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Romeo and Juliet

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Image credit: Romeo and Juliet, 1968

Picture the scene: it’s the mid-90s, you’re in middle school English class, and the teacher has just wheeled in the bulky cart with the huge TV and VCR. She fiddles with the input, frantically pressing buttons, until finally, miraculously, that swooping Nino Rota score fills the air. Lord, was there anything better than a movie day in school?? Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (Disc/Download) will always be a fond English class memory for me, even though I happened to watch it the same year Baz Luhrmann’s fantastic fever dream came out. I love both versions, but if you’re looking for true authenticity of time period and setting, you can’t beat this 1960s classic.

Starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey as our titular star-cross’d lovers, this adaptation is like a sumptuous trip to Renaissance Italy. Shot on location in Tuscan villages, watching it makes you feel like you just stepped into a Botticelli painting. The costumes are incredible, with expertly tailored velvets, brocades, and silks, in addition to sculptural headpieces and masks at the Capulet ball. I also love the “cat-like” hat Michael York wears as Tybalt “Prince of Cats”, in addition to the mere casting of York, who’s always struck me as having a particularly feline face. It’s the visual details that make this movie special, in addition to the theme popularized by Mancini. When that tenor comes out to sing “A Time for Us”, I still get goosebumps. Sure, Luhrmann’s version made the text more accessible to modern audiences, but there’s something to be said for watching this production of Shakespeare’s play the way he probably envisioned it while writing. In fair Verona, where he laid his scene.

Speaking of Verona, I decided to make a cocktail of the same name because it fits quite well with the tone of this movie. Strong, a little sweet, and perfect for sipping slowly. While watching Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, I recommend drinking a Verona cocktail.


2 oz Gin

1 oz Amaretto

1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth

1/4 tsp Lemon Juice

Orange slice for garnish

Combine gin, amaretto, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice in a mixing tin with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with one large ice cube. Garnish with an orange slice.

I love that Zeffirelli cast relatively unknown actors for these roles, and I’m not going to lie- my Jordan Catalano-loving heart definitely swooned over Leonard Whiting the first time I saw him, with his tights and eyelashes-for-days. This movie has a timeless quality to it because these actors will always be impossibly gorgeous, the sets and costumes will always look authentic, and the words of Shakespeare will always be immortal. I’m forever grateful for those English class “movie days”, and only hope that future generations get to experience the thrill of a good adaptation like I did. Cheers!

Logan’s Run

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Image credit: Logan’s Run, 1976

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone this week with a science fiction classic, a genre I rarely cover on Cinema Sips. But in 1976, there was a massively popular film that appealed to both miniature enthusiasts and future Plato’s Retreat patrons—Logan’s Run (Disc/Download). How could I resist?

Dubbed “the sexiest movie ever” by Friends’ Ross Geller, Logan’s Run is a pure escapist fantasy that practically screams disco era. From caftans to holograms, from Farrah Fawcett’s shag haircut to a domed city model straight out of Epcot, this movie relies on practical effects almost as much as it relies on our ability to be distracted by shiny objects. The central theme of a futuristic society where nobody is allowed to live past the age of thirty is almost overshadowed by the impressive visual achievements, which garnered the film a special Academy Award. Why is Logan running? Because he’s been forced to infiltrate and destroy a sanctuary for “olds”. If he’d asked me, I could have pointed him in the direction of Palm Springs. But instead, he goes to Washington DC, where the buildings are crumbling and Congress is basically an abandoned litter box. Sounds about right.

One truly bizarre scene (and there are a lot of truly bizarre scenes in this movie) involves a gold robot called Box that captures and freezes food from outside the domed city for use by the privileged young’uns. It also captures… PEOPLE. Cue the Soylent Green comparisons. While watching Logan’s Run, take a fun trip around the Carrousel with this futuristic frozen cocktail, the Saturn.


 1 ¼ oz Gin

½ oz Lemon Juice

½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup

¼ oz Falernum

¼ oz Orgeat

2 cups crushed ice

Orange Twist

Add gin, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, falernum, and orgeat to a blender filled with crushed ice. Blend until smooth, then pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Is America really headed for a Logan’s Run-type existence? I guess we’ve got about two hundred and fifty years left to either fix all the problems or sentence ourselves to a version of doom that looks like a Florida theme park. But if feral cats really do take control of Congress, and somehow our society reverts back to being centered around shopping malls, I have one request: feathered Farrah Fawcett hair and a glittery tunic for all. Cheers!