I usually don’t review new movies, cause everybody does, so we’ll just call this a suggestion. If you ever detected the aroma of bacon fat and honey melons in a fine wine go see this movie; but for crying out loud don’t go see it just because you loved Sideways.
Directed by Randall M. Miller
Listen I loved Sideways, but all the critics are saying Bottle Shock is no Sideways. Yeah, it’s not supposed to be. Just because both movies are back dropped in wine country, it is not the central theme of either movie, in my humble opinion. (Sideways is set in the Central Valley and Bottle Shock is set in Napa Valley) So what is Bottle Shock about? I’m glad you asked.
It’s a father and son duking it out. It’s a son finding his way. It’s a love story of women and wine. It’s a feel good David kicks Goliath’s ass movie, based on a true story of Chateau Montelena’s victory in the 1976 Paris Tastings. And just for fun, there are cute guys, pretty girls, and a look back to when Napa Valley was still just a bunch of hicks trying to make wine.
Even though he wears a pretty bad wig in this movie, you may recognize Chris Pine, who is smoking hot, from Smokin Aces. Chris plays Bo Barrett, son of Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) owner of Chateau Montelena. Jim just wants to succeed at making great Chardonnay and Bo just wants to get laid. But they come together in the quest for perfection and when given the opportunity to compete against the presumed unbeatable French wines, it is Bo that makes it happen.
There really was a Paris Tastings in 1976, organized by Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) a Brit in Paris, who in the movie is aided by Maurice Cantavale (Dennis Farina) an American in Paris. Spurrier comes to California to find wine for the competition and is surprised at what he discovers. However, he is not nearly as surprised as the snotty French judges were when they picked a California wine in a blind tasting.
The movie also tells some of the story of Gustavo Brambila, played by Freddy Rodriguez (another total hottie), who worked for Jim Barrett and went on to make his own wine, under the label Gustavo Thrace. There is a love triangle involving winery intern Sam, (Rachael Taylor of Transformers) and the boys, but in the end the day is saved by yet another pretty girl, Joe, portrayed by Eliza Dushku. All we needed was a boy name Sue.
You may have to look around to find a theater, check the Bottle Shock website. Here in central Florida you can see the movie in Winter Park, which is just moments from several great wine shops. I recommend seeing the matinee, then spending the afternoon browsing wine shops, sampling and taking a good bottle home.