Friday, August 15, 2008


Reading New York Times’ wine writer Eric Asimov’s review of the upcoming movie “Bottle Shock,” which loosely depicts the 1976 Judgment of Paris, where Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Ridge Monte Bello won out over some of France’s top Domaines and Chateaux, is all I needed to hear as a movie fanatic. I loved the movie “Sideways” because while wine was a supporting character, the core of the story was a curmudgeon writer and his reconciliation with heartbreak and longing. Yet I fear that all “Bottle Shock” hopes to attain is a somewhat ethnocentric view of the French and old-world winemaking. After all, the irony served up in the real world is that Chateau Montelena – once the pride of Napa Valley – is now owned by renowned Chateau, Cos d’Estournel.

And though I am a huge fan of Alan Rickman (veteran Shakespearean actor who plays Decanter wine critic Stephen Spurrier in the film), I am not so much a fan of Bill Pullman (who usually has the same expression whether it’s the President of the U.S in “Independence Day” or the rube boyfriend to Danny Devito’s lover in “Ruthless People”), who plays Chateau Montelena owner Jim Barrett in the film.

I am a HUGE movie buff, and I love movies based on real life. Yet with all the ridiculous barrage of press releases – the store has received faxes and emails promoting the film – I think I’ll wait for this one to come out on Netflix.


Karen said...

It's a shame you'll miss out on this movie due to Eric Asimov’s review. I think Asimov misses the point of the film. While it's movie about wine, it's really about relationships, to oneself and ones success. Ebert said "It is also about people who love their work, care about it with passion and talk about it with knowledge."

To me, this film felt like a love letter to anyone who's striving to create something bigger than themselves. It tells this story with a lot of humor, some fantastic acting (Rickman steals the show), a beautiful aesthetic, and some really entertaining story telling.

It's not a perfect movie, but it's a wonderful summer treat amid the disappointing big budget sequels in the theaters. When I saw it, everyone clapped at the end. How often does that happen? They must have done something right!

k2 said...


It takes a lot to drag me to the theater these days. I'm probably more sour on the fact that there was so much wasted paper sent to my stores via promotional faxes from the company behind this film, and the emails we received in the guise of "civilians" who were talking up the film before it had even been screened for critics. I am suspect whenever anyone has to promote something so heavily in advance. I admit, my wife gets me on a lot of movies I initially turned my nose up at, only to be surprised by how good it is after my wife rents it and makes me watch. Who knows?