RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Jennifer Coolidge

Austenland

Posted on
la_ca_0416_austenland

Image credit: Austenland, 2013

Due to the publication of Curtis Sittenfeld’s fabulous new novel Eligible (an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice), there has been a lot of recent publicity about the works of Jane Austen. How fortuitous that I’m closing out Cocktails & Corsets month on Cinema Sips, since there happens to be a fantastic movie that celebrates all things Austen, and features Keri Russell in corset-attire. This week’s film Austenland (DVD/Download) is an absolute must for any Austen aficionado.

Based on the novel by Shannon Hale, Austenland is about a Jane Austen superfan who travels to a fantasy resort in England in order to live the Regency-period lifestyle. This means empire waist gowns, croquet, reading in a grassy meadow, and the promise of a romance-filled ball. There are Darcy references galore, a rescue in the rain (on horseback), and catty remarks over high tea. Plus, everybody’s favorite scene stealer, actress Jennifer Coolidge. What time is check-in again?

Although my first instinct for a Jane Austen-inspired cocktail was the Pimm’s Cup, research tells me that this liqueur was not available until decades after the author’s tragically short lifespan. Therefore I’ll be serving a beverage that any Austen fan worth her salt would be drinking during her 5th reading of Sense & Sensibility– tea. While watching Austenland, I recommend drinking an Erstwhile Evening Tea.

Erstwhile Evening Tea

1.5 oz Gin

1.5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

1.5 oz English Breakfast Tea, chilled

.75 oz Lemon Juice

3 dashes orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled teacup, and garnish with a lemon twist.

erstwhile tea

As Jane, Keri Russell makes an interesting statement about the Regency period. She says it’s a lot like a corset- she likes the way it looks, but it makes it hard to relax. In a world where emotions are kept in check, and image and social standing matter far too much, I could see her point. Austenland might not be the best place to establish a permanent residence, but it sure looks like fun to visit. Cheers!

Gentlemen Broncos

Posted on
Image Credit Fox Searchlight, 2009, Gentlemen Broncos

Image Credit Fox Searchlight, 2009, Gentlemen Broncos

Warning: things are about to get weird. After OD’ing on girly high school movies in May, I’m kicking off the summer with one of the more bizarre films in my DVD collection. I like to think it’s gained a sort of cult following over the years, but maybe it’s just a cult of me, my husband, and our friend Allen. Oh, and Tilda Swinton, who was quoted in the March 21st, 2014 issue of Entertainment Weekly as saying that this film was “kind of insane….Just go and find it.” Find it I did, in the 99-cent bin at Blockbuster, to which my husband exclaimed, “They’re practically giving it away! Don’t they know what they have??”

Gentlemen Broncos (DVD/Download) can only be described as an enormous box office flop. Budgeted at $10 million, it only ended up grossing just over $113,000 when it was released in 2009. I vaguely remember Jemaine Clement (who plays author and plagiarizer Ronald Chevalier) coming to our city to promote the film, and then it just sort of vanished. Written and directed by Jared and Jarusha Hess of Napoleon Dynamite fame, Gentlemen Broncos is essentially a story about a young boy who dreams of becoming a science fiction writer, only to see his manuscript stolen, and his book Yeast Lords adapted into a terrible low budget film. While this story is playing out, the filmmakers also intersperse the story of the actual manuscript, acted out a couple of different ways by the always-brilliant Sam Rockwell. It’s confusing, but stay with me. The hilarity of the film stems from its satire of the science fiction genre, complete with bizarre character names, troll analysis, and pompous writing. Jennifer Coolidge steals just about every scene she’s in, playing the mother of the young writer who makes rock-hard popcorn balls, lives in a geodesic dome house, sells Dynasty-era nightgowns and befriends a redneck with a python (played with creepy aplomb by Mike White). This movie is so, so bizarre, but I absolutely cannot stop laughing throughout it.

Of course, even the greatest bad movies can sometimes benefit from a strong cocktail. It can’t hurt, right? In honor of the movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie Yeast Lords, I’m making a beer-based cocktail. This one features citrusy notes that pair well with a Hefeweizen, and is a great drink to kick off summer. When watching Gentlemen Broncos, I recommend drinking a Yeast Lord.

Yeast Lord

1 oz bourbon

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1/4 oz simple syrup

4 oz Hefeweizen beer (I’m using my favorite German Hefeweizen, Weihenstephaner)

Lemon Wedge

Mix first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with Hefeweizen, and garnish with Lemon wedge.

Yeast Lord

Yeast Lord

Each time I watch Gentlemen Broncos, I always wonder- what must the actors have thought when they read the original script for this? Did they laugh out loud like I do every time I watch it? Did they shrug their shoulders and just figure that it was so bizarre, somebody was bound to find it funny? I like to think that this movie is well on its way to achieving cult-classic status, and surely this groundbreaking and bound-to-be-highly-read post on Cinema Sips will push it over the edge. Or, maybe it’ll just be me, my husband, Allen, and Tilda Swinton in on the joke. Either way, I’m ready for a cocktail and a laugh. Cheers!

 

 

Best in Show

Best in Show, Columbia Pictures

Best in Show, Columbia Pictures

Today in my house we’re celebrating the birthday of my furry kiddo, Miss Pickles Marie Hasselhoff. She is our beloved border collie, and she’s turning 5 today.  I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put on her favorite movie, Best in Show. It’s one of my favorites too- how convenient! This is one of those films I never get tired of seeing, no matter how many times I’ve watched it. Really, what is funnier than a mockumentary about fancy schmancy dog shows and the people that frequent them? Nothing. We like to throw a birthday party for Pickles each year to let her know how special she is to us, so while she and her furry friends are playing, the humans can enjoy this movie with the accompanying cocktail. A win-win for everyone!

Now, Miss Pickles is of questionable lineage, despite what her very formal name suggests. I don’t think she’d make it into the Mayflower Dog Show, though she would have fun being pampered like these dogs. Sadly, she shares the personality of Weimaraner Beatrice- very neurotic, but we love her anyway. It’s hard to even pinpoint who my favorite character is in this film. Christopher Guest has assembled the funniest improve actors out there to tell this story, and they all make me convulse with insane amounts of laughter. I love Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as the catalog-obsessed, neurotic married couple, almost as much as I love Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins as the gay couple who name their shih tzu’s after 1950’s movie stars and travel with a suitcase full of kimonos. And let’s not forget nut-namin’ dark horse contender Harlan Pepper, played by Guest himself, or the closeted lesbian couple played by Jane Lynch and the brilliant Jennifer Coolidge. In short, the actors are hilarious, the dogs are adorable- it’s no wonder this is such a great film.

For my cocktail pairing, I’m serving up an obvious choice- a Salty Dog. However, in keeping with the spirit of pedigreed, high-class dogs (now keep in mind, I’m in no way talking about their owners) I’m using only the finest ingredients. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, top shelf vodka, and Himalayan pink salt for rimming. But if you want to be all Cookie and Gerry Fleck about it, the cheap vodka you drank in college and Tropicana will do just fine.

The Salty Dog

2 oz vodka

4 oz fresh grapefruit juice

Salt and lime for rimming

Moisten the rim of a highball glass with lime juice, rim with salt. Pour the vodka and grapefruit juice over ice in the glass, and stir.

*Note, this drink can also be made with gin, but I prefer to use vodka.

salty-dog

I’m looking forward to gathering with friends as my four-legged little girl basks in attention, and laughing very, very hard every time Fred Willard is onscreen. What Best in Show does such a good job of satirizing is the phenomenon of dogowners who slowly start to resemble their pets. I have to say in my case, it’s kind of true. My hair has slowly lightened over the years to match Pickles’, and I too get grumpy if strangers try to touch me. So I encourage you to watch this film, drink up, and be amazed at how many times you find yourself saying, “It’s funny because it’s TRUE!” Cheers!