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!

Flavour Revolution – Peach

Pit Stop

Peaches are best defined by the massive pit at the center of the fruit. That got the Sip Advisor thinking about some of the most famous pits, found outside fruits. Here’s what this eccentric old mind was able to come up with:

La Brea Tar Pits

Located near Los Angeles, these pits of heavy crude oil have trapped a countless number of animals over the years, including mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, wolves, bison, horses, bears, sloths, turtles, and even lions. The La Brea Tar Pits official website advertises itself as “The World’s Most Famous Ice Age Fossil Excavation Site”. It’s certainly an area I wouldn’t want to disappear into.

la_brea_tar_pits

Brad Pitt

The two-time World’s Sexiest Man (at least according to People Magazine, which has elected to not include the Sip Advisor’s name on voter’s ballots) is a universally known star. I’d say my favourite Brad Pitt work is Fight Club, but I still have issues with the guy for leaving Jennifer Aniston, in favour of Angelina Jolie. That is a decision I’ll never be able to understand and just have to make peace with.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Home to the Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL), and Pirates (MLB) of the sports world, the city is also the birthplace of notable folks, such as Jeff Goldblum, Ken Griffey Jr., Zachary Quinto, George A. Romero, Julie Benz, Joe Manganiello, Kurt Angle, and Gillian Jacobs. Lastly, one of my favourite American craft breweries, Fat Head, originated in the ‘Burgh and for that, we thank them!

Pit Bulls

Among dog fans, these pups go by the shortened term ‘Pits’. While they are sometimes feared for the occasional horror story that hits the rounds regarding attacks by dogs, anyone who owns one swears by their loving nature. Some famous pit bulls include Petey (The Little Rascals), Chance (Homeward Bound) and Champion (Parks and Recreation). There’s also the rapper of the same name, but whateves.

pit bull cat

Piper’s Pit – WWE

This was the wrestling talk show to end all talk shows. A place where many of professional wrestling’s greatest storylines either began, progressed, or ended. Hosted by the wild, unpredictable ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, the Pit was the setting for Andre the Giant turning on Hulk Hogan, leading to their epic WrestleMania III showdown, and Piper’s own feuds with Jimmy Snuka and Adrian Adonis, among others.

Armpits

Armpits get a bit of a bad rap, as they are one of the central sweat zones for both males and females, sometimes causing embarrassing body odors. For some though, this is an area of sexual attraction and fetishism (known as maschalagnia). While that’s not for the Sip Advisor, I’m not here to judge. The female armpit hair debate, however, has a simple answer: the less the best!

Flavour Revolution: Tickled Peach

Tickled Peach Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Peach Liqueur
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

There are also a number of famous pits and sinkholes, found around the world. And how could we forget The Peach Pit from Beverly Hills 90210, where the coolest kids from the richest zip code hung out. Ah, the wonderful 90’s!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I was hoping to use a Peach Moonshine, but went with Peach Liqueur instead. This made the drink sweeter than I would have wanted and it just wasn’t the best mix I’ve had before. I don’t know if Moonshine would have changed that at all, but I’ll have to try it out in the future.

July 18 – Red Baron #2

Sordid Sequels

With the prevalence of movie sequels nowadays (the summer season being riddled with them), it’s amazing that some of these franchises never received a second treatment. Hell, we waited 20 years for a follow-up to Dumb & Dumber! Some supplemental films get stuck in development hell (for example, Jurassic World, which was finally released last month, 14 years after the last film), while others never get off the ground and running. Here are the Top 5 films we should have seen a sequel to:

#5: Quick Hits

I’m going to lead off this article with a few honourable mentions, with brief ideas I would have for the sequels. Snakes on a Plane – Why not ‘Snakes on a Train’!? Wedding Crashers – The twist for this movie is that the main characters from the original have their wedding crashed, by the next generation of comedic stars. Serenity – What’s left of the infamous space crew goes after Fox executives to teach them lessons on giving up too soon. Team America: World Police – Not gonna lie, I just want more puppets! If any film studios want to hire me, my agent will be happy to hammer out a contract!

Brokeback Mountain 2

#4: Zombieland

Mrs. Sip and I are big fans of the original movie, particularly the rules of surviving a zombie apocalypse that appeared throughout the film. Following the success of the first installment, all of the main cast members expressed interest in returning for a sequel, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. There was an attempt to bring Zombieland to the small screen with both a CBS and later Amazon series, but the CBS run never materialized and an Amazon ordered pilot was not picked up. In October 2014, rumours of a movie sequel surfaced again, so there’s still a chance for the franchise.

#3: Roger Rabbit

A sequel to Roger Rabbit has been in development for years, following the success of the first movie, released all the way back in 1988. One of the biggest hurdles was original director Steven Spielberg having a change of heart, as the original script would have seen Roger’s origin story and saving Jessica Rabbit from being kidnapped by Nazis. After Spielberg made Schindler’s List, he decided he could no longer combine Nazis and comedy. In 2013, news surfaced of a Roger Rabbit-Mickey Mouse buddy comedy, but no updates have come from the original reports.

Toy Story 9

#2: Beetlejuice

There have been numerous attempts to bring a second Beetlejuice movie to the big screen after the quirky 1988 film was both a critical and commercial success. Scripts have been written that included Beetlejuice moving his operations to Hawaii, where he was to battle an ancient Hawaiian Kahuna and win surf competitions… seriously, this was in the script. As recently as January 2015, news broke that a script had been finished and that director Tim Burton, along with stars Michael Keaton and Wynona Ryder would participate.

#1: Ghostbusters

With a third installment of the popular Ghostbusters franchise due in theatres in 2016, it will have been a long time between releases, with Ghostbusters 2 hitting big screens all the way back in 1989. Since then, fans have held their breath, waiting for a follow-up. Interestingly, the third film will star a cast of female Ghostbusters, including Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. Will that work out for the devoted supporters that have longed for just one more run of the Ecto 1? Time will only tell, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Red Baron #2

  • 0.75 oz Crown Royal
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

There’s a great scene at the end of 22 Jump Street that suggests the franchise could make numerous sequels in the future; everything from Medical School to Culinary School. There are some films, however, that as much as I’d love to see more of the story or characters, are better as one-offs. This list would include Inception, The Sixth Sense, and Fight Club… you know, movies with cliffhanger endings or big twists that just couldn’t be replicated.

May 2 – Fight Club

Technical Knockout

With tonight’s massive super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, I thought we should have a little look into the world of boxing… or at least the fictional side of the sport. Here are some of the greatest characters to ever step into the ring:

#5: Rock’em Sock’em Robots

I never played Rock’em Sock’em Robots, but any game where the goal is to knock your opponents head off sounds like a lot of fun. The toy was so successful that it has become a pop culture icon and has been turned into video games and an action figure line. The robots even appeared as characters in the movie Toy Story 2, which is a crowning achievement for any game. I never knew that the robots had their own names, including Red Rocker and Blue Bomber (and at one time, Bolt Crusher Bob and Gear Grinder Greg).

rock'em sock'em

#4: Butch Coolidge – Pulp Fiction

Butch Coolidge’s tale in the serial Pulp Fiction begins with his change of heart about throwing a fight. Despite the consequences of disobeying mobster Marsellus Wallace, Coolidge not only doesn’t take a dive, but he knocks out the fighter he was supposed to lose to and even kills him. Things end up getting pretty weird for both Coolidge and Wallace, as they find themselves the prisoners of two sadistic serial killers, who are intent on raping and torturing the men, before putting them out of their misery. Coolidge escapes and saves Wallace, thus earning his freedom from the mob.

#3: Drederick Tatum – The Simpsons

Drederick Tatum is The Simpsons universe version of former Heavyweight Champion and ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ Mike Tyson, right down to having a manager (Lucius Sweet) similar to Don King. Homer Simpson also took a turn at boxing, when it was learned he could take a massive beating and not get knocked out. Guided by boxer turned bartender turned manager Moe Szyzlak, Homer was even placed into a fight with Tatum, for the former champions return to the ring after a prison stint for pushing his mother down the stairs!

Drederick_Tatum

#2: Mickey O’Neil – Snatch

You might not understand a single word this bloke says, but the talking he does with his fists, you will certainly make sense of… unless you’re on the receiving end of his blows and then you might not even remember your own name! Much like Butch Coolidge, Mickey agrees to throw a fight, only to knock out his opponent… twice! Thanks to betting on himself, O’Neil makes quite the killing and at the same time, avoids becoming the victim of a horde of gangsters. Those gypsies are a tricky bunch and that’s before they even get into the ring.

#1: Rocky Balboa – Rocky

I’m not a fan of Sylvester Stallone – not many are – but I will give him credit for his work with the Rocky franchise. Through the films, the Italian Stallion goes from unknown, small-time fighter to Heavyweight Champion to American hero. Balboa’s battles with the likes of Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago, Tommy ‘The Machine’ Gunn, and Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon, are legendary.  The training montages alone in these films are iconic, from boxing in a meat locker, to running triumphantly up stairs, to trying to figure out how to defeat a machine-like Russian.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Fight Club

Fight Club Shot

  • Rim glass with Lime Powder
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Sugar

A special shout out has to go to the characters of the Punch-Out video game series, including Little Mac, King Hippo, Glass Joe, and Bear Hugger. Heck, even Donkey Kong found his way into the franchise and a pair of boxing gloves!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
My first inclination was to use a flavoured vodka to lessen any harshness in the shooter. But I reconsidered, wanting to let the lime flavour do as much as it could to influence the shot, rather than any other tastes. I settled for Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka to hit on both of my thoughts. The sugar added to the concoction solved any issues with it being too strong and it was much more pleasant than I ever thought it would be.

October 14 – Green Gobbler

Pilgrim Party

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and while it’s not the tradition that the American version has grown to be, it does provide an extra day off and a chance to reflect on the things we’re thankful for. Here’s my list:

Mrs. Sip

Although we are going through a trial separation (ie. she’s taken off on one of her world travels and left me to look after the house, pets, kids, and savings – if we had any of those things), I have to single her out as my greatest thing to be thankful for. She is my muse, my benefactor, and my raison d’etre. Now get your butt back home so you can sample all the wonderful creations this shambled mind is coming up with!

Muse

Family and Friends (aka The Sip Alliance)

I have some of the greatest family and friends anyone could ever dream up and I challenge anyone to top what I have been blessed with. The Sip Alliance has greatly supported me in my expedition to present a new cocktail every day to the wild, wild web. From shooting me ideas, to providing me with new alcohols to experiment with, I have the best pit crew a liquor jockey could ever ask for.

All My Little Sippers

This website has been a smashing success, in my honest opinion. Our stats continue to improve and I have all you readers to thank for that. I’m sure you’re asking yourself: “How can I support the Sip Advisor more?” Well, unless you’re Scrooge McDuck and want to sponsor my endeavours, you could at least like us on Facebook, sign up to follow the blog, or just continue to check back when you’re in the need of some info-tainment!

so many fans

Freedom

While I may not agree with the choices of many (your vegetarians and what have you), I’m happy to live in a time and place where people have the right to be who they want to be and what they want to be. When I declared to the world (well, perhaps it was more of a small gathering) that I intended to drink 365 cocktails in the calendar year of 2013, nobody told me I wasn’t allowed to do that (although they probably should have!) and all I received was love and support.

Deep Fryers

Can you imagine life without these wonderful machines? I surely can’t. How would I get my fries or chicken strips or even tempura vegetables? Most of you have heard the harrowing tale of my quest to get a deep fryer – despite Mrs. Sip’s opposition – going so far as to petition the internet to support my cause. While we came up short in our pursuit, I still have much love for one of the greatest inventions in history.

cat-wants-a-deep-fryer

Sauces

Do you remember that scene in Fight Club, where Edward Norton’s character describes the contents of his fridge and it’s basically stuffed with condiments? That might as well be me on some occasions. I’m a full ranking member of the sauce nation. I love so many of these concoctions, that I mix and match them like women do with their clothing and I get giddy when I discover a new item I want to purchase.

Comedy

Laughing soothes the soul and therefore I surround myself with as much funny material as I possibly can. From trips to the local comedy club, to sitting back with a few of my old animated friends (The Simpsons, American Dad, Archer, etc.), rarely does a moment go by where I’m not getting in a good chuckle. I often break out into hysterical laughter in the middle of a quiet work day, leaving my colleagues to ponder my mental state!

Drink #287: Green Gobbler

Green Gobbler Drink Recipe

  • 0.75 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Pumpkin Pie Vodka
  • Splash of Blue Curacao
  • Top with Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Berries

What are you thankful for on this most glorious of days away from work (aren’t they all wonderful)? Enjoy your feast!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
Perhaps this isn’t the most traditional Thanksgiving recipe I could have used, but the mix of flavours intrigued me and so I went for it. The drink was only okay, as I didn’t taste the Pumpkin Pie Vodka as much as I hoped I would. It was kind of subdued by all the citrus and berry notes.