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The Fugitive

The Fugitive

Image credit: The Fugitive, 1993

90’s nostalgia seems to be everywhere these days. I’ve recently been combing through my stacks of VHS tapes to find a piece of movie magic that captures the heyday of high-concept action films the decade was known for.  What did I land on? The Harrison Ford/Tommy Lee Jones thinking-man’s thriller The Fugitive (DVD/Download).

Adapted from the 1960’s TV series (my grandpa was a big fan), Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimball, a renowned surgeon falsely convicted of killing his wife (hey Sela Ward! Where ya been?). He knows it was a one-armed-man that did the deed, but proof, and the actual killer, are long gone. While being transported to prison, his bus gets hit by a train, allowing him to escape. Tommy Lee Jones plays the US Marshall tasked with finding him, and thus sets off a manhunt through Chicago as the lawman hunts the doctor, who is simultaneously hunting the one-armed-man. The film manages to condense a 4-season TV show quite well, and Harrison Ford plays the smartest prison escapee since Andy Dufresne.   Tommy Lee Jones might be searching every farm house, hen house, and outhouse in the tri-state area, but he’ll have to be clever if he’s going up against Dr. Richard Kimball.

I love that there are essentially two man hunts going on in this film, and kudos to finding THE SCARIEST looking villain in the history of cinema. Not only does Andreas Katsulas look like the reincarnated Bela Lugosi, but he’s also got an undeniably creepy mechanical arm. Not that all prosthetics are creepy, but combined with a gun and a trench coat, it gives me the shivers. So while you watch the hunted Richard Kimball hunt the one-armed-man, sip on a Manhunt.


2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey

4 dashes lemon juice

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 splash sparkling water

1 maraschino cherry

Dissolve the sugar in lemon juice and water at the bottom of a Boston shaker. Add the whiskey, and fill halfway with ice. Stir to combine and chill, then pour into a tumbler. Garnish with a cherry.


While watching The Fugitive, keep a look out for blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Julianne Moore, back in the days before anybody realized she could act. This is the movie I’ll always associate with Tommy Lee Jones, and his rugged Texas accent. Even in the big city of Chicago, he’s still the top lawman in town. Cheers!

Waking Ned Devine

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

This week, I’m pleased to respond to Cinema Sips’ first reader film request. This one comes from my dad, so in celebration of his birthday today, I’m screening an old favorite of his, Waking Ned Devine. This is one of those little Irish/UK films that miraculously made it across the pond into US theaters and video stores back in the late 90’s. My dad and I both enjoyed this tremendously when it came out, him for the copious amounts of Jameson and beautiful rolling scenery of Ireland, and me for the charming accents and the scene of a skinny naked old man riding a motorcycle. It’s a quirky little movie, but very enjoyable. Particularly if you’re having a cocktail or two while you watch it.

The plot of Waking Ned Devine is slightly similar to the low-brow (but total guilty pleasure of mine) Weekend at Bernie’s. Essentially, the townspeople of a tiny village in Ireland have to make it seem as if the title character (Ned Devine) is still alive, so that they can collect his lottery winnings. It was perhaps the shock of winning the lottery that killed Ned in the first place, but the village decides that he would have wanted to share his fortune. Hilarity ensues when the village tries to fool the representative from the Lottery Commission, and while the film stops short of dressing up and toting around a cadaver (oh Bernie, how I miss you!), they do go to some pretty great lengths to pull it off.

Because the townspeople spend a lot of time in the local pub scheming, this film works well with a cocktail pairing. Of course, if you want to be authentic about it, just pour yourself a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey and be done. However, I’ve always been a little more partial to that other great Irish alcohol export- Guinness. This week, I’m making a traditional Black Velvet cocktail:

Black Velvet

Champagne or sparkling wine

Guinness stout beer

Fill a flute halfway with the champagne. Turn a spoon upside down over the top of the glass, and pour the beer slowly over it so that the liquid runs gently down the sides of the spoon. The Guinness will initially layer nicely over the champagne, but as you sip the two will mix and turn the contents of the glass a golden amber color.


It definitely takes some practice to get this cocktail looking the way you want it to, but it’s not a terrible thing to have to drink your mistakes. I always feel transported to Ireland when I drink Guinness and watch this film. The scenery is beautiful, the people are, shall we say, different (it’s really saying something when the most attractive guy in the film is named Pig), and the laughter is genuine. This movie proves that if you have good friends, you don’t need to win the lottery to be rich in life. But the money doesn’t hurt. Cheers!

(and happy birthday dad!)