The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Bonfire of the Vanities

This week, our friend Jane Dempsey joins us to talk about the notorious 1990 flop The Bonfire of the Vanities, directed by Brian De Palma and (inexplicably) starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis! An adaptation of the biting satirical novel by Tom Wolfe, Bonfire opts to dull the edges off any salient points it wants to make about the uncaring nature of the bourgeoisie and make it a big, campy comedy about rich, adulterous Tom Hanks trying to beat an assault rap against a poor black youth. Oh, and Bruce Willis is in it sometimes too, though he doesn’t look like he knows that. Check out our breakdown along with our custom cocktail and drinking rules!

(Thanks to our sponsor The Second City as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)


THIS EPISODE’S DRINK: Master of the Universe

We decided to do a suitably flamboyant and ostentatious cocktail to match the movie itself, starting with a simple pineapple rum-orange juice cocktail and adding a flammable foam on top with mint, watermelon, lemon and high-proof rum. (Results may vary on the flammability.) Still, such a garbage fire of a movie deserves a drinkable bonfire of its own!

Bonfire of the Vanities Cocktail2 parts pineapple rum
2 parts orange juice
.5oz Bacardi 151 rum
2-3 chunks watermelon
5-6 sprigs, mint
1 tbsp lemon juice
egg white

1) Combine pineapple rum and orange juice in a cocktail glass.
2) Muddle watermelon and mint in a cocktail shaker; add 151, lemon juice, egg white, and ice, and shake till you make a foam.
3) Strain the foam on top of the cocktail, top with more Bacardi 151, and set alight.


  1. Whenever Bruce Willis butts in with intrusive narration
  2. Anytime you see an extremely high- or low-angle shot
  3. Every time Melanie Griffith throws out a malapropism (e.g. “reprobated”)


Morgan Freeman ends his sanctimonious speech with, “Now go home. Go home and be decent people.”

Join us next week as we talk about Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs!

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About Alcohollywood Staff

The film staff of the film website/podcast Alcohollywood.

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