February 7 – Saturday Night Fever

Live from New York

The iconic Saturday Night Live is celebrating its 40th season on the air this evening and in those 40 years, we’ve seen many classic characters hit our screens – both big and small. Here are the Top 5 Saturday Night Live characters, according to the Sip Advisor (a great character in his own right!):

#5: Irwin Mainway

Dan Aykroyd, the man behind Crystal Skull Vodka and so many great characters, can also list this shady salesman among his fine credits. Mainway appeared on the show Consumer Probe to defend his geared-towards-kids Halloween costumes and Christmas toys, such as ‘Bag O’ Glass,’ ‘Bag O’ Sulfuric Acid,’ ‘Teddy Chainsaw Bear,’ ‘Invisible Pedestrian,’ and ‘Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk.’ I personally don’t see the issue with any of those products!

Mainway

#4: Celebrity Jeopardy

These are some of the best skits in the show’s history and while they may not be original characters, a couple of them were reoccurring, such as Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery. The Trebek-Connery rivalry was a great touch, as were many of the game categories, which Connery hilariously misconstrued, much to Trebek’s bewilderment. For example, “An Album Cover” somehow became “Anal Bum Cover” when Connery got ahold of it.

#3: Stefon

The New York club scene insider and Weekend Update guest, was responsible for introducing the world to some of the most bizarre underground hangouts, including Crease, Whimsy, and Kevin?… yes, that one has a question mark. Played by Bill Hader, fellow writers would change the cue cards for Stefon appearances between rehearsal and live run and then it would only be a matter of time before Hader would break character laughing and have to bury his face in his hands.

#2: Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar

“Party on, Wayne… party on, Garth! With those words, Wayne’s World took to the airwaves, although it’s a little known fact that Mike Myers first used the Wayne Campbell character on the Canadian show It’s Only Rock & Roll. Anyway, the Wayne’s World co-hosts took their skit success straight to feature films with two great movies, perfect for cameo appearances from musical acts, as well as actors. The characters have rarely been reprised, but they live on in the hearts of millions.

#1: Matt Foley

While Chris Farley made this character legendary, it was actually created by Bob Odenkirk, aka Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad. Matt Foley, with his unique way of motivating others, made us all fear an existence of living in a van down by the river. A highlight of each Foley sketch was the inevitable crash the inspirational speaker would take through a table or into a Christmas tree. The first table fall was actually accidental, but was the icing on the cake for the sketch and became tradition.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever Shot

  • 0.5 oz Sambuca
  • 0.5 oz Whiskey
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Some honourable mentions go to Mr. Bill, the Festrunk Brothers, Toonces the Cat, the Ladies Man, the Butabi Brothers, and Mr. Robinson. While I’ve never been a big regular watcher of the show, I have many fond memories from it and have to thank the series for launching the careers of some of my favourite comedians!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this shot is certainly meant for the John Travolta disco dancing film from the 1970s, I believe it also works well for the theme of today’s post. The Sambuca and Lime Juice are to be shaken together first, with the Whiskey being floated on top afterwards, but I had forgotten this element and when the result was a wonderful tasting shot, I just went with it. This may be one of the best uses of Sambuca I have yet to find and I think things might have been helped by the Royal Challenge Whiskey from India.

July 19 – Floater

All the Balls

After last week’s look at the best sports movies geared towards a family audience, it’s time to turn up the vulgarity and venture into the world of adult-oriented films… well, not those types of films, but the sports type for teens and adults. Here are the Top 5 grown up sports movies:

#5: Baseketball

From the creators of South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), comes this farce about a world where sports superstars have become so overpaid and corporations dictate athletic competition. A universe where sportsmanship no longer exists and money is the root of all evil. Enter Cooper and Remer, who create a baseball-basketball-beer pong hybrid that eventually grows to become the next great sports phenomenon. Some of the team names from the movie are particularly clever, including the Dallas Felons, Miami Dealers, New Jersey Informants, and San Francisco Ferries (think about that one for a moment!).

baseketball

#4: DodgeBall

The underdog story of a ragtag group trying to save their gym (Average Joe’s), as they dodge, dip, dive, duck, and yes, dodge again versus the super-charged squad of Globo-Gym, which is looking to buy out the smaller competition. The entire cast is hilarious in this movie (particularly, my boy Stephen Root) and the surprise cameos from some judges of the competitions are great as well. A sequel to the movie is in the works and both Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are expected to reprise their roles. Hopefully they remember that if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!

#3: Happy Gilmore

Adam Sandler kept his string of 90’s hit movies going with this entry. The film sees aspiring hockey star – despite his awful skillset – jump into the world of professional golf, when he’s discovered by a one-handed golf course pro. Things become more serious for Gilmore when his grandma’s house is to be taken away and the only way to get it back is Gilmore’s success on the PGA Tour. In my opinion, along with the success of Tiger Woods, the popularity of this film launched a whole new generation of golf players and fans. Gilmore’s brawl with The Price is Right host, Bob Barker, is one of the best cameo scenes in movie history.

Happy Gilmore

#2: Caddyshack

Times are changing at the Bushwood Country Club, as a new wave of members enter the fray, disrupting the once peaceful and pristine society. Bill Murray steals the show as groundskeeper Carl Spackler, particularly his improvised scene describing the Cinderella story of a hard luck golfer at Augusta, while teeing off on some of the club’s flowers. Others, such as Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight are perfect in their roles as combative members. It’s too bad that the sequel couldn’t live up to the original, but it’s still an okay romp. I especially enjoy it when the course is given miniature golf elements.

#1: Slap Shot

There are so many quotable lines in this classic. Paul Newman is awesome as the Charlestown Chief’s player-coach, Reggie Dunlop, and with other oddballs like the ultraviolent Hanson Brothers joining the squad, there’s plenty of characters to appreciate and enjoy. Many of the roles were based on real-life players. As a young kid growing up in hockey-mad Canada, this film was like a rite of passage, especially given its adult elements. I can’t say much for the two sequels that have come out in more recent years, but everyone out there, hockey fan or not, should give the original a viewing.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Floater

Floater Shot

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Scoop of Peanut Butter
  • Dash of Chocolate Syrup

Who would have thought that two golf-themed films would crack this list? Even more surprising, not a single Will Ferrell sports movie made the Top 5… and I’m a huge Will Ferrell fan. Lastly, while they are made-for-TV documentaries, the Sip Advisor encourages everyone out there to check out ESPN’s 30-for-30 series and get your learn on!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
All I have to say about this shot is, think about the pool scene in Caddyshack… disgusting, indeed! You’re also supposed to garnish with shot with Corn, but I just couldn’t make that graphic leap. Given the shooter is straight vodka, it’s strong, but the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sauce tame it a little… just not enough.

May 31 – False Start

Legendary Leagues

Most leagues fail within their first year of operation. If they survive long enough to hand out their inaugural championship, then they usually face other elements of strife, such as low attendance, trouble landing a TV broadcasting deal, and teams folding or relocating. The waters are rough, but if a leagues treads long enough, it just may endure. Here are the top 5 defunct sports leagues and their intriguing stories:

#5: X Football League

Because the NFL just wasn’t fun enough, along came the XFL from World Wrestling Entertainment mogul Vince McMahon. Ironically, while most believe the ‘X’ stood for eXtreme, this is not actually the case and the ‘X’ was never defined. In partnership with NBC, the league only lasted one season. With a few rule changes that were meant to spice up pro football, the eight-team league was dogged by the stigma attached to professional wrestling and what many thought was an inferior quality of play. Ratings were initially strong, but dropped in half from week one to week two and continued to decline over the course of the year. The XFL fizzled out following the season-ending Million Dollar Game and closed up shop on May 10, 2001. Both McMahon and NBC reportedly lost $35 million each in the joint venture.

XFL

#4: SlamBall

A sport with trampolines and full body contact… sounds like a recipe for success to the Sip Advisor and the one time in my life I was mildly interested in the sport of basketball. When TNN (now Spike TV) was making strides to change its image from a country music station to a network geared towards male viewers, one of their early experiments was SlamBall. Unfortunately, the league only ran seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2008, but did hold an international tournament in 2012, in China. Created by Mason Gordon, SlamBall grew from six to eight teams for the 2003 season, but a disagreement between Gordon and Warner Bros. ended with the league being dissolved. The 2008 season returned to a six-team format and the winning coach was Samuel L. Jackson… er, I mean Coach (Ken) Carter.

#3: Roller Hockey International

The early 90’s were a wonderful time and part of that amazing period was the advent and popularity of rollerblades. So, along comes the RHI, hoping to capitalize on that fad. Games were even broadcast on ESPN2 during the early years, showing the potential popularity the sport could have harnessed. The high-scoring (RHI averaged 16.7 goals per game, compared to the NHL’s seven at the time) league played from 1993-97 and also in 1999. Played 4-on-4, a number of NHL alum also strapped on the blades, including Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier. Unfortunately, a planned Super Nintendo video game never materialized, although that fact probably saved me hours in front of the TV and instead, I was outside playing roller hockey! RHI folded operations for good in 2001, despite some of the best team names ever seen in sport.

RHI SNES

Sadly, it never came to be!

#2: United States Football League

Looking to compete with the NFL and offer fans an alternative to fill their growing football needs, the USFL may not have succeeded, but many of the innovations they brought to the game, as well as markets they used for franchises, would eventually be adopted by the NFL juggernaut. Backed by Donald Trump and others with deep pockets, the league produced a number of stars who also enjoyed success in the NFL, as well as two future wrestling World Champions in Lex Luger and Ron Simmons. The crushing blow to the USFL came when they filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, claiming it had established a monopoly. Despite expecting a substantial windfall, the USFL was awarded $1 (that’s not a typo). Heavily in debt, the league ceased operations. The ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Who Killed the USFL? examines the league’s brief existence.

#1: World Hockey Association

Launching in 1972 with 12 teams, the WHA made an immediate big splash with the signing of NHL star Bobby Hull to a 10-year, $2.7 million contract. In all, 67 players jumped ship from the NHL to the WHA for the inaugural season. Sadly, the league was plagued with difficulties, including financial struggles, arena issues, teams relocating, and franchises folding. Four WHA franchises still exist in today’s NHL: the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets (moved to Phoenix), Quebec Nordiques (moved to Colorado), and Hartford Whalers (moved to Carolina). The league’s legacy also lives on via European stars coming to North America, higher salaries, and a lower draft age. For an in-depth look at the WHA’s seven tumultuous seasons, check out Ed Willes book, The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association.

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Start

False Start Shot

  • 0.4 oz Cider
  • 0.4 oz Bourbon
  • 0.4 oz Brandy
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Honourable mentions include the American Basketball Association, which was loosely spoofed in the Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro, and the Arena Football League, which cancelled their 2009 season, but has since been resurrected under new ownership. Which defunct sports league do you miss?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shooter went down very easy and was fun thanks to the bubbles of the Cider. The Bourbon and Brandy flavours do play a role, but not too aggressively. That makes for a couple good Cider recipes for me in the last little while and I might be experiencing a change of heart as far as the beverage goes!

December 3 – Chocolate Peppermintini

Christmas Classics

Especially given it’s the winter months and the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to snuggle up and watch a bevy of classic Christmas films. What should you include in your movie marathon? Ask and you shall receive. Here are my favourite Christmas flicks!

It’s a Wonderful Life

I absolutely adore this classic. And when you think about it, many of us might have never viewed the tale that has been copied and parodied so many times. It was never intended to be a “Christmas movie”, but that’s what it became. Jimmy Stewart is amazing throughout the movie (no surprise there, as the dude is actually an American hero) and his portrayal of George Bailey, who is too often in the wrong place at the wrong time, is one of the most treasured characters in cinema history.

Elf

The story of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell at his usual level of crazy!) searching out his father and integrating into the fast-paced world of New York City is a fun movie to get into the swing of things during the holidays. Buddy has to work hard to get the hardened folks of New York City, as well as the rest of the world to find their Christmas spirit, which powers Santa’s sleigh, of course. The film, which has material both kids and parents alike can enjoy, has even led to a Broadway musical.

Bad Santa

If you’ve been following this site for any period of time, you knew that a raunchier film was going to come up at some point… here it is! Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie T. Stokes, an alcoholic womanizer who roams from town to town as a mall Santa, staking out his place of occupation in order to rob the store before moving on to the next score. Things are different this time when he falls for a woman and a loner kid and decides to eventually change his ways.

A Christmas Carol/Scrooge

It’s hard to pick a version that is best to view, but my favourites include The Muppet version (no surprise there) and probably the edition with Alastair Sim playing the cranky curmudgeon. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, this is another Christmas tale that has been parodied constantly, as Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, warning him that if he doesn’t change his ways, many will be affected and no one will care when his time on the earth is done.

Scrooge

Home Alone

While I’d caution folks who wish to view any of the movies past Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the first two entries are cinematic gems. As a kid, you only wanted to see the last segments of the films, where plucky Kevin McCallister sends burglars Harry and Marv (The Wet Bandits) through his nightmarish house of horrors, but with age and wisdom, I’ve come to realize the movies are much more than that. They include a lot of wonderful Christmas imagery and are perfect holiday romps.

A Christmas Story

This movie is a family favourite around the Sip Advisor offices. The story sees young Ralphie embark on a quest to receive a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He runs into obstacles at every corner from his teacher giving him a poor grade on his essay on what he wants for Christmas to Santa Claus himself (a mall Santa that is) telling him he’ll shoot his eye out… and he nearly does in the end. TV network TBS has been known to broadcast the movie in a 24-hour cycle on Christmas day, so if you haven’t seen it yet, shame on you!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

What a treasure this movie is. From Cousin Eddie’s antics to the misadventures of the hapless Clark Griswold, there are so many laughs in this film. Clark is looking to provide his family the perfect Christmas experience, much like the ones he enjoyed as a youngster. That all goes awry as the holiday becomes more of a nightmare with each incident, underscored by Clark’s uncertainty of whether his Christmas bonus will arrive and allow him to build a swimming pool for his clan.

shitter-was-full

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Some people crap on this flick, but I think it’s quite enjoyable. Thanks to the longer running time, not afforded to the cartoon special classic, we get a better understanding of why the Grinch hates Christmas and all the Who’s down in Whoville. Jim Carrey was the perfect choice to play the ‘mean one’ whose heart grew three times that day. This movie ushered in the chain of Dr. Suess stories to be adapted for feature films; some good, some bad… this is one of the good ones.

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

I’m a little disappointed that this series abandoned the Christmas time setting after the first two releases. This is for the action fan out there that wants only a sprinkle of the Christmas spirit in their movies. The first film begins with an office Christmas party that is invaded by terrorists while the sequel is set in an airport, as hero John McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive home for the holidays. Both movies are filled with shootouts, creative kills, and catchphrases galore!

Love, Actually

If you’re looking for a little more romance with your Christmas movie fare, give this film a try. It’s one of those “separate stories that all come together at the end” ensemble cast dealies, but it’s very good… even if Hugh Grant is a featured actor… a Prime Minister, no less. Set in Britain during the lead up to Christmas, the film sets out to prove that “Love, actually is all around us” and they hit the nail on the head through the interweaving narratives.

Drink #337: Chocolate Peppermintini

Chocolate Pepperminti Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Christmas Sprinkles
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk

What are your favourite Christmas movie viewings? I’m always looking to add to my annual “To Watch” list, so send those ideas in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While not a bad drink, Mrs. Sip didn’t like how sweet it was. I enjoyed its booziness and flavours (I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and mint together!), although using the Smores Vodka might have altered the taste and a plain Vodka may have been bettered suited for the recipe.

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!