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She’s All That

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She's All That

Image credit: She’s All That, 1999.

Although 1999 was the golden year of teen rom-coms, She’s All That (Disc/Download) was considered THE prom movie. It seemingly had it all—the Cinderella story, reality TV references, teenage coffee addicts, even DJ Usher! This was a movie that popular kids and artsy brains alike could enjoy because there was something for everyone.  Well, everyone except me, that is.  I never quite got on the Freddie Prinz Jr. bandwagon.  I was saving myself for Heath Ledger ;-).

I’m unclear on the actual ages of the actors in this film (and I can’t care enough to do the math), but l’m pretty sure they all had mortgages at the time. As the wife of a high school teacher, I can confidently say, teenagers do not look like the “teenagers” in this movie. Even Rachel Leigh Cook, who might have been under 18 at the time, has a world-wise Audrey Hepburn aura. Maybe that’s why big-man-on-campus Freddie Prinz Jr. falls so hard for the tragic nerd. It’s obvious that underneath all those hair extensions and glasses, this is a girl who will soon be studying abroad in Italy and having an affair with her art history professor. He’s gotta make this happen while she’s still naïve enough to think he’s cool. Even still, by the time prom rolls around and she’s got a sleek hairdo and stylish black prom dress, I sit there thinking, “meh, you could do better, sweetie.”

One of the most misunderstood characters in the history of cinema is Taylor Vaughn, aka. The Popular Villain. She’s obviously overcompensating for some serious insecurities, and we need to cut her some slack. The only goal she seems to have is that of Prom Queen, so really—shouldn’t we just let her have it already? She works hard, giving out lattes to the other students in exchange for their vote (I think the only thing prom nominees handed out at my high school were snide comments behind your back). While watching She’s All That, I recommend drinking a Vote for Taylor! Latte.

Vote for Taylor! Latte

2 oz Rumchata

1 oz Vanilla Vodka

1.5 oz Cold Brew Coffee

1.5 oz Vanilla Soy Milk

Coffee Ice Cubes

Freeze coffee concentrate into ice cubes. Once they are frozen, put in a glass and set aside. Pour Rumchata, Vanilla vodka, cold brew, and soy milk into a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain over prepared glass.

Vote for Taylor Latte

This movie still has a lot of fans, and I think it’s because we like to dream big. We want to believe in unpredictable love and those great movie moments lit by twinkle lights and sequins. And that’s what prom is right? For one night, you get to pretend that you’re the sort of person who goes to balls and kisses the handsome Prinz at the stroke of midnight. Even if you wake up the next day with the same old glasses and paint splatter on your overalls, at least you had the fairy tale. Cheers!

Never Been Kissed

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Never Been Kissed

Image credit: Never Been Kissed, 1999.

Somehow, my life has turned into a Drew Barrymore movie.  I’m a fully grown adult woman about to attend her first prom, 18 years late. Also, I’m really hoping to be kissed by a hot teacher (preferably, the one I’m married to). Am I nervous about the big night?  No- because Never Been Kissed (Disc/Download) is there to show me the way.

In high school, I was totally Josie Grossie. Bad skin, retainer, oily hair, hands permanently attached to a book. Prom was too terrifying a prospect for that girl to handle. But then I grew up, lost the retainer and the zits, got a stylish bob, started writing books in addition to reading them, and realized maybe a big school dance isn’t such a scary thing after all. Drew Barrymore certainly handles it well in this movie, as an adult posing as a high school student for her newspaper. She wears her Shakespearean prom gown with confidence, knowing she’s way past all the pettiness. The mean girls still exist, and they still try and torment her, but the great thing about growing up is that you realize how lame the bullies are. Plus, this lady can legally drink  and they can’t.  That privilege trumps flawless Jessica Alba skin any day.

The prom theme of Never Been Kissed is great literary pairs. This got me thinking about cocktail pairs—those two ingredient drinks that are a perfect combination. High school Elizabeth would have gone for beer, but adult Liz gravitates toward fancy liqueurs. So why not combine the two? While watching Never Been Kissed, I recommend drinking this Pink Satin cocktail.

Pink Satin

1 oz Campari

6 oz IPA beer (I use Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin)

Grapefruit bitters

Fill a highball with ice, and pour in Campari and beer. Stir gently to combine.  Top with a few dashes of grapefruit bitters.

Forever Young

It’s pretty rare in life to get a do-over. Not that I regret my high school experience, but I don’t think there’s a single person out there who wouldn’t like to pass some of their adult knowledge onto their younger self. Personally, I wish seventeen-year-old me would have known the following things:

  • You will never be thinner than you are right now. Enjoy it.
  • Don’t stress about not having a boyfriend. You’ll find your prince charming, and he will make you laugh every single day.
  • It’s okay not to know what you want to be when you grow up.  You’ll figure it out eventually.
  • Turtleneck and a sweatshirt- not a good look.

Cheers!

Footloose

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Footloose

Image credit: Footloose, 1984

I recently got an email from a Cinema Sips reader who politely pointed out that I have zero Kevin Bacon films on this website. I thought surely this can’t be true (six degrees, and all) but she was right! All these years I’ve been ignoring this hunky staple of American cinema and drunken party games. Of all the films in Bacon’s canon, nothing says party quite like Footloose (DVD/Download). After all, the ending is basically one big glitter bomb. Of course it needs a cocktail!

I’ll confess, Footloose has never been one of my favorites. Is it a musical? A teen comedy? A discourse on censorship and the rise of evangelicalism in our country? After watching it again, I’m still not sure what this movie is trying to be. However, Kevin Bacon is a joy to watch in just about anything, and his scenes with Chris Penn always make me smile. As the new kid in town, Bacon’s city-slicker character Ren could have gone the tortured artist route, never connecting with anyone. But immediately, he gets his posse together, and they unite under the goal of overturning the dance ban in backwards, rural Bomont. I couldn’t believe there would ever be a ban on dancing anywhere in America, but research tells me that this was once an actual thing in Oklahoma. Remind me never to go to the midwest Bible Belt- when Beyonce comes on the radio I can’t be held accountable for my actions.

Although the kids in this film are more interested in dancing than drinking, I personally think a little party punch can’t hurt.  While watching Footloose I recommend drinking a Ginger Pop Punch.

Ginger Pop Punch

2 cups apple cider

2 cups ginger beer

2 cups pomegranate juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup vodka

2 cups Prosecco

Fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl with ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Ginger Punch

Footloose is such a celebration of music and dance that despite its shortcomings, it’s easy to see why this film (and its soundtrack) became so iconic. John Lithgow’s conflicted preacher does his best to drag down the entertainment level, but you just can’t stop that music. I know it makes me want to cut loose. Cheers!