There are few things more enjoyable in life than a finely tuned beverage and a movie that you love, or haven’t seen in a while. I haven’t been drinking as much as I used to, mostly due to a lack of funds, a lack of concentration, less desire. At one point in my college years I was drinking a bottle of champagne every time I drank at all, and was obsessed with champagne. I’ve branched out a bit, but I wonder why. I love champagne, it’s bright, bubbly, and the ideal thing to drink regardless of circumstance or situation. But, I digress.
Originally I was going to swoop through the decade and pick out an iconic film from each year, but when I started looking at 1999, I realized that’s where they kept all the good movies. The films of 1999 deserve their own laudatory post all together, so strong and definite was the cinematic output that year, seriously, go look for yourself.
The majority of my friends and acquaintances are young enough that none of them have lost their lives or their careers to alcohol, but in some of them I see it beginning, lingering at the back of our minds. DUIs have just started trickling in, a few too many references to wine and good times popping up on Facebook, a reliance on drink becoming more apparent as people make plans to meet up for the evening. Some of you may be laying off the liquor for a time, and that’s fine, just close your eyes and remember what it feels like, raising your imaginary glass high.
The Movie: The Virgin Suicides
The Drink: Brandy Alexander
Sweet and overwhelming, just like the airy complexion of this Sophia Coppola film. Be sure to get the blended version and sip slowly as the four sisters fade in and out of existence in the memories of the boys who loved them one summer. Eventually this sickly sweet concoction will sour in your stomach, adding somehow to the misery of the four girls. Can we sidestep for one second and talk about how gorgeous and impossible Josh Hartnett is in this movie? God, this movie did some things to my brain chemistry as a young’n as well, setting me on a destructive path where the Trips of this world seemed not only promising but alluring. And the stupid movie tells you what happens to him! It’s all laid out in front of you. One more Brandy Alexander, please.
The Movie: Fight Club
The Drink: Pina Colada
I like to imagine that maybe this is the kind of drink that Edward Norton would have ordered as a joke before meeting Brad Pitt in this movie. This is exactly the kind of terrible drink that Tyler Durden would abhor, all frothy sweetness and sugary finish. He’d probably dash it out of your hand, begging you to hit him, to feel something, to be a real man about it all and stop drinking such girly little drinks. I still like the idea of drizzling some kind of green liquor into the bottom of the traditional blended drink, something to give it a bit of a toxic edge.
The Movie: Magnolia
The Drink: Long Island Iced Tea
Just like a Long Island Ice Tea is filled with many different kinds of alcohol, Magnolia is comprised of a million different stories that all combine for a potentially lethal finish. Also drinking one or two of these mixed drinks will make this P.T. Anderson movie feel a bit more moving. What’s your favorite part of Magnolia? I totally forgot it takes place in Los Angeles, but it does. Tom Cruise is frightening and so good in this one, as is William H. Macy, grimacing and broken, crying out that he has so much love to give. I wonder if you drank only when characters are in a bar, if you could get drunk. Probably.
The Movie: The Thomas Crown Affair
The Drink: Dirty Martini
A remake of the original, this one has Pierce Brosnan at the height of his ooey-gooeyness, all charm and manners and gorgeousness, playing eccentric millionaire art collector to Rene Russo’s saucy detective who is investigating him for theft. The sex scenes blew my mind as a tween, watching it late at night on a rented VHS from the library like contraband. There’s an entire scene in this movie, which is really fun and kind of a lovely low-key heist film, where the two characters talk and you can’t even hear what they’re saying because all you know is Russo is topless on a beach. Down your martini and grab another, the beverage matches the sophistication and charm of this thriller.
The Movie: Office Space
The Drink: Vodka Red Bull
Nothing beats Ron Livingston in 1999, and Office Space crystalized the raging anger of an entire generation of office cubicle dwellers. There’s something about the equally enraging combination of vodka and the hyper-making quality of red bull that seems to match the demeanor. Bonus points: learn all the words to “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” and sing along. Make a drinking game of it and take a sip every time something terrible happens at the pre-Y2K office that still applies to our terrible lives today.
The Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You
The Drink: Warm 40 in a paper bag
This kinda-sorta-take off on “The Taming of the Shrew” deserves the finest in high-school scrounged beverages, warm beer in a 40, preferably in a paper bag. Since they’re all in high school they actually drink a lot less than you might think, at least in my memory of the film. Heath Ledger? All perfection and sunny smiles. Joseph Gordon-Levitt? So sweet and young! Larisa Oleynik? A different secret world of Alex Mack. One of the things that rocks hardest about this flick is the Letters to Cleo music in it, the band who would go on to record all the “Josie and the Pussycats” music.
The Movie: Blast from the Past
The Drink: Rob Roy
Eve: A “Rob Roy,” I thought only hookers drank that stuff.
Adam: Well I know mom sure loves them.
I’ve never actually had a Rob Roy, which seems to be mostly whiskey and a cherry in it, but “Blast from the Past” is one of the sweetest and best movies I’ve ever seen. Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek play protective parents from the ’60s who go underground when they assume a bomb has gone off, destroying mankind. There, they raise their young son Adam, Brendan Fraser, who emerges in the ’90s, all filled with the earnestness and naiveté of an earlier time, and runs smack into a modern menace, Alicia Silverstone. Seriously, there’s so much to love about this movie, if you haven’t seen it, you simply must. My brain pulls references from it nearly every time I do anything in Los Angeles. Look out for perfectly outdated ’90s tropes, such as rollerblading and swing dancing.
The Movie: Boondock Saints
The Drink: Irish Car Bomb
Uh, of course there’s only one drink appropriate for the wild and raucous brothers hell bent on turning a city back to good, taking what measures they must. Of course you can probably only drink one or two of these before either throwing up or throwing your TV out the window, but hey, maybe you have a higher tolerance than I do. This movie may not necessarily improve with age or repeated viewings, but it’s worth seeing at least once, especially now that Norman Reedus is on “Walking Dead.”
The Movie: Being John Malkovich
The Drink: Manhattan
A strong drink for a strong movie. I recommend drinking your first one with alarming alacrity and seeing where this one goes. So fantastical and strange, John Cusack is wonderful as a beleaguered office worker who finds his way into the mind of actor John Malkovich, and Catherine Keener is wonderful, as always. Even demented Cameron Diaz comes across well in this perfectly directed, and perfectly strange movie. The spreading warmth throughout your body can be as transporting as a window into the mind of another, so sip slowly and slip fully into this Charlie Kaufman penned masterpiece.
I lost more of job this week, watching it slowly siphoned away, so here’s to work and wine and thinking of other things.
I thought I’d invented the idea of drinking to movies, but looks like we’ve the Boozehouse Cinephile covering this, many moons ago. (Thanks to Joanna, as always, for pointing this out and refusing to let me make a fool of myself, try as I might.)