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Tag Archives: Steve Carell

Dan in Real Life

Dan in Real Life

Image credit: Dan in Real Life, 2007

Fall is my favorite time of year, and not just because we’re finally entering Oscar-bait season at the multiplex. Rather, it’s a time I get to sit around my fire pit, drink spiced cocktails, and read a good book. If you’re looking for this feeling in cinema form, look no further than this week’s film Dan in Real Life (DVD/Download). Well-acted, well-written, and with enough charm to rival my favorite pair of fuzzy socks, it’ll put you in a seasonal mood in no time.

Dan in Real Life stars Steve Carell as a widowed advice columnist with three lovely, slightly resentful daughters. He takes his brood up to the family compound in Rhode Island for a weekend of crossword puzzles, pancakes, and chilly walks on the beach, only to be met with glares from his kids, pity from his siblings, and mild reproach from his parents. But then he encounters Juliette Binoche in a charming bookstore meet-cute and they hit it off like gangbusters…. until he realizes she’s already dating his brother. With a wonderful supporting cast including Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney, Alison Pill, and even Dane Cook in a surprisingly good performance, the movie sparkles with a rare combo of intelligence and sentimentality. I find myself wanting to be a long-lost cousin, visiting their lovely New England home for just a day. Even if it means I have to sleep in the laundry room.

A movie this sweet deserves a perfect Fall cocktail to go with it. There’s nothing that says Autumn quite like spiced apples, so while watching Dan in Real Life, I recommend drinking an Autumn Apple Sipper.

Autumn Apple Sipper

2 oz Dry Hard Cider

1 oz Sweet Retreat Apple Pie Liqueur

1/2 oz Spiced Rum

1 oz Honeycrisp Apple Cider

Pinch of Cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a mug over ice, stirring gently to combine. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon.

Steve Carell is the rare comic actor who is equally talented in dramatic roles, and Dan in Real Life is the perfect showcase for both sides of this coin- he’s at once charming and morose, funny and forlorn. I guarantee his rendition of “Let My Love Open the Door” will break your heart, just a little. If you think by now you’ve seen everything this guy can do, plan to be surprised. Cheers!

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Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Image credit: Crazy, Stupid, Love,  2011

Now that the world has officially fallen in love with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land, I think it’s high time to revisit their first onscreen meet cute in Crazy, Stupid, Love (DVD/Download).  This was a fantastic ensemble film written by This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman, and fans of the TV show will see a lot of similarities. Humor, family dynamics, and soaring speeches about love abound, with a cast that just exudes greatness. Sound familiar?

Like Cher Horowitz, my main thrill in life is a makeover.  Thus I swoon when Ryan Gosling, playing a stylish, smooth talking womanizer, decides to treat Steve Carell’s dumpy divorcee dad to an image rehab. Eventually, they both realize that better clothes, manly cocktails, and bar hook-ups don’t result in a happier life. Without the women they love, they’re nothing. While Steve Carell goes through the biggest transition, it’s even more fun to watch Ryan Gosling meet his match in Emma Stone. Finally, a woman who doesn’t fall for his pick-up lines and fancy moves. Well, except for his big Dirty Dancing move. Can we blame her??

This is a perfect film to watch with a cocktail because so much of the dating action takes place in a bar.  As part of the bachelor-in-training process, Ryan Gosling impresses upon his student the importance of a manly cocktail, NOT drunk through a straw. And I’m happy to report that not only is Gosling funny, charming, and gorgeous in this, but he also makes a mean Old Fashioned. Be still my heart! While watching Crazy, Stupid, Love, I recommend drinking an Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned

1 ½ oz Bourbon

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 sugar cube

Dash of plain water

Orange twist

Maraschino cherry

Place sugar cube in an old fashioned glass and saturate with bitters, adding a dash of plain water. Muddle until sugar is dissolved. Fill the glass with a large ice cube, and add bourbon. Garnish with an orange twist and maraschino cherry (optional).

old-fashioned

If you’re a sucker for romantic comedies like I am, this movie will remind you of why being in love is so great. It’s messy, and yeah at times crazy and stupid, but when a someone has the courage to go big or go home, it’s a pretty incredible thing to behold. Cheers!