Friday, August 7, 2009
Two Buck Chucky: The Movie
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