Monday, September 29, 2008

A (Mild) Thumbs Up

Last week, I finally made it to the movies and saw "Bottle Shock." This film tells the story of the 1976 blind-tasting of wines that was held outside of Paris. It was an event that shocked the world because California's then-unappreciated wines took top honors.

I thought the Boston Globe's review was pretty close to my assessment of the film. Here are excerpts of what the Globe's Ty Burr wrote:

If movies were wine, "Bottle Shock" would be a pleasant varietal you'd find on the half-price shelf. Nothing fancy but tasty nonetheless: a fizzy vinho verde, maybe.

Low budget, self-distributed, awkwardly charming, it's the kind of midrange Hollywood entertainment that's supposed to be extinct in this modern age. It makes you want to support your local vintner and your local moviemaker.

The subject is the celebrated "Judgment of Paris," the blind 1976 tasting . . . overnight, France ceased to be the only place on Earth where good wine could be made and appreciated. And if grapes grown in California could bottle brilliantly, why not grapes from Chile or Australia or South Africa? Why not anywhere?

. . . Thankfully, the film's backbone - that Paris contest and the anxieties and assumptions leading up to it - is just too strong to ruin, and (actor Alan) Rickman is delightful as a prig slowly learning to bend in the California air . . . When [Rickman] tries to get the Napa bottles to France, there's a wonderful airport scene that reveals how the democratic revolution in wine needed a democracy of people to make it happen.

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