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A Life Less Ordinary

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A Life Less Ordinary

Image Credit: A Life Less Ordinary, 1997

Exactly as advertised by the title, forgotten ’90s romantic thriller A Life Less Ordinary (Disc/Download) is truly anything but ordinary. If you like your love stories with a dash of kidnapping, attempted murder, black comedy, and a pair of cursing angels, then this one’s for you.

Directed by Danny Boyle and starring Ewan McGregor, this film initially fell victim to high expectations. People went in hoping for another Trainspotting, and came out wondering what the hell just happened. Yes, the soundtrack is as superb as their previous film together, but that’s where the similarities end. In A Life Less Ordinary, Ewan McGregor plays a janitor and aspiring romance novelist (!!!) who falls on hard times. He takes his boss’s daughter hostage (Cameron Diaz), not realizing she’s a feisty badass who wants to piss off Daddy. The two scheme to get the ransom money, while falling deeper in lust with one another. Meanwhile, they get some help from a couple of potty-mouthed angels (Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo) who are on a mission to unite two humans in true love. The plot meanders at times, but McGregor and Diaz have such great chemistry that you keep on rooting for them, especially when he serenades her at a karaoke bar. I cannot resist Ewan McGregor singing. Ever. Also, given the stir that Stanley Tucci’s arms have created during quarantine, I feel it’s important to mention his shirtless scenes in this film. Do with that information what you will.

When we first meet Cameron Diaz’s character Celine, she’s playing a game of William Tell with her butler, a gun, and an apple. Let’s honor her marksmanship with this cocktail that combines apple cider, fiery tequila, and scotch- the Poco Loco.

Poco Loco

1 oz Habenero-infused Añejo tequila (Infuse tequila with a few slices of habanero pepper for 1 hr, then strain)

½ oz Scotch

1 ½ oz Apple Cider

½ oz Lime Juice

½ oz Simple Syrup

Dried Apple Slice for garnish

Pour all liquid ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with apple slice.

Poco Loco

There are a lot of strange elements to this film, but A Life Less Ordinary is still one of my favorite romances. It posits the theory that love isn’t just two people randomly meeting and making it work, but a supernatural occurrence as well. Call it destiny, call it divine intervention, call it the work of two fallen angels who just want to get off this garbage dump we call Earth, but Perfect Love is out there, even if it looks a little crazy sometimes. Cheers!

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

Image Credit: Home for the Holidays, 1995

After a stressful month at work, I am VERY ready to relax with a bounty of food and a pile of movies. I always look forward to Thanksgiving because it means I get to stay home, in the city I love, with my husband and my dog and do absolutely nothing. Christmas can get a little crazy, but Thanksgiving- that’s just for me. Of course it wasn’t always like that. I’ve had my share of awkward relatives and inedible meals, which is why I have such an appreciation for this week’s film Home for the Holidays (DVD). When you find yourself laughing and nodding along, saying, “YES! This is what it’s like!!” you know you’ve found a great movie.

Home for the Holidays was directed by Jodie Foster and tells the story of the Larson family as they come together for one grand Thanksgiving meal. Holly Hunter is as charming as I’ve ever seen her, fleeing her recent unemployment and sexually active teenage daughter to go get criticized by her mother in a big puffy coat. Robert Downey Jr. shines as her younger gay brother Tommy, and together they team up against their bigoted uptight sister Joanna. Anne Bancroft is amazing as the matriarch, and the scenes of her flirting and arguing with her onscreen husband played by the late, great Charles Durning are forever endearing (see my earlier post about 5 Times Anne Bancroft was EVERYTHING). Of course I’m a sucker for a spinster aunt, and it doesn’t get better than Geraldine Chaplin’s Aunt Glady. She hates orange lipstick, she likes to get drunk and tell inappropriate stories, and she keeps her bathroom as clean as a whistle. In short, she’s me in 40 years. Dylan McDermott pops up as a dreamy love interest for Holly Hunter, but really it’s the family dynamics that make this such a joy to watch. As Hunter’s Claudia says, “We’re family- we don’t have to like each other”.

If you want to be as toasted as Aunt Glady on the big T-Day, you’re going to need a tasty cocktail. This year I’ll be making a drink the same color as Claudia’s stylish puffy coat. It pairs nicely with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and snarky comments at the dinner table. While watching Home for the Holidays, I recommend drinking a Cranberry Mule.

Cranberry Mule

3 oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka

1/2 oz Lime Juice

8 oz Ginger Beer

Lime and fresh cranberries for garnish

Build drink in a glass over ice.  Garnish with a lime slice and fresh cranberries.

Cranberry Mule

I don’t want to sound like I don’t look forward to seeing my family. I do, of course. But often people get so tied up in making the holiday great that they forget what’s really important. By important, I of course mean Pillsbury crescent rolls, and the relief one feels at realizing your life isn’t as bad as sad sack Russell Terziak’s. That’s always something I’m thankful for. Cheers!