November 28 – The Talking Monkey

A Glimpse Inside

Last week, we began looking at one of the most underrated elements to visual storytelling: narration. It’s amazing how essential the narration of a movie or TV show can be, sometimes making or breaking a project. This week, we move to the big screen. Let’s get things rolling!

#5: Sin City

As if coming from the pages of a comic book, viewers are taken on a journey through the voice of each focal character, learning their desires, motives, issues, fears, and discoveries. Narration comes from a variety of sources, including Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Clive Owen, each captivating the audience with their character’s story. Film noir is no stranger to the narrator storytelling device, but Sin City brought the style back to the mainstream.

sincity

#4: A Clockwork Orange

The ultra-violent Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) is a drug-fueled sociopath who won’t hesitate in committing all kinds of horrible acts on innocent victims. As a result, many of Alex’s thoughts are quite disturbing and the way they are delivered by McDowell, in Alex’s teenage Cockney slang, will really have your skin crawling. Despite all efforts to reform Alex, the teen eventually returns to his old habits and more suffering is in the cards.

#3: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s one thing to narrate a movie and it’s a whole other ball of yarn when you’re delivering the words of Dr. Seuss! I wonder how many retakes were needed to perfectly deliver some of the Seussian language? Regardless, Hannibal Lecter himself, Anthony Hopkins, nailed it, retelling the tale of The Grinch, who can’t stand the Whos down in Whoville, especially as the Christmas holiday approaches. While critics were less enthusiastic about the film, the Sip Advisor has always enjoyed it.

the grinch decorating

#2: Fight Club

The haunting narrations of this film will leave viewers chilled to the bone, as the protagonist (played by Edward Norton) turns his insomnia into attending support groups and later, starting a terrorist organization, bred out of a fighting club. While we never get the main character’s name, we certainly get all the thoughts that make him tick and lead to his mental breakdown… the problem is, he realizes too late exactly what he’s started and can’t stop.

#1: A Christmas Story

In a style that would go on to be the inspiration for The Wonder Years, we learn about the trials and tribulations little Ralphie goes through as he asks for a “Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle” for Christmas. This includes convincing his teacher, parents, and even the big guy himself, Santa, that the gun isn’t as dangerous as many fear. As if that’s not enough, Ralphie has to deal with schoolyard bullies, swearing in front of his parents, and ruined Christmas dinner.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Talking Monkey

  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Milk
  • Garnish with a Banana Slice

Of course, there’s always the king of the narration, Morgan Freeman, with credits in the role including Shawshank Redemption, War of the Worlds, March of the Penguins, and Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. If a Hall of Fame, dedicated to the art, were to ever be built, Freeman would be its inaugural inductee!

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October 25 – Green Ghoul

Spooky Specters

Last week, we kicked off the haunted month of October with a look at the best animated ghosts and this week we get a little eerier with some live-action apparitions. But just like the Ray Parker, Jr. song, “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts!

#5: Sam Wheat – Ghost

Never has homemade pottery been so sexy… and never will it be again! Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s spin at molding clay has certainly resulted in numerous copycat attempts, with those people realizing how messy the whole process actually is. Back to the movie, though, Wheat is shot and killed during a botched robbery and has to save his love from a similar fate. He also has to unveil former friend Carl as a money launderer, all while a ghost who can’t be seen or heard. That’s where “medium” Whoopi Goldberg comes in, hoping to help Sam tie up the loose ends and move on to the next world.

Swayze Ghost

#4: Freddy Krueger – Nightmare on Elm Street

Freddy Krueger is by far the Sip Advisor’s favourite horror movie ghoul. Just the thought of a being invading your dreams and snuffing out your life in such a violent manner gives me goose bumps (and not the of the R.L. Stein variety). Add in his look, with the scarred face and clawed glove and you won’t want to ever sleep again. The Nightmare on Elm Street concept has inspired some of the most creative kills in horror movie history. Robert Englund, despite being typecast as a nice guy, took the role of Freddy and rocked it for eight movies and 44 TV episodes, before Jackie Earle Haley took over for the 2010 reboot.

#3: Beetlejuice

Say his name three times and you’re in for a visit from the supernatural con artist and bio-exorcist… a visit you just might regret! Played perfectly by Michael Keaton and set in a world that only director Tim Burton could dream up, this dark, yet oddly colourful movie inspired a cartoon series that turned Beetlejuice into a protagonist and friend of Lydia Deetz (you know, the same teen he tried to force against her will and carry out a dark wedding with in the film). There is talk of Keaton and Burton reuniting for a long-awaited sequel to the original film, perhaps even called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, a follow-up in development since 1990.

Beetlejuice Origin

#2: Jacob Marley & Christmas Spirits – A Christmas Carol

Without the help of these specters, Ebenezer Scrooge may have never learned the true meaning of Christmas and how to be a better human being, in general. First, starting with his former partner Jacob Marley (who is cursed to suffer in the hereafter after a lifetime and greed and selfishness), Scrooge is warned that he will be visited by three spirits: the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. These ghouls guide Scrooge through his early days, showing him where the seeds of misery were first planted, how the people around him are currently suffering, and finally, the end result if he doesn’t change his ways immediately.

#1: Dr. Malcolm Crowe – The Sixth Sense

Spoiler alert! Bruce Willis – or at least his character – is actually dead in The Sixth Sense… he just doesn’t know it at first. The twist in this movie is executed so well that it made a career for M. Night Shayamalan. A career he has since faced challenges in, but a career nonetheless. Dr. Malcolm Crowe is trying to help a youngster, Cole Sear, through issues that include seeing and talking to people that have passed away and are having trouble getting through to the other side. In the process of Dr. Crowe helping Cole, Cole actually helps the good doctor and gives him release from being stuck in limbo.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Green Ghoul

Green Ghoul Shot

  • Rim glass with Green Sugar
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Midori

Who’s your favourite live-action or animated ghost? Which specters and spooks give you the heebie-jeebies? Never fear, cause next week, we’ll delve into the best ways to kill these baddies!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The best part of this shot, other than the Midori melon liqueur, was the salty rim, created by spreading Lime Juice around the glass, allowing the Green Sugar to stick. It’s not that the shot was bad, but it was strong thanks to the Vodka. Thankfully, I used a really nice Vodka, Tito’s to be exact, and that helped with the overall enjoyment.

June 1 – Procrastinator

Distraction Guaranteed

The vast and wondrous internet is about more than just free porn and Facebook follies. There is unlimited entertainment out there on the wild, wild web, which a procrastinator such as myself can fall into for hours at a time! Here is some suggested viewing:

Epic Meal Time

These Canadian boys sure know how to do food right. Their videos begin with the team gathering various ingredients (usually from fast food restaurants like KFC, McDonalds and Burger King) before they unite to make a meal of epic proportions… hence the name. The EMT crew love their bacon (who doesn’t!) and they also feature Jack Daniel’s Whiskey in a bunch of their recipes. Sip Advisor Favourite: Fast Food Sushi  – so many sauces!

Everyday Drinkers

I really like this guy and his videos on how to make a number of different cocktails. His laid back and common man approach puts you at ease and he shows that everyone is capable of making these multi-ingredient drinks, regardless of mixology acumen. My bar collection is pretty sweet, but the Common Man cocktail slinger has a stock of liquors that would make anyone envious. Sip Advisor Favourite: Too hard to narrow down, just check out the guy’s work!

LOLCats

It’s common knowledge that I’m a cat guy and have featured them favourably and heavily on this site. The LOLCats mix fun images of kitties messing around with any number of hilarious jokes. The quality ranges from mediocre to downright brilliant, but you won’t be disappointed after a visit to this site. Sip Advisor Favourite: Probably the “I Can Has Cheezburger” series.

Angry Video Game Nerd

What’s best about the Angry Video Game Nerd’s videos is that they take you back to a simpler time in your life, when your little world revolved around Nintendo (and other systems) and your difficulties in beating various games from its library. The guy is also pretty funny in his review of difficult or craptacular games. For anyone who enjoys watching others play at the arcade, these videos are for you. Sip Advisor Favourite: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – difficult, but classic game…

Between Two Ferns

Hosted by Zach Galifianakis, these interviews (if you can call a host ignoring and degrading his guest an interview) are good for a few laughs. Some of Hollywood’s top names have visited Galifinakis’s little set, including Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Bradley Cooper, Conan O’Brien, and many more. In typical Galifianakis style, you never really know what he’s going to say, but you know it will be awkwardly funny. Sip Advisor Favourite: Bruce Willis because of the line from Galifianakis, “Did you know that some actors turn down roles?”

Addicting Games

This site got me through a large portion of my college years, messing around and trying different games. While I’m an ardent fan of the match three genre, there are many other casual games I enjoy giving a whirl. Sip Advisor Favourites: Cursed Treasure, for the tower defense fans out there and, of course, Kitten Cannon, where you launch a kitten out of a cannon and see how far it will fly. (No animals were harmed in the making of this post).

Botch-A-Mania

For the wrestling fans out there, you have to check out the Botch-A-Mania videos on YouTube. They let you relive some of professional wrestling greatest screw-ups (affectionately known in the industry as botches). Some of these are so funny you’ll be rolling on the floor, laughing your ass off. For bonus wrestling fun, check out WrestleCrap for the craziest in squared circle coverage. Sip Advisor Favourite: Probably when Booker T dropped an N-bomb on Hulk Hogan!

Drink #152: Procrastinator

June 1

  • Rim glass with Caramel Syrup and Skor Bits
  • 0.75 oz Frangelico
  • 0.75 oz Honey Whiskey

Of course, you could also spend countless hours on this site, enjoying all the Sip Advisor has to offer. Thanks to the fine folks above, I’ve wasted numerous hours of my life. While Mrs. Sip might wish things were different, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
You can also make a Procrastination Martini with Gin, Dry Vermouth, Limoncello and Green Chartreuse, but I preferred the shooter recipe. This is a pretty strong shot, but it tastes good. I had trouble constructing the Skor Bit rim, having to resort to Caramel Syrup as an adhesive to make those suckers stick. Any chance I have to use Honey Whiskey is one I’m going to take!