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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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secret life of walter mitty

Image credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

When I started on my journey with Campari, I had no idea where it would take me. But as is so often the case, when you venture into the unknown, great things can happen. Such was my experience watching this week’s film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (DVD/Download). The classic film fan in me wanted to put this Ben Stiller remake in a large box labeled ‘why???’, but then I sat down and watched it. And loved it.  And wanted to tell everyone I know about it. So here we are.

What The Secret Life of Walter Mitty does so well is incorporate special effects in a way that’s, well, special. Life magazine employee Walter Mitty seems to enjoy a rather mundane existence cataloging negatives, but deep inside his head he’s got the ultimate blockbuster on constant stream. Only within his daydreams do we see buildings blowing up, crazy fight sequences, and luscious Tom Cruise hair. But then slowly, in a way you don’t even notice it’s happening, Walter’s life becomes actually exciting, and magic, and it’s not all a celluloid trick.  It’s real. Ben Stiller does an amazing job both as a director and actor, bringing relatability to this character who has me wondering if maybe I need to take more risks- to see behind walls, to draw closer, to feel.

Taking inspiration from Walter’s mom’s clementine cake, beloved by warlords and Sean Penn alike, this cocktail is the perfect beverage to toast the adventurer’s spirit.  While watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I recommend drinking a Clementine Negroni.

Clementine Negroni

1 clementine, peeled

3 dashes orange bitters

1.5 oz gin

1.5 oz Campari

1.5 oz sweet vermouth

Clementine Twist for Garnish

Place peeled clementine and orange bitters in a shaker and muddle until clementines are broken down and pulpy. Add gin, Campari, vermouth, and ice. Shake vigorously to chill, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a clementine twist.

In a way, I often feel like Cinema Sips is my secret life.  Hum-drum publishing accountant by day, mixologist and cinephile by night, this blog has always felt like an opportunity to reveal more of myself; to find the ‘special’.  And maybe, when my readers take the time to watch these films, and enjoy a well-mixed beverage, they’ll find it too.  Cheers!

Top Five Movie Remakes

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I know I often rant and rave about how tired I am of beloved Hollywood films being dusted off and repackaged for today’s audiences, but sometimes lightning does strike twice.  It’s rare, and in fact, I could not think of more than 5 films that managed the remake successfully.  Everything else just makes me want to drink, even more than I already do.  Here is my list of Top Five Movie Remakes (note:  sequels and classic lit adaptations are not included on this list-  we all know Pride and Prejudice will continue to be done to death, in many iterations, for centuries to come.  That’s just the way it is).

1. Ocean’s Eleven

Image credit: Ocean's Eleven, 2001

Image credit: Ocean’s Eleven, 2001

This film is sort of the holy grail of movie remakes.  Steven Soderbergh managed to turn a moldy Rat Pack lark into one of the greatest caper films of all time.  Who needs Sinatra when you’ve got Clooney?  It’s a tough choice between this one and The Italian Job (also a remake), but since they’re basically the same movie, I must choose Danny Ocean’s crew.  Every time.

2.  Sabrina

Image credit: Sabrina, 1995

Paris is always a good idea.  Even when it’s with Julia Ormond instead of my beloved Audrey.

3.  You’ve Got Mail

Image credit: You've Got Mail, 1998

Image credit: You’ve Got Mail, 1998

As much as I love The Shop Around the Corner, I have to give credit to Nora Ephron for turning a classic Jimmy Stewart film into a perfect modern romantic comedy.  Bookstores and Brinkley- I’m hooked.

4.  True Grit

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

Image credit: True Grit, 2010

I am NOT a fan of Westerns, yet even I couldn’t resist this Coen Bros. update of a John Wayne classic.  Jeff Bridges was born to play Rooster Cogburn, maybe the greatest name in the history of names (sorry, Dude).

5.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

Image Credit: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013

I went into this one with zero expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.  The Danny Kaye version is beloved by classic movie buffs, but Ben Stiller makes it his own here.  It may have flown under the radar upon its release, but as a grizzled Sean Penn says, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”