Rutledge’s Top Ten Lists: Straight Love St. Valentine’s Day Edition
Top Heterosexual Romantic Films of the 21st Century (so far):
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
La La Land (2016)
Lost In Translation (2003)
Down With Love (2003)
(500) Days Of Summer (2009)
This Is 40 (2012)
Before Sunset (2004)
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Crazy, Stupid, Love is surprising, engaging, and astute about humans and relationships and nearly everything else that is important. And that’s even though it’s still basically a conventional romcom and a conventional buddy comedy; in fact, it’s both, with a heaping helping of drama, too.
Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling are fantastic. Carell plays a sweet guy who’s been dumped by his wife, played by a gorgeous Julianne Moore. He hangs out in a local bar, drowning his sorrows, where bar stud Gosling takes pity on him, tells him he needs to be remade, and then in a Pygmalion twist, takes him shopping for the right clothes and coaches him. There’s more to the film than that, but that’s the part that counts.
The entire cast is strong, especially Moore as a genuinely bereft, confused, searching woman who has grown tired of the routine but doesn’t quite know how to fix it. Emma Stone, paired with Gosling for the first time, sells her character with ease and crack comic timing. The best part, however, is the screenplay. It’s finely attuned to the ways in which complacency erodes our confidence and strips us of the urge to learn and discover. It also features nice turns by Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and Josh Groban.
In Crazy Stupid Love, Gosling saves three relationships with nothing more than sexy sexiness and he does it all with a sexy cocktail, The Old Fashioned in his hand.
The Old Fashioned is a marvelously simple yet delicious cocktail. It also signifies an air of old school suaveness thanks to Don Draper who made it a hallmark for men aiming to look cool and sophisticated in a bar. Mad Men is to the Old Fashioned as the Cosmopolitan is to Sex And The City.
For the first half of Crazy Stupid Love, Gosling is holding an Old Fashioned about 90% of the time. It never leaves his hand, although miraculously he never appears even the slightest bit tipsy. His hot, hot body apparently converts alcohol into pheromones. Gosling always looks like his is in men’s fashion magazine layout. Just look at how he eats a giant greasy slice in the film:
When you get right down to it, the Old Fashioned is just a slug of whiskey, seasoned and sweetened. Yet for all its suave simplicity, the drink remains as relevant today as it was when it first captured drinkers’ hearts 200 years ago.
So, this St. Valentine’s Day, snuggle with your sweetheart, or a stranger while sipping an Old Fashioned. It is one of the first recorded definitions of the cocktail, circa early 1880s, which calls for spirits, sugar, water and bitters.
Start with good bourbon; if you wouldn’t sip it by itself it has no business being in an Old Fashioned.
1⁄2 tsp Sugar
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp Water
2 oz Bourbon
Garnish: Orange peel
Glass: Classic Highball Rocks
Add the sugar, bitters and water into a rocks glass, and stir until sugar is nearly dissolved.
Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add the bourbon, and gently stir with bar spoon to combine the flavors. Rub the orange peel over the rim of the glass, then drop in.