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Buy You a Drink: Cocktails for Brett Ratner, Eddie Murphy, and Billy Crystal
by Ken Walczak
Welcome to Buy You a Drink, where GOOD's resident mixologist offers a free libation to one (or four) thirsty newsmakers each week. This week: That whole Oscars thing.
Most people start with their spouses, their agents, or Jesus, but I’d like to begin by thanking the Academy. Thank you, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for pulling the awards ceremony equivalent of a pantiless starlet exiting a limo, simultaneously eliciting pity and inviting us to a most ill-considered peepshow.
What did you think was going to happen when you put Brett Ratner in charge of... anything? Here’s just one thing that anyone with a web browser and 10 minutes could have learned about Mr. Ratner: “According to multiple eyewitness reports, he wisecracked to a class of New York University film student some years ago that they probably hadn’t seen ‘Rush Hour 3’ because they were watching ‘some fag shit’ instead.” Unless your Academy is the type that fails to offer Google Skills 101, you must have known that your choice for Oscars producer was a professional ignoramus. Yet you foisted him upon us all the same in a sinister plot to grab headlines months before your rightful place on the pop culture calendar.
Did you really have to learn the hard way that after you hire a famous homophobe, he might continue to act homophobic in public? Like using his favorite three-letter slur to emphasize just how little he planned to practice for your big event. Like tapping his pal Eddie “nation of fags” Murphy, himself no champion of prepared speech, to host the show.
Ratner and Murphy seemed to think that the Oscars were clamoring for a little of that old school Iverson flavor. The Oscars seemed to think they needed some autumn headlines before reverting to the most boring possible choice: a ninth helping of Billy Crystal. I think everyone involved in this fiasco needs a drink.
The Call for Brett Ratner: A whiskey for horrible people.
2 oz. Kansas Spirit Whiskey
Pour out a little for our departed friend. Better yet, pour it all out.
How do you give a dude like Brett Ratner a proper sendoff? How about with a shot of Kansas Spirit, a whiskey crafted "to appeal equally to men and women who typically enjoy vodka.” Kansas Spirit bills itself as “whiskey without the middle-aged yuck factor.” I bill it as nonsense, inspired by poseurs—and as the perfect pour for a Hollywood douchebag whose accomplishments include sleeping with women half his age, then publicly ridiculing their appearance, sexual performance, and ethnic background; linking the words “masturbation” and “shrimp grease” in the public imagination; and the music video for “Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag Being Crushed by Buildings.” Actually, that Cool J video was pretty cool. But I still hope the Kansas Spirit tastes horrible. In keeping with the Ratner approach, I haven’t tried it myself.
The Call for Eddie Murphy: A chaser
1 can Schlitz
To the departing Oscars host—a man with his own famous peccadilloes, but at least none involving crustaceans—I offer this pointless chaser to the Kansas Spirit whiskey.
Speaking of pointless, Mr. Murphy’s replacement could use a drink, too. For the old, comforting Afghan the Academy dug out of its closet, because their hologram of Bob Hope wasn’t quite ready yet, I offer a glass of something similarly bland and inoffensive.
The Call for Billy Crystal: Stuff White People Like
5 oz white wine. Any white.
Sip judiciously. Fall asleep before you finish.
Finally, for the Academy, a genuinely interesting cocktail to toast what might have been. Here is my modest proposal for you, Academy: Cancel Crystal; get Tommy Wiseau to host the Oscars. The man behind The Room, a masterpiece often unfairly besmirched as “one of the worst movies ever made.” (Personally, I have it ranked well above Rush Hour 3.) Like mixing Campari and pineapple juice, hiring Tommy is not as ridiculous as it might seem.
The Call for the Academy: Jungle Bird Cocktail
From the Aviary Bar of the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, circa 1978; as reproduced by LUPEC Boston
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum
Shake well with plenty of ice cubes and pour into a double old fashioned glass or a tiki mug. Garnish with an orchid, plus a maraschino cherry speared to lemon and orange wheels.
Sure, Tommy’s a little eccentric. His accent is inscrutable, his face and body are rough-hewn, craggy, mottled, and lumpy, and he’s clinging to a haircut favored by Canadian metalheads and swarthy villains from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. But you know what they say, love is blind. And I love Tommy Wiseau for this gig. Who better to host the Oscars than a man who wears tuxedoes for every occasion, even to play football? What better spokesman for the American film industry than the man who financed, wrote, directed, starred in, distributed, and advertised a genuine worldwide sensation in defiance of uniformly terrible reviews? Tommy himself brings the house down at midnight screenings of The Room, reciting Shakespearean sonnets and blessing the multitudes with his simple but profound one-line philosophy: “If a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place.” After all that greasy Ratnering, isn’t love just what your telecast needs?
Photo courtesy of Adrienne Moon
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