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Tag Archives: movie soundtracks

Garden State

Image credit: Garden State, 2004

A movie soundtrack is a very powerful tool. It can turn the mundane into profound, the simple into lyrical. Such is true for Garden State (Disc/Download), a film I championed and saw multiple times in the theater the summer of 2004, but with hindsight, can finally acknowledge it for what it actually is—a phenomenal collection of songs layered over a totally average collection of scenes.

First, I blame my youth. On the cusp of my senior year of college, with no idea what I wanted to do afterward, this coming-of-age story about a fully grown adult who still didn’t know what he wanted from life really spoke to me. As in The Graduate, we see Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) return to the hometown he’d left years ago, and even though it’s not right, it’s easy. When he sinks into the couch of a long-forgotten high school acquaintance, high on ecstasy, moody Zero 7 song playing in the background, and just lets the world spin around him for one night, you feel it in your soul. However, he then makes the mistake of falling for Natalie Portman’s truly annoying “quirky ingenue”, and that’s where I lose all respect. Large, you’re not in love with the girl with the epilepsy helmet and dead hamster. I promise, this is the depression talking.

There are two things every coming-of-age story must have, and that is a flirty swimming pool scene, and a cool or unusual vehicle. In Large’s case, it’s his grandfather’s old motorcycle with a sidecar. Let’s celebrate it with a variation on the traditional brandy-based cocktail, a Rum Sidecar.

Rum Sidecar

2 oz Kraken Dark Spiced Rum

1 oz Cointreau

1 oz Lemon Juice

Orange Peel Garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.

I may not love this movie in the way I once did, but I can confidently say the soundtrack still holds up. I remember being in New York City the week it came out, standing in line at the Times Square Tower Records, staying up all night in my parents’ hotel suite listening to it on a plastic Discman. Instead of exploring the infinite abyss of Garden State, I’d much rather reach for “Such Great Heights”. Cheers!

My Girl

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My Girl

Image credit: My Girl, 1991

This week, I really had a hankering for a classic Bee’s Knees cocktail. And really, what better movie to watch with this honey-laden beverage than My Girl (DVD/Download).  After all, it’s the film where Macaulay Culkin kicks the bucket after a severe bee attack. As Dan Aykroyd tearfully informs us, “There were just too many…..” I could say the same about cocktails after a wild Saturday night.

I’m not sure if I should admit this, but my love of 60’s pop music originated from the My Girl soundtrack (on cassette, which I would play in my purple Casio while sitting on the cement stoop of our apartment. All. Summer. Long.) As a pre-teen bookworm living in Pennsylvania when this film came out in 1991, I strongly identified with Vada Sultenfuss. If you’ve ever been teased by mean girls, and/or had a weird relationship with the nerdiest kid in the class, and/or were oddly close to your English teacher (the only person who really gets you), then you understand the character of Vada. She’s dealing with the death of her mom, her dad’s remarriage to a free-spirited makeup artist (hey Jamie Lee Curtis, where ya been?), and the fact that she lives in a funeral parlor. It’s a lot for anyone. Luckily, she has a mood ring, Macaulay, and a showtune-singing grandma to ease the pain.

Perhaps it’s in bad taste to reference poor Thomas J’s bee allergy, but how can something bad taste this good? While watching My Girl, I recommend drinking a Bee’s Knees.

Bee’s Knees

2 oz gin

¾ Fresh Lemon Juice

½ oz Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and water, boiled then cooled)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Bees Knees

What’s the one soundtrack I loved more than My Girl? The My Girl 2 soundtrack. Elton John, Jackson Browne- it was the musical education I needed. I’m a little amazed that we haven’t had a My Girl 3 yet, since all the actors are still around, but maybe Dan Aykroyd is too busy making vodka to bother with playing an aging funeral director. I mean, I know which career I’d rather have. Cheers!