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Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

Unforgiven

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Image credit Unforgiven, 1992

Image credit Unforgiven, 1992

I decided that I was embarrassingly overdue in terms of featuring a western on Cinema Sips, so fans of gunslingers and dirty saloons rejoice- this is your week! Generally it’s hard for me to get emotionally invested in a western because I’m always so distracted by the dirt, dust, and tumbleweeds. How could they stand it??!! However, there are a few films in the western genre that I actually do like, mainly because the acting and script are so good. This week’s film, Unforgiven (DVD/Download), falls into that category.

Unforgiven is the story of hired assassins that come to a small town to avenge the disfigurement of a local prostitute. In a pretty gruesome scene, her face and body are slashed by a knife-wielding disgruntled customer, and in a tale straight out of today’s college campus headlines, the perpetrator fails to be justly punished by local law enforcement. The town prostitutes all band together and come up with a $1,000 bounty for whomever can kill the cowboy and his accomplice. Retired gunslinger William Munny takes the bait, accompanied by his old partner (played by Morgan Freeman) and a hotheaded young kid. Clint Eastwood directed this film and stars as Munny, and frankly his involvement is why I gave it a chance in the first place. There’s something about that wiry, blue-eyed old man that is so darn…. sexy. I’ve already talked about his appeal in my post about The Bridges of Madison County, so I won’t bore you further. Gene Hackman also deservedly won an Oscar for his portrayal of town sheriff Little Bill. I found myself spending the majority of the movie trying to decide who was a good guy, and who was a bad guy. However, I think the whole point of the film is that nobody fits entirely into either of those boxes.

Unforgiven is a great movie to watch with a drink because many of the pivotal scenes happen in the town saloon. With a town named Big Whiskey, you know there’s got to be a lot of drinking going on. In homage to feminist prostitute Strawberry Alice, I’m making a variation on the whiskey sour. While watching Unforgiven, I recommend drinking a Big Whiskey Sour.

Big Whiskey Sour

1 oz fresh lemon juice

2 oz bourbon whiskey

½ oz simple syrup

2-3 fresh strawberries, sliced

Muddle strawberry in the bottom of an old fashion glass with a dash of simple syrup. Pour remaining simple syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour mixture (with ice) into prepared glass. Top with strawberry.

big whiskey sour

If you’re like me and don’t generally care for westerns or whiskey cocktails, this pairing is a good gateway. Both the film and the drink are more complex than their typical counterparts, and watching Clint Eastwood in anything is always a good idea in my book. As you’re trying to decide who should live and die in Unforgiven, remember- they all have it comin’. Cheers!

The Bridges of Madison County

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Image Credit Warner Bros Pictures, 1995, Bridges of Madison County

Image Credit Warner Bros Pictures, 1995, Bridges of Madison County

Sorry to do this again to my readers, but I’ve got another tearjerker for you this week (okay maybe not a tearjerker for everyone, but for me, watching this means I’m sitting there, a blubbering mess on the sofa, while my husband rolls his eyes.) The Bridges of Madison County (DVD/Download) is a film that I consider to be one of the most romantic ever made. I’m definitely a sucker for love stories with unhappy endings, and maybe it’s because I like knowing that I’ve already seen the best of what this couple has to offer. I’m not missing out on anything after the movie ends. The romance in The Bridges of Madison County only exists for the two hours I’m watching this film, and that’s okay. The fact that it’s a slow burn of a romance makes it even better.

The Bridges of Madison County is based on the bestselling novel by Robert James Waller. Adapted by screenwriter Richard LaGravanese and directed by Clint Eastwood, the film also stars Eastwood as wandering National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid, who meets Meryl Streep’s character Francesca Johnson while on assignment photographing covered bridges in Iowa. Francesca is an Italian war bride who came to America in hopes of grand adventures with her husband, but now finds herself shuffling around a country kitchen in middle-of-nowhere Iowa. Her husband and two children leave town for the weekend to attend a farm show, leaving Francesca alone. Alone, that is, until a rusty pick-up driven by Clint Eastwood pulls into her driveway and her life changes forever. Eastwood is absolutely magnetic in his role, and even though he was in his mid-60’s when he made this film, I dare you to find a sexier romantic lead in recent history (I’m certainly stumped). Something about his lithe frame and piercing blue eyes just gets me every time.

My drink this week pays homage to Francesca’s Italian roots. I was lucky enough to be gifted a bottle of Cocchi Americano by some very lovely and generous friends (one of whom is from Iowa!), along with a recipe for a White Negroni. I’d made the mistake of ordering a classic Negroni while on honeymoon in Italy, and I was definitely not a fan (I still wonder if I was served cough syrup). However, I’m a big fan of this version. Boozy and bright with a twist of lemon, this is a great drink to sip while you’re watching Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood flirt with the idea of running off into the sunset together.  When viewing The Bridges of Madison County, I recommend drinking a White Negroni.

White Negroni

2 parts gin

1 part Cocchi Americano

1 part White Vermouth

Lemon twist

Mix liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with a generous twist of lemon.

white-negroni

Of course Meryl Streep does a phenomenal job with the Italian accent in this, and while stocky and average in appearance at the beginning, she seems to transform under the gaze of Clint Eastwood into a beautiful, vibrant woman. As she reminisces later on, “I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before.” I love this idea, that finding one’s true soulmate can change you into the person you were meant to be.  Toward the end of this movie, I’m definitely shouting at the TV when Meryl has her hand on that car door handle, and weeping like a baby at that final scene on the bridge.  I would say they don’t make romantic tearjerkers like they used to, but then came The Notebook.  That’ll have to wait though, I’m all cried out. Cheers!