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Sweet November

Sweet November

Image credit: Sweet November, 2001.

Is there honestly a better month than November?  Finally, the heat of the summer has broken, the fire pit gets used again, and as Americans, we get several days off to do nothing but eat, drink, and watch movies. This week’s film Sweet November (DVD/Download) couldn’t take place at any other time because the rest of our months aren’t nearly as perfect. Sweet January? I don’t think so.

Sweet November is the Lifetime-movie-with-actual-celebrities that made a star of Charlize Theron and fueled my decades-long crush on Keanu Reeves. So, points for that.  However, what self-respecting woman takes in loser men as a 30-day pet project, sleeps with them, turns them into reasonably dateable human beings, then sends them on their way? I know Charlize’s character is supposed to be a “free spirit”, but….. it’s a little gross. However I’m prepared to ignore all the other randos she’s shacked up with in the past because the one currently occupying her love nest is Keanu. Brash ad exec (it’s a HOT. DOG.) turned dreamy boyfriend who rescues puppies and croons “Time After Time” (badly), Keanu is proof that the love of a good woman can fix anyone. Without it, he could end up like super-villain Frank Langella. Frank kinda makes me cry here, along with the waitress. Damn he’s good.

To celebrate November and the sweetness of Keanu, I’ll be mixing up a drink with all the fall flavors. While watching Sweet November, I recommend drinking an Autumn Leaf.

Autumn Leaf

6 oz Austin Eastciders Spiced Cider

1.5 oz Pumpkin liqueur

Cinnamon stick for garnish

Build drink over crushed ice, stirring well to combine. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Autumn Leaf

For those looking for a rom-com with a happy ending, you may be disappointed with Sweet November. But to me, a tragic ending seems appropriate for a film heavily scored by Enya and featuring a plethora of knit shawls. It just… works. Like November, perfection never lasts. My advice: drink it up while you can! Cheers!

The Italian Job

italian-job

Image credit: The Italian Job, 2003

I would never advocate drinking and driving, but who says you can’t drink and watch other people drive? This week I’m featuring a high-octane heist movie with cute cars, snappy dialogue, and Venetian scenery. The Italian Job (DVD/Download) is essentially the 4th Ocean’s Eleven film, wherein a ragtag group of attractive people steal gold from the bad guy. Although Mark Walburg is certainly no Clooney, those cute Mini Coopers zipping through tunnels and mansions makes up for it.

Although the film is called The Italian Job, precious little of it takes place in Italy. Nevertheless, I love the opening and closing shots of the Venetian canals. In real life I know St. Mark’s Square to be covered in dive-bombing pigeons, however in the movies it always looks so lovely. The bulk of the story takes place in and around LA as the professional bandits try to out-cross a double-crosser. The story isn’t terribly original, but it is a lot of fun. Supporting turns by Mos Def and Seth Green provide a good dose of comedy, and this is the one and only Jason Statham movie I have wanted to watch all the way through. So there’s that.

My cocktail this week is a little obvious, but no less delicious. Strong and smooth, like Charlize Theron cracking open a safe, it will have you dreaming of Venetian sunsets. While watching The Italian Job, I recommend drinking a Negroni.

Negroni

1 oz gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

Citrus peel

Stir gin, Campari, and vermouth together gently in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with citrus peel.

negroni

The 2003 version of The Italian Job is one of the few remakes of a classic film that I actually like. I hesitate to even call it a remake of the 1969 version with Michael Caine because it’s really so different. I may have traded in my Mini for the Fiat Pop, but I’ll always have a fondness for Mini Coopers because of this movie. And now, Italian cocktails. Cheers!

Young Adult

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"Young Adult"

Image credit: Young Adult, 2011

Sometimes you watch a movie, and a character feels so familiar that you fear the screenwriter has set up a secret camera monitoring your every move. This week’s film Young Adult (DVD/Download) is one such film for me. However, instead of shining a light on what my life is actually like, it shows me what my life would be like if I hadn’t made some vital good choices along the way. Essentially, Clarence the Angel paid me a visit, in the form of Diablo Cody.

The similarities between lead character Mavis Gary (played by Charlize Theron) and myself are almost too numerous to count. We’re both writers, we both share a passion for YA lit (oh how I devoured Sweet Valley High books as a teenager), the Kardashians are somehow always on in our homes as white noise, we both drive Mini Coopers (or at least I did at the time this film was released), and we both come from small towns populated by KenTacoHuts and big box stores. Oh, and of course there’s the drinking. The scenes of Charlize Theron viewing herself in the mirror after a night of heavy drinking? Been there. Luckily that’s where the similarities end. I don’t have a high school boyfriend I’m currently stalking and trying to woo away from his wife and baby, and I’m not having a strange, sad relationship with the former “Hate Crime Guy”. Though, I don’t blame her for that one because Patton Oswalt is pretty awesome in this. And he makes his own bourbon. Score!

Young Adult is a fantastic film for Cinema Sips because Mavis loves her bourbon, specifically Maker’s Mark. To go with her sour attitude on life, while watching Young Adult I recommend drinking a Maker’s Mark ® Sour (recipe from MakersMark.com).

Makers Mark® Sour

2 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon

1 part simple syrup

½ part lemon juice

Lemon or Cherry for garnish

Shake Maker’s Mark ® Bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice and strain into a rock’s glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon and/or cherry, and serve.

Makers Mark Sour

*Note: My drink includes an enormous ice ball that I made with these molds. Perfect for when you want a cocktail on the rocks that isn’t too watered down.

I don’t know what becomes of Mavis after the credits roll, but in my fantasy she and Dolce are still in the Minneapple, having upgraded to a penthouse apartment after she has written a bestselling YA vampire series. And maybe Patton Oswalt stops by with his small-batch bourbon from time to time. Cheers!