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Tag Archives: Nora Ephron

Julie & Julia

julie-and-julia

Image credit: Julie & Julia, 2009

This month marks a milestone for Cinema Sips. It has officially been 3 years since I started this blog on cocktail and movie pairings, really as a bit of a lark, but with a small shred of hope that people would actually enjoy reading it. After 180 posts, I am proud to say that I have never missed a week, I have not yet had to check into the Betty Ford clinic, and I’ve made a grand total of $5.05 through affiliate links (I’ll take it!). In truth, there might not be a Cinema Sips without this week’s film Julia & Julia (DVD/Download). The story of a lost New York writer who blogs about her attempts at Julia Child’s recipes definitely got me thinking about blogging, and what in my life I could write about that other people might find interesting. My collection of vintage postcards? Eh, not so much. Cocktails and movies? Heck yes!

Directed by the late, great Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia is actually two movies in one. In one half we see blogger Julie Powell trying to find her path in life, using Julia Child’s recipes as a compass. In the other half we see Julia Child herself, learning the art of French cooking in 1950’s Paris, writing her masterpiece, and being generally adorable with her husband. Amy Adams plays Julie Powell and Meryl Streep steals the show as Julia Child. As with all of her roles, Streep is utter perfection, and Child’s zest for life becomes infectious through this performance. I have to admit, if I weren’t in a similar life situation to Powell, I might not have liked the modern-day half of the movie. Not anyone’s fault- it’s just hard to compete against Julia Child and Paris in the 50’s. But because I am a blogger, and because I also get terrified that the only person who reads this blog is my mother, I find comfort in watching her story unfold.

In thinking about my cocktail pairing this week, I asked myself what would Julia Child drink? The answer- whatever the hell she wanted! She might even get a little tipsy while cooking. After all, if no one’s in the kitchen, who’s to see? While watching Julie & Julia, I recommend drinking a French Martini.

French Martini

2 oz Vodka

1/2 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur

2 oz pineapple juice

Fresh raspberry for garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice until chilled, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a raspberry.

french-martini

Admittedly, when I started this blog I didn’t have much faith in my ability to follow through and keep up the weekly posts. But it’s the awesome feedback I’ve received over the years that has really motivated me. Cinema Sips has made me a better writer and photographer, and it’s made me more adventurous in trying new cocktails. For all the readers who have followed this blog, and all the readers still to come, you are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life. Cheers!

When Harry Met Sally

when-harry-met-sally-1940x900_35829

Image credit: When Harry Met Sally, 1989

There are very few New Year’s Eve scenes in cinema as satisfying as the one in this week’s film, When Harry Met Sally (DVD/Download). That grand speech at the end about wanting the rest of your life to start right now just gets me every time. Sure Meg Ryan has a bad perm and ridiculous long blue gloves, but I can overlook it all for that speech. Harry Burns is a heck of a guy.

The film begins by asking the age old question, “Can men and women ever really be just friends?” Billy Crystal as Harry says no, Meg Ryan as Sally says yes. They bicker, then meet again 5 years later and bicker about it some more, then meet again 5 years after that and decide that the bickering is silly, become the best of friends, then lovers, then nothing. It sounds like a saga of a movie, but Rob Reiner’s skillful direction and Nora Ephron’s genius script keep things moving along quickly. What results is a clever, sharp film about the relationships between men and women, and the pitfalls that await us all. And oh yeah, Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in Katz’s deli and the whole world freaks out. Quel scandale.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s without a glass of something fizzy in my hand. In homage to Meg Ryan’s big scene, and Rob Reiner’s adorable mother, while watching When Harry Met Sally, I’ll have What She’s Having.

What She’s Having

1 ½ oz gin

¾ oz Cointreau

½ oz Maraschino Liqueur

½ oz lemon juice

Prosecco

Mix gin, Contreau, Maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco.

what shes having

In my experience, it’s totally possible to have a friendly acquaintance of the opposite sex, but extremely rare for that person to be a best friend. I definitely think there’s some truth to what Harry’s saying. I did have one very close male friend once upon a time…. and then I married him. And with any luck I’ll never have to be “out there” again. After all, nobody else could ever tolerate my inability to order anything as-is from a restaurant menu. Sally, you’re not alone. Happy New Year, and Cheers!

Top Five Movie Remakes

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I know I often rant and rave about how tired I am of beloved Hollywood films being dusted off and repackaged for today’s audiences, but sometimes lightning does strike twice.  It’s rare, and in fact, I could not think of more than 5 films that managed the remake successfully.  Everything else just makes me want to drink, even more than I already do.  Here is my list of Top Five Movie Remakes (note:  sequels and classic lit adaptations are not included on this list-  we all know Pride and Prejudice will continue to be done to death, in many iterations, for centuries to come.  That’s just the way it is).

1. Ocean’s Eleven

Image credit: Ocean's Eleven, 2001

Image credit: Ocean’s Eleven, 2001

This film is sort of the holy grail of movie remakes.  Steven Soderbergh managed to turn a moldy Rat Pack lark into one of the greatest caper films of all time.  Who needs Sinatra when you’ve got Clooney?  It’s a tough choice between this one and The Italian Job (also a remake), but since they’re basically the same movie, I must choose Danny Ocean’s crew.  Every time.

2.  Sabrina

Image credit: Sabrina, 1995

Paris is always a good idea.  Even when it’s with Julia Ormond instead of my beloved Audrey.

3.  You’ve Got Mail

Image credit: You've Got Mail, 1998

Image credit: You’ve Got Mail, 1998

As much as I love The Shop Around the Corner, I have to give credit to Nora Ephron for turning a classic Jimmy Stewart film into a perfect modern romantic comedy.  Bookstores and Brinkley- I’m hooked.

4.  True Grit

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

I am NOT a fan of Westerns, yet even I couldn’t resist this Coen Bros. update of a John Wayne classic.  Jeff Bridges was born to play Rooster Cogburn, maybe the greatest name in the history of names (sorry, Dude).

5.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

I went into this one with zero expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.  The Danny Kaye version is beloved by classic movie buffs, but Ben Stiller makes it his own here.  It may have flown under the radar upon its release, but as a grizzled Sean Penn says, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”

You’ve Got Mail

Photo credit: Warner Bros, 1998

Photo credit: Warner Bros, 1998

Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan week comes to a close with my personal favorite of their collaborations, You’ve Got Mail. Based on the wonderful Jimmy Stewart film The Shop Around the Corner, this film replaces the letters of olden days with emails and instant messaging. Back when this film was released, AOL instant messaging was new and trendy, though now it seems quaint (in the same way we look back curiously on party lines and wonder- what were they thinking?). Of course now, texting and Facebook have replaced instant messaging, but back in the day this was cutting edge dating technology. Whether or not you look at this film and laugh at that old AOL email alert declaring “You’ve Got Mail!” or yearn for the days when people could get to know each other without seeing photos and your entire life story flashed upon your Facebook page, the chemistry between Hanks and Ryan and the witty Nora Ephron script make this movie definitely worth watching.

In this film, Tom Hanks’s character Joe Fox meets cute with Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly when his large Barnes & Noble-esque book store opens in New York City and threatens to drive her small independent children’s book store out of business. They become fast enemies in person, but little do they know, they’ve already fallen for each other online after meeting in a chat room (now THERE’S a blast from the past) and exchanging emails. I’ve come to love everything about this movie- the beautiful shots of New York’s West Village, Meg Ryan’s adorable haircut, Tom Hanks’ dog Brinkley, and lines like, “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” It’s classic Nora Ephron, and I love watching as she both romanticizes and satirizes the life of the upper class intellectual New Yorker.

For my cocktail pairing, I’m making a festive, holiday-appropriate drink that I think captures the feistiness and sweetness of Kathleen Kelly. This is a great way to use up some of that leftover cranberry juice or cranberries from your holiday gatherings, and very easy to make (for those of you who are totally over measuring and mixing and dirtying your kitchen).

The Shopgirl Spritz

1.5 oz gin

1 oz cranberry juice

1 oz lime juice

.5 oz simple syrup

Club Soda

Fresh Cranberries for garnish

Fill a collins glass with crushed ice, pour in the gin, cranberry, and lime juices and stir well. Top with Club Soda and cranberries.

I like to imagine Kathleen Kelly would drink this while listening to Joni Mitchell and reading Pride and Prejudice for the one millionth time. Or maybe that’s just what I want to do. At any rate, if this is the last movie that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan ever make together, at least they went out on a high note. I’ll always laugh as Tom Hanks flirts with the cashier at Zabar’s, and get misty when Meg Ryan says tearfully, “I wanted it to be you so bad.” Watch it with a box of Kleenex (and a drink). Cheers!