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Tag Archives: cult classic

Showgirls

Image Credit: Showgirls, 1995

I am not here to debate the merits of this week’s Cinema Sips pick, Showgirls (Disc). Entire dissertations have been written on the subject, and the entertaining documentary You Don’t Nomi covered it pretty well. What I am here to say is this: if you’re looking for a fun, champagne-filled movie to say goodbye to the doggie chow-flavored year that was 2020, then grab your glitter and your nail kits and take a New Year’s trip to Las Vegas with me.

In this All About Eve-inspired tale of female ambition, Elizabeth Berkley plays Nomi Malone, a down-on-her-luck dancer who dreams of seeing her name in lights. Hitching a ride to Vegas, she somehow manages to land a free couch in a costume designer’s trailer while working her way up from stripper to classy burlesque artist. Most of the initial ridicule for this film stems from Berkley’s acting, which is absurdly aggressive. However, based on how campy the dialogue is, I have to think she was encouraged to play it over-the-top. Gina Gershon and Kyle MacLachlan lend a bit of respectability to the cast… but only a bit. I have to say though, as ridiculous as this movie is, I’ve seen a lot worse this year. My opinion? Look past the boobs, look past the bad acting, and what you’re left with is a story about a powerful woman who will stop at nothing to get to the top. The fact that she does it covered in glitter only makes me love her more.

Showgirls is a great film for New Year’s Eve because there is champagne in almost every scene. For my drink pairing, I decided to do a twist on the traditional Porn Star cocktail (which typically comes with a shot of champagne on the side) in favor of this simpler concoction. While watching Showgirls, I recommend drinking this Lap Dance cocktail.

Lap Dance

1 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka

3/4 oz Lime Juice

3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Pinch of Edible Glitter

2-3 oz Prosecco

Lime Wheel

Combine vodka, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, and glitter in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a martini or coupe glass. Top with prosecco and garnish with a lime wheel.

Even though the drink is probably better than the movie, Showgirls tends to get more enjoyable with every viewing. I suppose once I stopped expecting it to make sense, and just took it for what it was always intended to be– a cheap thrill– I started to appreciate what director Paul Verhoeven was trying to do. Like the year 2020, Showgirls might not be something we ever look back on with warm, nostalgic fondness, but if nothing else, it’s unforgettable. Cheers!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Rocky Horror

Image credit: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975.

You know what time it is….. Time to do the Time Warp again!!! Truly, that’s what The Rocky Horror Picture Show (DVD/Download) has come to feel like. It takes me right back to being a weird teenager, the kind who hung out in the art room and read Nabokov, dreaming of a place to belong. But then this film came along and changed everything. Suddenly, it was cool to be a freak. It was cool to get excited about watching a movie with a theater full of other freaks, who threw rice and yelled “Say it!” It was cool to be different.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t just a musical, or a horror film, or even a spoof of a sci-fi/horror film. It’s all those things, and more. It’s a communal film experience that brings people together. It’s an excuse to be silly, to laugh and sing and ogle Dr. Frank N. Furter’s “monster” Rocky in his gold lamé hotpants. It’s a movie that makes you feel free to talk about sexuality, because seriously, everybody’s touching everybody. And even though it’s set in a spooky mansion on a rainy night, and even though Meat Loaf is eaten (the singer, not the beefy entree), there’s nothing scary about Rocky Horror. It’s campy, it’s funny, and it’s the perfect movie to celebrate Halloween.

Since this is such a party movie, I’m making a really fun punch perfect for all your Halloween shindigs. It takes its color from Dr. Frank N. Furter’s eye makeup, and the flavor is sweet, boozy, and effervescent. While watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I recommend making Transylvanian Punch.

Transylvanian Punch

3 cups Blueberry Juice

2 cups Dark Rum

1/3 cup lime juice

2 cups Topo Chico

Gummi Eye Ball Ice Cubes

1 Tbsp Activated Charcoal Powder

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl, stirring gently until well mixed.

Transylvanian punch

I love the dress-up component of Halloween, and what’s great about this film is that it celebrates the art of costuming, and the idea that if you can dream it, you can be it. Rocky Horror meant a lot to this weird teenager, and it still means a lot to this weird adult. Nothing… will ever be the same. Cheers!

Duets

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Image Credit: Duets, 2000

Image Credit: Duets, 2000

When my husband requested a pairing with the movie Duets (DVD/Download), I laughed until I realized he was serious. I’m pretty sure everyone in the world has forgotten that this Bruce Paltrow oddball of a movie ever existed, but after screening it again, I’m officially ready to start the campaign to turn this into the newest cult classic. I think it could be the next Wet Hot American Summer or Gentlemen Broncos, if enough people get bored and curious enough to watch it. What other movie out there features Gwyneth Paltrow, HUEY LEWIS, Paul Giamatti, Andre Braugher, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Scott Speedman, Angie Dickinson, John Pinette, AND Michael Buble???

The only place in which all of these seemingly random entertainers could co-exist is in the karaoke arena. Having just tried karaoke for the first time myself a few weeks ago, I see how it can happen. You have a couple drinks (or, okay, maybe half a bottle of pink champagne), you enter a small dark room filled with total strangers, random people get up and start singing “Rapture” and “Rocket Man”, and eventually, you’re up there, belting out the high notes on Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You”. It’s fun and addictive, and if you never see these karaoke strangers again for the rest of your life, who cares? That’s kind of what happens in Duets. All of these random souls converge at a karaoke contest, and suddenly you have John Pinette belting out “Copacabana” in front of Gwyneth Paltrow, while Paul Giamatti sits nearby wearing a George Michael earring, and Huey Lewis waits his turn to go up and sing THE WORST songs in the movie. Seriously, how did they give the one professional singer of the bunch stinkers like “Lonely Teardrops”? Paltrow and Giamatti hold their own, and as much as Ms. Goop annoys me, her duet of “Cruisin’” with Huey Lewis is pretty solid (it even went to #1 on the Australian music charts!). But wow- Paul Giamatti. Who knew he had such a voice? This movie is worth watching, if only to see him channel Otis Redding.

For a movie like Duets, I had to pick a two ingredient cocktail. Think of it as a duet in a glass- two simple ingredients, making beautiful music together. I also wanted to choose a beverage that I might actually drink in a karaoke bar. Something strong enough to get me on stage, but easy enough that even a bartender at the seediest bar in Omaha could manage it. While watching Duets, I recommend drinking a Whiskey Ginger.

Whiskey Ginger

1.5 oz Jack Daniels Whiskey

3 oz Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer

Lime wedge

Pour the whiskey and ginger ale into a glass over ice. Give it a generous squeeze of lime, then top with the lime wedge.

Whiskey Ginger

Although the plot and pacing of Duets leaves a lot to be desired, I was thoroughly entertained for 2 hours while waiting to see which rando celebrities would make an appearance. Does it make me want to get back into a karaoke room? Not really. Does it give me newfound appreciation for 80’s pop star Huey Lewis? Absolutely. Cheers!