Trailers From Hell. This week, we look at the work of an actress we lost recently. Cloris Leachman won an Oscar and an armload of Emmy Awards. She passed last week at the age of 94.
1975's Crazy Mama filtered and regurgitated the family lawlessness of the previous year's Big Bad Mama. The movie is set in 1958, and Leachman plays the mom role in a family that is a crime wave all its own. After their beauty shop is repossessed, they head for Arkansas, where the family farm is located, but get sidetracked by stickups and shootouts. It is quite possibly the only script which ever made a happy ending out of getting to Arkansas. Okay, so the ending wasn't really all that happy.
Let's get a wine from Arkansas here, which is something you really never hear in wine circles, or any circles, for that matter. Chateau Aux Arc - Ozark, get it? They make a wine called Smashed, which is how you get after drinking too much of it. Smashed is a sweet blend of Concord, Zinfandel, Muscat and Muscadine grapes, which is another thing you never hear in wine circles.
Young Frankenstein in 1974 had Leachman in the role of Frau Blücher - pause for horses to whinny. This movie captured her comedic talents so well that Gene Wilder reportedly had trouble getting through one of their scenes without laughing. Her warning that "the stairs can be treacherous" is good advice. Stay near the candles.
We are tempted to pair Ovaltine with her character, but no, let's stay in the realm of wine. Frankenstein Red Wine Blend is a mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes which have been growing in the Sierra Nevada foothills since before California was a state.
1971 saw Leachman's only Oscar, for her role as Ruth Popper in The Last Picture Show. She breaks our hearts with her portrayal of sheer hopelessness in that small, desolate Texas town. I grew up in a slightly larger, slightly less desolate Texas town. Leachman’s performance - and all the others in that film, really - ring true to me.
For pairing with The Last Picture Show, you can grab a Lone Star Beer - longnecks only, please - or get fancy with a wine from Lone Star Wine Cellars. The winery is on the North Texas Wine Country map, in McKinney. That town has more than one traffic light and several picture shows, although the Cinemark 14 is presently in a pandemic pause.