Classics & Cocktails: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid & Straight Whiskey

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidIt’s 1890 in Wyoming, and Butch Cassidy is the charming leader of the “Hole in the Wall Gang.” His right hand man is the stoic and deadly Sundance Kid. They rob trains, and eventually find themselves being relentlessly pursued by the law. Butch and Sundance strategically separate from the rest of the gang, but find that their attempts to outrun the lawmen are unsuccessful. Butch persuades Sundance and his lover, Etta, to move to Bolivia, arguing that it would be a veritable robbers paradise.

I can’t believe it took me this long to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidI My dad and grandmother spoke highly of it for years, but I’ve never been a big fan of westerns so I figured I wouldn’t enjoy it. I was wrong. It’s such a great movie. It’s funny and Paul Newman is so charming and both he and Robert Redford make pretty excellent eye candy. I’m already looking forward to watching it again when the opportunity presents itself.

I’ll be honest. We’re kinda struggling on the cocktail front. Our bar isn’t exactly what I would call well-stocked, so we’re sort of phoning it in with our selections. Plus, it’s hard to pair a drink with a film you’ve never seen. Hopefully we’ll get with the program. But for this one, we figured straight whiskey was an apropos choice.

Also! I had a very sad realization the other day. (Sad because I didn’t realize it sooner and feel like a dumb dumb.) We’ve long subscribed to Netflix’s streaming service but I signed up for DVD’s specifically for this series of classic movies. After a long period without one, I finally got a library card and hopped aboard the yay free books! train. I joined Audible before I remembered that the library lends audio books (for free) and just yesterday it suddenly occurred to me that the library also lends DVD’s. For free. Sigh.

Next up: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Classics & Cocktails: A Streetcar Named Desire & Stella Artois

A Streetcar Named Desire is the 1951 film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams play of the same name.  The plot revolves around the ambiguous Blanche DuBois, a schoolteacher who moves in with her sister, Stella after losing the plantation that had been in the DuBois family for generations. Blanche takes an immediate (and mutual) dislike to Stella’s husband, Stanley, a brutish and abusive man who is suspicious of Blanche and resents her influence on Stella as it impacts their marriage. As the story progresses, we see that Blanche is not the innocent Southern Belle that she pretends to be, in regard to both her mental health, sordid past, and behavior toward men.

I read the Tennessee Willams play in college, so I was familiar with the storyline (and surprised to see how the ending was changed in the movie.) Still, I’m glad I finally watched the film. I thought the Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando were terrific (and couldn’t believe how handsome Marlon Brando was, since my only exposure to him has been The Godfather.)

Now, admittedly, Stella Artois is not a cocktail, but seemed apropos nonetheless since I have been known to shout “STELLAAAA!” whenever my husband doesn’t respond to my initial bellows of his name through our three story house to get his attention. That’s how you know a film is a classic, kids. When you quote it despite never having seen it.

Next up: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Classics & Cocktails: Citizen Kane & Rosebud

My husband and I were discussing movies and realized that there is basically a laundry list of them that we should have watched by now according to everyone. So that is exactly what we’re planning to do in 2015. We thought it would be fun to invite anyone who wants to come over and pair each film with a classic cocktail. And because we (meaning me) are total dorks, we’re giving this viewing experience a name: Classics & Cocktails.

We began our deep dive into classic cinema last Friday with Citizen Kane and the “Rosebud” cocktail.

Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the best film of all time. I took a few film classes as electives while earning my undergrad degree, and each professor just assumed that, as students interested in film, everyone had already seen it. And it seemed that most had.

It was written by, directed by, and stars Orson Welles as Charles Kane, an arrogant press tycoon whose death and last word, “Rosebud,” prompts an investigation into his life in an attempt to better understand his elusive character.  But as one of the men perusing his belongings says, “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life.”

The word “Rosebud,” it turns out, would be a great place to start, though the investigation ends without anyone figuring out what the word meant to Charles. We learn about his interminable rise to wealth from an impoverished childhood, his marriages, his business, and how he became increasingly reclusive as he aged. And we learn at the end of the film that Rosebud was the name of the sled he was playing with the day that he was permanently taken from his childhood home against his wishes. A gold mine was discovered on their property and his mother sold it, set up a trust for Charles to receive when he is 25, and sent him to boarding school so that he could be properly educated.

“Rosebud” is a symbol to Charles, the same way that the green light is a symbol to Jay Gatsby. Both represent what could have been if the circumstances of one’s birth were different. Both signify that despite eventually coming into great wealth, some of the most basic things germane to hope and happiness remain elusive throughout ones life because they cannot be bought and cannot be obtained again.

I enjoyed Citizen Kane very much and am really glad I finally watched it.

Next up: A Streetcar Named Desire