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Tag Archives: movies and cocktails

The Lost City of Z

Lost City of Z

Image Credit: The Lost City of Z, 2017

I’m going to be totally honest here- this week I really just wanted to make a Pisco Sour. This South American classic cocktail is one of my favorite drinks, but up till now I’d never found a movie that it pairs well with.  After 3 years I’d just about given up hope (as tempting as Fitzcarraldo is, I’m not sure it’s “on brand”), so imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered The Lost City of Z (DVD/Download).  Starring a dreamy Charlie Hunnam, the film could best be described as Downton Abbey-meets-Apocalypse Now.  Sorry Klaus, I’ve got to go with this one.

Based on a true story, The Lost City of Z follows early-20th century British explorer Percy Fawcett as he tries to find an ancient lost city deep in the Amazon, fending off attacks from both hostile natives in Brazil and ignorant skeptics back home in England. He’s joined on the way by Robert Pattinson (who has finally shaken off the stench of Twilight), and together they navigate a dangerous river through the jungle. Despite the harsh, unforgiving climate, the costumes are all very Out of Africa, and I find myself expecting someone to show up with crystal stemware and a portable bar at any moment. Maybe I’m getting as feverish as the Malaria-ridden explorers.

Percy Fawcett became obsessed with a lost civilization in the Amazon after finding artifacts in the jungle. I didn’t see a cocktail shaker in with the broken shards of pottery, but you never know- maybe they had their ways. While watching Percy cut his way through dense shrubbery in the punishing humidity, you can relax in comfort with this South American treat- the Pisco Sour.

Pisco Sour

2 oz Pisco

1 oz Lime Juice

½ oz Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 lime wedge

Combine pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake well to combine, then fill with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy. Strain into a glass, and top with bitters. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Pisco Sour

If you’re like me, you’ll really appreciate the lush language of this film’s script (drawn heavily from the book on which it was based), as well as the unspoiled beauty of the unknown. I came to it hoping for some eye candy and an excuse to drink a pisco sour. I left wondering what other mysteries the world still has in store for us. Cheers!

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White Christmas

White Christmas

Image credit: White Christmas, 1954

In a complete 180 from last week’s Die Hard post, this week I’ll be watching the Bing Crosby holiday classic White Christmas (DVD/Download). If I had to describe this with one word I’d say it’s utterly delightful! In the way that It’s a Wonderful Life has a lot going for it aside from Christmas schmaltz, this classic musical is like On the Town with a big Christmas extravaganza plopped down like a cherry on the sundae.

Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as a couple of Broadway producers putting on an impromptu show at a floundering Vermont inn, White Christmas also features lovely performances by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen as their respective love interests. Obviously everyone knows the title song “White Christmas”, as sung by Bing Crosby. Mellow and yearning, it speaks to recapturing the holidays of our youth. I certainly prefer a sunny and warm Christmas to a White Christmas (it’s a very good year if I never have to see a flake of snow), but I still appreciate the sentiment. Luckily there’s enough humor, slapstick, and eye-popping dance numbers to keep this film from being weighed down with nostalgia, and the Edith Head costumes are definitely swoon-worthy.

My favorite number in this film is “Sisters”, a cheeky song performed first by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, then later lip-synched by Crosby and Kaye. The men can barely keep a straight face during their performance, which makes it even funnier. In homage to the bright blue Florida costumes and my own excitement over a non-white Christmas in the Sunshine State, this week I’ll be mixing up a Sister Sipper.

Sister Sipper

2 ½ oz Pisco

¾ oz blue curacao

1 oz lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 egg white

Combine all ingredients over ice in a chilled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled and frothy. Pour into a coupe glass.

sister sipper

Whether you long for cold snowflakes or warm tropical breezes, White Christmas has you covered. Besides, the holiday season is really about being with the ones you love, whether it snows or not. From Cinema Sips, I’d like to wish my readers happy holidays, safe travels, and of course, Cheers!

Miracle on 34th Street

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miracle on 34th street

Image credit: Miracle on 34th Street, 1947

If you haven’t begun your holiday shopping yet, what in the world are you waiting for?? Smart folks like me start in November, but if you still need a little incentive, I suggest watching this week’s film Miracle on 34th Street (DVD/Download) to put you in the gifting mood.

Recently deceased acting legend Maureen O’Hara stars in this classic holiday film about a Macy’s department store Santa Claus who just might be the real deal. O’Hara plays an unlucky-in-love divorcee raising her daughter (played by a very young Natalie Wood) to be skeptical of all things intangible- including holiday miracles. Then Kris K. comes along (that’s Kringle, not Kardashian), and he seems like more than just a kind-hearted old man. Claiming to be Santa Claus, he attracts psych evaluators and small children alike. I love that this film from the 1940’s features a strong independent woman like O’Hara, her character an event director at the flagship store. Heck, that’s an impressive job even now. And the sappy message of the movie (Santa is real if you believe!) gets a much needed boost by terrific acting performances and sharp dialogue. At times, I feel like I’m watching a classic Howard Hawkes film, instead of one of the most beloved Christmas movies ever made.

One of my favorite scenes involves Kris Kringle showing off his impressive Santa skills while talking to a Dutch girl. He speaks to her in Dutch because, of course, Santa speaks the language of all children. This inspired my cocktail this week, using the Dutch spirit Genever, a stronger, early version of the typical gin we know today. While watching Miracle on 34th Street, I recommend drinking a Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas

2 oz Genever

2 oz Apple Cider

½ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)

1 dash Angostura bitters

Cinnamon stick for garnish

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat on the stove until it just barely simmers. Pour into a heat-safe glass or mug, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Sinterklaas

Your current thoughts about Santa Claus are probably dependent on your age (and I doubt I have many 6 year old readers of this blog), but this movie is so great that it makes me want to believe in Santa Claus. At the very least, it makes me long for the days when department stores were classy and sophisticated, instead of overrun with cheap merchandise and bad lighting. Best of luck with your holiday shopping, and if you find yourself in a Macy’s this Christmas, plan on having a cocktail afterwards- you’ll need it. Cheers!

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

Image Credit: Home for the Holidays, 1995

After a stressful month at work, I am VERY ready to relax with a bounty of food and a pile of movies. I always look forward to Thanksgiving because it means I get to stay home, in the city I love, with my husband and my dog and do absolutely nothing. Christmas can get a little crazy, but Thanksgiving- that’s just for me. Of course it wasn’t always like that. I’ve had my share of awkward relatives and inedible meals, which is why I have such an appreciation for this week’s film Home for the Holidays (DVD). When you find yourself laughing and nodding along, saying, “YES! This is what it’s like!!” you know you’ve found a great movie.

Home for the Holidays was directed by Jodie Foster and tells the story of the Larson family as they come together for one grand Thanksgiving meal. Holly Hunter is as charming as I’ve ever seen her, fleeing her recent unemployment and sexually active teenage daughter to go get criticized by her mother in a big puffy coat. Robert Downey Jr. shines as her younger gay brother Tommy, and together they team up against their bigoted uptight sister Joanna. Anne Bancroft is amazing as the matriarch, and the scenes of her flirting and arguing with her onscreen husband played by the late, great Charles Durning are forever endearing (see my earlier post about 5 Times Anne Bancroft was EVERYTHING). Of course I’m a sucker for a spinster aunt, and it doesn’t get better than Geraldine Chaplin’s Aunt Glady. She hates orange lipstick, she likes to get drunk and tell inappropriate stories, and she keeps her bathroom as clean as a whistle. In short, she’s me in 40 years. Dylan McDermott pops up as a dreamy love interest for Holly Hunter, but really it’s the family dynamics that make this such a joy to watch. As Hunter’s Claudia says, “We’re family- we don’t have to like each other”.

If you want to be as toasted as Aunt Glady on the big T-Day, you’re going to need a tasty cocktail. This year I’ll be making a drink the same color as Claudia’s stylish puffy coat. It pairs nicely with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and snarky comments at the dinner table. While watching Home for the Holidays, I recommend drinking a Cranberry Mule.

Cranberry Mule

3 oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka

1/2 oz Lime Juice

8 oz Ginger Beer

Lime and fresh cranberries for garnish

Build drink in a glass over ice.  Garnish with a lime slice and fresh cranberries.

Cranberry Mule

I don’t want to sound like I don’t look forward to seeing my family. I do, of course. But often people get so tied up in making the holiday great that they forget what’s really important. By important, I of course mean Pillsbury crescent rolls, and the relief one feels at realizing your life isn’t as bad as sad sack Russell Terziak’s. That’s always something I’m thankful for. Cheers!

American Psycho

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Image credit: American Psycho, 2000

Image credit: American Psycho, 2000

Technically Literary Adaptation Month was supposed to end in September… but I couldn’t resist one more! American Psycho isn’t exactly a book you’ll find on your high school reading list, anyway (though it should be!). Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (DVD/Download) is a horrifying, marvelous, and sharp tale about 1980’s consumer culture. With pop references on everything from Huey Lewis and the News to “Sussudio”, this film makes me laugh while simultaneously making me scared to ever walk down a dark street alone.

Lead character Patrick Bateman is played superbly by Christian Bale, who fought hard for this role. I fully admit that part of the appeal to this movie is his amazing physique, but past that, Bale does a great job of portraying the character’s cold-hearted disassociation, and later, panic over what he’s become. Director Mary Harron totally captures the New York 80’s era of excess, full of pin-striped suits, moussed hair, cocaine, and lunches at Café Des Artistes. I love that I can be laughing at Patrick Bateman’s obsession with “Hip to be Square” one minute, then cringing as he brings an axe down on Jared Leto’s head the next moment. What’s fascinating is that there are seemingly no consequences for crimes of the wealthy. Bateman can confess a love for murders and executions, and what people hear is his affinity for mergers and acquisitions. Brilliant.

Of course, one doesn’t become a serial killer without leaving little clues here and there. In addition to his disturbing notebook, Bateman keeps a closet full of corpses and has to explain away his bloody sheets to a skeptical dry cleaner. Sure, it’s cran-apple juice. Riiight…… While watching American Psycho, I recommend drinking a Psychokiller.

Psychokiller

2oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka

.75 oz Calvados Apple Brandy

.5 oz Lime Juice

.5 oz simple syrup

1 oz hard cider

Fresh apple slice

Combine vodka, Calvados, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass.  Top with hard cider, and garnish with an apple slice.

psychokiller

Like Bateman, I too have an irrational fear of dining out without a reservation, and a love for fancy bath products. And yeah, I’m not crazy about cats either. But at least I don’t obsess over the quality of my business card. Yet. Cheers!

Five Times Anne Bancroft was EVERYTHING

I’ve featured Anne Bancroft films a couple of times on Cinema Sips recently, and it’s made me realize that the woman is just amazing. Her style, her sense of humor, her way of elevating even the worst script- she’s a legend for a reason. In my 20’s I idolized Audrey Hepburn (doesn’t every girl have an Audrey phase?) but now that I’m a little older, I’m all about Anne Bancroft. Here are my five picks for when she was EVERYTHING.

  1. Mrs. Robinson, The Graduate
Anne Bancroft The Graduate

Image credit:  The Graduate, 1967

Leopard print for days. Those tanned, toned legs. That withering stare. How could Benjamin Braddock ever resist?

  1. Adele Larson, Home for the Holidays
Image credit: Home for the Holidays, 1995

Image credit: Home for the Holidays, 1995

Sure she wears unflattering winter coats and chain smokes in the pantry, but she’s still the mom that makes us want to come home for the holidays. And the bunion sneakers! I die.

  1. Glady Joe, How to Make an American Quilt
Anne Bancroft How to Make an American Quilt

Image Credit: How to Make an American Quilt, 1995

In the grand tradition of Anne Bancroft being the best thing about literally every crappy movie she’s in, Aunt Glady makes me smile as she sings along to Neil Diamond and gets high on the porch. And eats an astonishing amount of ice cream.

  1. Ms. Dinsmore, Great Expectations
Image credit: Great Expecations, 1998

Image credit: Great Expecations, 1998

She had me with the crazy eye liner and predilection for martinis. And then she went red. Even though her bedroom smells like cat piss, I still want to move in.

  1. Herself, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image Credit: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 4, Episode 10, 2004

Image Credit: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 4, Episode 10, 2004

Iconic and chic right up until the end, it seems fitting that one of Anne Bancroft’s final performances was alongside her devoted husband Mel Brooks. Because love and laughter are the best accessories a woman can have. Although her pink gloves are pretty fabulous….

The Outsiders

Image credit: The Outsiders, 1983

Image credit: The Outsiders, 1983

I was shocked to learn recently that The Outsiders is STILL being taught in middle school classrooms. With the intense boom of YA literature over the last decade, I would have thought that S.E. Hinton’s classic tale of greasers and soc’s had since been edged out by John Green or Stephen Chbosky- but no. Apparently Ponyboy lives on. Part of what made reading The Outsiders so great back in middle school was the inevitable arrival of the clunky TV cart hauled in on a rainy day, long after we’d finished our discussion of what the heck Robert Frost meant with that poem. The lights would dim, as 25 seventh graders focused their attention on Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film adaptation of the novel. Even now, the opening notes of the theme song conjure up sensory memories of dry air, mildewed backpacks, and the smell of sharpened pencils. Ah youth.

The Outsiders (DVD/Download) is actually a fairly accurate adaptation of the book.  We still get the same retro S.E. Hinton dialogue, the same wacky character names, and the same great lines like “Do it for Johnny!” and “Stay Gold, Ponyboy”. The casting is pretty perfect, featuring a who’s who of 80’s stars like C Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise (pre-dental work), Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Leif Garrett, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and the late great Patrick Swayze (rocking his signature too tight black t-shirt). Let me say, as a 14 year old girl watching this for the first time, I finally understood where all the cute boys were. Certainly, not at my school.

How fortunate we all are that Hinton gave her characters such unusual names. Cherry, Sodapop- I can do a lot with those beverage-wise. If you’re watching this with an actual middle schooler, you can just serve up an ice cold Cherry Coke. But if you’re of legal drinking age, desperate to enhance your teenage memories, I recommend drinking a Spiked Cherry Soda.

Spiked Cherry Soda

1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

1.5 oz white rum

8 oz Cherry Coca-Cola

1 maraschino cherry

Build drink over ice in a tumbler. Top with maraschino cherries.  Bonus points for a gold rimmed glass!

spiked cherry coke

After enough cocktails, you may find yourself giggling hysterically at Matt Damon’s big crescendo, “DO IT FOR JOHNNY!” Or maybe weeping when Ponyboy leaves his copy of Gone With the Wind for a bandaged and burnt Ralph Macchio. Robert Frost says nothing gold can stay, but the fact that we’re still reading this book and enjoying the movie so many years later is proof otherwise. Cheers!