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Tag Archives: John Candy


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Image credit: Splash, 1984.

I know I’m supposed to care about modern underwater extravaganzas like Aquaman, but the truth is I’ve never gotten over my first deep-sea movie love:  Splash (Disc/Download).  Even The Little Mermaid pales in comparison to this delightful Tom Hanks/Daryl Hannah rom-com about a man who falls in love with a mermaid.  Funny and charming, with some pretty impressive fishtail effects, this film is a sea fantasy come to life.

When I was young, I totally wanted to be Daryl Hannah.  Alas, all the Morton’s salt in the world couldn’t turn my legs to scales and my hair into a soft, flowing nest of crimped perfection.  As mermaid Madison, she learns English in a single afternoon by watching daytime TV, goes on a Bloomingdale’s shopping spree, and somehow learns how to ice skate despite the fact that she’s never seen ice before.  Plus, she makes the wise decision early on to fall for Tom Hanks.  He’s the kind of guy who offers to get her a hotel room, even after she’s slept with him, because he knows their afternoon delight DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY OBLIGATE HER TO DO MORE.  He’s the kind of guy who keeps fish tanks in every room because he’s never gotten over the mermaid who saved him as a little boy.  And he’s the kind of guy who will give up a lifetime of John Candy’s jokes for his one true love.  This man is a keeper.

Speaking of John Candy, he plays Hanks’ off-color, sleazy brother with a schlubby, good-hearted charm.  Sure he’s a walking sexual harassment lawsuit, but he also dispenses wisdom like, “Drinking is a matter of algebraic ratio.  It’s not that you had too much to drink; it’s that you’re too skinny.”  SO TRUE.  While watching Splash, capture the flavor of the ocean with some Himalayan Salt shot glasses, and this tasty cocktail:


2 oz Citron Vodka

1 oz Orange Liqueur

1 oz Lime Juice

Lime Wedge

Combine vodka, orange liqueur, and lime juice in a shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, then pour into Himalayan Salt glasses.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

saltwater shots

Rumor has it this film is being remade with a gender swap, but I’ll always love the original because it celebrates a mermaid who doesn’t have to change herself to fit into a man’s world.  Her world is pretty awesome already, and if a guy wants to be with her, he’s just going to have to hang out underwater and kiss her constantly for the rest of his life.  Now THAT’S a happily ever after.  Cheers!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Image credit: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987

Ah the open road.  It seems a lot more appealing in Jack Kerouac novels and black & white photography.  Luckily, we have this week’s film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (DVD/Download) to remind us of what a hellish experience  holiday travel can be.  Cramped airline seats, rude people, that guy behind you who just won’t shut up– it’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

The story of an odd couple (played by Steve Martin and John Candy) who unwittingly get stuck together on the Thanksgiving travel adventure from Hell, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a reminder that when one detail of your travel plan goes awry, the rest of the dominoes are soon to fall. Most of us have had a cancelled or delayed flight, dealt with rude rental car personnel, or endured crappy motel rooms on the way to our friends and family.  Whoever said the journey is more important than the destination has obviously never spent the night in a West Memphis Ramada.

After a couple of long days on the road, the only thing that bridges the divide between Steve Martin and John Candy is a stash of mini airplane liquor bottles. Since I’m still working through my stocking stuffers from last year’s Christmas haul, while watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles I’ll be drinking some Mini Liquors.  Your decision on whether to mix that Bacardi with some vending machine Coke or drink that Jameson straight from the bottle probably depends on how long you’ve been in the car.


By the end of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, we’re meant to realize that Thanksgiving is not just about the the hassle of travel, but rather about the familial love that you’re traveling toward. And if you’re lucky, maybe you make a new friend along the way. But before you get too comfy with this new friend, just remember- THOSE AREN’T PILLOWS!! Cheers!


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Image credit: Spaceballs, 1987

I’m just going to say it- Donald Trump stole his hair from Barf.  If you’re like me and searching desperately for a fun Halloween costume, this wisecracking Mog might be your best option. Half man, half dog- he’s his own best friend. Trump wigs are easy to procure these days, and the allusion to this cult classic Star Wars parody will make you the coolest trick-or-treater on the block.

I’ve never been a big Star Wars fan, but I am a huge Mel Brooks fan. His mastery of the art of puns is unparalleled, and Spaceballs (DVD/Download) is no exception. A robot named Dot Matrix? “Combing” the desert?? Pizza the Hut??? Genius. The plot rambles and the acting is deliciously campy, but that script is just magic. And with all the pop culture references, I feel like I’m watching a 2 hour joke crafted for entertainment geeks like me.  And with 80’s comedy greats like Joan Rivers, Rick Moranis, and John Candy populating the cast, it’s hard not to have a good time watching this.

Although this is a cocktail blog, I have to make an exception this week. Lone Starr is just too good a name to slip by. While watching Spaceballs, I recommend drinking the favorite beer of cheap Texans: Lone Star.


Mel Brooks is one of those comedy greats whose work will still be relevant and funny long after he’s gone. I love that he is still working on projects, even in his 90’s! I know I’ve said in the past that I despise sequels, but even I would love to see Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. May the Schwartz be with you, Mr. Brooks. Cheers!

Summer Rental

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Image credit: Summer Rental, 1985

Image credit: Summer Rental, 1985

I ask you this- what is summer without a wacky John Candy movie? BORING! This week, I’m watching classic Candy, in that great Carl Reiner film from the 80’s, Summer Rental (DVD/Download). With plenty of sunburns, fake boobs, drunken pirates, and frozen fish sticks, this movie is what summer’s all about.

In Summer Rental, John Candy plays a burned out air traffic controller who is forced to take a month off for some R&R. He packs up the U-Haul and he and the family head down to Florida. The movie’s plot eventually centers on his quest to try and prove his worth as a man by winning a sailing contest, but the best parts have nothing to do with sailing. Watching John Candy lumber down a crowded beach with his arms full of kids and coolers is hilarious, as are his drunken ramblings with the local pirate/bar owner, played by Rip Torn. I know pirates are kind of scary now (see Captain Phillips) but back in the 80’s they were kindhearted men who sported a cheesy accent and a hook for a hand. As is typical, John Candy’s wife is pretty hot, yet he spends most of the movie ignoring her, sending her into the sympathetic arms of John Larroquette. Also keep an eye out for the girl from the Goonies, and a young Joey “Whoa!” Lawrence. Casting doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

In celebration of fun-loving pirates, vacations, and a man named Candy, I’m featuring a pirate drink that’s tropical-inspired, and rimmed with one of my favorite candy snacks. While watching Summer Rental, I recommend drinking a Barnacle.


1 oz white rum

1 oz Curacao

1 oz pineapple juice

½ oz lime juice

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

1 oz Sprite

Rainbow Nerds candy


First, prepare glass. Rim chilled glass with honey, then nerds. Freeze glass for 30 minutes if necessary to make nerds stick more firmly. Second, prepare the beverage. Combine first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour into prepared glass. Top with Sprite.


I think this movie is best known as “the one where John Candy gets a sunburn”. The sunburn is that epic. Skin cancer be damned, sometimes a guy just needs a good base. Add to that a broken leg and a long sleeved sports jersey on a 105-degree day, and it’s one heck of a look. Cheers!

Home Alone

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Image credit 20th Century Fox, 1990, Home Alone

Image credit 20th Century Fox, 1990, Home Alone

Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers have been totally consumed, I can move on to more pressing matters- Christmas movies! And even more importantly, Christmas cocktails!! This week, I’m featuring one of my favorite childhood movies, Home Alone (DVD/Download). I have to admit, I watched this with some trepidation, worried that it would no longer appeal to my adult brain. I’m here to say, worry not- it’s still funny. Yes, Macaulay Culkin is pretty corny, but the chance to see Joe Pesci again in, well, anything, plus the late, great John Candy, PLUS comedic genius Catherine O’Hara outweighs the massive eye roll I have for Culkin’s trademark scream.

For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last twenty years, Home Alone tells the story of a young boy (played by Macaulay Culkin) who accidentally gets left behind at home while his family travels to Paris for the Christmas holiday. At first he revels in the freedom he has to eat junk food, watch violent films, and go through his siblings’ personal belongings. But eventually, loneliness sets in right around the time some petty thieves try to rob his home. He cleverly booby traps the house against the bumbling burglars, but in the end, it takes the help of an unlikely friend to really save him (like George Costanza, the old man gets to me too).

For my pairing, I’m going to pretend to be Kevin McCallister for a day. That’s right, I’m drinking sugary/chocolate-y cocktails and watching Home Alone, thus rotting my teeth and my brain. While watching Home Alone, I recommend drinking a Chocolate Peppermint Martini.

Chocolate Peppermint Martini

2 oz Godiva chocolate liqueur

2 oz vodka

1/2 oz peppermint schnapps

1 tablespoon half-and-half

Candy Cane and red decorating sugar

Combine liquid ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled.  Meanwhile, rim your martini glass with a little bit of the peppermint schnapps, and dip into the red sugar.  Strain your cocktail into the prepared glass, and garnish with a candy cane.


As we decorate our homes for Christmas, buy the presents, and make the travel plans, it can be tempting to throw our hands up and say, “Forget all of it, I’m staying home this year.”   This movie reminds me that despite the enormous headache that is Holiday Travel, I would really miss my family if I didn’t get to see them on Christmas.  However, if you are traveling this season, remember to come up with a plan of defense for your home- you never know when Joe Pesci will stick his head through the doggie door.  Cheers!