RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Tim Burton


Posted on
Image credit: Beetlejuice, 1988

This week, I’m proud to say I conquered a major fear. In re-watching Beetlejuice (Disc/Download), I confronted one of my life’s main recurring nightmares, in which I’m walking through a Caligari-esque hallway of doors, not sure what’s on the other side. Is it a sandworm? Is it a room full of ugly post-modern Michael Graves furniture? Is it Michael Keaton in racoon clown makeup? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve woken up screaming in the last thirty years.

Speaking of Michael Keaton, I don’t even want to admit how old I was before I realized that the same actor played Mr. Mom, Batman, AND aggressive bio-exorcist Beetlejuice. The man is a chameleon. Revisiting this movie as an adult, it’s amazing to see the high-caliber cast director Tim Burton pulled together. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play ghosts trying to force a brash New York family (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara giving MAJOR Moira Rose vibes) out of their charming Connecticut home. Winona Ryder plays the goth daughter of the interlopers, with stellar lines such as “My whole life is a dark room.” Same, girl. Eventually getting more and more desperate, the ghosts call on Beetlejuice to help them drive the city slickers away for good, which causes more problems than they’d bargained on. The special effects and makeup are pretty impressive, and a big part of what makes this movie so fun for kids (unless you were a scaredy-cat like me). But as an adult, I’m still terrified of the afterlife’s waiting room. It’s more of an existential fear than a jump scare, but still just as effective.

My favorite scenes include some delightful Harry Belafonte calypso tracks, so we may as well “Jump in the Line” with this Caribbean-inspired cocktail. With a green tint that matches Beetlejuice’s hair, this will definitely put you in the mood for Halloween hijinks. While watching Beetlejuice, I recommend drinking this Day-O the Dead cocktail.

Day-O the Dead

1 ½ oz Rhum Agricole (or silver rum)

1 oz Midori

1 oz Lime Juice

1 ½ oz Pineapple Juice

¼ oz Coconut Cream

Gummi worms for garnish

Combine Rhum, Midori, lime and pineapple juices, and coconut cream in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a gummi worm.

Although the live action Beetlejuice scared the bejeezus out of me as a small child, I had a standing date with the animated series for many years. I guess cartoon poltergeists are just less threatening. And Lydia, oh Lydia—you have my dark heart forever. Cheers!


Posted on

Joker with cocktail

Image Credit: Batman, 1989

If we’re still looking at gender as being a binary concept, then I guess Cinema Sips has always had a bit of a female bias (yes, yes, I like pink drinks and rom-coms- what a crime). However this month, I’ll be shaking things up by watching movies with “man” in the title.  They may include films I’ve rolled my eyes at, checked my phone during, and thought, God there needs to be more women in this. But maybe with a cocktail, I’ll feel more generous. Kicking things off is the classic superhero film Batman (DVD/Download).

Although my heart actually belongs to Batman Returns (don’t get me started on how much I adore Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman), I think it’s important to go back to where the modern superhero film began. Sure, there were some cheesy caped crusader films and TV shows of the 60’s and 70’s, but Tim Burton’s Batman ushered in a new era of artistry. Suddenly, the audience was seeing dark, mesmerizing cinematography, lavish production design, and genuinely good acting in place of all the onomatopoeias. Michael Keaton brings a level of humanity to an iconic character that has never been matched since, and Jack Nicholson’s manic Joker performance manages to be fun and frightening all at once. And by frightening, I’m referring of course to his purple satin chef’s hat.

Speaking of the Joker, his nefarious plot to poison the citizens of Gotham through make-up and hairstyling products is pretty genius. Funniest scene: news anchors, afraid to use any products, showing up on the air looking like they were just on a 3-day bender. In tribute to the Joker and his crazy style, I recommend drinking a Smilex Surprise.

Smilex Surprise

1 ½ oz Smirnoff Grape Vodka

½ tsp grape Kool-Aid (for color)

½ oz lime juice

Club Soda

Fresh Limes

Build drink over ice, stirring gently to combine and dissolve Kool-Aid powder. Garnish with fresh lime slices.


I’ve always found Batman to be the most fascinating of superheroes because at the end of the day, he’s simply a rich guy with gadgets and extensive martial arts training. He’s a human being who struggles with the same dichotomy that most of us feel from time to time, like we’re one person to the world at large, and someone totally different to ourselves and those close to us.  Michael Keaton really makes you feel this struggle, with nary a nipple in sight.  Many Batmen have come and gone, but if you’re like me, you never forget your first. Cheers!

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Posted on

Pee Wee

Image Credit: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, 1985

If you haven’t watched the new Netflix movie Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday yet- what are you waiting for?? While I thought it was tons of fun, and definitely satisfied my craving for silly jokes and Rube Goldberg machines, I’ll always hold a special fondness for the original cult classic Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (DVD/Download).

An epic road movie about the search for a missing bicycle, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is Pee-Wee Herman at his finest. Directed by Tim Burton, the film takes the wacky children’s TV show and essentially releases it out into the wild. From this, we got Texas jokes galore – THE STARS AT NIGHT, ARE BIG AND BRIGHT!!!- as well as everybody’s favorite truck-drivin’ ghost Large Marge. Quite frankly, I don’t blame Pee-Wee for embarking on his cross-country quest to recover the stolen bike. Have you seen the bike?? Bad Ass. Getting another one would be as easy as taking a stroll through the basement of the Alamo.

Because Pee-Wee represents the silly child in all of us, I have to assume he’d be drinking perhaps the silliest-named cocktail I’ve ever encountered- The Swizzle. Like his intricate and ingenious contraptions, this drink has endless variations, but I’m using tequila as the base spirit in a nod to his famous biker bar scene. While watching Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, I recommend drinking a Tequila Swizzle. (*Side Note:  If you’re watching Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, stick with an adult root beer such as Not Your Father’s Root Beer® ).

Tequila Swizzle

1 tablespoons sugar

1/2 oz lime juice

2 oz Gold Tequila

Orange Bitters

Club Soda

Muddle sugar and lime juice in the bottom of a glass. Add tequila, and fill the glass with shaved ice. Top with club soda, and 5 dashes orange bitters. Garnish with a straw and any other fun stir rods you might have.  And maybe a light-up ice cube :-).

tequila swizzle

To be honest I’m getting a little overwhelmed by all the reboots of movies/TV shows from my childhood. However, I can’t deny my excitement over a new Pee-Wee Herman film. The man knows how to make me giggle. But to all the Hollywood executives out there- pretty please, let the Ernest movies rest in peace. Cheers!

Edward Scissorhands

Posted on


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox, 1990, Edward Scissorhands

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox, 1990, Edward Scissorhands

This week, my film selection was inspired by some drinkware accessories my husband crafted. His company Heartless Machine was contracted to make some amazing scissor sculptures for a failed NBC pilot, and part of the collection included scissors that hook onto cocktail glasses. I liked them so much that I convinced him to make a few extras, so I am now the proud owner of some very dangerous barware! What better movie to go along with these sharp scissors than Edward Scissorhands (DVD/Download)?

Released in 1990, Edward Scissorhands was the first collaboration between filmmaker Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. The story is about a boy who was invented by an eccentric, loving man, but before he could get his real hands and become a full human, the inventor died. Years later, the boy (by now a young man) is found living alone in the inventor’s castle by a kind Avon lady. She brings him home to her suburban house, where he falls in love with the family’s daughter (played by Winona Ryder). In the suburbs, Edward is at first a beloved novelty, sculpting hedges and creating wacky asymmetrical hairdos for all the ladies, but eventually the neighbors turn on him and he is forced to return to isolation. There are definite influences from old monster movies, as well as a great commentary on suburban life. I love Tim Burton movies for their wild production and costume design, and this movie was no exception. The neighborhood houses, though simple and plain in design, are painted in bright pastel colors to make them look even more fake than the people inside them. Johnny Depp is nearly unrecognizable in this, playing his role a bit like Charlie Chaplin with a learning disorder. I’m willing to overlook the filmmakers’ poor choice of hair color for Winona Ryder because the movie is so good, but seriously, strawberry blonde is definitely not her color.

One of my favorite scenes is when Alan Arkin takes Edward down to the basement for a drink. I can practically smell the mustiness as they descend the rickety wooden staircase, but the dad of this eccentric family has fashioned a pretty great lounge area in the corner. Sure, it’s a little sad that he has to hide it in the basement, but I love the padded freestanding bar with its vintage lights and plentiful liquor bottles. He serves Edward “lemonade”- the brown variety, which knocks him out cold. My cocktail this week is definitely not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not actual lemonade, though it does contain lemon juice. When watching Edward Scissorhands, I recommend drinking a chilled glass of “Lemonade”.


3 oz Amaretto

1.5 oz Bourbon

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon simple syrup

Lemon Peel for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add the liquid ingredients. Shake vigorously to blend and chill. Add fresh ice cubes to a glass, and strain the mixture into the glass. Rub a lemon peel around the rim of the glass to release the oils, then drop it into the drink to serve.


I know I’m lucky to be married to a metalworker who can turn my barware from ho-hum to seriously cool, and I’m lobbying for him to put some of these scissor accessories up for sale on his website, . But until that happens, enjoy your “lemonade” with or without sharp edges and revel in this beautiful story of a misunderstood man. After seeing what Edward can do with hair styling and ice sculpture, I can’t help but think of all the other uses for those scissor hands. Cutting up limes and lemons for cocktail hour perhaps? A girl can dream. Cheers!