The problem with cocktail

  • 5th June 2013

Firstly, God Damn do I love this film, (the 1988 hollywood version not the more recent Far Eastern variations) it is one of those films that I could watch over and over and over again, and Tom Cruise just happens to be one of my favourite actors ever. But there are some definite problems to be had if we look at it with a critical bartenders eye.

First of all, no matter what you say, in our realm of creation of damn-fine tasting drinks, there is no place for a Red-Eye. A coworker/flatmate and I experimented after watching it post-shift one night, and both agreed that it might possibly be worse than any other imbibable(is that a word?) liquid in the world when done the “Cocktail” way. Sure there are recipes that call for an egg to add something to a cocktail, (normally texturising the drink) rather than just floating on the top? It seems like an over the top protein shake gone wrong to me? There is however a slightly modified Japanese version which Ereich Vaughn Empey considers in blog post that I cannot find anywhere. However, as this isn’t a post concerning strictly the red-eye then we’ll leave it to him to help cultivate some more ideas about it.

My main problem with cocktail isn’t Doug Coughlin’s (Bryan Brown) outrageously contrived philosophical diatribe, nor the loosely padded bullshit “boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy fucks up , regains her love eventually” plot, nor the hippy hippy shake.

It is however, the inability of the cast and director to properly convey how much it physically and mentally hurts to do an 10 hour shift, close the bar at 2 or 3 am then head back in first thing in the morning for opening. And for someone who at one time was doing 11am to 4/5am 6 days a week that’s pretty annoying. Sure, they manage to get in some of the bar closing, but mainly just the bit where you sit back and have a beer after work is done. For a film that has a loose plot which is padded by a whole lot of bartending, there is very little actual bartending going on. Sure, they make a lot of drinks and throw a lot of bottles, but where’s the prep, or the lugging of kegs, or the 3 hour deep clean once a week?

This film apparently inspires lots of people to try their hand at bartending, I certainly have a few non-bartender friends who thought that it would be a great idea after watching the film. Why can’t someone make a real film about bartending, I know that I would go and see it repeatedly at my local cinema. Preferably in 3D so the flair bottles can come flying out of the screen at you, and maybe smell-o-vision too?

Coughlin’s law: never show surprise, never lose your cool.

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Make me a cocktail
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