The Last Slice: The Court Jester

Minutes from the Moviejawn Pizza 🍕 Film 📼 Club August 2019

recorded by Hunter Bush, PFC Co-Founder

Welcome cinemaniacs and pizzatarians to the 2nd installment of The Last Slice, the newsletter devoted to unpacking our Pizza Film Club meetings every month in an effort to - A) encourage you to host Pizza Film Club meetings of your own and - B) expose you to some things - films, foods, drinks - that may be new to you but could end up becoming a favorite in no time!

This month's newsletter covers our Pizza Film Club meeting from August, which just so happened to fall exactly on the birthday of Pizza Film Club co-founder, author of the previous Last Slice installment & my co-host on the Hate Watch / Great Watch podcast, Allison Yakulis (!) so it was only fair that she chose the flick. Additionally, we were hosting so she actually programmed the whole day's film lineup, made the cocktail & snacks, all with very little help from me; a birthday dynamo!

THE FLICK: The Court Jester (1955)

The picture's plot pertains to the proper heir, perceptible by the purple Pimpernel port wine patch on their posterior, and the plan to place him in the palace, presumably to protect the propriety of the province and profit the people personally.

Sorry. The Court Jester is known for its tongue twister dialogue and song lyrics and I thought I'd give it a shot, but that's just exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.

The most expensive comedy ever made at the time, The Court Jester stars fleet-of-foot funnyman Danny Kaye as Hawkins, a former circus performer who abandoned the big top life to be of service to The Black Fox, a Robin Hood-type bandit living in the forest with his men. In an effort to place the rightful heir, a baby, on the throne and oust the usurper King Roderick (Cecil Parker), Hawkins takes the identity of famous jester Giacomo ("King of Jesters and Jester of Kings") and attempts to steal a key to the secret tunnel beneath the palace through which the rightful baby-heir could be smuggled safely into the citadel. Due to Hawkins' own ineptness and the intervention of the witch (!) Griselda (Mildred Natwick), Hawkins finds himself in the midst of several bits of palace intrigue including the King's plan to marry off his lovely daughter Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury) and Lord Ravenhurst's (Basil Rathbone's) attempts to kill his fellow Lords all the while attempting to take the key without alerting the King.

Wackiness ensues. As was pointed out during our viewing, with Danny Kaye in the lead role he had no one to bounce off of and thus has to use every trick in the Danny Kaye playbook here. The result is extremely enjoyable with a quick pace and the aforementioned wordplay to keep your attention even if you're not usually into this kind of flick. The performances are all incredibly charming; the kind of Saturday Matinee movie you'd watch from the living room floor, gleefully enraptured. The sets and costumes are all gorgeous even on an unrestored DVD edition. The Court Jester is definitely worth a watch but may pair better with friends (and pizza).

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Recipes Provided by Allison Yakulis

THE COCKTAIL: The Brew That is True (Hard Arnold Palmer a.k.a. Half and Half)

Though the Black Fox's men would most likely have been downing mead or ale, those in the court may have been lucky enough to imbibe something as delicious and fragrant as The Brew That is True. Named after one of The Court Jester's most quotable scenes, and one of cinema's most quotable attempted poisonings ("The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!"), Allison's Brew is designed not to be as overly sweet as concoctions like these tend to be. Seriously though, name another quotable cinematic poisoning that isn't from The Princess Bride. I'll wait.

1 part sweet tea flavored vodka
1 part unsweetened iced tea
2 parts lemonade

Pour over ice and garnish with lemon. For the overachievers you can make your own lemonade syrup.

Lemonade Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Rind of 2 lemons (cut into thin strips)
Juice of 6 lemons (about ¾ cup of juice)

Boil together sugar, water, and lemon rind for 5 minutes. Let cool and strain out rind. Stir in lemon juice. To prepare for drinking, add water to taste (somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 part syrup to 3 parts water)

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THE MENU: Harlequin Deviled Eggs

Named for the famous dual-color diamond pattern commonly associated with clowns and jesters, these doubly delicious deviled eggs are customizable to the party's palette. Allison provided a slightly spicier take on the traditional deviled egg as well as a floral, pesto variation!

12 eggs
About ⅓ cup pesto
About 2 tbsp mustard
About 3 tbsp mayonnaise
Hot Sauce
Paprika
Parsley

Hard boil eggs. Peel and cut in half. Remove yolks and divide evenly in 2 separate bowls. In one bowl add pesto and about 1 tbsp mayo and mix until yolks are pulverized and the mixture appears well-blended. Fill half of the eggs with this mixture and top with parsley. In the remaining bowl add about 2 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp mustard, and a few dashes of hot sauce (to taste) and mix until yolks are pulverized and the mixture appears well-blended. Fill the remaining eggs with this mixture and top with paprika.

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE: Purple Pimpernel Funfetti Cake

Not all Pizza Film Club meetings include a cake but then again not all Pizza Film Club meetings fall on a birthday. Allison used a novelty cake pan to get the rough shape of the baby butt, then trimmed out the excess cake before icing in one color and piping on the purple Pimpernel free-hand! Not too shabby!

4 ½ tbsp unsalted softened butter
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup Canola oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup milk
5 egg whites (room temp preferred)
½ cup sprinkles (although we used a full cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour your cake pans*. In a stand mixer beat butter on medium low until creamy. Add in sugar and oil and beat until well-combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add in vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Measure out your milk. With mixer on medium alternate between flour mix and milk (starting and ending with flour), scraping down sides when needed and allowing each addition to become fully combined before adding more. In a separate bowl beat egg whites with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, fold egg whites and sprinkles into batter until just combined (do not over mix, but make sure sprinkles are evenly distributed throughout the batter). Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time for even heat (depending on the size of your cake pans, the cakes may bake faster - keep an eye on them). When they’re done, you should be able to insert a toothpick and remove it mostly dry or with a few crumbs - if it comes out wet, bake for another 5-10 minutes and check again. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan, and allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

*Note: Again, to get a butt shape we used a novelty boob cake pan like this one, cut out about an inch of the center, and pushed the two remaining lobes together before icing. It used about half of the above recipe and we made cupcakes with the rest of the batter.

In addition to the above foods, folks brought extra goodies like chocolate covered Nutter Butter cookies, trail mix & White Claw! We also had some more homemade hummus (the recipe for which can be found in the first Last Slice newsletter), with chopped veggies and pita wedges.

Here are some photos of the group including appearances from Party Cobra and The Lady Waldo!

Remember that you can join the Pizza Film Club no matter where you are via our slack channel, contact us here if you are interested. We'd love to include your satellite parties in future newsletters, so send us some pictures of you & your crew enjoying our snack, drink & film pairings!

Help us make a movie! 

If you really love pizza & film and are in the Philadelphia area, you can come by the Pizzaman Make Your Own Pizza event at Snap Custom Pizza, Sunday, September 29. Or the BINGO Fundraiser at Tattooed Mom's on October 7. Details at the links. 

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Next Showing!
Our next showing will feature the thriller, MA. Check back next month for all the details on how to throw a killer party in your basement just like MA! As ever, thanks for reading and may your movies & pizzas always be just the right amount of cheesy!

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