Trailers From Hell. This week, we look at a couple of Shafts and a near-Shaft film, with wine and beer pairings for all three.
Shaft '19 is the fifth film in the Shaft series, a surprise to anyone who thought the first one was enough. Samuel L. Jackson is John Shaft, son of John Shaft, Sr., played by Richard Roundtree, the original Shaft. There's a grandson involved - named John Shaft III - but they call him JJ due to the unwritten rule concerning too many people in a movie bearing the same name. Even the film itself couldn't find a title that separated it from the pack.
All three Shafts are detectives of one sort or another and they all try to beat the bad guys - the drug kingpins. There are shootings, bad feelings and makeups along the way before an ending that leaves the door wide open for another Shaft sequel, possibly with a fourth generation of John Shafts. The more, the merrier.
While scouring the internet for a pairing with Shaft ‘19, it did not surprise me to come across a listing for Samuel L. Jackson Motherf@#%ing Rye Wine. It's actually more of a beer, and I don't know if the Pretentious Beer Company still offers it. They do have one called Chug Life, a Czech-style pilsner which might fit the bill.
In the original Shaft, from 1971, Roundtree is the P.I. who is asked to find the daughter of a Harlem mobster who was kidnapped by Italian mafiosi. There are shootings, bad feelings and a "case closed" stamp provided by Shaft… John Shaft.
For Shaft, you could scrape together a few grand for a wine once owned by the late mob boss John Gotti. His collection is reportedly for sale at a wine shop in Queens. Story goes, his wife once used a thousand-dollar bottle for cooking. It may have gotten almost as big a laugh as wiping up lines of cocaine with a wet rag, thinking they were Parmesan cheese.
1973's The Slams features former NFL star Jim Brown in what could be taken as a "Shaft goes to prison" tale. Brown's character is in the hoosegow for pulling a million-dollar job. People inside want him to give up the location of the cash, but he needs to get over the wall in a hurry. The clock is ticking, because the place where he hid the loot is scheduled for demolition.
For Brown, The Slams was quite a comedown from 1967's The Dirty Dozen. The movie falls in with a stretch of celluloid which includes Black Gunn, Slaughter and Slaughter's Big Rip-Off. Ooh, Netflix me!
Brown is a prisoner in The Slams, so let's pair the film with the wine known as The Prisoner. I don't know how high the security is in Napa Valley's stoney lonesome, but it is said to be relatively easy to smuggle a bottle or two of The Prisoner out of your local wine shop. $49 bucks is all it takes to grease the warden's palm.
For the adventurous - or the incarcerated - maybe some pruno will do the trick. It's prison wine, and here's a spoiler alert: it tastes like something spoiled.