?!” moment for him now that he’s SERIOUS ACTOR Christian Bale, but I don’t care. I’ll always love him most as Jack Kelly, the cowboy of Manhattan, sellin’ papes and breakin’ hearts.

I found inspiration for my drink this week in a wonderful book I was given, Tipsy Texan by David Alan. I wanted to do something inspired by my favorite song from the movie, Santa Fe. Unsure of how green chilies might translate into the beverage arena, I opted instead to try something using the Mexican liquor Mezcal . This is similar to tequila (in fact tequila is a type of mezcal) but it has a smokier flavor. I like to imagine that Jack Kelly would have eventually turned 18 and taken his dumpy girlfriend Sarah out west, picking up a bottle of this in a border town along the way. In a nod to the age group of most of the protagonists, I’m mixing the Mezcal with good old fashioned Coca-Cola, something I’m sure the Newsies drank their share of back then. When watching Newsies, I recommend drinking a Barro Negro.

Barro Negro (From Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State)

1 ½ oz Mezcal

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

2 orange wedges

3 oz Coca-Cola (Mexican Coke if you can find it).

Pour Mezcal and bitters over ice in a glass. Squeeze the juice from the orange wedges into the glass, then drop them in. Top with Coca-Cola.

Barro-Negro

As you watch Newsies and sip your drink, feel free to laugh at all the digs at Brooklyn, which wasn’t always the hipster-mecca it is now. Back in 1899, Brooklyn was apparently a scary place full of teenagers with sling shots. Also, I can’t stop laughing when Christian Bale does his interpretive dance midway through singing Santa Fe. I say interpretive because I think he’s interpreting riding a horse with jazz hands, but it’s difficult to tell. This movie is just a classic. A classic what, I’m not sure, but definitely a classic. So drink up, dream of Santa Fe, and remember- “Headlines don’t sell papes- Newsies sell papes.” Cheers!