This weekend I get to cat sit the two cutest bengals on earth, but the perks of this gig are much more than sitting around, indulging in cable television, and playing with the furry little beasts. It also means I have a huge selection of liquor, wine and beer at my disposal to cook with and imbibe. So, while my mind is scheming up what sort of exotic drink I will make tonight, it's also thinking of alcohol-laden movies.

For this double feature, I'm giving you two of my favorite movies that are completely intertwined with the love of alcohol. One is quirky, but fairly straight-laced, while the other is just insanity, but in the immensely fun sort of way. I give you: Alexander Payne's Sideways and Guy Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World. (If you're looking for even more choices, check out Christopher Campbell's Cinematical Seven from last December.)

Sideways

Sideways - Trailer

Jack is about to get married, so he hits California wine country with his best friend and wine fiend, Miles. Over the course of one simple, extended trip, Jack questions his upcoming wedding, Miles starts to pull himself out of his depression, they meet two great women, and they go through tons of wine.

The first time I saw Sideways, I was indifferent. After a few really great trips to wineries, however, I loved it. I mean, this is not Wine for the Confused (which would be a great addition to the mix as well), but Alexander Payne did a great job of infusing the adoration for wine with the story. Neither the forays into the particulars of wine tasting, nor Jack's upcoming wedding, seem like a derailment. It's all intertwined, and it's fun. It's got the laughs for those who know nothing of the grape, and enough tidbits to make the wine connoisseurs happy as well.

Since this is all about the booze, I'd be remiss to not include a drinking game, like this one.

TRIVIA: Can you imagine George Clooney as Jack?

Bloopers hidden on the Sideways DVD.

Cabernet Franc.

A wine lesson from Miles.


The Saddest Music in the World



It's cold, it's Winnipeg, the continent is in the throes of the Great Depression and the States are suffering from prohibition. Lady Port-Huntley, a beer baroness, creates a contest to find the saddest music in the world, and people from across the globe descend upon Winnipeg's winter freeze to win the $25,000 prize.

It sounds dramatic, but it is really nothing of the sort. The Saddest Music in the World is a wildly funny film from the wonderfully strange mind of Guy Maddin. But along with all this music and plans for money, there's beer. Lots and lots of beer. Isabella Rossellini's Port Huntley sells it; the winner gets to slide into a huge tub of it; and later, she gets sparkly glass legs full of it. It's a wonderful tale of hops, turmoil, and sad music.

Forget a drinking game: When the film is done, fill the tub with beer and take a dip!

The Song is You

Another sad performance.

And, for a good interim short film in-between, if you're all old enough for such lasciviousness:

Sissy Boy Slap Party
CATEGORIES Features, Cinematical