With no speaking role whatsoever, Kevin Bacon helps set the entire plot of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in motion by racing the film’s protagonist, played by Steve Martin, for an open cab in New York. He didn’t even get a credit in the film. 1987. Great movie. You should see it.
Just one year before that film was released, Steve Martin was in another film you should see called Little Shop of Horrors. It’s a musical. It’s strange. I recommend it. There’s a lot of really huge names in the film. Not the least of which was a masochistic dental patient played by Bill Murray.
You know Bill. He’s the Patron Saint of the internet and pop culture, honestly. His career spans four decades and has most recently found a home in less mainstream films. It seems to suit him. For instance, his leading role in Lost in Translation. He plays a character who is not too unlike himself it would seem. An aging actor, Bob Harris is seeking some extra cash by doing advertisements for products in Japan. In this particular case, he’s the spokesperson for a real company, Suntory.
The product that Bob is selling is their Suntory Whisky, but Suntory is actually a very diverse company, making or distributing a wide variety of beverages and products. The company began in 1899 as a seller of imported wines and grew to be a distributer of many imported products, such as Pepsi, as well as releasing their own line of beverages. One of them is called Midori.
Midori is a bright green, muskmelon-flavored liqueur that was launched in 1978. To celebrate the launch of the liqueur, Suntory threw a huge party at the famous (or perhaps infamous) Studio 54 and invited the cast of Saturday Night Fever to attend, John Travolta notwithstanding. Just imagine John doing Midori body shots off a girl wearing nothing but sequins. I’m not saying it happened, but it probably did. Also cocaine.
Anyway, the name Midori is a translation of the Japanese word for green, and the liqueur is the primary ingredient in pretty much any drink you’ve ever had that is green (except the ones involving absinthe). One of the major ones you should know is the Melon Ball. The Melon Ball is a favorite drink of every everyone’s favorite spy, you guessed it,
SIX DEGREES OF STERLING ARCHER!!!
I must admit, I had no idea that Midori was such a recent brand. There very well may be some of you reading this that are older than Midori. If you didn’t think of yourself as being old before, you can start now.
Since Midori is so new, that means the Melon Ball is pretty new as well, which means there aren’t any fancy stories about its conception or some legendary bartender in London who potentially crafted it for the first time. The truth is that it was a cocktail that was probably invented by Suntory in order to help promote the new Brand. Even though that isn’t a sexy story, it’s still a tasty drink and I highly suggest you make one…like this:
THE MELON BALL
- 2 oz Midori
- 1 oz Vodka
- Splash of Juice (3 options here: Orange, Pineapple, or Grapefruit. Pick your favorite.)
Garnished with honeydew melon, scooped with a melon baller. To mix, simply pour your liquid ingredients over ice, in a collins glass and gently stir. Garnish with the melonballs. I suppose you could just cube the honeydew if you don’t have a melon baller, but I highly suggest you buy one anyway. They’re super handy for all sorts of stuff that I don’t want to spend time talking about.
If you want to take the extra time, one thing you could do is scoop the melon balls in advance, place them on some wax paper on a cookie sheet and put that in the freezer. Skip the ice and just use the frozen melon instead. Kakow.
A glass of wine. Any kind will do. As long as you keep that glass full.
There actually is a lot of food mentioned in this episode, but I really don’t want to recommend any of it to you. That said, if you happen to know how to make any Albanian cuisine, by all means, eat your heart out. Which if I’m not mistaken, is a customary dish in Albania.