With the success of "Sideways," piece of crap that it was (Does anyone actually buy that those two guys are friends, or that those two women would have anything to do with them? Probably the same people who think young actresses want to sleep with Woody Allen, or be adopted by him, which amounts to the same thing), and the other recent independent films that prominently featured wine, Hollywood has quite a few new wine films on tap for the coming year. Here's a preview of some of them.
TWO BUCK CHUCKY A nightmarish film about Fred Franzia (a stirring performance from Tom Arnold) terrorizing, torturing and terminating Napa Valley vintners. In the film's most frightening scene, a desperate Robert Mondavi (Wilfred Brimley) is forced to sell off his best vineyards for cash to satisfy his back-from-the-grave Zombie shareholders in the wake of Two Buck Chuckie's disemboweling of Woodside wines. Forced to eat his own young, the tortured Mondavi is also cruelly forced to tour Copia. Other scenes that depict Two Buck Chuckie's relentless and pitiless torture of his hired immigrant laborers may be too much for a sensitive person to watch. Rated PG-13.
The charming story of a lonely and crazy Austrian philosopher named Rudolf Steiner (Arnold Schwarzenegger in a thrilling return to the screen after his Oscar-nominated performance as an addlepated Governor) who convinces the wine world that Biodynamics is essential for great vineyards. Something of a cross between "A Simple Mind" and "The Sound of Music," director and screenwriter Oliver Stone shows us the inspiration for Biodynamics, Steiner's love of bullshit, and then takes us up to the present day and Nicolas Joly's (an impeccably accented Carrot Top) infatuation for the great man. Oscar buzz already for Jennifer Lopez's portrayal of Steiner's true love, Bessie the Guernsey.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LOST CAVES OF MAMMON
Lucas and Spielberg set their latest Indiana Jones flick four thousand years in the future. Indy (Larry the Cable Guy) and his gorgeous sidekick Mary Tage (RuPaul) have unearthed the Lost Caves of Mammon, the recently rediscovered wineries of Napa Valley. Much like the Pharaohs, Indy discovers, early 21st Century Napa Valley Vintners spent fortunes building shrines to themselves, ludicrously expensive monuments where ignorant people came to worship them and drink of their mystical beverages. In cave after elaborate cave, Indiana and Mary uncover the horrors of the era and battle the ghosts who had long lain dormant under the rubble. They barely manage to escape all the devious and evil booby traps left behind by the wineries--wine clubs and allocation lists and nightmarish hidden filter pads. And they try to understand what killed this lost civilization, try to understand the culture's obsession with Mammon. In a pivotal scene, after being forced to eat Mammon tartare, Indy flashes back to the 20th Century and hallucinates that he is Bill Jarvis and he nearly dies of terminal cave envy. Mary saves him by showing him her cave doesn't really exist (a brave RuPaul).
A fictionalized version of the life of Marvin Shanken (Divine, in his final role) and the rise of his publishing empire. Marvin takes a failed newspaper, Wine Spectator, and with the clever theft of elements of Gourmet magazine, Robert Parker's (a nice set piece by John Candy, also in his final role) Wine Advocate, and the vocabulary of Dr. Seuss, creates a wine reviewing dynasty. But his ultimate downfall at the hands of bloggers (great to see so many Little People in a film) leaves him gasping this final mysterious word on his deathbed, "Payola." Divine, as a not yet housebroken Shanken on original Wine Spectators
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"...that guy Hosemaster has real talent...if you ask me sign him up for Comedy Central...he's the funniest guy since Adam Carolla's hilarious book...IN 50 YEARS WE WILL ALL BE CHICKS..."
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."