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Dick

Dick

Image credit: Dick, 1999.

Recent current events have turned my attention back to films about the Nixon presidency, and while I could certainly watch All the President’s Men, or Oliver Stone’s Nixon, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch Dick (Disc/Download).  A satire of Richard Nixon’s fall from grace, this under-appreciated gem is suddenly, gloriously relevant again.  Oh, Checkers the dog- how I’ve missed you!!

Starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams as average teenage girls who inadvertently become embroiled in the Watergate scandal, Dick is a whip-smart comedy masquerading as an SNL sketch. Sure there are dick jokes aplenty, but there’s also a clever revisionist history that imagines Deep Throat as two Bobby Sherman-obsessed, shrieking blondes.  Then there’s Dan Hedaya as Nixon, BY FAR my favorite cinema Nixon.  He’s got the voice, the swagger, the angry little boy tantrums—does this sound like anyone else we know?  It’s a joy to see all the celebrity cameos (Harry Shearer as G. Gordon Liddy, Dave Foley as Haldeman, Will Ferrell as Bob Woodward, Bruce McCulloch as Carl Bernstein, etc.) but my favorite cast member is Teri Garr as Michelle Williams’ mom.  She. Is. Fabulous.  She’s got a chic apartment in The Watergate, she enjoys cocktails and making out with Ted McGinley, and isn’t afraid of wallpaper.  Honestly by the time we get to a doughy teenage Ryan Reynolds, I’m somewhat fatigued by the star power in this strange little film.  And that’s saying a lot because who doesn’t love Ryan Reynolds?

Adding to the ‘70s verisimilitude is Dunst’s stoner brother, who hides his stash in the family walnut jar.  The girls unknowingly make marijuana-laced Hello Dolly bars for the president, landing themselves a sweet dog-walking gig AND peace with the Soviet Union.  I’ve come up with a Hello Dolly-inspired cocktail that’ll make this already-terrific film even funnier.  Up to you if you want to add some CBD oil to make it more authentic!

Hello Dolly

3 oz coconut milk

2 oz Godiva chocolate liqueur

1 oz Brandy

Crushed graham crackers

Walnut bitters

½  cup ice

Wet the rim of a glass and dip in crushed graham crackers.  Set aside.  Combine coconut milk, chocolate liqueur, brandy, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth, then pour into prepared glass.  Top with a few dashes of walnut bitters.

I don’t know what the future holds in terms of our current political situation, but it’s fascinating to look back several decades and realize the script was largely the same then as it is today.  Crooked, narcissistic politician does something extremely shady, gets caught, then engages in a massive spin campaign to discredit the Washington Post and shift the blame away from himself.  The Carly Simon song at the end of this film says it all perfectly- you’re so vain. Cheers!

Blast From the Past

blast-from-the-past

Image credit: Blast From the Past, 1999

Seeing puffy, let-himself-go Brendan Fraser on the most recent season of The Affair has reminded me how much I missed this 90’s beefcake. 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.

rob-roy

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!