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Parasite

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Parasite

Image credit: Parasite, 2019

I’ve already included Bong Joon Ho’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece Parasite (Disc/Download) on my Top 5 list for 2019, but the film is so good, so memorable, that I think it deserves its own cocktail pairing. Fair warning- make your drink before the movie starts, not during, because you won’t want to miss a second.

Kill-and-eat-the-rich is a compelling theme not just in cinema, but in a lot of different art forms. While we might enjoy the temporary window into “how the other half lives”, it’s equally gratifying to watch the wealthy suffer the consequences of callous obliviousness. In Parasite, I get to spend time in a gorgeous modern home, every inch designed for stylish comfort, while also getting the satisfaction of a bloody denouement. But the incredible thing about Parasite is that nobody comes out looking great. Both the rich and the poor have their flaws, existing together in this strange co-dependent world of master and servant.  It really makes you wonder who’s actually in control here. The person writing the checks, or the person actually doing the work? Which one is really the parasite?

There’s a great plot twist involving the skin of a peach, and while I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the movie, just know that it makes for wonderful cocktail inspiration. While watching Parasite, try this simple Peach Fuzz cocktail!

Peach Fuzz

1.5 oz Peach Vodka

.5 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Pineapple Gum Syrup

2 oz Prosecco

Fresh pineapple or peach for garnish

Peach Fuzz

Combine vodka, lemon juice, and pineapple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a martini or coupe glass. Top with Prosecco, and garnish with pineapple or peach.

If anybody wonders why Parasite swept the Oscars, it’s because this film is storytelling at its finest. Every second, from the editing, to the direction, to the performances, to the script, is tight as a drum, with not an inch of wasted celluloid to be found. In fact, when I saw this in the theater, I’d made the mistake of having a couple cocktails before the show. Halfway through… I needed a bathroom break. I kept waiting for a slow moment, which never came. Eventually, I just had to give up and run like hell to the ladies room. When I returned, not two minutes later, I asked my husband what I’d missed. He answered: Everything.

Cheers to home viewing, and the pause button!

 

Top Five Films of 2019

With only a few hours left on the 2019 clock, I’m finally tackling the difficult job of making my annual best-of list. If you were a politically-disheartened person with a deep love of 1960s period pieces, you probably spent a lot of time at the multiplex in the last twelve months.  I know I did. As usual, when I make my selections, I pick the films I want to watch over and over, set in worlds I wish I could step into. Here they are, my Top Five Films of 2019 in ranking order:

1. Long Shot

Long Shot

Part political satire, part romantic comedy, Long Shot demands repeat viewing. The second the credits roll, I yearn to press play again. I want to watch a movie where a strong, fierce woman leads our country, champions the environment, and stands up to corrupt narcissistic men. I want to root for a heroine who’s vulnerable enough to let a kind, funny, unexpected hero crack through that tough exterior. I want to believe in a world where anything still seems possible. I want to believe we’re going to be okay.

 

2. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This film combines three of my biggest pop-culture obsessions: 1960s Los Angeles, the Manson Murders, and a shirtless Brad Pitt. This is a love letter to a world that maybe never existed, or if it did, only existed in a drunken fantasy. California Dreamin’, indeed.

 

3. Parasite

Parasite

This film about class conflict nearly gave me a heart attack almost a dozen different times. I can tell you nothing else about it, other than you need to watch it. With a peach cocktail and a defibrillator.

 

4. Knives Out

Knives Out

I’m including Knives Out mostly for the stellar production design. If only I could live in this mansion full of dollhouses, books, weird ephemera, and secret passages. Yes, the whodunnit script is marvelous, and the cast is incredible, but let’s be clear- I’m here for the house.

 

5. Ford v Ferrari

Ford V Ferrari

Hot cars, hot men, and an impressive array of 1960s sunglasses. I’m sold.

 

*Honorable mention goes to the following films, all of which I also loved:

Jojo Rabbit / Dolemite is my Name / Echo in the Canyon / Joker /  Yesterday /  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood / Marriage Story / Uncut Gems