The idea was hatched, as many good ideas are, after a few drinks.
Five films each. Films that the other hadn’t seen. Themed food and drink. Points would be awarded for film enjoyment, quality of food and drink, and appropriateness of the matching of the aforementioned food and drink.
Two competitive people and five weeks of films, dinners and cocktails, whisk(e)y and wine.The prize: the winner gets to choose the restaurant at which they wish to be wined and dined.
Film 1: The Graduate. (1967) Dirty martini. Sushi.
The first martini Keith had ever made and the best martini I have ever tasted. Good film. High score.
Film 2: Amelie. (2001) Kir royale. Goats cheese salad. Pot of mussels. French red wine. Little black dress. Candles. Appreciative audience. High score.
Film 3: The Boondock Saints. (1999) An afternoon screening. Greeted with a shot of Irish whiskey. More Irish whiskey during the screening, pizza. High score. Great film. Perfect food and drink matching. And the evening continued in a slightly skewiff fashion with catching a taxi, being caught in AFL traffic, abandoning the taxi and an irate and BO-fragranced taxi driver for a train to Northcote from a platform that seemed tricky to find. A carriage full of Essendon and St Kilda supporters. A dog in the seat behind us licked me in the mouth. A packed cafe and a French punk band who seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be trying to be a German punk band.
Film 4: In the Cut. (2003) Manhattan (cocktail). Manhattan clam chowder. New York strip (steak) with mushrooms, asparagus and green beans. A risky film to share. Meg Ryan, I think, at her best. Slow story, and not necessarily a story to everyone’s taste, but there are some cinematically beautiful moments. Nevertheless, as impressive and as well received as the Manhattan clam chowder was, high but not-as-high score. Because the film is an acquired taste. I appreciate that.
Film 5: The Quick and the Dead. (1995) Old fashioned. Southern fried chicken and mash with cornbread. Southern food cooked by a southern man. Wow. So good. I can’t say the film was the best I had seen. It’s a film that is good to have seen. A young Leonardo Di Caprio. Legend. High but a little lesser scoring.
Film 6: Drive (2011) ANZAC Day. A little bit after-thoughtish. A stunning day and then a hasty cooking decision. If you have seen Drive, you will understand my difficulty in food and drink matching. I ended up trying for some sort of California-esque meal and served smoked salmon followed by caesar salad. And the drink match… I had nothing. We drank a beautiful rioja. Beautiful but in no way reflective of the film. Good, but not-as-high mark.
Film 7: The Cutting Edge (1992) Champagne. French onion soup. Prawn salad. A shot of tequila. Cheese, dates and sliced apple. I list these elements of the meal and yet, there is so much more to this collection of flavours and to the choice of film, itself. This is a film that is catalogued under ‘Chick Flick’ in the dvd store. I did raise my eyebrows when the guy behind the counter indicated the section of the store. This is a great film. I enjoyed every minute of it. Boy and girl. Poles apart. Rich girl, figure skater. Boy from opposite side of the tracks, ice hockey player. So the champagne, french onion soup which took hours to prepare, the prawn salad and the cheese course were reflective of the fancy girl’s life. The exquisitely timed shot of tequila was the boy’s influence. I loved this film. And what I loved most was the reason for the choice. A film watched with Aunt Rita in Missouri.A phonecall to Aunt Rita. High marks. Churlish removal of half a mark for not taking the cheese out of the fridge early enough.
Film 8: Once (2006) Guinness. Rabbit cooked in Guinness with sweet potato mash. Baileys with ice in a tumbler. Beautiful cooking aromas. Very well received. Half a mark off full marks. Slightly over-cooked rabbit. I agree with the mark.
Film 9: Ne le dis à personne/Tell No one. (2006) Another French film from Jo. Of course. French fizz (highly potent mulched raspberries, dark rum, white rum, topped with champagne). Cooking having consumed aforementioned highly potent cocktail yielded surprisingly good results…scallops, duck with le Puy lentils (or French green lentils as they are known here. I think it is worth mentioning that these lentils come from a place that boasts a large red statue of the Virgin Mary and you can climb up and survey the landscape from her head. They also have a reputation for lace.) Chocolate fondant. High marks.
Film 10: A Time to Kill (1996) Another southern film. Mint julep. Gumbo with prawns, spiced sausage. Banana bread with vanilla ice cream and baileys. We inadvertently watched the film from halfway through then had to watch the beginning. This is henceforth known as the ‘e’ method of watching a film, where, as in the form of the lower case e, you watch the end and then loop back and watch the beginning. A rich, if initially a little confusing, way of appreciating a storyline. The mint julep was delicious and the flavours of the gumbo…so good. If you haven’t seen A Time to Kill, you should see it. And I recommend the e way of viewing. High marks.
And I wish I had taken photos and documented this as we went along. I wish a lot of things. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I was in the moment. Completely. Absolutely. I didn’t take photos. But I have a vast and vivid array of images and feelings and memories. For the last 5 weeks I have lived the life I wanted. And it has been the best five weeks of my life. For five weeks I have had a very worthy opponent in a film competition. I have also had a best friend who I couldn’t wait to see. A beautiful and exquisite lover. A man who is the most thoughtful, caring, intelligent, fun person I have ever met and spent time with. I know more than I knew before.
I feel it all, Feist.