Cocktails and Movies Take Out Theater: “Limitless”
by Tim Barley
Just before A-Team, but before his Oscar noms, Bradley Cooper turned in this brilliant performance
Normally, we like to feature movies that are older and are a delight to pull out of the library and slip into the DVD player and enjoy like talking to an old friend. But, with the Oscars coming up this weekend, I it would be nice to enjoy one of my favorites of the last few years that featured a fun performance by a two time Oscar nominee and a man who broke out in the movie The Hangover. Bradley Cooper’s performance as a struggling writer with a serious case of writer’s block and the apathy of a Silver Lake hipster is vintage Cooper, as is his transformation into a man who approaches the edge of cockiness but is smart enough to use it, not abuse it. Limitless is a delight for its performance by Cooper but is also a movie that is capable of making you think and enjoy a world without any limits…
So, grab a cocktail, a bowl of your favorite buttered popcorn and enjoy that date night on the couch with Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert DeNiro in Limitless. It’s this week’s “Take Out Theater:”
Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), is a NYC author suffering from writer’s block. His girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish), leaves him. To clear his head, he goes for a walk when he runs into Vernon (Johnny Whitworth), his estranged ex-brother-in-law who gives him an ‘experimental drug’ called NZT, which allows him to use more of his brain than anyone else. After taking the pill, Eddie learns faster and recalls memories from his distant past. He uses this ability to finish ninety pages of his book in one night. The next day, he is back to normal when the effects wear off and he seeks out Vernon in an attempt to get more. While Eddie is running an errand, Vernon is killed. Eddie returns, steals Vernon’s NZT supply and calls the police.
It’s here that the film really takes off. Armed with his newfound smarts, he cleans up his act: new haircut, new wardrobe, learning languages, traveling, being “that guy” at parties, making friends; everything that all of us want to do. All because of a little pill that allows the taker to utilize all of the brain’s ability.
Testing his new ability on the stock market, Eddie makes large returns on small investments. Realizing he requires more capital, he borrows one hundred thousand dollars from a Russian loan shark, Gennady (Andrew Howard), and successfully makes a return of two million dollars. He increases his NZT dosage, and rekindles his relationship with Lindy. But, his success gets the attention of business tycoon, Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), who wants his advice on a merger and soon starts to work as a consultant with Van Loon.
But, Eddie starts experiencing blackouts, moving great distances in between periods of lucidity. It’s at this point he needs more information about the drug. Eddie meets with his ex, Melissa, and discovers that she too had been on NZT. When she attempted to stop taking it, she had experienced a severe mental rebound effect, and others had died after stopping. Eddie learns to maintain his dosage, but loses his stash, while at the same time being hounded by the loan shark for more NZT for himself.
If there is a critique of this film, it’s that for a movie that is runs on such an articulated concept of intelligence boosting, it lends itself to some pretty cookie cutter storyline/characters. The loan shark concept serves to add some drama and obstacles to avoid, but something more novel is really needed her. BUT, don’t let that detract you from the film, it’s a fun film to watch and enjoy as you see Cooper’s transformation back and forth in the film.
There’s a great ending to this film. It’s the kind of ending which makes your mind wander and think “what if.” It’s this concept that should have been more prevalent though out the film, but I highly recommend this enjoyable, fun film.
The Manhattan Love Story
This cocktail is a great take on the original Manhattan and feature sake. Mmmmmm, sake
1 1/2 oz Whiskey
1 oz Dry Sake
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
2 dash Peychaud bitters
Combine all ingredients in a glass martini glass.
Garnish with an orange peel.