Each week Yahoo Tech’s Alyssa Bereznak will help you pick the best of Netflix, old and new. She will also recommend drink pairings. Please note: Any pairing can always be substituted with a large bottle of wine.
Welcome to Yahoo Tech’s inaugural weekly feature, in which I peruse both the cobwebbed corners of the Netflix vault and my liquor cabinet to highlight the films and television shows most worthy of your time.
You know you’re not going to do anything this weekend but watch Netflix and have a drink in your home. So let’s get on with it, shall we?
1. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, paired with a glass of Scotch and rainwater
Bosley Crowther, the New York Times film critic who reviewed this 1964 dark comedy by Stanley Kubrick, called it “one of the cleverest and most incisive satiric thrusts at the awkwardness and folly of the military that has ever been on the screen.” I raise my scotch-and-rainwater-filled glass to you, Sir Bosley. Your words still carry today, even if your screen is a 15-inch laptop and you are drinking alone in your apartment.
Pair this dark comedy with rainwater and scotch because, as the paranoid general who single-handedly triggers a nuclear war in this film warns, Commies might be poisoning our bodily fluids with fluoride. Also, Scotch is yummy. Scotchy, scotch, scotch.
Related note: Though my Netflix attention span is not usually tolerant of black and white (or subtitled) programming, I found that drinking Scotch throughout made me feel sophisticated enough to persevere. If only I had myself a good cigar.
2. Gattaca, paired with a gin martini with a lemon twist.
I first encountered Andrew Niccol’s 1997 film, Gattaca, when my high school biology teacher turned it on so she didn’t have to teach class. Years later it once again serves as a wonderful distraction from more pressing life responsibilities, especially when paired with a gin martini with a lemon twist.
Why a martini? Well, the movie is full of genetically blessed people who act and dress like unreal Barbie dolls. In my mind, they wash down their nightly filet mignons with an elegantly prepared martini, their perfect bodies never changing.
I won’t ruin it for you, but there’s quite the twist at the end of this ’90s noir, which teaches that with willpower and determination, man can achieve anything. Even the consumption of four gin martinis within a span of 106 minutes. Jude Law would be proud.
3. The Silence of the Lambs, paired with a Bloody Mary
If you happen to be as easily disturbed as I am by Anthony Hopkins’ terrifying portrayal of the psychologist-turned-cannibal Hannibal Lecter, I’d very much recommend a strong Bloody Mary to take the edge off. Not only is it an appropriate vehicle for consuming large amounts of alcohol while tasting none of it, it’s also festive!
You might think that’s a little dark, but you’ll need whatever sliver of good humor you have left in the day to make it through this film’s many haunting scenes: Hopkins ravenously licking his lips from behind his jail cell’s bars, Buffalo Bill singing “It rubs the lotion on its skin” to his abductee, Jodie Foster’s horrible ’90s blouses…
Disturbing, to say the least. But also worth the night terrors! (Which a stomach full of tomato juice and a little buzz also helps with.) I’d recommend inviting someone over before you dare to stream this one. There are few things more unsettling than cradling the unwavering gaze of Hannibal on your glowing laptop alone in the dark. Even if you have a scrumptious veggie-filled cocktail to comfort you.
4. Bad Boys, paired with a Rum Runner
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence team up with director Michael Bay to play fast-talking Miami detectives tasked with protecting a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin. In other words, not much of a plot aside from lovable rule-bending cops versus slimy criminals (plus, EXPLOSIONS, the Michael Bay Guarantee™). Which is why this Netflix choice goes perfectly with the Rum Runner, a Miami specialty.
For the unacquainted, the Rum Runner is comprised of pineapple juice, orange juice, blackberry and banana liqueur, light rum, dark rum, and grenadine. In other words, it’s a lethal cocktail made from whatever random things a bartender sees lying around. Which is sort of a metaphor for how Michael Bay makes movies, right? Case in point, this action flick includes all of the following: discussions of in-car dining etiquette between Smith and Lawrence, a nightclub with an inexplicably large fish tank, EXPLOSIONS, and a confrontation that ends with Smith pointing a gun at a Middle Eastern shopkeeper and ordering “a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious.” The soundtrack is great, too. Did I mention EXPLOSIONS?
That Rum Runner will also help you swallow Smith’s wardrobe, which is mostly comprised of tight-fitting short-sleeved turtleneck sweaters and baggy blue jeans. Hard to believe this guy was once a sex symbol.
Honorable “How Is This a Movie?” mention goes to…
But I’m a Cheerleader, paired with an appletini
Natasha Lyonne plays a high school cheerleader whose parents suspect she is a lesbian. To “fix” her, she’s sent to a correctional camp for homosexuals. Despite its promising premise, this satirical 1999 film is surprisingly glib. So just go for it and pour yourself an equally ill-advised appletini. You won’t even know whether the headache you’ve developed mid-film is due to your oversweetened cocktail or the fact that this movie plays like a fluffy, wannabe John Waters film.