Cocktails and Movies “Take Out Theatre:” Midnight In Paris

Presenting The New Cocktails & Movies Feature: Take Out Theatre!

Hello everyone, and welcome to “Take Out Theatre” – our brand new feature for those who want to have a Cocktails and Movies-type of event, but don’t want to go too much further than the couch. For those nights you’re look forward to a cozy seat, a good cocktail, and an excellent movie… all in the comfort of your own living room. “Take Out Theatre” highlights the best films already on DVD/Blu-Ray or On-Demand/Redbox, all awaiting your perusal. Hell, you might even be able to check some of these out at your local library. Whatever method you choose, we’ve got the movies to curl up with that special someone and the appropriate drinks with which to enjoy them. This week’s inaugural column presents a gem of a film you might have heard about, but dollars to drinks you probably haven’t seen yet. (And if you have, then you’re a leg up on the competition!) Mes amis, je vous présente Midnight In Paris! (My friends, I present to you “Midnight in Paris!”)

THE FILM

cocktails and movies midnight-in-paris-posterMidnight In Paris
Directed By: Woody Allen
Year Released: 2010
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Marion Cotillard
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 94 Minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics

Gil Pender (Wilson) has a problem. To be more specific, he has “the” problem that all Woody Allen surrogates have in their lives: he isn’t happy, but he’s trying his best. On vacation in France with his vapid fiancee (McAdams) and her equally vapid friends and family, Gil stumbles upon that elusive force that many of the French seem to discover at one time or another: happiness. The life he wants, the friends he’s always dreamed of, and the woman he seems destined to love (Cotillard); he’s found them all in the 1920’s… after midnight in Paris. No rhyme or reason is given to his ability to travel through time, just that he can do it. The same car, the same spot, the same time of night, he always finds his way back to the 1920’s, and mysteriously finds his way back in the morning.

Midnight in Paris won the 2011 Oscar for Best Screenplay, and it shows in spades. Woody Allen’s breezy humor is matched only by the breathtaking scenery and the perfect performances from all involved, especially Owen Wilson filling in for Mr. Allen himself. Mr. Pender’s misadventures in the 1920’s involve everyone from F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill, respectively) to Ernest Hemingway (an impressive Corey Stoll) and Gertrude Stein (the always awesome Kathy Bates). Each character is brought into living color by their actor, with no slouch or disappointment on any end of the picture.

What’s most impressive though is how calming this film is. Chalk it up to Woody Allen’s plotting and execution, even his choice of setting, but the film manages to defy most films and drive towards its end game in as easy and relaxed a way as possible. It doesn’t push the audience, it doesn’t complicate the story, but its depth can be found in the emotions and the characters that inhabit those emotions. Sure, there’s a subplot of his love of the past versus his ennui of the present, and the complications that arise once his nostalgic fever takes hold. However, none of those plots feel too overdone, as typical romantic comedies tend to do. Woody Allen’s incurable nostalgia, as well as his inner hopeless romantic, shine through in the material.

A script like this is an actor’s dream and a writer’s pride, and you can’t help but feel charmed and wooed by the film. It even defies most comedies by being uproariously funny while staying at that deliberate of plot and wit. If you’re looking for an easy film to kick back to at home, but don’t want to sacrifice your brain cells at the door, Midnight in Paris is definitely a preferred choice. What’s more, after you’ve seen the film, you should listen to Mr. Allen’s “Lost Generation”. It’s a bit of stand up from Woody’s early period in his career, and it’s a perfect encapsulation as to the idea he had in mind for the film. Not to mention, it’s really damned funny, much like the film it inspired.

The Drink

Classic Dry Martini

cocktails and movies classic_dry_martiniAs with any good film we suggest here at Cocktails and Movies, there is a good drink waiting to shine. And who better to suggest our film’s libation of choice than one of its characters: Ernest Hemingway himself. Now according to popular lore, Hemingway fancied the Mojito. There’s just one problem with that…he was a diabetic, and he couldn’t handle his sweets. Also debunked is the theory that he created the “Bloody Mary” while under orders not to imbibe in any alcohol, something his wife was intent on him following. What was true, though, is that the man loved Martinis, and thanks to Epicurious, we have a recipe for a Classic Dry Martini. Just as Hemingway would have liked, it should be extra dry, ice cold, and with Gin, not Vodka.

For the drink recipe, click here. Thanks to Epicurious for the recipe.

For some more background on Hemingway and his drinking habits, check out this article from Food Republic, which was inspired by the book To Have and Have Another by Philip Green. Pieces of research from this article were reused for our drink suggestion, and it’s a pretty good read. (Thanks to reader Walter McKnight for suggesting the drink of choice.)

If you have any suggestions for Take Away Theatre, please submit them through the Comments section below, or on our Facebook or Twitter feeds