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Face/Off

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Face Off

Image credit: Face/Off, 1997

Man, they don’t make ‘em like they used to. I never thought I’d see the day where I long for a movie like Face/Off (DVD/Download), but I’m officially there. Big-name stars making a high octane thriller with an ORIGINAL script, that’s not a sequel to or reboot of something else? Just doesn’t happen too often in mainstream Hollywood these days. Nicolas Cage keeps throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, but will there ever be another film that showcases his talent for lunacy (and, I admit, pretty good acting) quite like Face/Off? God I hope so.

This movie might not work so well if it weren’t for the combined performances of John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. As the Joker-like domestic terrorist Castor Troy (remember when terrorists were angry American white males?), Nicholas Cage is batsh*t crazy. Parading around in a priest costume, groping choir girls, waving around his golden guns- this is a part Nicholas Cage was born for. But then, THEN he falls into a coma, and family-man FBI agent John Travolta is compelled to have Cage’s face put on his body to foil a bomb plot. AND THEN- Cage wakes up, sees that he has no face, and puts the iced Travolta face on HIS body. I swear, even the best soap opera scribes couldn’t make this stuff up. Now Travolta is forced to turn up the creepy, and Cage has to act like John Travolta doing a bad Nicolas Cage impression. Mistaken identities and slow-motion shootouts ensue.

One little gem that’s always stayed with me from Face/Off is Caster Troy’s claim that he could eat a “peach” for hours. Damn if that line doesn’t run through my head every summer when peach season hits central Texas. Welcome to my nightmare. While watching Face/Off, I recommend drinking a Peach Shandy.

Peach Shandy

1.5 oz Deep Eddy Peach Vodka

1 bottle peach-flavored beer (I used Ballast Point Peach Kolsch)

4 oz sparkling peach soda

Build drink in a pint glass, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a peach slice.

Peach Shandy

Image by @pop_up_cobra

Where Face/Off falls short for me is the flimsy explanation of how the voices and bodies of the two actors could be manipulated so easily to match the new faces. Sucking the skin off of someone’s head and transplanting it seamlessly with no scarring? Yeah, OK. Lasers. But the idea of Nicholas Cage’s consumption-ridden Leaving Las Vegas body suddenly being able to pass as a beefed up Travolta? Now that’s Hollywood magic. Cheers!

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Grease

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Image credit: Grease, 1978

Image credit: Grease, 1978

Olivia Newton-John in skin-tight pants. A thin (okay, pretty hot) John Travolta, before he lost his mind and started Adele Dazeem-gate. Frankie Avalon in a creepy heaven-as-beauty parlor dream sequence. This is the stuff that high school is made of.  This week’s back-to-school classic movie musical always made me feel better about having to return to classrooms and social cliques, after blissful summers spent watching Nickelodeon and reading alone in my room. Maybe, just maybe, I’d have a gym teacher as cool as Sid Caesar. Or by some miracle, no gym class at all! I was a big dreamer back then….

Grease (DVD/Download) is a wonderful film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, starring John Travolta as greaser Danny Zuko, and Olivia Newton-John as his good-girl love interest Sandy. They meet at the beach over the summer, then inexplicably, amazingly, Sandy moves from Australia to Rydell High. She makes friends with the Pink Ladies on her first day of school (a pretty awesome girl clique led by Stockard Channing), and spends most of the movie alternatively pissed at Danny for being a typical high school guy, then in love with him as soon as he acts like a normal human being. I’m not a fan of the ending, when Sandy decides that the only way she can be happy is to slither into some tight nylon pants and tease her hair in an effort to be “bad” like Danny, but that’s a discussion for another time. All in all, Grease is a fun movie with catchy songs, charismatic actors, and a cavalcade of 50’s TV stars. Seriously, Eve Arden as the principal?? Joan Blondell as a waitress at the local teen hangout? My town was so boring in comparison.

For the past few months I’ve been drinking La Ferme Julien rosé wine from Trader Joe’s. It’s light, fruity, and perfect for the last of those hot summer days. And summer ni-highhhhhhts! At only $6 a bottle I definitely don’t hesitate to use it in a sangria, and what better occasion than this movie to invite your girlfriends over for a boozy slumber party, a la Frenchie’s house? While watching Grease, I recommend drinking Pink Lady Sangria.

Pink Lady Sangria

1 bottle rosé wine

¼ cup brandy

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ cups raspberries

1 ½ cups strawberries

1 sliced lemon

1 ½ cups club soda

Mix the wine, brandy and sugar together in a pitcher, then after the sugar dissolves, add the fruit. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then add the club soda just before serving. Twinkies optional.

pink lady sangria

Grease is an easy film to mock, due to the prevalence of 30 year old actors pretending to be 17, campy jokes, and John Travolta’s bizarre falsetto.  But there’s something undeniably appealing about young love and Stockard Channing’s boozy, bawdy Rizzo.  Plus- that Bee Gee’s intro- amazing!  Grease is the word. Cheers!