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Tag Archives: River Phoenix

Stand By Me

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Image credit: Stand By Me, 1986

It’s official—pie season is upon us. Although I think most of us can agree that Waitress is the ultimate pie movie to watch during the lead-up to Thanksgiving, there’s another film that highlights the true American struggle of eating a ton of baked goods in a short amount of time, while trying not to barf. From the brilliant, twisted mind of Stephen King comes this week’s Cinema Sips pick, Stand By Me (Disc/Download).

Directed by Rob Reiner, this adaptation of a King short story centers on four twelve-year-old boys who go in search of the dead body of a missing teen. With their bedrolls, canteens, and comb (thanks, Vern), they follow the train tracks from their tiny Oregon town into the wilderness. Along the way, they encounter a river full of leeches, a junkyard dog named Chopper, and a scary group of high school hoodlums (led by a menacing Kiefer Sutherland). River Phoenix is magnetic as Chris, the smart delinquent who’s protective of his sensitive friend Gordie (Wil Wheaton), while Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman provide some much needed comic relief. This coming-of-age story is funny, poignant, and incredibly relatable, even for those of us who didn’t grow up at the tail end of the 1950s. I think we all remember what it felt like to have schoolyard friendships that seemed like they’d last forever, but in hindsight were always destined to be temporary.

Now, back to pies. Proving his talent for storytelling, Gordie spins a fantastic yarn around the campfire about the sweet, sweet taste of revenge. In his story, a bullied teen gets back at the cruel townsfolk who taunted him by entering a pie-eating contest. Things are going well, until halfway through… well I won’t spoil it, but maybe finish your slice of pie before you watch this movie. Inspired by the gorgeous blueberry pies poor “Lardass” sinks his face into, while watching Stand By Me, I’ll be drinking this Blueberry Pie Martini.

Blueberry Pie Martini

2 oz Blueberry Vodka

½ oz Vanilla Vodka

½ oz Orange Liqueur

½ oz Blueberry Simple Syrup

1 oz Lime Juice

Fresh Blueberries (Garnish)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with blueberries.

2020 has been tough on us all. If you’re like me, maybe you’ve found yourself reaching out to friends you haven’t talked to in a long time, checking in, making sure they’re okay. As Stand By Me shows, just because you may have lost touch with someone doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for the part they played in your life. After all, someone had to bring the comb. Cheers!

The Thing Called Love

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Image Credit: The Thing Called Love, 1993

Image Credit: The Thing Called Love, 1993

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am hopeless when it comes to trashy television dramas. The O.C., Gossip Girl, Scandal– I’ve watched them all. One of my current guilty pleasures is the show Nashville, which my husband refuses to sit through because in his words, “All the men look the same, and I can’t tell anyone apart.” I have to admit, he’s kinda right; however, I’ll watch Connie Britton in just about anything, so I keep tuning in week after week. Now that the last season is over and my TV has gone dormant for the summer, I’ll have to get my romance and country music fix elsewhere- which brings me to this week’s film The Thing Called Love (DVD/Download). If you haven’t seen it, this Peter Bogdanovich 90’s classic is essentially what Nashville the TV show wishes it could be. No gimmicks, no flashy Christina Aguillera-casting, just good music and hot guys. Hello Music City!

The Thing Called Love follows young singer-songwriter Miranda Presley (no relation) on her journey from New York to Nashville. Between waiting tables at the Bluebird Café, spontaneously marrying bad boy musician James (played by River Phoenix, in his last completed film role) and rooming with a young Sandra Bullock at a disco-themed motel, she learns what it takes to write a great song. The songs for the film were written by stellar real-life country musicians, and actually performed by the actors themselves (a rarity in Hollywood). River Phoenix is so charismatic in his role, and it’s truly heartbreaking to realize this was the last one. Like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause- you watch wondering all the while what might have been.

My sources tell me that one of the essential drinks in Nashville is the Bushwacker. Originally invented in Pensacola, FL, bars of Nashville have somewhat adopted it as their own. This is a great one to sip as the weather heats up, and perfect for the film because you know Linda Lou Linden was downing these every night. Actually, her beauty pageant dress kind of reminds me of this white frothy concoction. While watching The Thing Called Love, I recommend drinking a Bushwacker.


2 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur

1 oz dark rum

1 oz crème de cacao

4 oz cream of coconut

4 oz half-and-half

2 scoops Vanilla ice cream

Whipped Cream

Maraschino cherry

Pour liquid ingredients into a blender with a cup of crushed ice, and blend until mixed. Pour into a glass, then top with whipped cream and a cherry.


There are a lot of variations of this drink, so feel free to add in Amaretto, Vodka, and/or Baileys Irish Cream, depending on how boozy you like your beverages (this could turn into the Tennessee version of last week’s Long Island Iced Tea if you really wanted it to). I’ve never actually been to Nashville, but this movie (and this drink!) make me want to go. Don’t worry though, I’d never be drunk enough to shout from rooftops or audition at the Bluebird. The ears of Nashville are safe. Cheers!