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Cocktails and Movies: Part 1

Some of my Favourite Movies (And What to Drink When Watching Them)

Bean The Movie

Directed by Mel Smith
Starring: Rowan Atkinson and Peter MacNicol

Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean: The man who is the ultimate child in all of us. Innately naive, he bumbles through life unaware (for the most part) of all the havoc he brings to everything and everyone around him.

Peter MacNicol as David Langley: The over zealous museum curator who tries too hard to please, and as a result he suffers anxiety and stress not only at work but at home where his slightly dysfunctional family is trying to cope with life in LA.

Bean The Movie is an absolute riot… if you ‘get’ the humour of Rowan Atkinson. I get it, and I was actually was afraid to drink soda at the theater while watching. This is because the antics of Bean are so funny I was afraid that I would unexpectedly laugh and have soda shoot out my nose.

My Movie Pairing:   The Lime Fizz (Gin)
For this movie I like a simple but fun Cocktail. I decided an English comedy deserves a drink made from that quintessential English spirit, Gin. The Lime Fizz seemed to fit the bill. (Just pause the movie before each sip.)

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Directed by John Ford
Starring: James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles  and Lee Marvin

James Stewart as Ransom Stoddard; the  attorney who is as courageous as he is  naive and  gangly. He  serves as the hinge-pin of change in a western town that is trying to move out of the Wild West and into a new era.

John Wayne as Tom Doniphon: An ex soldier who represents the Old West and all of its values. His is a tragic figure whose role in the evolution of the western town was crucial, but whose contributions and bravery were quickly forgotten.

Vera Miles as Hallie Stoddard: The love interest of both Ransom and Doniphon who represents the Western town which must choose between the old ways and the new. Her choice would have an uplifting effect on one man and a devastating effect on the other.

Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance: The despicable outlaw who represents the lawlessness of the Wild West. He preys on the weak and avoids the strong as he terrorizes the town of  Shinbone.

This movie is truly one of the great Western films. Each character is symbolic of the changes and the choices which were to move the Western Territories  forward to Statehood (from the Wild West to Civilization). By the time Statehood is reached, something brave and noble has been lost forever. We are reminded that even when great good is accomplished, great loss is usually suffered along the way.

My Movie Pairing:  Old Fashioned (with Canadian Rye Whisky)
Somehow it only seems right to watch dusty westerns with dusty rye.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Directed by Stephen Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies and Paul Freeman

Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones: Adventurer and  scholar, he is just roguish enough to make every man want to be him, and every women want to be with him.

Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood:  She comes off early as tough and no-nonsense, but quickly ends up in over her head as the evil Nazis plot to rule the world. Marion is not so much Indiana’s love interest as she is the “women in distress” to push his character forward towards roguish heroism.

John Rhys-Davies as Salla: As Indiana’s confidant in Egypt, Sallah is to Indie as Tonto was to the Lone Ranger. He is there to help but not to do anything that would overshadow Indiana’s heroics.

Paul Freeman as Belloq: In a movie of one-dimensional characters, Belloq as the main villain has more depth than any of the heroes. He could have been Indiana Jones except he puts profit over scholarship. He is villainous, but he is clearly a subordinate villain to the omnipresent evilness of the Nazis.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie based purely on action and adrenaline. A cast of one-dimensional characters in a movie that is really a western in disguise. You can’t help but love Indiana Jones, and you can’t help but hate the evil Nazis. A nice plot twist at the end takes a nice jab at government and bureaucratic waste (and serves to whet the appetite for a sequel which ironically never followed up on the ending).

My Movie Pairing: The Celebration Cocktail
This is a classic ‘fun’ cocktail, just like the movie!

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The Gods Must be Crazy

Directed by Jamie Uys
Starring: N!xau, Marius Weyers and Sandra Prinsloo

N!xau: as Xi: a member of a small tribe of bushmen who is tasked with ridding the world of a most evil artifact of the Gods, (a coca cola bottle). He represents humanity unspoiled. He is Adam in the Garden of Eden before eating of the tree of forbidden coke bottles er… I mean  forbidden fruit.

Marius Weyers and  Sandra Prinsloo as Kate Thompson; one a bumbling scientist/biologist and the other an idealistic new school teacher who represent the inevitable encroachment of civilization upon the Kalihari Desert (Eden) and its people.

In The Gods Must Be Crazy we see a collision of cultures where three well-intentioned individuals get caught in a the middle of a conflict between the Botswana government and nearby guerrilla forces. The movie is thought-provoking and hilarious each in very unexpected ways.

Suggested Movie Pairing: Sparkling Cola Cocktail
For this movie we need a drink that can be as charming and as fun as the movie!

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A Patch of Blue

Directed by Guy Green
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Hartman,  Shelley Winters and Wallace Ford

Sidney Poitier as Gordon Ralfe: the educated black man who is trying to be seen for who is rather than for the colour of his skin. He symbolizes the struggle of Black America in the 60s at a time when the Civil Rights movement was just hitting its stride.

Elizabeth Hartman as Selina D’Arcey: the blind teen-aged girl who represents an idealistic new America. She cannot judge anyone by the color of their skin because she is blind. She can ‘see’ the goodness and decency in Gordon that others refuse to see.

Shelley Winters and Wallace Ford as Rose-Ann D’Arcey and Ol Pa: Selina’s prostitute mother and her old grandfather represent the two faces of old America, the part of America that refuses out of bigotry to change, and that part of America that cannot change due to fear.

A Patch of Blue is a powerful and tragic movie. It was produced at a time when racial tensions were high and featured politically charged scenes of  Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Hartman kissing (which were edited out of the movies for showing in many theaters in the Southern United States). Shelley Winters proved herself as a great actress with a performance for the ages as Rose-Ann Darcy, Selina’s mother.

Suggested Movie PairingHemmingway Daiquiri
A movie such as this deserves a cocktail with as much class and character as the movie.

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