Based on the true story of love, victory, and fermentation
Genre: Drama / Comedy
The gist: Bottle Shock is a loose retelling of the events leading up to the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” tastings – where California wines went up against the French in a blind tasting. Before 1976 there was one country synonymous with good wine: France. And then a certain sommelier named Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) decided to put it to the test. Traveling from Paris to Napa Valley, he set out to gather the best California wines to taste against the best French wines. Along the way he meets the owner of Chateau Montelena, Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman), and his hippie-son Bo (Chris Pine). The end result will shock them all.
My take: Bottle Shock is some good times. The cinamatography (Michael J. Ozier) is beautiful – from Napa Valley to the French countryside. The music is refreshing – 70’s music intermingled with the musical score. The story (Jody Savin and Randall Miller) manages to tell a wide range of side stories, without getting bogged down. There are also some great lines – including my favorite: in response to Jim’s Barrett’s question of why he doesn’t like him, Steven Spurrier says, “You think I’m an asshole*. I’m not really. I’m just British and you’re … not.” . The direction (Randall Miller) manages to imbue humanity into each scene – whether serious or humorous. Finally, the actors – from main to minor – are strong and a joy to watch. Though Alan Rickman does manage to outshine them all. Watching him each Kentucky Fried Chicken from the bucket or fresh guac is too, too much. All in all, it is an uplifting tale. So grab some grapes, an assortment of breads and cheeses, pour yourself a glass of wine – and enjoy!
*Note to my mother: That was a direct quote. I’m not randomly spewing profanities on my blog. And besides. It was funny. Hi-larious even. It couldn’t be helped …