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Tag Archives: Fall Cocktail

Dead Poets Society

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Image credit: Dead Poets Society, 1989

If nothing else, the horror-show that is 2020 has proven once and for all that teachers are goddamn heroes. Often putting their lives and personal sanity at risk, they’ve had to work three times as hard this year to ensure that kids are not only educated, but comforted during these unprecedented, uncertain times. Even when faced with a laptop screen full of tiny faces, it’s up to them to make every child feel safe, and above all, seen. No movie has communicated the truth of this better than Dead Poet’s Society (Disc/Download).

A perfect pick for Fall viewing, Peter Weir’s film opens on a bucolic New England boarding school just as the leaves are starting to change. The boys who inhabit these drafty buildings want so badly to be men, and it isn’t until they meet their new English professor Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) that they start to learn what that truly means. You see, Mr. Keating doesn’t just teach them poetry. He teaches them to be brave, to inhabit the world with honor, and that feelings and emotions matter. To me, this shows what an important role a great teacher can play in one’s life. At the end of it all, you might not remember what a quadratic equation is, or who wrote the words, “O Captain! My Captain!” but you’re damn sure going to remember the person who encouraged you to be curious about the world, and fearless in the face of adversity.

Because this movie gives me all the cozy New England vibes, I’ll be drinking a nice, warming apple brandy cocktail, perfect for poetry readings in caves. While watching Dead Poet’s Society, I recommend drinking this Captain’s Mule.

Captain’s Mule

1 ½ oz Calvados Apple Brandy

½ oz Lime Juice

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

6 oz Ginger Beer

Dried Apple for garnish

Place first three ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a copper mug filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer, and garnish with dried apple.

There have been a lot of great teachers in cinema, but out of all of them, John Keating is the one I most wish I’d had the pleasure of knowing. Someone to tell me that words are important, and to not be so afraid that my thoughts are worthless or embarrassing. If Cinema Sips is my barbaric YAWP!, then let it be heard. Cheers!

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!

Waiting for Guffman

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waiting-for-guffman

Image credit: Waiting for Guffman, 1996

I seriously cannot contain my excitement for the new Christopher Guest film Mascots (releasing this week on Netflix). What has me even more excited is that fact that Guest is reviving his greatest character, Corky St. Clair from this week’s film Waiting for Guffman (DVD/Download). I thought I knew funny when I saw Best in Show….. but then I saw Guffman. To this day, no other movie has made me laugh as hard. I think it’s high time for a repeat viewing. Everybody Dance!

Being someone who personally cringes at the idea of musical theater, it’s always a joy for me to see a movie that mocks those who take it so seriously. No theater troupe is quite as pathetic as the local group seen in this movie. Uncoordinated, cross-eyed, delusional, they still believe that a hot shot producer will see their play Red, White, and Blaine and bring them to Broadway. Because that’s what every New Yorker wants to see- a musical about a crappy town in Missouri (literally- their claim to fame is a stool boom).The casting session is not to be missed, nor the choreography work in Corky’s apartment. And as the cherry on this absurd crown, Red, White, and Blaine toes that perfect line between absolutely ridiculous and surprisingly kind of…. good (even if there is no swimming in the show).

Legend has it that town founder Blaine Fabin was looking for California, but after detecting the scent of salt water he mistakenly settled in Missouri. Obviously, there was a lot of hubbub over this salt water. Salt has become a trendy ingredient in cocktails, balancing out the bitter flavors of some drinks in a really interesting way. While watching Waiting for Guffman, I recommend drinking a Salt Water cocktail.

Salt Water

1 oz Gin

¼ oz Amaretto

½ oz lemon juice

1 tbsp apples, diced into small pieces (+ 1 slice for garnish)

Pinch of Fleur de Sal seasalt

Prosecco, chilled

Muddle apples and salt together in the bottom of a champagne flute. Then add lemon juice and muddle further. Add the gin and amaretto. Top with prosecco, and garnish with an apple slice.

saltwater

Guffman was the start of Guest’s collaboration with many of his now-regulars (such as Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, etc.) and I’m so happy to see most of them returning for Mascots. If Corky hasn’t found Broadway success yet, well I’m just goin’ home and I’m gonna bite my pillow. Cheers!