Friday, December 25, 2020

Blood Of The Vines - Another Fine Mess

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌, ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌, ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌  ‌This week, we find wine pairings for three films which borrow heavily from the Laurel and Hardy archives (fiddle with tie, do slowburn to double take.)  Two are salutations from different eras, while one is real-live Laurel and Hardy.

It's nice to take a break from our current diseased political landscape and revisit the diseased political landscape of fifty years ago.  The 1972 comedy Another Nice Mess stars Rich Little as Richard Nixon and Herb Voland as Spiro Agnew.  It's made to resemble a Laurel and Hardy comedy, right down to the title, which is very close to Hardy's catch phrase, "Well, here’s another fine mess you've gotten us into."  Hardy, however, never had to worry about an 18-minute gap in his movies.

The film was directed by the late and brilliant comedy writer Bob Einstein - remember Officer Judy from the Smothers Brothers TV show?  How about Super Dave Osborne, Marty Funkhouser or Larry Middleman?  All Einstein characters. Another Nice Mess was co-produced by Tom Smothers, who reportedly thought the movie was awful.

We'll pop a Benjamin for a wine with the Smothers name on it - the 2016 Smothers-Remick Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon.  It's made by Arrowood Vineyards, which now farms the vines once owned by Tom Smothers.  For 90 bucks, the winery says you get a decadent, but serious, wine.

2015's The Adventures of Biffle & Shooster also uses L&H as a touchstone, right down to the ill-fitting suits and schemes you just know are never going to work.  Benny Biffle and Sam Shooster (Nick Santa Maria and Will Ryan) are a vaudeville duo who supposedly ran afoul of Hal Roach's good graces over their copycat film shorts.  These efforts are set in 1930s black and white, with jokes that seem about that fresh.

For a knockoff of Laurel and Hardy, how about a Knockoff Chardonnay from Replica Wines?  They say they reverse-engineer their winemaking to imitate the qualities of other, high-priced, wines.  Don't know who their sights were set on with the $16 2018 Knockoff Chardonnay, but they say it has a buttery kick to it.

A Chump at Oxford is actually from the 1930s - 1939 in case you need to enter the date in your time machine, although it was released a year later.  The Laurel and Hardy movie satirizes the 1938 Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor film, A Yank at Oxford.  Pandemic streaming awards should go to all who have seen both Yank and Chump in the past ten months.

The film has seen enough editing that it can hardly be anything more than splice marks by now.  It has been 40 minutes long, 60 minutes, 20 minutes.  There's no telling what the run time is now, or how many unrelated scenes have made their way into the mix, and in what order.  

Stan does a drunk scene in the movie, so let's see if we can get there on our own.  We'll use a 13% brew from Brown's Brewing Company of New York state.  Their Fine Mess barleywine is aged in former rum barrels and packed with twice the alcohol of a strong beer, although only about the same amount as a typical white wine.

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