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Revolutionary Road

revolutionary road

Image credit: Revolutionary Road, 2008.

There are some on-screen pairings that are so good, so real, you become desperate to believe the chemistry continues off-screen as well. We saw it more recently with Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, but my personal favorite movie couple will always be Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet. It would shock you to know how much time I’ve spent daydreaming about these two. Fantasizing about a world where they finally, after all these marriages and models, finally end up together IRL. Picturing the secret tears poor Leo must have shed walking Kate down the aisle at her latest wedding, wishing it were him waiting at the altar. It’s true, I have a very active, misguided imagination. Or maybe, they were just too convincing as a married couple in this week’s film Revolutionary Road (Disc/Download).

With any other actors, this film would have been a depressing two-hour slog through 1950s suburbia. Cheating husband, frustrated housewife, unwanted pregnancies—this is what happens when you force people to live in cramped 1950s housing. You think it’ll be all mid-century glamour and kitsch until you realize the bathrooms are the size of a postage stamp. Having to share a tiny pedestal sink—that’s enough to drive any marriage to its breaking point. I say this as someone who lives in a mid-century modern house, and who has actively chosen to remain child-free. Honestly, kids just wouldn’t fit. But Frank and April Wheeler didn’t get the memo. They procreate, and live to regret it. Constantly bickering, trading withering looks and baiting insults, their marriage is a pressure cooker waiting to explode. But the thing is, these two have such great chemistry that even when they’re fighting, you want to watch every second. They may not be a real-life couple, but they’ve managed to generate some of the hottest, most passionate scenes in movie history.

Midway through the film, in a desperate attempt to break them out of their suburban prison, April hatches a plan to move the family to Paris. With her little white gloves and expertly tailored dress, she’s a lady on a mission at the passport office. [Spoiler Alert] She never makes it to Paris, but you sure can with this classic beverage. While watching Revolutionary Road, I recommend drinking a Parisian martini.

Parisian

2 oz Gin

3/4 oz Dry Vermouth

3/4 oz Crème de Cassis

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

parisian

As with most Sam Mendes films, the cinematography and level of acting achievement are unparalleled. Watching Revolutionary Road, you feel transported to 1955 through the costumes, the styling, and yes, those tiny rooms. It’s claustrophobic and electric all at once, making you feel like an uncomfortable participant in the marriage. This may not be a happily-ever-after love story, but I’m still madly in love with it. Cheers!

Away We Go

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Film Title: Away We Go

Image credit: Away We Go, 2009

Sometimes travel has nothing to do with business or pleasure, and everything to do with searching. Searching for a person, or a place, or maybe just a feeling. In Away We Go (DVD/Download), two soon-to-be parents embark on a quest across North America to find perhaps the most important thing of all- Home. As it turns out, this is one of the hardest destinations to find.

Directed by Sam Mendes and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, Away We Go is full of both earnestness and humor. I see myself and so many people I know in these characters, two well-meaning people forced to grapple with this idea of adulthood and finding one’s place in the world. Pregnancy is a catalyst, but don’t mistake this for a She’s Having a Baby type of discourse on parenthood. Instead this is a film about two unique individuals who finally have to grow up and figure out the kind of future they want. Visiting friends and relatives in Phoenix, Madison, Montreal, and Miami, they search for an anchor to tie their boat to. Beautifully shot, with a soundtrack by Alexi Murdoch, this film truly feels like a journey.

Throughout Away We Go, John Krasinski waxes poetic on the allure of the Mighty Mississippi, and wanting to give his child a “Huck Finn” kind of upbringing. It’s a romantic notion, and certainly refreshing in the age of smartphones and videogames. When we finally see the Mississippi in this film, it feels utterly majestic. While watching Away We Go, I recommend drinking a Mighty MissisSip.

Mighty MissisSip

1 ½ oz Light Rum

1 oz Whiskey

3 oz fresh lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

Lemon Twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice, and shake until combined. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

I was in the very fortunate position to decide where I wanted to build a future before I got tied down with responsibility. I knew I didn’t like where I was living at the time (sorry DC), so I considered all the places I’d ever been that had felt like home. Austin won out, and not for a clear-cut reason. Nobody can explain why a certain place feels like home, it just….does. And as much as we want to tell ourselves that home is a person, I’m not sure I believe that. There’s a unique sense of purpose and hope that one feels when they look around and realize they’ve discovered the place where they belong. Like the characters in Away We Go, I’m grateful to have found mine. Cheers!