It’s raining outside. And despite my best efforts to wish ridiculously hard for fair weather, it seems like the world of rain clouds and post-memorial day apocalypse is here to stay. As such, I’m a fan of bringing in the Summer with sweet dreams of where I could be instead of where I, in fact, am—broke, hanging out on my couch with my sister and newly acquired flatmate (the bearded-wonder boyfriend of hers), sipping some wine.
In honor of all my friends who actually spent Memorial Day doing fun and exciting things and who now wish to reminisce with me on moments lost (code for they ‘re broke too), this week’s film pick is Bottle Shock. Now, not every film that scores at Sundance scores with me. I’m certainly not the type to fall down the rabbit hole that is Robert Redford’s seal of approval. That said, Bottle Shock, Randall Miller’s short trip into the history of Napa Valley’s viniculture and oenology, gets my seal of approval right along with the rest of the Sundance crowd.
Side story surrounding this film is that my dad, notorious for making friends at hotel bars while on business trips, had a few drinks with Mr. Miller prior to the release of this film into the festival circuit. In his tipsy haze, dear old dad completely neglected to inform the good man sitting beside him (revealing all sorts of interesting anecdotes about the film and production) that his utterly charming and talented daughter not only is a writer with a disturbing interest in cinema but happens to work the marketing side of the indie film industry. Apparently, Pops thought it would be fun to just tell me about the happenstance moment a few weeks later with the excuse, “Oh, I forgot about you there.” Cheeky.
So, needless to say I missed the boat on helping out with some extra marketing ideas for this film, but I can at least provide a wee bit of press.
The film stars Alan Rickman (my sister’s fave actor simply because he plays Professor Snape) as Steven Spurrier, a British wine connoisseur determined to prove the Californians have no business trying their hand against the French when it comes to wine. Rickman is spot-on. I would put money down that his performance would be more entertaining to dear old big sis, than even Professor Snape’s bad-ass attitude. He is oozing this droll, painfully awkward, snooty bastard persona. Rickman carries the film completely.
The rest of the cast is complete with a slew of great names: Bill Pullman, Chris Pine (of newly minted Star Trek fame–though we all do love him for his start in Princess Diaries 2 and LiLo’s instant classic Just My Luck), Freddy Rodriguez and Eliza Dushku (of newly minted Dollhouse fame). Not going to lie – the film can be a bit campy. But who doesn’t enjoy an entertainingly cheesy film from time to time? Plus, its a great freaking excuse to to grab a bottle or two, some nice cheese and spend the night feeling pompous and endearing while laying back with a glass of wine and a very-impressed date.
“ARGH! I’ve Already Seen This Movie!”
For those of you who have already seen Bottle Shock, you may want to check out: Charlie Bartlett, Meet Bill, Smart People and of course, Sideways.