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Panic Room

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Panic Room

Image credit: Panic Room, 2002.

During the initial days of Covid-19 and the ensuing food/supply shortages, I panicked. Not knowing how long I’d be trapped inside my house, or under what conditions, I stocked up on pain reliever, tonic water, and white wine (the essentials). Maybe seeing paper goods and yeast already gone from the shelves made me nervous. Or maybe I’d just seen this week’s film Panic Room (Disc/Download) one too many times.

You see, in this 2002 thriller directed by David Fincher, Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart would have been FINE if only they’d been prepared. Instead, Foster has to open the door of their panic room to a crew of murderous thieves because her daughter didn’t pack her insulin. Which then leads poor K-Stew to be trapped in a tiny room with Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam (the country music star who, after almost twenty years, remains this movie’s greatest casting mystery). Granted, they only moved in a few hours before the break-in. But as someone who saw once saw world order collapse in front of her eyes in the HEB toilet paper aisle, I’m now a firm believer in being ready for anything.

Unfortunately, in this film, alcohol leads to sloppiness. Jodie Foster’s character Meg spends the evening drowning her divorce sorrows with a bottle of red wine, as her hip, androgynous daughter smirks over Diet Coke and pizza. Maybe if she’d had the wine and Coke together, she wouldn’t be so out of it when the robbers arrive. While watching Panic Room, I recommend drinking this Kalimotxo cocktail.


3-4 oz Red Wine (I use Tempranillo)

3-4 oz Mexican Cola with cane sugar

Lemon Slice

Build drink over ice, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a slice of lemon.


I give Meg a lot of grief for not being prepared, but actually I’m quite impressed by her MacGyver capabilities in a crisis. Hard wiring a phone to call out? Creating a fireball that’ll vent outside the panic room? These are not things I could do myself. But give me alcohol, mixers, and ice, and I promise to make us all a lot more calm. Cheers!

Freaky Friday

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Freaky Friday

Image credit: Freaky Friday, 1976

Kids month concludes with yet another Disney gem later remade with Lindsay Lohan. Once again (though not surprisingly), I prefer the original. Freaky Friday (DVD/Download) started out a fantastic novel that I stumbled onto in the public library as a child, and happily the movie adaptation does not disappoint. Starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris as a mother and daughter who switch bodies for the day, this film is a wonderful 1970’s time capsule full of bad special effects, bell bottom pants, and synchronized water skiing.

It’s shocking that Jodie Foster made Freaky Friday the same year as Taxi Driver, because the roles couldn’t be more different. Field hockey playing tomboy Annabelle Andrews is a far cry from child prostitute Iris, and it just illustrates the talent she had at such a young age. The one thing I always related to was Annabelle’s preference for junk food. Banana splits for breakfast?  Sign me up! As an adult she switches to cold macaroni and cheese- another stellar choice. I never wanted to switch places with my working mother, but had she been a housewife like the elder Mrs. Andrews, I might have been tempted. Sure laundry and grocery shopping are drags, but it’s not like those have to be done every day. There would have been plenty of time left over for soap operas and raw cookie dough binges.

One thing about Mrs. Andrews that I can relate to is the pressure of throwing a dinner party. If I were cooking, I’m pretty sure limp parsley and burnt turkey would end up on my menu too. But dang that chocolate mousse looks good, even on the walls. Therefore this week, while watching Freaky Friday, I recommend making a Grown-Up Chocolate Mousse.

Grown-Up Chocolate Mousse

1/4 cup instant chocolate mousse mix (I used Dr. Oetker brand)

2/3 cup cold milk

2 Tablespoons Amaretto

2 Tablespoons Baileys irish crème liqueur

Whipped Cream and chocolate chips for garnish

Combine mousse mix, milk, Amaretto, and Baileys in a bowl.  Beat on high with electric mixer for 3-5 minutes, or until thickened.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, then top with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

grown up mousse

Although this dessert isn’t technically a cocktail, it’s got booze and lots of chocolate. Teenage me AND adult me thoroughly approves. Would I ever want to switch places with another person I know? No, probably not. However every morning when I look longingly at my napping dog and head out to the office, the thought does cross my mind. But then I think of Freaky Friday and remember- nobody wants to eat kibble. Not even on a smorgasbord. 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!