Drew Turney

When describing the timeless success of Jaws in some interview or other, Steven Spielberg attributed it to the fact that they didn’t anchor the story in a particular time. Apart from a few big hairstyles, none of the setting, fashions or production design signify the aesthetic of a particular vidual period in history.

For the exact opposite reason, ”Cocktail” could be watched by people in a thousand years after opening a time capsule and pinpointed exactly to the mid eighties. Every set, costuming detail, soundtrack, hair and makeup, design or creative aspect screams of the period as loud as it can, and for that reason you can’t really watch the story anymore in its own light without veering between fascination and embarrassment at what was cool when Tom Cruise was barely old enough to vote.

I also gave it a wide berth at the time, clearly remembering deciding not to see it because Tom Cruise was in his post ”Top Gun”’little boys fantasy’ role phase, where every part had him finding his way into some ultra cool occupation, getting the girl and saving the day (a pattern he’s fallen disturbingly back into 20 years later after the entertaining but very empty ”War of the Worlds” and ”Mission Impossible 3”).

Instead of a fighter pilot, he’s a star cocktail barman (back when mixed drinks and that whole throwing bottles around thing was so chic) in New York, back from the military and falling under the wing of Doug (Brown). Doug is the cynical, wisened father figure from a million other movies who proceeds to teach Brian (Cruise) everything he knows about being a cool bartender, including all the chicks.

But it all goes wrong when Brian falls in luurrrrve. After he escapes Doug’s destructive clutches, his life goes tits-up when he meets the girl and loves her despite not wanting to give up his partyboy lifestyle. He makes the requisite stupid mistake of going with another girl, but of course this was 1988, and main squeeze ordan (Shue) didn’t have to see him shagging some broad, just stumbling innocently off fro the bar with her.

The wheels come off Doug’s mystique at around the time Brian comes to the Hollywood realisation of how stupid he’s been and goes running off after Jordan.

They called ”Top Gun” ”Top Car” when bagging it on it’s release. They could have called this ”Top Glass”.

Blu-ray extras/details : Fair to standard audio/video transfer of a late ’80s flick, if not slightly superior to some of the other back-catalog Touchstone releases of late, “Cocktail” is a glass half-empty kinda offering that includes only trailers as extras.

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About Drew Turney

An Australian-based film critic and celebrity interviewer now based in Los Angeles, California.

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Drew Turney

An Australian-based film critic and celebrity interviewer now based in Los Angeles, California.

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