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The Endless Summer

the endless summer

Image credit: The Endless Summer, 1966.

No, this week’s film is not about the Groundhog Day-esque hellscape that is Texas in August/September (although, LORD does this summer feel endless). Rather, it’s a documentary about two surfers in the 1960’s who chased the waves from California to Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific. The Endless Summer (Download) is both an explanation of surf culture, and a meditation on why it endures.

Featuring surf rock by The Sandals, a cheeky narration style, and painterly shots of beautiful beaches, The Endless Summer is instantly transporting. Watching this film, I feel like I’m experiencing the mid-60’s like never before. The hair, the cars, the music, the suits on airplanes—I love it all. For 90 minutes I’m mesmerized watching these men balance on boards that cut through the water like butter; waves rolling over them, pounding, punishing, and still they get up and do it again, all in search of that one perfect ride. When they find it, and the wave goes on forever, it’s a powerful moment. Surfing will never be the same for me.

Another thing I love about this film is that it speaks to the adventurer in all of us.  Who wouldn’t want to imagine themselves on a deserted South African beach, or sitting on Oahu watching death-defying surfers face off against the great waves of Waimea?  Obviously, when I picture myself in these scenarios, I’m enjoying a fabulous cocktail.  While watching The Endless Summer, I recommend drinking a Waimea Sunset.

Waimea Sunset

1 ½ oz Reposado Tequila

¼ oz Aperol

¼ oz Lime Juice

2 oz Grapefruit Juice

¼ oz Grenedine

2 oz club soda

Grapefruit twist

Combine Tequila, Aperol, Lime and Grapefruit juices, and Grenedine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Add club soda, and gently shake back and forth once to combine. Strain into a glass filled with ice, and garnish with a twist of grapefruit.

Waimea Sunset

I’ll be honest, when I think of surfers, I tend to stereotype them all as Spicoli– a long-haired burnout who talks slowly and can’t get a real job. But after watching The Endless Summer, I see how much focus and dedication it takes to participate in this sport, almost to the point of obsession. I don’t know what these guys ended up doing in their lives later on, but I like to think that they’re still out there, searching for that one perfect wave. Cheers!

Tropic Thunder

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Image Credit: Tropic Thunder, 2008.

I’m ending Campari Month on a fun note this week, with a tiki cocktail and a film so hilarious it might cause you to shoot rum out your nose. Tropic Thunder (DVD/Download) is full of un-PC moments and plenty of Hollywood digs, which makes it perfect for this negroni-imprisonned aperitif. Movies shouldn’t take themselves too seriously- and neither should Campari.

Directed by Ben Stiller, Tropic Thunder spoofs the making of a Vietnam War film, in all its Creedence-soundtracked glory.  The production takes a strange turn when the actors find themselves in a real-life jungle hostage situation, with nary a craft services table in sight. Starring Stiller as a Tom Cruise-esque washed-up action hero, Jack Black as a drug-addled king of flatulence and prosthetic body suits, and Robert Downey Jr. as a lily-white Australian playing an African-American (he’s the dude who’s playing a dude disguised as another dude), this film skewers everything we’ve come to love and hate about Hollywood blockbusters. Even Tom Cruise himself gets in on the action, nearly unrecognizable as heartless studio boss Les Grossman. And I do mean Gross. Man.

I was lucky enough to tour the ranch on Kaua’i where Tropic Thunder was filmed, and let me tell you- after traipsing through the jungle, covered in red dirt and booty sweat, I was ready for a tiki cocktail back at the hotel. While watching Tropic Thunder, I recommend drinking a Jungle Bird.

Jungle Bird

1 ½ oz dark rum

¾ oz Campari

½ oz simple syrup

1 ½ oz pineapple juice

½ oz lime juice

Pineapple wedge and cherry for garnish

Combine rum, Campari, simple syrup, and juices in a shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake vigorously until chilled, then pour entire mixture into a tumbler. Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

Jungle Bird

I’d like to give a special mention to the fantastically good fake trailers before this film, a sub-genre in cinema that we need more of (see also Kentucky Fried Movie and Grindhouse).  Is the world ready for a Scorcher franchise?  This tipsy lady says HELL YES.  Cheers!

Summer Rental

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Image credit: Summer Rental, 1985

Image credit: Summer Rental, 1985

I ask you this- what is summer without a wacky John Candy movie? BORING! This week, I’m watching classic Candy, in that great Carl Reiner film from the 80’s, Summer Rental (DVD/Download). With plenty of sunburns, fake boobs, drunken pirates, and frozen fish sticks, this movie is what summer’s all about.

In Summer Rental, John Candy plays a burned out air traffic controller who is forced to take a month off for some R&R. He packs up the U-Haul and he and the family head down to Florida. The movie’s plot eventually centers on his quest to try and prove his worth as a man by winning a sailing contest, but the best parts have nothing to do with sailing. Watching John Candy lumber down a crowded beach with his arms full of kids and coolers is hilarious, as are his drunken ramblings with the local pirate/bar owner, played by Rip Torn. I know pirates are kind of scary now (see Captain Phillips) but back in the 80’s they were kindhearted men who sported a cheesy accent and a hook for a hand. As is typical, John Candy’s wife is pretty hot, yet he spends most of the movie ignoring her, sending her into the sympathetic arms of John Larroquette. Also keep an eye out for the girl from the Goonies, and a young Joey “Whoa!” Lawrence. Casting doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

In celebration of fun-loving pirates, vacations, and a man named Candy, I’m featuring a pirate drink that’s tropical-inspired, and rimmed with one of my favorite candy snacks. While watching Summer Rental, I recommend drinking a Barnacle.


1 oz white rum

1 oz Curacao

1 oz pineapple juice

½ oz lime juice

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

1 oz Sprite

Rainbow Nerds candy


First, prepare glass. Rim chilled glass with honey, then nerds. Freeze glass for 30 minutes if necessary to make nerds stick more firmly. Second, prepare the beverage. Combine first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then pour into prepared glass. Top with Sprite.


I think this movie is best known as “the one where John Candy gets a sunburn”. The sunburn is that epic. Skin cancer be damned, sometimes a guy just needs a good base. Add to that a broken leg and a long sleeved sports jersey on a 105-degree day, and it’s one heck of a look. Cheers!

Pirates of Silicon Valley

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Image credit TNT, Pirates of Silicon Valley, 1999

Image credit TNT, Pirates of Silicon Valley, 1999

I had to laugh when I read the recent reports of the Sony e-mail hack. Apparently mega-producer Scott Rudin was in a tizzy over who would direct his new biopic about Steve Jobs. I wondered- doesn’t he know that an AMAZING biopic of Steve Jobs already exists? No, not the 2013 snooze-fest starring Ashton Kutcher. I’m talking about the 1999 TNT original movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (DVD). It’s got everything: hilarious wooden computers, mock turtlenecks galore, atrocious hair extensions, and even Anthony Michael Hall as a CREEPY Bill Gates. If you’re a nerd who enjoys learning about the evolution of home computers and doesn’t mind some laughably bad acting, look no further- this is your movie.

Pirates of Silicon Valley tells the story of how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got their starts in the computer industry, and how they became fast rivals in the high stakes race of consumer technology. Noah Wyle is actually pretty good as innovator and master salesman Steve Jobs, and Anthony Michael Hall plays Bill Gates as a jealous sociopath. Of course, the script doesn’t exactly pull any punches when it comes to Jobs either, portraying him as a demanding, sadistic boss who terrifies all of his employees. If it sounds like the movie is intense, it is- but in a good way. It’s obvious that the filmmakers were trying desperately to turn a boring story about corporate espionage and computer programming into something entertaining for the general public, and for the most part they succeeded. I walked away knowing a little bit more about these two visionaries (like politicians, they’re all crooks!) and felt wildly entertained by the terrible hairpieces most of the actors endure. All in all- I’d call it a made-for-TV success.

My cocktail this week is a play off the title of the movie. While no actual pirates sail across the screen, there are still wicked, unwashed men attempting to steal vast fortunes from one another. What do pirates drink? Rum of course! While watching Pirates of Silicon Valley, I recommend drinking that classic rum tiki cocktail Planter’s Punch, which for this movie I’m re-naming Programmer’s Punch.

Programmer’s Punch

1 ½ oz dark rum

½ oz lime juice

¼ oz simple syrup

2 oz pineapple orange juice

Dash- Angostura Bitters

Seasonal Fruit (for garnish)

Pour all ingredients except bitters into a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour into a highball glass filled with shaved ice, then top with bitters and seasonal fruit.


It’s astonishing to me that Steve Jobs had enough life material to fill a made-for-TV movie long before the invention of the Ipod. As much as I love Noah Wyle and his denim jorts, I do look forward to a follow-up movie about Jobs’ amazing second act. In fact, how great would it be to hire Noah Wyle to play him again?? But pretty please- leave Anthony Michael Hall out of it. I’ve seen enough of his creepy eyes to give me nightmares for weeks. Cheers!