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Tag Archives: cocktails and cinema

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

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Image Credit:  Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, 1991

Image Credit: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, 1991

Now that Foreign Cinema month is over, I feel the need to cleanse the palate with a 90’s teen cult classic. Nothing subtitled or black-and-white here, folks. Just some good old-fashioned Working Girl-meets-Risky Business hijinks. This week, I’ll be watching Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (DVD), and basking in early-90’s nostalgia. Chunky jewelry, shoulder pads, Married With Children-era Christina Applegate- what more does one need?

Because of the ridiculous title, many people would probably write this off as forgettable Hollywood fluff. Oh how wrong they would be. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead features early performances by soon-to-be famous actors like David Duchovny, Josh Charles, and the aforementioned Ms. Applegate. In fact, it’s worth watching just to see David Duchovny’s slick ponytail. I love that the absence of adult supervision actually forces the teenagers in this film to grow up, instead of just throwing a raging party and rolling credits.  As a young girl seeing this for the first time, Sue Ellen “Swell” Crandell’s foray into the corporate fashion industry was actually kind of inspiring to me. Petty cash, confusing fax machines, QED reports- it all sounded so exciting! (side note: I still have no idea how to use my office fax machine). Joanna Cassidy’s character Rose was always my dream boss- supportive, trusting, and just crazy enough to eat M&M’s off the floor.

Another aspect of the corporate world that I always found intriguing was the concept of a long lunch with cocktails and cigarettes. Like, in the actual restaurant. People were crazy back then! I’ll never forget the horrified look of the waiter as Sue Ellen orders a martini that is both sweet and dry (“just a little bit of both”). I didn’t know what it meant as a child, but I learned to never order a martini like that when I grew up. I do find it funny that her sleazy co-worker Gus orders a white wine spritzer. Perhaps he’s tapping into his feminine side? Regardless, I happen to love that drink, so while watching Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, I recommend drinking a White Wine Spritzer.

White Wine Spritzer

3 parts Sauvignon Blanc

1 part club soda

Lime wedge

Pour wine into an ice filled wine glass. Top with club soda, and garnish with a lime wedge.

White Wine Spritzer

This movie still has quite the following, as evidenced by a recent screening I attended at the Alamo Drafthouse. We were all there to revel in our love of this weird little slice of 90’s cinema, and marvel at how Kenny “Dishes Are Done Man” Crandell (actor Keith Coogan, in attendance) had aged. One great piece of trivia from his Q&A session was that his horrible haircut was actually a wig. I’m not sure I can say the same for David Duchovny. That ponytail looked too real. Cheers!

Cinema Paradiso

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Image credit: Cinema Paradiso, 1988

Image credit: Cinema Paradiso, 1988

It’s no secret that I love movies. Why else would I write this blog, week after week? It’s not just for the drinks- I swear. What I love most of all are movies about movies. This brings me to the Italian component of Foreign Cinema Month, Cinema Paradiso (DVD). I’m not ashamed to admit that this schmaltzy, idealistic movie about the power of cinema tugs at my heartstrings every time, turning me into a weeping mess on the sofa. If you’re not affected even a little bit by the final montage, well then, I can’t help you.

Cinema Paradiso is at its core a love story between a boy and the art of cinema. Cute little Salvatore (`Toto’) pesters Alfredo (the projectionist at his local small-town cinema) into letting him help out in the projection room. Alfredo becomes a father figure, teaching Toto life lessons through movies, and encouraging him to follow his dreams of becoming a filmmaker. There’s a tepid love story that weaves itself through Toto’s adolescent years, but it can’t compare to the love stories we see on the screen of the tiny Italian movie theater. The film touches on religious censorship within Italian cinema, thus setting up the big finale. I feel like the Italians are the only ones who could have done this story justice, and their beautiful language only adds to the romance of the film as a whole.

Because this movie is a celebration of cinema, I think it deserves a prosecco toast. Pair it with the Italian aperitif Aperol, and you’ve got yourself a pretty, sparkly beverage evoking the Italian sunset. While watching Cinema Paradiso, I recommend drinking an Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spritz

3 oz Prosecco

2 oz Aperol

1 oz club soda

Orange twist (optional)

Pour Aperol into a chilled flute or wine glass, and top with prosecco and club soda.  Garnish with an orange twist if desired. Toast to il cinema italiano!

aperol spritz

There have been a handful of other films about cinephiles (The Dreamers, Hugo, etc.) but Cinema Paradiso will always be my favorite. I first saw it as a teenager in a small town in Pennsylvania, and at the time it made me feel a little less alone. Like maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t crazy for wanting to barricade myself in my room with a stack of VHS tapes from Blockbuster. Toto ended up alright, anyway.  In many ways this blog, and the wonderful comments it receives, does the same thing for me as an adult. Here’s to Italy, and amore. Cin Cin!