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Broadcast News

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Broadcast News

Image credit: Broadcast News, 1987.

I just finished the stellar new season of one of my favorite podcasts, You Must Remember This, which takes listeners on a journey through the career of one of the great unsung heroes of Hollywood, Production Designer/Screenwriter/Producer Polly Platt. I knew of Polly before Karina Longworth’s deep dive, having seen her name in the credits of so many of my favorite films, but the show has opened me up to even more great flicks, like this week’s Cinema Sips pick, Broadcast News (Disc/Download).

I’ve seen Broadcast News classified as a rom-com before, but I have to say, I disagree with that label. Yes, there’s a love triangle set within the world of television news, and there’s certainly comedy (thanks in large part to scene stealer Albert Brooks), but I wouldn’t say the film leaves me with a happy, buoyant feeling. Perhaps that’s because so much of the script is a warning of what’s to come in the world of journalism; a doomsday prediction that has actually come true. It warns of a distrust of information, brought about by flashy salesmen instead of real, credible journalists. The news as entertainment instead of vital public service. Albert Brooks’ character Aaron has the smarts and dedication for the job of newscaster, but lacks the right packaging. And then there’s William Hurt’s Tom, who has the looks but not the brains, or any shred of journalistic ethics. Naturally, he’s given prime screen time. Placed in the middle is Holly Hunter’s Jane, a thinly-veiled Polly Platt stand-in, the producer who’s smarter than all the men in her life, but will never get the recognition or personal happiness she deserves. To be a woman in this industry is to make sacrifices, and nobody knew that better than Polly. If you’ve ever allowed yourself the five-minute cry (*raises hand*) you get it. So much of this film is funny and relatable, but sadly it’s all things you wish you didn‘t relate to.

My favorite scene in Broadcast News is one where Albert Brooks is home alone on his day off, drinking and haunting the sofa in a ragged pair of sweats. He’s slightly inebriated, yelling at the news, wondering when the hell everyone got so stupid. Been there, buddy. Let’s join Aaron in his ennui with this Journalist cocktail!

Journalist

2 oz Gin

¼ oz Cointreau

½ oz Dry Vermouth

½ oz Sweet Vermouth

¼ oz Lemon Juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Luxardo Cherry and citrus wheel for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Drop in a Luxardo Maraschino cherry and garnish with a dried citrus wheel.

Journalist

If you’re looking for answers as to how we got where we’re at right now in America, look no further than Broadcast News. The question now is, where do we go from here? Can journalism be saved? It’s a question the film fails to answer definitively, and maybe it’s because the answer is up to us. It’s up to all of us to demand that substance win out over style. Cheers!

Spanglish

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Image Credit Columbia Pictures, 2004, Spanglish

Image Credit Columbia Pictures, 2004, Spanglish

This week on Cinema Sips, I’m making the bold choice to feature a movie so unabashedly girly and saccharine that I run the risk of being ridiculed for admitting I really like it. But, I will take the heat because it pairs so well with a delicious summertime sangria. See what love I have for you readers? The movie I’m watching is Spanglish (DVD/Download), a 2004 James L. Brooks film that was forgettable to most people, but for me, has cemented its place in my pantheon of Sunday-afternoon rom-coms that I never get tired of watching. Because air-conditioned Sunday afternoons are what summer is all about, I’m popping this one in the DVD player and ignoring all the haters.

Spanglish stars Adam Sandler as a loveable, talented chef whose family hires a beautiful Mexican woman to be their housekeeper. He’s married to a cheating, neurotic mess of a woman (played a little too over-the-top by Tea Leoni) so of course the lovely Flor Morales (played by Penelope Cruz-lite Paz Vega) becomes the object of his desire. She doesn’t speak English, he doesn’t speak Spanish, but they fall for each other anyway. Flor’s daughter is also thrown into the mix as the families become closer over a summer spent at the beach. Perhaps it’s my envy of their beach house that keeps me tuning in year after year to this comedic saga, but I like to think I’m also responding to the excellent (as always) script by James L. Brooks, and the unexpected charm of Adam Sandler. He’s absolutely delightful in this, leaving behind all of the juvenile frat-boy humor of his youth (and unfortunately his present, by the looks of the trailer for Blended). Cloris Leachman of course steals every scene she’s in as the boozy grandmother of the family, and it’s because of her character that I’m never without a drink when I watch this film.

Cloris sticks mainly to white wine in Spanglish, so in honor of her amazing comedic talent, I’m mixing up a white wine peach sangria this week. Of course, part of this decision was based on the fact that peaches are wonderfully in season in Central Texas where I live, and I was hankering for a way to use them in something. I’m not much of a cook, so a fruity cocktail it is. When watching Spanglish, I recommend drinking a Sparkling Peach Sangria.

Sparkling Peach Sangria

2-3 peaches, sliced

¾ cup brandy

1 bottle sparkling wine (such as Moscato)

1 liter white peach seltzer water, chilled

In a pitcher, place ¾ of the sliced peaches and brandy and lightly muddle. Add the sparkling wine and seltzer water, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to mix. Pour into glasses (over ice if you’re enjoying this outdoors, or into a champagne flute if you want to be fancy like me!) and top with a few fresh peach slices.

peach-sangria

I had the pleasure of enjoying this drink at a party over the weekend, and it did not disappoint! It’s best to mix up a big batch of this because the movie does run a bit long, but for me, that just means more Adam Sandler to love. Also, kudos to Mr. Brooks for capturing the neuroses of the interior design professional PERFECTLY (I say this because I used to be an interior design professional). Tea Leoni plays it so well.  So sit back, drink up, and enjoy this movie about family, culture clash, forbidden love, and maybe the best looking sandwich ever captured on film. Cheers!