December being the biggest month for bubbly, it seems only fitting that this week we take a look at some of our favorite champagne moments on the big screen. From buttoned-up Soviet officials to blonde bombshells, a wide cast of celluloid characters can be seen getting into the spirit of luxury, romance, and celebration of this timeless drink.
A rich and satisfying after-dinner drink blended from vodka, coffee liqueur, and light cream, the White Russian could almost be said to have it all. A one-stop source of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and milk fat, the only legal substance it lacks is nicotine.
The Coen brothers' cult comedy classic, The Big Lebowski (1998), is a trippy, California-noir, loosely inspired by The Big Sleep (1946). But here, in the place of a hard-boiled, hard-drinking detective, we find the bowling-obsessed, bathrobe-wearing slacker, Jeffrey "the Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), who slurps down White Russians instead of rye.
Question: What do an 80s romantic comedy starring Cher, a 40s musical chock full of Betty Grable song and dance numbers, and a recent futuristic film based on a darkly subversive graphic novel have in common?
[Beginning this week, we'll be rerunning some favorites from The Celluloid Pantry while Nora enjoys a writer's residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts. We'll be back with all-new posts December 4.] A crisp and delicious gin-based cocktail, the Gibson has a dramatic past.
In the 1930s, the magazine illustrator, Charles Dana Gibson stopped in for a drink at the New York Players Club, an elegant social club for people of the theater. When Gibson asked the bartender make something "a little different," he mixed up a concoction of gin and vermouth identical to a Martini in nearly all respects. The difference, however, was the garnish. Like a brilliant understudy, a cocktail onion stood in for the olive, winning over a new fan base.
This being a cooking site, we usually try to keep things tasteful at The Celluloid Pantry. But this week, in honor of Halloween, we’re venturing back into the dark corners of the cinematic cupboard to see what ghoulish delights we can cook up for you.
Last year, we honored the occasion with the devilishly dark chocolate “mouse” in Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (and a recipe from Vincent Price, no less), and in the past we’ve touched on sinister treats like exploding caviar and poisoned port in Kind Hearts and Coronets (UK, 1949). But what about the truly gruesome? Here are three movie meals that are definitely not for the squeamish:
First time we meet the title character in Léon: The Professional (1994) (played to perfection by Jean Reno, left), he's at the bar of The Supreme Macaroni Company. He's listening closely as his longtime boss, Tony (Danny Aiello) gives him the lowdown on his next kill. Léon wears impenetrably dark glasses and a skullcap. His hands are cupped around a glass of milk.
Ever since Steven Spielberg featured Reese’s Pieces in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982), famously causing sales of the candy to jump 80%, product placement has become big business in movies and TV. Now branded sodas, snacks, candy bars, liquor, beer, and fast food make such frequent dramatic appearances, they’re almost Hollywood stars in their own right.
So, like a quirky new face in an independent movie, it’s always refreshing to see a fictional brand on screen. Sometimes this choice is made out of artistic integrity, other times plain necessity. But more often, it seems, new names are cooked up in just plain fun: