I’m writing to you now from my second flight on the way to a math conference in San Diego. Lucky for me, United Airlines showed Trouble with the Curve (2012) on both legs of the flight. While there’s a little bit of alcohol in the movie–everyone goes to a bar a few times, Amy Adams drinks whiskey out of a bottle, etc.–I thought that since I’m on an airplane, I might as well review what’s available to drink on flights. You can get pretty creative!
I’m also writing this from a smartphone, so formatting is limited.
Plot: Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a great baseball scout whose old age and stubbornness are starting to get the better of him. His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) is trying to help him against his will, while also trying to win a partnership at a law firm in Atlanta. Things start going poorly for both of them, but at least they have the ever-charming Justin Timberlake to take their minds off of things while he’s working his way toward being a baseball broadcaster for the Red Sox.
For being forced to see it twice in eight hours, I actually enjoyed this movie. It’s predictable and simple, but charming. John Goodman is even in half the movie as the one guy who trusted Gus’ scouting abilities all along. Speaking of Gus though, it’s hard to tell if Eastwood is just starting to play an extreme version of himself in the movies. Every line of his, I heard as “I’m too old for this s***.” He’s suffering from glaucoma and seems to have an endless supply of cigars. If you don’t mind seeing Clint Eastwood play himself for two hours though, I’m sure you’ll be just fine.
On a less serious but just as important note, Justin Timberlake is adorable. It’s actually sort of impressive. For some reason, I’ve always liked him and respected his ability to not take himself seriously in movies. Case in point: Mike Meyers’ The Love Guru. He’s the one character in Trouble with the Curve that never manages to annoy Gus, and he even breaks up a fight and SPOILER? wins the heart of Mickey. All-around good guy saving the day. Not a very deep character (deeper than his role in Bad Teacher, anyway), but still very fun.
Before I go onto the leading lady of the film, let’s talk drinks. On United Airlines, there are already a few pre-made drinks you can order. For $6 beers, you have your choice of Budweiser, Miller Lite, and Heineken. Meh. For $7, you can also have a mini bottle of the “house red” or “house white.” I didn’t try the white, but the red tasted a little bit like sour grape juice. We can do better than that for the same amount of money, I promise. You could get a $7 pre-made Salvador’s margarita or a $9 Trader Vic’s mai tai. The real magic comes in when you make your own drinks!
This is something that Adams’ character, Mickey, would absolutely be capable of; I’m sure. She’s a lawyer, anyway. Amy Adams seems to have this tendency, however, of being really ambitious in her roles. She’s desperate to find her prince, desperate to have a successful blog about Julia Child, desperate to be a law partner while preventing her father from blindly driving through his garage. Maybe I’m being too picky. Maybe she’s just been typecast as uptight and ambitious. I did really like her though. She does a convincing job of being a “one of the guys” baseball fan who can still kick your ass at billiards and drinking whiskey from a bottle. It’s empowering!
Whiskey is in fact one of the 50 mL bottles of booze you have to choose from on United. You’ve actually got four to choose from: Canadian Club, Dewar’s “White Label,” Jack Daniel’s, and Jim Bean Black. I feel like that must be the airline traveler’s alcohol of choice, because vodka, gin, and rum only get one brand each. Speaking of which, you’ve got Absolut, Bombay Sapphire, and Bacardi. I’d say that’s a great selection, but it’s also $7 per super-tiny bottle. For the same price, you can also get Bailey’s or Courvoisier. At least the mixers are free!
For mixers, you’ve got Coke (3 kinds!), Sprite (2 kinds!), apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, tomato juice, bloody mary mix (a personal favorite, even without vodka), ginger ale, seltzer, tonic water, de/caffeinated coffee, tea, and water. All for free! So, what to do with these now? There are a handful of obvious ones: gin & tonic, rum & coke, 12 possible whiskey & coke combinations (yay math!), vodka cran, and vodka + bloody mary mix.
Because the plastic cups they serve the mixers in are pretty tiny–i.e., less than half a can–these drinks end up being decently strong (but not enough so). God forbid you can afford multiple nips of liquor on a plane! Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol on airplanes, so you’re kind of stuck with this. If you need an excuse to buy more, just tell yourself you’ll need to fight wolves later on after the flight ends.