Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The French Get (Bottle) Shocked

The next movie I will review is called "Bottle Shock" This is a smaller movie released among the summer giants and it can hold it's own. With an incredibly strong cast, the beauty of the California wine country, and a great collection of 70's music to compliment the musical score, Bottle Shock is a pleasure to watch. The movie is based on the true story of how a Napa winery's 1973 Chardonnay won a French tasting contest that sent the wine world into a frenzy. The Barrett Family of Montelena, Jim (Bill Pullman) and his hippie son Bo (Chris Pine) have a small little winery in the hills of sunny California. When Sam (Rachael Taylor) comes to work for the summer at their winery she starts a small conflict between Bo and another field hand, Gustavo Brambila (Freddy Rodríguez) who is secretly developing his own label of wines. Both men fall for her, Bo falls the hardest, the one very negative aspect is that the love plot is totally weird and seems an afterthought, the movie would have been a lot better without it. One day in France, a wine seller fed up with how slow his business is talks a politician into letting him hold a wine tasting. Once he gets the ok, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) travels to California, because another American business man Maurice (Dennis Farina) had told Steven, he heard that wines from California were the next best thing. Dennis Farina is an amusing and welcome addition because of his scenes with Rickman. Spurrier seems to cause problems where ever he travels once in California. Jim Barrett questions Bo on his every move, and when Bo takes it upon himself to take Spurrier a bottle of their wine, one of the funniest scenes ensues. Once their wine is chosen to participate in the tasting, the towns people come together to ensure that Bo can travel to France. Bo flies to France to represent the Americans. The outcome of the tasting doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read George Taber's book, Judgment of Paris. The movie is loosely based on this book, Hollywood has almost perfected this type of movie, although this one isn't great it is good enough to recommend. I give Bottle Shock a 3 and on my avoidance scale I give it a 1.

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