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Waiting for Guffman

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Image credit: Waiting for Guffman, 1996

I seriously cannot contain my excitement for the new Christopher Guest film Mascots (releasing this week on Netflix). What has me even more excited is that fact that Guest is reviving his greatest character, Corky St. Clair from this week’s film Waiting for Guffman (DVD/Download). I thought I knew funny when I saw Best in Show….. but then I saw Guffman. To this day, no other movie has made me laugh as hard. I think it’s high time for a repeat viewing. Everybody Dance!

Being someone who personally cringes at the idea of musical theater, it’s always a joy for me to see a movie that mocks those who take it so seriously. No theater troupe is quite as pathetic as the local group seen in this movie. Uncoordinated, cross-eyed, delusional, they still believe that a hot shot producer will see their play Red, White, and Blaine and bring them to Broadway. Because that’s what every New Yorker wants to see- a musical about a crappy town in Missouri (literally- their claim to fame is a stool boom).The casting session is not to be missed, nor the choreography work in Corky’s apartment. And as the cherry on this absurd crown, Red, White, and Blaine toes that perfect line between absolutely ridiculous and surprisingly kind of…. good (even if there is no swimming in the show).

Legend has it that town founder Blaine Fabin was looking for California, but after detecting the scent of salt water he mistakenly settled in Missouri. Obviously, there was a lot of hubbub over this salt water. Salt has become a trendy ingredient in cocktails, balancing out the bitter flavors of some drinks in a really interesting way. While watching Waiting for Guffman, I recommend drinking a Salt Water cocktail.

Salt Water

1 oz Gin

¼ oz Amaretto

½ oz lemon juice

1 tbsp apples, diced into small pieces (+ 1 slice for garnish)

Pinch of Fleur de Sal seasalt

Prosecco, chilled

Muddle apples and salt together in the bottom of a champagne flute. Then add lemon juice and muddle further. Add the gin and amaretto. Top with prosecco, and garnish with an apple slice.


Guffman was the start of Guest’s collaboration with many of his now-regulars (such as Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, etc.) and I’m so happy to see most of them returning for Mascots. If Corky hasn’t found Broadway success yet, well I’m just goin’ home and I’m gonna bite my pillow. Cheers!

The House of Yes

Image Credit Miramax Films, The House of Yes, 1997

Image Credit Miramax Films, The House of Yes, 1997

Happy early-Thanksgiving to all the Cinema Sips readers out there! I’m still recovering from the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan-athon last year (I maybe shouldn’t have had the brilliant idea to photograph and consume all the week’s drinks at once), so this year I’m just sharing one film- though it is absolutely one of my favorite Thanksgiving films. In The House of Yes (DVD/Download), no actual Thanksgiving food gets consumed, though there is the offer of “raw” cranberry sauce and croissants. I kind of love this, since admittedly I do not actually cook much on the big day (thank heavens for Texas BBQ take-out!). At any rate, less time in the kitchen means more time for movies and drinks later on. And that is certainly something to be thankful for!

The House of Yes is a dark comedy about one very dysfunctional family’s Thanksgiving holiday. Adapted from a stage play and directed by Mark Waters (of Mean Girls fame), this little indie gem from 1997 features Parker Posey in one of her best roles as a Jackie-O obsessed lunatic who has, ahem, a very close relationship with her twin brother (played brilliantly by the totally underrated Josh Hamilton). He brings home his new fiancé, and the family pretty much goes off the deep end. To top it off, a hurricane hits their town of McLean, Virginia, the power goes out, and they’re left with nothing but Liebfraumilch and dueling piano-playing to entertain themselves. I have to apologize to viewers out there for the presence of Tori Spelling as the fiancé. She garnered a well-deserved Razzie nomination for her performance, and that about says it all.

One of my favorite scenes is when Jackie and her brother Marty have a contest to see who can drink the most rum and Pepsi in a short amount of time. This actually sounds like one of those bizarre, bored-sibling holiday rituals that turns out to be amazingly fun.  So without further ado, my drink this week is of course Rum & Pepsi. (Watch the movie, you’ll see why I had to do it.)

Rum & Pepsi

1 oz Rum

3 oz Pepsi

Ice (don’t forget the ice!)

Styrofoam cups (A real glass is fine if you’re trying to save the environment, like me.  Baby steps)

Pour the rum and Pepsi over ice into a cup or glass. Or, do like Jackie-O and Marty and chug straight from the bottles.


Like I said, this film is pretty dark, and not exactly family-friendly. But since I always have a quiet Thanksgiving at home with my husband, I can watch twisted films like this. I’m sure everybody out there thinks that their family is a little weird, but take comfort in the fact that your family is probably not as weird as this one. When mom starts to hide the kitchen knives and your brother has to hide the bullets, then you know you’ve got problems. Cheers!

p.s.- the festive cocktail napkin in the above photo was crafted by my very talented mother!  Thanks mom 🙂


Best in Show

Best in Show, Columbia Pictures

Best in Show, Columbia Pictures

Today in my house we’re celebrating the birthday of my furry kiddo, Miss Pickles Marie Hasselhoff. She is our beloved border collie, and she’s turning 5 today.  I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put on her favorite movie, Best in Show. It’s one of my favorites too- how convenient! This is one of those films I never get tired of seeing, no matter how many times I’ve watched it. Really, what is funnier than a mockumentary about fancy schmancy dog shows and the people that frequent them? Nothing. We like to throw a birthday party for Pickles each year to let her know how special she is to us, so while she and her furry friends are playing, the humans can enjoy this movie with the accompanying cocktail. A win-win for everyone!

Now, Miss Pickles is of questionable lineage, despite what her very formal name suggests. I don’t think she’d make it into the Mayflower Dog Show, though she would have fun being pampered like these dogs. Sadly, she shares the personality of Weimaraner Beatrice- very neurotic, but we love her anyway. It’s hard to even pinpoint who my favorite character is in this film. Christopher Guest has assembled the funniest improve actors out there to tell this story, and they all make me convulse with insane amounts of laughter. I love Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as the catalog-obsessed, neurotic married couple, almost as much as I love Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins as the gay couple who name their shih tzu’s after 1950’s movie stars and travel with a suitcase full of kimonos. And let’s not forget nut-namin’ dark horse contender Harlan Pepper, played by Guest himself, or the closeted lesbian couple played by Jane Lynch and the brilliant Jennifer Coolidge. In short, the actors are hilarious, the dogs are adorable- it’s no wonder this is such a great film.

For my cocktail pairing, I’m serving up an obvious choice- a Salty Dog. However, in keeping with the spirit of pedigreed, high-class dogs (now keep in mind, I’m in no way talking about their owners) I’m using only the finest ingredients. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, top shelf vodka, and Himalayan pink salt for rimming. But if you want to be all Cookie and Gerry Fleck about it, the cheap vodka you drank in college and Tropicana will do just fine.

The Salty Dog

2 oz vodka

4 oz fresh grapefruit juice

Salt and lime for rimming

Moisten the rim of a highball glass with lime juice, rim with salt. Pour the vodka and grapefruit juice over ice in the glass, and stir.

*Note, this drink can also be made with gin, but I prefer to use vodka.


I’m looking forward to gathering with friends as my four-legged little girl basks in attention, and laughing very, very hard every time Fred Willard is onscreen. What Best in Show does such a good job of satirizing is the phenomenon of dogowners who slowly start to resemble their pets. I have to say in my case, it’s kind of true. My hair has slowly lightened over the years to match Pickles’, and I too get grumpy if strangers try to touch me. So I encourage you to watch this film, drink up, and be amazed at how many times you find yourself saying, “It’s funny because it’s TRUE!” Cheers!