Showing posts with label wine at the movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine at the movies. Show all posts

Friday, May 3, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - A Bounty On Larry K

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 pair wines with three different takes on the Mutiny on the Bounty story. Each of the trailers has commentary from Larry Karaszewski, who co-wrote Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Dolemite is My Name, three films bound to appear on many "favorites" lists. 

The version of Mutiny on the Bounty from 1962 stars Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh and Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian. The whole mutiny thing transpires after Christian faces off against Bligh for his brutal treatment of the crew. Christian says "You can’t do that," and Bligh says "Yes, I can, because I’m the captain. Captains are immune from prosecution." Remind you of anyone? I suppose Fletcher Christian was the District Attorney on board the Bounty.

The '62 Mutiny, which sounds rather like a model from the Ford line, is the second telling of this tale on the big screen. We'll get to the 1935 original in a moment. The mission for the HMS Bounty was to bring fruit trees from Tahiti to Jamaica, which makes it sound like a vacation is coming. Before the sails have a good chance to unfurl, some cheese goes missing. It was strawberries in The Caine Mutiny. All the good mutinies started with some missing food, apparently. 

The movie took forever to film, but it was Tahiti, so who cared? Well, MGM for one. The budget was exceeded by about ten million dollars, so there was that. And that was back when ten million dollars was a lot of money. Brando liked his time with the Tahitian people. He liked it so much he took one of them home with him. His marriage to Tarita lasted ten years, which is not bad by Hollywood standards. By Tahitian standards, I don't know. 

It is worth noting that a bottle of wine said to have been left aboard the Bounty by Bligh sold recently at auction for about $2,700. That's a bit steep for my taste, so let's pair Howard and Brando with a sparkling wine called Stranger Than Paradise, made from Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir. What's that? It's sold out? Look, I fell in love with Hammerling Wines and their sparkling fascination, so find another one on their site and lift a toast to the '62 Mutiny. 

1984's The Bounty starred Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson as Bligh and Christian. It is regarded as more historically accurate than the two which came before it, which wasn't that hard to pull off. It was also fairly well received by the critics of the day, which was a bit trickier. The Bounty was released about a quarter century before Gibson's downfall and seven years before Hopkins made everyone hate fava beans and Chianti. 

The ship that was built to be the Bounty cost millions of dollars, but the movie still sailed in under budget, quite an accomplishment for a film set on water. It was no Titanic, of course. However, even though Titanic cost nearly 300 million to make, it raked in about five times that amount. That’s more wet dollar bills than you'd ever find on the bar during happy hour down at the neighborhood tiki lounge. 

Yeah, not going with a Chianti pairing. In fact, both Hopkins and Gibson say they are sober, and have been for years. That means more for us. Bloom & Bounty, in Paso Robles' El Pomar district, makes a lovely Arneis wine. You may find the Italian grape as exotic as the Bounty's crew found Tahiti.

The 1935 Mutiny on the Bounty starred Charles Laughton and Clark Gable as the captain and the lieutenant. Of course, they were both lieutenants but Laughton got top billing. There were plenty of opportunities for historians to quibble, like shouldn't they have said "left-tenant?" The public ate it all up with a fork and spoon, though, and the scribes seemed unusually satisfied with the picture, too. 

Look for James Cagney as a background actor. He was reportedly yachting near the shooting of a scene off Catalina Island when he pulled up starboard and joked to director Frank Lloyd that he could use some work. If you squint really hard, you can also see David Niven and Dick Haymes in the background of some shots, although it seems they didn't get their extra jobs while piloting a yacht nearby. 

While sailing the seas looking for extra work, you might want a libation from Sailor Vineyard of Port Townsend, Washington. What a delightful oddity! They make wine from the French hybrid grape Marechal Foch. That is probably more exotic than the Arneis, but just as tasty.

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Friday, April 19, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Tough Sits

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'll need a drink to get through three of what our chief guru terms "tough sits," films that are just plain hard to watch. 

The 2002 French art film, Irréversible, is the perfect candidate for leading this trio. The film depicts a brutal attack on a woman and the brutal vengeance exacted on her assailant by the two men who love her. Are we okay so far? The couple of uses of the word brutal in that sentence should give you an idea of how hard it will be to keep seated through its 97 minute run.

One critic said Irréversible would be the most walked-out-of movie of the year. Another said that the violence and cruelty in the film would make Irréversible unwatchable for most people. That was Roger Ebert's assessment, and we remember that Mr. Ebert had no stomach for gratuitous violence, especially of a sexual nature. I mean, it's not like the Marquis de Sade said it was over the top. But still, Ebert was being rather handsomely paid to sit through it and found it difficult to do so. 

A Brutal Wine for a brutal movie. The Brutal Wine Company uses the term as slang for "good." It is an open-source effort for natural wines, meaning many different winemakers are slapping the logo on their labels. Pick out a red one, from France. There are plenty, all with plenty of exclamation points.

Africa Addio is known as Africa: Blood and Guts in the US and Farewell Africa in the UK. The 1966 documentary falls into the Italian mondo category, or shockumentary, if you will. And you will. Be shocked. Over and over again. 

The film documents the bloody end of colonial Africa. A series of vignettes show crazed celebrations of independence, violent uprisings, animal torture, cannibalism, massacres and even genocide. Hard to take? You bet it is. I can only imagine how difficult it was to shoot the footage, a project that spanned three years and brought the filmmakers close to imprisonment and death on more than one occasion. You can use a drink for this film, but you may want to skip the popcorn.

Let's try a sweet wine to help take the edge off of this movie. South Africa's Klein Constantia Vin de Constance is made from Muscat de Frontignan grapes and carries a very high sugar content. Depending on the vintage, look to spend anywhere from $60 to $140 for a 500ml bottle. 

One would think that 1965's Monster A Go-Go combines sci-fi and horror in a pair of go-go boots. One would be wrong. There is no go-go to be found here. It got up and went-went. 

Here is what we should all embrace about the movie industry: its flexibility. The original filmmaker ran out of money halfway through. Another guy needed a movie to fill out a double bill of trash. He bought it and started making an entirely different movie. The scenes that are stitched together in Monster A Go-Go constitute a "movie" in the strict definition of the word, but that seam is stretched to the ripping point.

The one-sheet claims that the film could set America's space program back 50 years. Why not? That's what it did for filmmaking. There is little point trying to make sense of the plot. However, you do get bonus points for figuring out which characters are which. The shooting schedules were separated by three years, and at least one of the actors looked very different after the passage of that time. It is hailed by some as one of the worst movies of all time, and there doesn't seem to be a way to argue that point. TV Guide went on record to give it perhaps the harshest one-word review ever: garbage. 

The Big Red Monster Wine is an apt choice for this movie. They have it in Cabernet or Zinfandel, produced in Paso Robles and sold for less than $20 just about everywhere. It's cheap and it's non-vintage but at least it's not garbage. 

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Monday, July 3, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Independence Day

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 pair wines with three movies which examine the American experience for Independence Day.

1776 hit movie screens in 1972, preceding America's bicentennial by four years. The producers didn't miss the mark, they simply got a running start on the festivities. The film was adapted from the Broadway hit musical. The fictionalized account of what led to the Declaration of Independence is dressed up with a lot more singing than I expect there was in real life. Ben Franklin getting tuneful I could see, especially after a couple of drinks. John Adams, not so much.

As you may have learned in school, unless you went to the schools that Trump attended, the beloved document describes the will of the colonies to break free from Great Britain and it serves up a lengthy list of grievances against the British throne. If they'd had Twitter back then, the colonists could have canceled King George without throwing a single teabag into Boston Harbor. 

Speaking of despots, Nixon didn't like the movie. He felt one of the songs in the score reflected badly on conservatives, as if conservatism needs any help finding the bad light. It is worth remembering today that nearly all of the founding fathers were slave owners themselves. That includes Thomas Jefferson.

Mr. Jefferson loved his Bordeaux, but not until later in his life. For decades, he was a Madeira man, as were the other founding fathers who imbibed. The Rare Wine Company has a Special Reserve Madeira with TJ's name on it. 

What would July 4th viewing be without a war picture? Here is a dandy from 1945, They Were Expendable, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. Is there anything more American? The movie - taken from a bestselling book - tells the story of the US Navy's PT boats. It is fact-based fiction, and is supposedly very close to how Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three was actually introduced into WWII.

President John F. Kennedy, you may remember, served on a PT boat while he was in the navy. Movie costar Robert Montgomery actually commanded one, something that film buffs say former Navy officer Ford really liked about him. John Wayne was reportedly in Ford's doghouse because he was turned down for military service. The film was shot in the Florida Keys, moviedom's version of the Philippines.

The Tackitt Family Vineyards in Paso Robles is veteran-owned. Leon was a military ordnance guy in the Navy. Now he blows up people's expectations with his fruit of the vine. The Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel was a gold medal winner, and it's only $40. 

The Red Badge of Courage, from 1951, brings Stephen Crane's 19th century book to life. Director John Huston thought his two-hour cut was the best work he had done, but MGM thought differently. They slashed the film to 70 minutes and put in narration to explain what was happening. MGM, apparently, decided that nobody ever went broke underestimating the audience.

It is a Civil War tale about a young man who deserts the battlefield in fear, only to return in hopes of getting his war wound - the titular red badge. It is fitting to watch a Civil War movie for Independence Day, as it was that bloody confrontation that declared the nation's independence from slavery. 

For a Civil War pic, what could be better than a wine from the first battlefield? The Winery at Bull Run is located at the entrance to Manassas Battlefield. From that historical locale, they produce Virginia wines that echo the Civil War era. Back in that day, the wines were probably made from Muscadine grapes, but the Virginia wine scene has grown exponentially since then. 

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Friday, May 19, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - The Script's The Thing

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 examine three films which rest on the masterful scripts that were written for them. We are in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, and whether you carry a sign or post one on social media, we hope you join us in supporting the fine members of the WGA as they strike for the future of writing.

George Axelrod's Paris When it Sizzles is a 1964 remake of a 1952 French film. Axelrod based his screenplay on Holiday for Henrietta. Since one should write what one knows, the Sizzles script centers on a screenwriter. He has been hired to put words on paper, but keeps putting off the job at hand. Writers will relate to the situation. 

William Holden and Audrey Hepburn may not have sizzled in their starring roles, but the movie they are writing in the movie has plenty of references to their previous film work in real life. Paris When it Sizzles fizzled out when it came to the critics. The work of the lead actors gained praise, but some scribes felt that Axelrod should have put a match to his pile of paper.

The pairing of Holden and Hepburn recalled an earlier time when the two had a fling. Holden said he didn’t know which was worse - having to face Hepburn again or having to face his growing problem with alcohol. Both proved to haunt him.

Pairing a wine with Sizzles will most assuredly require a glance at France. We're looking at you, Burgundy, with your elegance on display both in the red and the white. For Holden, a nice Pinot Noir, Vincent Girardin's Cuvée Saint-Vincent. It sells for a reasonable $35. For Hepburn, Louis Moreau Chablis is 100% Chardonnay and smells just like the sea. At $30, a very good deal.

Preston Sturges made 1941 a year to remember with his great Sullivan's Travels. The movie concerns a director who wants to quit making comedies and turn out serious art instead. He travels as a tramp, learning the value of comedy in the process. Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake star in the film, and despite their on-screen chemistry the pair would never work together again. That was reportedly McCrea's choice. Sullivan's Travels is recognized today as a masterpiece of filmmaking. 

Censors must have used up a box of red pencils on this script. They thought the word "bum" would be off-putting to the British. They warned about the scene in which McCrae and Lake's characters share a bed - in a homeless shelter. The prison sequence rankled federal censors, who felt it showed inhumane treatment which could be used as propaganda during wartime. In the end, Paramount no doubt felt they had gotten their money's worth of trouble and talent. They reportedly paid $6,000 for the screenplay.

You have a bargain script - you want a bargain wine, too? If I told you there is a California Cabernet Sauvignon for $5 at your local supermarket, would that be of interest to you? Meridian Cab is actually pretty good, although nobody is going to forget about Opus One because of it.

Michael Tolkin based his screenplay for 1992's The Player on some pretty good source material - his own 1988 novel of the same name. A studio executive kills a writer - the wrong writer, it turns out - and sets in motion a green light project which has red light written all over it. Stars, no stars, happy ending, bummer ending, bad title, bad traffic - this film-within-the-film has everything in Hollywood attached to it.

There are so many famous people making cameo appearances in The Player that you may think you pushed play on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World by accident. You'll know you didn't make that mistake because Tim Robbins is so very much taller than Terry-Thomas. 

I wanted to get cute with the wine pairing for The Player by selecting a Black Knight Wine from golfer Gary Player. My wife, though, thought I should honor Greta Scacchi - the "happy ending" of the movie - with a beautiful Italian wine. I have found that it is good luck to agree with my wife, and I happen to have a lovely Italian wine right here - the Pio Cesare Barolo. Its brawn doesn't get in the way of its elegance. 

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Wine Goes To The Movies: Blood Of The Vines

Now And Zin Wine is pleased to announce a new series of wine articles in conjunction with

The series is called "Blood Of The Vines," and will appear each week on the Trailers From Hell blog and Now And Zin Wine.  Randy Fuller presents wine and movie pairings - in tongue-in-cheek fashion.  Here is the Blood of the Vines for Kirk Douglas week.

In case you don't know about Trailers From Hell, it's the brainchild of film director Joe Dante.  On the site, Joe and other movie "gurus" screen movie trailers and add some personal comments about the films in question.  It's highly entertaining, and highly addictive.  Browse the library of titles and see for yourself - betcha can’t watch just one!

Many of the movie gurus are wine lovers as well as film lovers, so this pairing of two different parts of the blogosphere came easily.  We hope you find the pairings entertaining, too.

Trailers From Hell began as a haven for horror movie fans, hence the hellish blood references and preponderance of horror movie titles in the trailer library.  Over time, the site has broadened to include other types of Hollywood offerings besides the horror genre.  It is there, though - in monsters and mayhem - where the roots of Trailers From Hell remain.

Now And Zin has dabbled in mixing wine and movies before - "never mix, never worry" - and we're starting to get a taste for it.  We'd love for you to check out "Blood Of The Vines" on Now And Zin Wine or the Trailers From Hell blog, From Hell It Came, as wine goes to the movies.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

South African Wine: Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2012 , Stellenbosch

Holidays in my family and my wife's family are polar opposites.  When I was growing up, my family spent holidays at home, at rest, doing as little as possible - except for Mom, who was expected to feed everyone.  There was always a lot of sitting around, talking.  That's still true today, except he responsibility of preparing food for the feast has fallen to younger family members.

In my wife's family, holidays are just that - a clean and total break from the routine, whatever that happens to be.  On holidays you'll find them at restaurants, movies, public events - they stay as busy as little celebrating bees.  It is my suspicion they do this to avoid sitting around, talking.  That usually leads to disagreements, which lead to arguments, which culminate in fights.  Better they keep themselves busy when everyone is idle and spoiling for something to do.

One fine holiday, my wife had the bug to go to a movie.  I agreed, on the condition we go to the theater that features a bar down the hall.  Fortunately, she thought that was a great idea.  Agreement is a beautiful thing, and a glass of wine facilitates sitting around and talking.

At said bar, aptly named The Wine Bar, I was moved to order a wine from South Africa, shown on the menu as a Petit Chenin Blanc.   I asked the waiter about a grape known as Petit Chenin Blanc, only to find out that Petit is the name of the wine.  The grape is that same Chenin Blanc they love to call Steen in South Africa.

The wine hails from Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape appellation, on the little spit of land that also contains Capetown.  Ken Forrester Vineyards boasts that they have been around since 1689, which is a long time to be doing anything.  The grapes for the Petit line are not actually from the Forrester estate - they are negoçiant grapes, sourced from other growers.

At 13.5% abv, the wine's alcohol content isn't at all presumptuous and the $9 price tag is a pretty good by-the-glass price.  A humorous side note on the website claims the wine's aging potential to be "half an hour with the cap off, then reach for the next bottle!"

Petit Chenin Blanc shows a straw color in the glass, with a green tint that makes it look as fresh as a daisy.  There is a very herbal nose featuring salinity and savory white pepper aromas.  The palate also shows savory salinity, with the pear and quince flavors practically bowled over by that wonderful savory note and a refreshing acidity.  A medium finish lets the herbal notes linger.

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