Everyone is itching to come out from our covidian cocoons. While there has been some fun, sitting around since March, drinking and watching movies - and movie trailers - it's not that far removed from my pre-pandemic lifestyle. However, we all miss having options available, even if we didn't make full use of them before. Going to a restaurant now to pick up a to-go order takes me back to a time before Los Angeles turned over all the parking spaces to the valet companies. It's like Palm Springs in the off-season out there - you can park right next to the restaurant.
Speaking of service with a sneer, Trailers From Hell focuses the lens on Joan Crawford this week. Rain is from 1932, which is like the Bronze Age in the movie business. Restrictions on what could and couldn't be done on a movie screen were looser then. Apparently they thought no one was watching.
Crawford plays a hooker on a cruise ship, which seems like a limiting business plan to me. "Are you included in the price?" In a timely twist, the passengers are quarantined due to a cholera outbreak on the ship. There's drinking and dancing and other goings-on that were pre-Code staples. Ninety-two minutes, a rape and one suicide later, Crawford sails into a bright future a changed woman. Let’s go back to that drinking thing.
Sonoma County's Hooker Wines has an inexplicable branding scheme which for some reason involves rugby. Ridge Vineyards pulls field-blend Zinfandel grapes from the Hooker Creek Vineyard, which is my choice for a pairing with Rain.
In 1945's Mildred Pierce, there's more casual drinking than in Dial M For Murder, and that's a lot. "Have a drink." "I think I'll have a drink and think about drinking." "OK, let's have that drink now." "Bourbon, anyone?" Crawford's character knocks back hard liquor like it's iced tea at a summer picnic. "You never used to drink during the day," offers one character as Mildred sips her lunch. Mildred replies, "I never used to drink at all," in the same way we can now say, "That was before self-isolation."
Don't fall into the trap of pairing some flimsy peach-pie cocktail with Mildred Pierce. That goes into the same category as wire hangers. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is a smooth sipper that goes great with peach pie. Brace yourself - it's pricey.
The 1954 classic Johnny Guitar casts Crawford as a strong, defiant woman who runs a saloon in the Arizona desert. The movie has been hailed by a raft of great directors. It has also been interpreted as a commentary on the McCarthy era, mob mentality and sexism and was labeled culturally significant by the Library of Congress. Yeehaw.
A guy wandering the Old West with a guitar slung over his back instead of something more useful - like a rifle - seems ridiculous. For all the good the six-string prop does him, he would have been better served traveling with a lawyer. At least he didn't get hung with the nickname "The Dancin' Kid."
The dusty desert setting calls for a wine that can wet a whistle. Arizona Stronghold takes names for their wines from Native American legend - Tazi, Nachise, Lozen - which conjure up images of a saguaro cactus and a guy with a guitar slung over his back.