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Tag Archives: Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked

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juliet naked

Image credit: Juliet, Naked, 2018

I did a horrible thing. When making my Top Five Films of 2018 list a few months ago, I neglected to include the sweetly perfect rom-com Juliet, Naked (Disc/Download). My only excuse is that I simply didn’t get a chance to see it in 2018.   However I seem to be making up for lost time because I’m on viewing #3 so far, and like a fine wine, it just keeps getting better with age.

Speaking of things getting better with age, I can’t watch this movie and not imagine that Tucker Crowe is Troy Dyer all grown up and regretting his younger Reality Bites shenanigans. A slacker alt-rocker who treats women like crap but is soooo beautiful in all the vintage gig photos? I mean, come on.  Did Ethan Hawke choose this part on purpose, as a meta nod to his iconic role? His casting seems to reinforce an important principle of the movie—that, “Art is not for the artist, any more than water is to a plumber.”  Honestly, as a Reality Bites fan, I want to see what became of Troy Dyer.  Is he still stealing Snickers Bars?  Did he ever get a chance to buy everyone a Coke? Maybe, like Chris O’Dowd’s obsessed character Duncan, I’m reading too much into all of this. Maybe Ethan Hawke just wanted a fun part where he got to sing a Kinks song. Maybe he really liked the Nick Hornby novel this movie was based on. But whatever the truth may be, I still consider Juliet, Naked to be a delightful wink to the members of the TroyDyer4Ever club (if this is not yet a fan club, I’m thinking of starting it).

Ethan Hawke’s endurance as an heartthrob aside, the film’s soul truly lies with beautiful, shy Annie, played by the lovely Rose Byrne.  Annie finds herself stuck in a rut, realizing that she let life carry her along without making any big decisions. But then she meets Tucker, comes out of her shell, and realizes that her story is just beginning. Let’s toast this wonderful performance with a Blossoming Rosé cocktail.

Blossoming Rosé

5 oz Rosé cider

1.5 oz Reposado tequila

1.5 oz Grapefruit Juice

.5 oz Lime Juice

.5 oz Mint-infused simple syrup

Grapefruit Wedge for garnish

Combine tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour into a glass filled with fresh ice. Top with cider, and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Blossoming Rose

Ultimately, Juliet, Naked is about taking chances. Taking a chance that you’re going to make the wrong decisions, that you’re going to mess up a little bit, but that nothing good will ever happen if you don’t seize the opportunities life throws at you. If Tucker is my cautionary tale, then Annie is my inspiration. And Duncan, well—he’s just Stevie F*ckin’ Wonder. Cheers!

High Fidelity

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High Fidelity

Image credit: High Fidelity, 2000

True story- the one and only time I’ve ever been carded and turned away from a movie was High Fidelity (DVD/Download) in April 2000. I was 16 years old, a recent transplant to Central Pennsylvania, and stunned to find myself smack dab in the Bible Belt. For months afterward, I waited impatiently to see what erotic, taboo tales awaited me in the R-rated and undoubtedly-risque High Fidelity.  Imagine my surprise and outrage that not only was there nothing “R” about it, but also that I was unnecessarily delayed from seeing what would become one of my all-time favorite films.

My Top 5 lists on Cinema Sips are a direct homage to this comedic gem, so in lieu of a proper plot description I think it’s more appropriate to list off my Top 5 High Fidelity Scenes:

  1. When John Cusack plays the new Beta Band LP in his niche Chicago record shop, causing all the customers fall under its spell. Perfect music moment.
  1. Lisa Bonet sings “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton. I too, always hated that song. And now I too, kinda like it.
  1. Jack Black berating a customer for wanting to buy a copy of Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. In answer to his subquestion, it is definitely better to burn out than to fade away.
  1. The making of a Top 5 List of songs about death. This is absolutely a conversation I want to be a part of.
  1. Barry Jive and the Uptown Five singing “Let’s Get it On”. And just like that, Jack Black the Movie Star was born.

Although the Nick Hornby novel this film was based on is set in London, I love the decision to set the movie adaptation in Chicago. The city itself becomes like another character in the film, so to that end we should definitely celebrate this midwestern metropolis with its namesake drink. While watching High Fidelity, I recommend drinking a classic Chicago Cocktail.

Chicago Cocktail

2 oz Brandy

Dash of Triple Sec

Dash of Bitters

1 oz Champagne

Stir Brandy, Triple Sec, and Bitters together in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe, and top with champagne.

If you happen to find yourself celebrating Record Store Day later this month, don’t be too put off by the employees at your local vinyl shop. They actually do know a lot about music, so let them make suggestions. They may not be able to give relationship advice, but if you’re looking to find a band that picks up where Echo and the Bunnymen left off, they’ve got your back. Cheers!