Tired of the same old Christmas movie suggestions and are looking to the Wine Harlots for that special twist? Here’s a dozen of our favorite holiday movie classics, shaken and stirred, and served up with twist. The beverage selections are on the house.
Wine Harlots are not recommending It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s the most depressing movie, and makes the sad, suicidal. A truly perfect movie for the co-dependent. A movie that affirms giving up all your hopes, dreams and aspirations. If you do inflict this movie on yourself and your loved ones, what you should be drinking is a glass of hemlock.
Casablanca isn’t really a Christmas movie, but has anyone ever watched it in July? November through New Year’s is prime time at Rick’s Café Américain. Casablanca is a love-triangle set with the backdrop of World War II, it has some of the best movie lines ever written. The perfect pairing is Champagne. If the mood is “We will always have Paris” uncork a bottle of Mumm, if you were misinformed and came to Casablanca for the waters, quaff Veuve Clicquot.
Wine Harlots love the black-and-white The Thin Man and After the Thin Man. Nick and Nora Charles are were created by the legendary Dashiell Hammett. Basically, the Charles’ are drunks, which explains the Wine Harlots affinity for the characters. The Thin Man occurs on Christmas Eve and the After Thin Man rings in the New Year as they detect and solve crimes in style. What to pour with these films? Let’s take Nick Charles recommendation on how to make cocktails from the first movie, “The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.”
The only traditional heartwarming Christmas movie on the list is Love Actually. All the other selections are warped, dark or twisted, and the Wine Harlots jaded hearts want to mock Love Actually to pieces, but it’s a sweet, slightly quirky, heart-warming movie. Open a bottle of sparkling wine and “let’s get the shit kicked out of us by love,” or if you want to pretend to be the piggish leader of the free world, pour yourself a scotch.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang might be my favorite Christmas movie of all-time. But I suppose it’s the antithesis of Christmas, really. This black comedy is set in the sun-drenched wasteland that is Hollywood, the film references noir with screen titles of Raymond Chandler books, and mocks the lunacy of the motion picture business. Written and directed by Shane Black, the cast stars Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer abd Michelle Monaghan. Two-bit thief Downey is flown to the Coast for a screen-test and is pulled into a murder. What to drink? Take if from Harry Lockhart, “One minute I’m boosting X-Boxes in the East Villages, the next I’m sipping Champagne in Los Angeles.”
Ice Harvest is set in the seedy strip-club world in Wichita, Kansas on Christmas Eve, bad weather is forecast after John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton steal two million dollars from their underworld bosses. Alcohol figures prominently in the story, Connie Nielsen advises Cusack to “sober up or get real drunk.” Cusack favors the later and orders a “rum with pineapple juice and if you’ve got one of those plastic umbrellas? Put it in there.” Once he tastes the drink he pronounces it, “fucking terrible” and orders a beer. The rest of the film is a lot of whiskey, mainly out of flasks.
Croupier, a neo-noir film, features Wine Harlots favorite actor, Clive Owen, as Jack, a struggling writer who falls-back on his previous career as a casino dealer, and as gets pulled into the seamy underbelly of gaming, he jeopardizes his relationship with his girlfriend as he navigates the interactions with his co-workers and gamblers. Drink like Jack does, with frozen vodka drunk on the linoleum kitchen floor of his basement apartment.
If you haven’t read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series trilogy, where have you been? The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are compelling books, and the film versions rival the excellence of the print. And I mean the Swedish films (the US version is still stalled on the second movie) that were released in 2009. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist star as the hacker and journalist who team up to solve a disappearance and get lured into the dark underside of life. What to pour? Akvavit, naturally.
And now we descending into full-on Christmas hell. The Ref stars Denis Leary as a bungling burglar who kidnaps a rich couple whose marriage is on-the-rocks, portrayed by Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey. It’s the adult version of Ransom of Red Chief. To watch the movie wear a St. Lucia wreath and don slipper socks size medium and drink whatever you can get your hands on. Lot’s of it. You need it while watching The Ref, you will need it to get through all the hateful family bickering. Just don’t eat the garnish.
Lethal Weapon has Mel Gibson as a suicidal LA cop rocking a serious mullet and Three Stooges fighting skills with Danny Glover as his middle-aged, put-upon partner in the classic 80′s cop-buddy movie. The product-placement in the movie is Coors beer, and skip the yuletide cheer on this one, the egg nog drinker doesn’t fare well in this flick.
You thought you had Christmas rough? Talk to John McClane. In Die Hard, the New York cop flies to Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife and reunite with his children. Unfortunately, terrorists seize his wife’s office building during the Christmas party. McClane has to save the day. Die Hard 2 begins a year later on Christmas Eve with McClane in Washington D.C. to meet his wife’s plane for Christmas at the in-laws, but amazingly, terrorists secure the entire Dulles airport and havoc ensues and McClane rushes in to save the day. Again. You would think McClaine would stay home for the holidays. The pairing for Die Hard is crappy egg nog (the alcoholic version of fruitcake, in the Wine Harlots opinion) and for Die Hard 2, it has to be those cute little airline mini-bottles.
Ronin is a spy thriller where a group of mercenaries are hired to hijack a convoy to secure a mysterious package. The line-up includes Robert De Niro, Natascha McElhone, Jean Reno, Stellen Skarsgård, Sean Bean and Jonathan Price, directed by John Frankenheimer, filmed in France. What to drink while you watch the best actors in the business tear up the French countryside? Pour French table wine in picardie tumblers, like De Niro does in the opening scenes.