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The Mummy

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Image credit: The Mummy, 1999

As we enter the era of the Brendan Fraser comeback, it feels appropriate to watch the blockbuster that put him in every multiplex across the country, spawning several sequels (and several operations) for this workhorse actor. The Mummy (Disc/Download) was not exactly my cup of tea when it was released, and honestly, it still isn’t. But nevertheless, I think it’s fascinating to examine it next to the other big action movie of the year, last week’s The Matrix.

On the surface, these two films have a lot in common. They’re both filled with numerous battle scenes, both rely heavily on special effects, and both feature wafer-thin romances that seem like nothing more than marketing afterthoughts. I know, I know, romance fans have clung to The Mummy‘s feisty librarian heroine Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) like she’s the second coming of Elizabeth Bennet, but in truth she shares precious few swoon-worthy moments with Fraser’s Rick O’Connell. Most of this movie is taken up by gun fights and swirling sand as these adventurers go searching for treasure and instead find a pissed-off mummified priest and flesh-eating scarabs that burrow under the skin. Maybe I’m biased after too many scorching Texas summers, but this just seems like the least romantic setting on earth.

When American adventurer Rick O’Connell is asked about Hamunaptra, the city of the dead, he explains that he and his French Foreign Legion cohorts found nothing there but blood and sand. Coincidentally, this is also the name of a classic cocktail inspired by a 1922 Rudolph Valentino film. While watching this 1999 iteration of The Mummy, I recommend drinking a Blood and Sand cocktail.

Blood and Sand

3/4 oz Scotch

3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth

3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice

3/4 oz Cherry Heering

Orange peel

Dried Blood Orange slice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass. Flame an orange peel over the top to release the oils, then garnish with a dried blood orange slice.

The visual effects of The Mummy seem impressive… until you watch The Matrix. Interestingly, both films handle a bug-under-the-skin rather well, making me lose my dinner (and my drink) in the process. This might be the final 1999 movie in my series, but rest assured, there are plenty of others I’ve already covered on Cinema Sips. Was it the greatest movie year ever? Well, that depends entirely on your tastes. But one thing I can say about this seminal year, there was definitely something for everyone. Cheers!

Blast From the Past


Image credit: Blast From the Past, 1999

Seeing Brendan Fraser on the most recent season of The Affair has reminded me how much I missed this 90’s heartthrob. One of my favorite films in the Fraser canon is this week’s Cinema Sips pick, Blast From the Past (DVD/Download). As a man who’s been raised in an atomic fallout shelter, Fraser pulls off the ludicrous script with so much charm, you almost forget the fact that he has virtually no chemistry with Alicia Silverstone, the Eve to his Adam. It’s just fun to watch him get excited about color TV.

In reality, I’ve always liked the idea of bomb shelters and panic rooms- a place where you can go when the world gets too scary and dangerous. I’d fill mine with romance novels and gin, and maybe some of those big tubs of cheesy puffs from Costco. And certainly, Blast From the Past puts a relatively great spin on the underground shelter concept. I mean, Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek raising their young son in a 1960’s-era bunker modeled after their own home? Complete with vintage modern furniture and cocktails? Sounds like heaven.

One of the best things about this movie is all the cocktails and classic barware. 1962 was a fine time to be alive, style and booze-wise, and this movie brings the nostalgia back in a big way. While watching Blast From the Past, I recommend drinking a Rob Roy.

Rob Roy

1 ½ oz Scotch

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Maraschino cherries

Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and stir vigorously over ice. Strain into a chilled glass, and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries.


In my opinion, the present is very overrated. These days, reruns of I Love Lucy and vacuuming in a house dress and pearls doesn’t look too bad. Just leave the liquor down there and I’ll be all set  (I always was an “indoor girl”). Cheers!

Encino Man

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Encino Man, 1992

Encino Man, 1992

As Cher Horowitz once so wisely said, “Searching for a boy in high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.” With that in mind, please know that I find absolutely no deep meaning in this week’s film Encino Man (DVD/Download). It’s simply a funny 90’s time-capsule, where high school students were played by 25-year olds, going to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee and a microwave burrito was still a thing, and even with WAY too much hair product and baggy surfer clothes, Brendan Fraser was hot.

Encino Man is about two high school seniors (played by Sean Astin and Pauly Shore) who uncover a caveman frozen in ice while digging for a swimming pool. They thaw the ice, and a muddy Brendan Fraser emerges. Somehow, a mute, dreadlocked caveman is considered cool in high school, and “Link” (as in Missing) manages to elevate the popularity of the dorks who dug him up. They go up against the resident jock bully, and Sean Astin tries to win the heart of the most popular girl in school. Also, we get an introductory lesson into Pauly Shore-speak. I still don’t know what “weezing the juice” means exactly, and I’m not sure I want to. However, his assertion that Sweet Tarts are part of the fruit group is something I strongly agree with.

The catastrophic event that caused Link’s burial was a massive earthquake, followed by a mudslide. I don’t know about you, but I’m officially ready for frozen drink season to begin. While watching Encino Man, I recommend drinking a Frozen Mudslide.

Frozen Mudslide

2 oz vodka

2 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur

2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

6 oz vanilla ice cream

Chocolate syrup

Whipped cream

Blend alcohol with ice cream. Swirl chocolate syrup around inner edges of a glass. Pour frozen drink into the glass and top with whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.


This movie brings back so many childhood memories of lazy Saturday afternoons in front of the TV. I’m a little annoyed that I’m still able to quote certain scenes word for word. What other useless trivia is my mind storing? Is that why I can’t remember genuinely important things now like my bank account number or the proper ratio of Cointreau to tequila in a margarita? Too many crap movies as a kid? Oh well, the damage is done I suppose. Cheers!