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Tag Archives: Gene Hackman

The Poseidon Adventure

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poseidon-adventure-winters

Image credit: The Poseidon Adventure, 1972

I love a good disaster flick. The bad acting, women in impractical footwear, explosions, campy special effects- this is the stuff of some great cinematic cheese-fests. One of the best films in the disaster genre is this week’s The Poseidon Adventure (DVD/Download). Although it was remade about ten years ago, I’ll always have a fondness for the 1972 version. Shelley Winters and all those unfortunate 70’s hairstyles make this a classic of epic size.

Aboard the S.S. Poseidon, revelers are toasting the New Year in the ship’s ballroom. Suddenly the captain (Leslie Nielsen- who else?) hears of an underground earthquake that has created a giant wave heading straight for the luxury liner. Soon, the ship flips over, the tables are on the ceiling, bodies are crashing into the chandeliers, and a ragtag group of survivors begins hatching an escape plan through the ship’s hull. As the hip Reverend, Gene Hackman leads them through corridors full of twisted metal, rapidly flooding rooms, and way more fire than one would think possible with so much water around. Ernest Borgnine guides his saucy former prostitute/now wife Linda through the wreckage in her silver lame platform heels and men’s dress shirt, while Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson are the cute old couple you want to be someday. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hit song “Theme from Poseidon Adventure (The Morning After)” as sung by a band that’s quite a relic from the 70’s. All those sideburns and grooves- yikes.

My cruising experience is limited to one ill-fated trip to Bermuda during hurricane season, but from what I recall the drinks were sugary and bright-hued. In homage to the 70’s vibe and underwater footage in murky green water, while watching The Poseidon Adventure I recommend drinking a Rogue Wave.

Rogue Wave

1 oz Midori

2 oz Vodka

5 oz Fresca

Maraschino Cherry

Build drink in a glass over crushed ice, stirring gently to combine.  Drop Maraschino cherry in and let it sink to the bottom.

rogue-wave

Despite the over-the-top acting and questionable costuming, this movie still pulls me in with its never-ending suspense and peril around every corner. Plus it provides some valuable lessons. Such as, no matter how much weight you gain at the buffet, you’re still light in water.  Also, never leave your stateroom without a bra.  Cheers!

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 Royal Tenenbaums

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Image Credit Touchtone Pictures 2001, The Royal Tenenbaums

Image Credit Touchtone Pictures 2001, The Royal Tenenbaums

A recent screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel has inspired me this week to revisit my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums (DVD/Download). Of course I love any film by this director who has such a keen eye for style, but my personal favorite is still this 2001 ode to dysfunctional families and Nico. It’s quirky, it’s stylish, and it’s heartfelt (I dare anyone not to feel saddened to their core as Elliott Smith’s ‘Needle in the Hay’ frames a character’s suicide attempt), but it’s also delightfully funny in other moments. With The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson has created a world that seems so real that I feel like I could just put on a Lacoste polo dress and aviator sunglasses and step right in.

This film tells the story of the wealthy Tenenbaum family and the struggle of the patriarch Royal to bring them back together. Gene Hackman does a phenomenal job of playing the hilarious and conniving Royal, and Anjelica Huston brings an unexpected softness to the part of his estranged wife Etheline. Their three children are played by Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, and Ben Stiller, and all three are former child prodigies who have grown up to be adult messes. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Owen Wilson round out the cast, along with the sadly now-deceased Kumar Pallana (or Pagoda as I’ll always think of him). Of course the sets and costumes are phenomenal, like a 1970’s dollhouse come to life. There are the typical Wes Anderson quirks, like a pet hawk named Mordecai, and Dalmatian mice, and of course the soundtrack is perfect in every way. A mix of The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Paul Simon, and a plucky orchestral score, the music of The Royal Tenenbaums always makes me feel like I’ve just raided the record collection of a very cool relative.

For my cocktail pairing, I wanted to find something that seemed classic yet eccentric, sort of like the characters in this film. I scoured my bar to come up with a list of ingredients that would be off-putting on their own, yet when brought together would make a wonderful union. I call this week’s concoction the Tenenbaum Toast.

 

1 ½ oz Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka
½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz Key Lime Juice
1 oz Club Soda
1 tsp Grenadine

Fill a champagne flute or small glass (the more unusual the better!) with crushed ice. Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into prepared glass and top with club soda and grenadine. Dalmatian straw optional.

 

tenenbaum's-toast
The pink color of this drink is meant to match that beautiful “Wes Anderson Pink” (as I like to call it) that covers the walls of the Tenenbaum house, as well as much of The Grand Budapest Hotel. I like to think that Margot Tenenbaum would enjoy one of these in the bathtub with her clandestine vintage cigarettes, as her old television teeters perilously close to the water. So as Wes Anderson is showered with accolades for his latest film, I urge you to take the time to re-discover one of his older works with a strange and wonderful cocktail. If you want to go all out, layer on the eye liner and watch with a bored expression. Cheers!