Cocktails and Movies presents Take Out Theater – “The Perfect Host”

Welcome back to staying in with Cocktails and Movies

Let’s welcome back another round of #TakeOutTheater, the column where we help you pick a movie that allows you to cook a nice meal from scratch, mix your own boozey concoction, and enjoy some nice home entertainment. While we advise people to drink responsibly in addition to enjoying the communal theatrical experience, we acknowledge that it’s not always an option for our readers. Which is why we like to pick these “stay at home” gems that are (for the most part) unknown or underseen. This week’s release comes from a company we here at Cocktails and Movies have come to know, love, and frequent quite a bit for this column. That’ s right, chalk up another attractive release from Magnet Releasing’s fine catalog of hits! This time we’ll be viewing the 2010 festival darling, The Perfect Host.

The Film

The Perfect Host
Directed ByNick Tomnay
Year Released: 2010
Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, and Nathanial Parker
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Studio: Magnet Releasing

John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) is looking for a place to crash after he knocks over a bank. Somewhere that he can lie low, collect his thoughts, and figure out his next move. Wounded, and unlucky in his first couple attempts, he stumbles upon the residence of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce). At first glance, both men seem to be set characters: John is an uncouth, bank robbing career criminal; while Warwick is a man with class, charm, and sociability. However John’s strength and Warwick’s weakness are both hiding what lies beneath the skin of their characters, leaving the audience with a film that slices, peels, and cuts the skin to dig deeper towards the one thing that matters in any story: the truth.

To say too much about this movie would be a crime, as it not only thrives on the surprises it has in store for viewers upon its first viewings, but will undoubtedly also bring plenty of new details forth each time the viewer comes back for more. I honestly thought I knew what to expect with this film, watching it play out and rooting for one side over the other. That’s exactly what the film wants you to do, and just when it seems to be wrapping up… it lays down some plot twists that would make any other film seem like it’s just dropping plot holes to shock and amuse. Luckily, this is a film that actually ties its late game plot twists into the actual framework of the story, and boy does it pay off. The story plays like a Hitchcockian thriller, mixing both noirish crime and punishment elements along with unreliable narrators, false truths, and multiple sides to every story.

Crawford and Hyde Pierce play brilliantly off of each other, and while any film of this ilk requires two to tango, the latter waltzes off with the film easily. Not to say that the former is a slouch, but this film perfectly capitalizes on David’s preternatural charm and snobbishness he’s built over the years on “Frasier,” and then delivers the spiked punch at the right time. He’s all at once funny, frightening, and friendly; giving us a new sociopath to root for in the traditions of Hannibal Lecter and Sherlock Holmes. He’s the guy you want to see get away with it, the guy you want to crack the scheme and set the whole game spinning in another direction, and ultimately the guy you want to see in control. How we went this long without a performance like this from Mr. Hyde Pierce is a shame, and an even greater shame is that this picture didn’t gain any sort of wider audience traction after its somewhat successful festival run.

If you’re looking for a nice thriller that manages to play with your expectations, as well as your head, then The Perfect Host has a glass of Red wine with your name on it. Careful though, because as the man himself would say, “It’s a cheeky little drop.” Taking that cue, and wanting to offer something a little sweeter yet with a bitter edge (much like our titular host), we’d like to offer the following…

The Drink

Sangria with Cognac

Ingredients:

4 – 5 tbsp sugar
2 oranges
1 cup orange juice
3 apples
1 bottle red wine
2 tbsp cognac
1/2 cup mandarin peel
2 cups soda water
10 ice cubes

Directions:

Peel the apples and cut into small cubes. Peel the oranges, take out the pips and cut them into small cubes. Warm the orange juice, the sugar and the mandarin peels until the sugar dissolves. Mix all the ingredients – except the ice and the soda. The ice and the soda add just before serving.
Thanks to Drinks Mixer for the heads up, as per usual, and thanks to all of you for coming back for another installment of #TakeOutTheater! Got any suggestions for film and drink pairings? Send ‘em our way through the Comments below, our Facebook/Twitter pages, or just email us. We’ll see you again next week!