RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Kirsten Dunst

The Virgin Suicides

Posted on
Virgin Suicides

Image Credit: The Virgin Suicides, 1999.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I watch an adaptation of a work of literary fiction and think, “The book was better.” But The Virgin Suicides (Disc/Download) is one film where this phrase does not apply. Though I loved Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel, Sofia Coppola made me see things within the pages that I missed the first time around. The angst of adolescence, the impulsivity, the dreaminess—I definitely need a cocktail if I’m going to put myself back in the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl.

Starring Kirsten Dunst as the rebel within a family of five beautiful sisters, the film’s narration uses Eugenides’ words as a roadmap, treating us to his gorgeous prose. Set in 1970’s suburban Detroit, we get to know the Lisbon sisters through the eyes of their admirers, a group of hopelessly besotted neighborhood boys. When one of the sisters commits suicide, their overbearing parents (James Woods and Kathleen Turner) place the remaining girls under house arrest, and their only contact with the outside world is through their vinyl collection and a vintage phone. The boys try to rescue them, but that’s the thing about being a teenage girl—nobody can really save you from it.

One of my favorite parts of the film is when the Lisbon sisters attend a homecoming dance. They laugh and drink peach schnapps and make out with inappropriate boys, and it’s such a microcosm of what we expect adolescence to be, but rarely is. For these characters, it was like a dream that couldn’t last. While watching The Virgin Suicides, celebrate the hope of being a teenage girl with a First Blush.

First Blush

1 oz peach schnapps

1 oz grenadine

5 oz champagne

Pour chilled peach schnapps and grenadine into a flute, and top with champagne.

First Blush

What Sofia Coppola does so well as a director is capture a specific time and place with her unique artistic flair. ‘70s suburbia looks like a Formica fantasy filled with patterned wallpaper, female grooming detritus, and records strewn across the floor. It looks like a place where nothing bad could ever happen, until of course, it does. It always does. Cheers!

 

Marie Antoinette

Posted on
marieantoinette

Image credit: Marie Antoinette, 2006

As if I needed another excuse to drink champagne and eat French macarons- HA! Cocktails & Corsets month shifts to Versailles this week with the film Marie Antoinette (DVD/Download). Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, it truly is quite the female fantasy. Silk, ruffles, pretty pastries, champagne overflowing coupe glasses, and tiny adorable dogs- damn it was good to be a French royal in the mid-18th century! (well, until the peasants revolted and stormed the palace, but let’s not go there).

Inspired by the book by Antonia Fraser, Kirsten Dunst’s Marie Antoinette is simply a young girl with extraordinary privilege and power, in the wrong place at the wrong time. She seems too naïve to realize that it’s a big deal to have your royal subjects starving while you and your friends are living bucolic, lazy days in the French countryside. Why not let them eat cake when bread has become scarce? Cake is amazing. At least, the cakes in this film look amazing. The delectable sweet treats are in line with the clothes, the shoes, the actual Versailles interiors, and the incredible wig achievements that this film beautifully showcases. If the dialogue’s a little sparse, it’s only because it’s almost unnecessary against such beauty. The 80’s New Wave soundtrack and sly inclusion of Chuck Taylors in the bedroom reminds us of the similarities between these French royals and today’s modern wealthy- drunk on money, power and fame. Eventually, it will all come crashing down.

Apparently champagne was preferable to any other beverage in Marie Antoinette’s day. I think I only spied water once, and even then it was in a crystal martini glass.  This sparkling beverage goes very well with all the delicious tarts and pastries on full display, and by adding some berry flavors it’s almost like dessert in a glass. While watching Marie Antoinette, I recommend drinking a Versailles Sparkler.

Versailles Sparkler

5 oz French Champagne

½ oz Crème de Cassis

Raspberries

Simple syrup

First make a raspberry syrup.  Muddle fresh raspberries through a sieve, straining out the seeds.  Mix with a dash of simple syrup, then pour mixture into the bottom of a coupe glass.   Top with crème de cassis, then chilled champagne. Garnish with raspberries.

versailles sparkler

In addition to copious amounts of champagne, I’d also recommend stopping by your local bakery and picking up some delicacies to enjoy during the 2-hour running time. Marie Antoinette might have been spoiled, vapid, and naïve, but two things are certain- she knew how to dress, and she knew how to drink. Cheers!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Posted on
Image Credit Focus Features, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

Image Credit Focus Features, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

“Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to sell more cards.” And so begins my absolute favorite movie about February 14th, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (DVD/Download). The opening line says it all.  This is not a ‘sunshine and roses’ romantic comedy. However, it is funny, it is romantic, and it is truly daring and original filmmaking by director Michel Gondry.

Eternal Sunshine asks the question- what if a bad break-up could be erased from our minds? What are the consequences? If you erase the memory, do the same patterns just repeat themselves? The two lead characters are Joel (played by Jim Carrey), and Clementine (played by Kate Winslet). Unusual casting for sure, but these two actors are surprisingly perfect together. The film’s story, written by Charlie Kaufman, is told in non-linear sequence. We think we’re seeing two people meeting on a train for the first time, until gradually it becomes clear that they’ve already dated, fell in love, broken up, then paid a doctor to erase their memories of one another. With no memory of the bad relationship, they are just two people finding each other by chance, and falling in love the same way they did before. Because this is a Michel Gondry film, there are analog special effects during the scenes where memories are being erased, and the results are visually spectacular. A terrific supporting cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and Tom Wilkinson as the helpful memory-erasing doctor with secrets of his own.

My cocktail this week is an easy one to make, giving you more time to spend paying close attention to the plot of the film (trust me, you need to pay attention). I love the name Clementine, and it’s such a refreshing flavor in the middle of winter, so this week I’m making a Darlin’ Clementine.

Darlin’ Clementine

2 oz vodka

2 oz fresh clementine juice

1 oz simple syrup

Mix all ingredients in a shaker over ice, then strain into a chilled glass. Rub clementine peel around the rim of the glass, then discard.

Darlin-Clementine

This movie will always be special to me because I bought it right before my husband and I started dating. I was obsessed with everything Kate Winslet (and still am) so upon saying goodbye on February 13th, 2005, I told him to call me the next day to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day (just as Clementine says to Joel). He still chides me about it, claiming that was his plan all along. He did call, and that memory is one I don’t ever want to be erased. Cheers!