Admittedly, prior to last night, I’ve never seen the 1988 Tom Cruise “classic”, Cocktail. However, as a harbinger of liquor knowledge, I pushed my way through this cinematic masterpiece, for you, my little sippers. A heads up from the start, this entire post will be a spoiler alert, so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading at the end of the post. Really!?!? Would you be that pissed at me if I detailed a movie released 25 years ago? It’s not like I spoiled the ending to Wreck-It Ralph for you by writing that King Candy is revealed to be rogue video game character Turbo… oops… now I’ve gone and done it.
Anyway, on with the review:
Things get off to a roaring start as the Touchstone Pictures logo scrolls across the screen, distributor of some of my favourite films (Ernest Goes to Camp top among them) followed by neon light-themed credits and a typically wicked 80’s soundtrack.
Wow, it was even a Super Nintendo game… scary stuff!
Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) is back from army service… lucky to still have his legs intact (see Cruise’s work in Born on the Fourth of July). Flanagan and what I can only assume is a group of fellow Scientologists steal a cop car and chase down a bus heading for New York City, in order to get Flanagan onboard. Nowadays, this would be viewed as a terrorist threat, but it’s the 80’s, so who cares. Most of the people on the bus were probably coked up anyway.
After meeting with his uncle and complaining about having to pay $1 for a beer (god damn entitled celebrities), Flanagan is on the job hunt and is getting turned down everywhere… very similar to what Cruise experienced later in his career after going off the deep end with his Scientology beliefs and couch jumping exploits.
Flanagan’s Uncle Pat makes a comment that “If you want fun, you go play at the beach!” Could this be a reference to the famous beach volleyball scene in Top Gun, released two years earlier?
Despite working at his uncle’s bar previously, Flanagan doesn’t know how to make a Cuba Libre or a Martini when he finally lands a gig at a New York pub. Seriously!?!? You can’t make a friggin’ Cuba Libre? So, the concept of mixing rum with coke is foreign to you… good luck surviving the bar scene.
I’m sure this movie is largely responsible for “flair bartending“, which makes me very angry. Oh, great, you can twirl a bottle and spill half of the contents nowhere near a glass. Remember, little sippers, no drops wasted. That is a cardinal sin among Sip Nation.
Flanagan’s boss/co-bartender Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown) is full of great witticism, proving once again, that everything you ever need to know can be learned in a bar. He takes Flanagan under his wing and the two grow close over liquor and flairing and drunk poetry and such. Flanagan seems like a fun guy to be around when drunk… I wonder if Tom Cruise would be the same?… I wonder if Scientologists are allowed to drink? In one scene, Coughlin takes a tumble down some subway stairs, which will likely remain the highlight of the movie for me, long after it’s finished.
The buddies move on to work at another bar called Cell Block, which looks kind of neat and you pray that their top selling drink is toilet wine. It is here that Flanagan delivers a wonderful speech about liquor that should be recited before every epic night out (click here).
Flanagan meets some promiscuous woman and they do the sex thing. During their passion, Flanagan takes a break to down his beer, which has given me a George Costanza-esque challenge for the next time Mrs. Sip and I are getting amorous!
While Flanagan didn’t jump on a couch after nailing this chick, his celebration was pretty close… a haunting foreshadow of things to come said the ghost of Christmas future.
After a falling out with Coughlin, Flanagan takes off to Jamaica, providing audiences with scenes of Tom Cruise in tight white pants and fluffy shirts. One scene even has him running in this get-up and I nearly snotted all over the place.
Flanagan meets Jordan Mooney (Elisabeth Shue) after rescuing her friend who has passed out from drinking champagne… typical loser lightweight… no wonder Jordan ditches her for the rest of their vacation to hang out with Flanagan, who seems to have all the time-off in the world all of a sudden.
At this point, the movie becomes an advertisement for Jamaican travel, leading to Flanagan and Jordan having a tryst in a secluded watering hole, complete with waterfall. They get naked together and throw their suits away, which surely floated downstream, leaving the two with an embarrassing trip back to the resort. This scene has surely since caused many copycat incidents of indecent exposure beneath a waterfall. The two also have sex on the beach (not the cocktail… although they may have had that, too), which I’ve never understood. I don’t really like beaches because of all the sand and wouldn’t having sex on one result in sandblasting a lot of very intimate areas!?
Anyway, as is usually the case in movies, Flanagan blows things with Jordan by sleeping with some rich woman to prove a point to Coughlin, who with his new rich wife, has somehow tracked down Flanagan in Jamaica, despite no communication between the two in years.
Everyone returns to New York where Flanagan is a kept man (living the dream!) by a jazzercising, relatively attractive, affluent lady, but he ruins this too. He tries to get back together with Jordan, who he learns actually comes from money (the total package, yo!) and is also pregnant with his baby. So, I guess the whole 80’s AIDS scare didn’t bug these kids enough to use protection when sleeping with a complete stranger in a foreign country (and a bar tender at that!). Perhaps they thought the sterile waters of Jamaica would wash away all those bodily fluids…
Flanagan and Coughlin make up, as Flanagan gives him a $500 bottle of cognac and finds out Coughlin isn’t doing well, having lost his lady’s fortune in the stock market. Coughlin later kills himself by slitting his throat with the bottle of cognac. A totally extreme way to go out, but I’m more saddened by the wasting of such high-end liquor. Despite drinking heavily and contemplating suicide, Coughlin still managed to write Flanagan a perfectly legible and coherent letter before offing himself. Nerves of steel, man.
The movie ends with Flanagan and Jordan getting back together, despite Jordan’s father’s disapproval. Flanagan then buys the bar he always dreamed of having and can now suddenly and somewhat inexplicably can afford, and is told that Jordan is pregnant with twins. Should a pregnant lady really be in a bar, anyway? Oh those 80s!
Drink #64: Caribbean Buck
- Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
- 1.5 oz Malibu Rum
- Dash of Lime Juice
- Top with Ginger Ale
- Garnish with Coconut Shavings
I made sure to enjoy this drink (many times) while watching the movie. Let me tell you, it definitely helped. The end result is that Flanagan largely lived my dream in this movie. He even gets to trash a douchebag artist’s piece of work and smack him around. Myself and Mrs. Sip now have plans to move to Jamaica, where I’ll open up my own bar and under-the-table money laundering service, while she can parade around the island half naked!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Lime Juice and Ginger Ale added a really nice bite to this cocktail, to go with the subtle, but tasty Malibu Rum. Throw some Coconut Shavings on top and things are looking up for this drink!