“A three-P movie: pleasant, pretty and predictable. One might add piddling.” -Stephen Holden, NY Times
“Even judged by the not excessively demanding standards of middle-aged renovation fantasies, ‘A Good Year’ isn’t much…Stocky and bullish, [Crowe] looks great on the bridge of a ship or holding off barbarians with a lance but exceptionally unhappy in a bespoke suit.” -Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
Russell Crowe “manages to make Max unremittingly dislikable. What’s more, Mr. Crowe inflicts on Max, and himself, a painfully clumsy version of the clownish physical comedy that Cary Grant once did so well. “A Good Year” is “Sideways” gone sour, the dregs of faux Provence.” – Joe Morgenstern, WSJ
The reviews of “A Good Year” are out! And Ridley Scott, Peter Mayle, and Russell Crowe must be drowning sorrows in Aussie shiraz. Hopefully not a Penfold’s Grange from 1964, Crowe’s birth year. The actor just sent back a $4,400 bottle of it while dining at Marco Pierre White’s Mirabelle in London last month. But, hey, at least he didn’t throw it back!
So, how much will this vaguely wine-y movie, set in Provence, take in this opening weekend? I’m going with $8 million. “Borat,” by comparison, made $26 million last weekend. Post your thoughts in the comments below!
UPDATE 11/12: Well, it looks like the movie did even worse opening weekend than any of the predictions taking $3.77 million from 2,066 theaters showing the movie. The production budget was $35 million. [BoxOfficeMojo]
I think I will write my first screenplay based on these lab mice living longer. Here it goes.
Synopsis: Two wine lovers find a mouse in their bottle of wine and decide to go on an odyssey return it to the winery for a refund. After battling two teams of vicious hockey players, the duo arrive at the winery where the vintner (Max von Sydow) refuses to give them a refund. Through it all, the mouse refuses to die thanks to sheer force of will–and a high dose of resveratrol.
Related: “The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew” [IMDB]
In the most punchy writing ever seen on Decanter, a review calls “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe “an absolute dog.” Russell Crowe’s character, an investment banker turned vintner in Provence, intones such lines as “I want a bottle that tastes like you and a glass that is never empty…” The screenwriter, Marc Klein, said that he “knew nothing about wine or Provence.” [Decanter]
Jay-Z, who announced a boycott of Cristal early in the summer, has declared his new house champagne: Ace of Spades, from boutique producer Armand de Brignac. No word on the price of the wine. But you can watch him wave off a bottle of “cris” in his new video and take a bottle of Ace! [Decanter, YouTube]
Acker-Merrall, the NY auctioneer and high-end retailer, set a record with a $24 million auction last weekend. A methuselah (6L) of 1978 Romanée-Conti went for $125,475–$608 an ounce!
Want 10 million liters of French wine? Bid before November 10, probably pennies per ounce. [Scotsman]
“I love writing about wine. It’s like being paid to date models.” -Jay McInerney [Observer]
“A Good Year,” [Dr. V]
The National Highway Safety Administration launches a new marketing campaign against drunken driving. Will it crimp wine sales the way a similar campaign has in France? [NYT]
Speaking of Washington (were we?), blogger Winesmith has contacted all the candidates for DC mayor and posts their wine preferences. The leading candidate likes Australian (!) Shiraz (!!) under $10 (!!!). He also gets the faves for DC’s non-voting Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and her recent interviewer, Stephen Colbert. [winesmith]
In New York City, Eater blogs about the closing-before-opening of Liquor Store Bar in Tribeca as a latest chapter in what they call “the drying of NYC.” [Eater]
You can’t say Mosel-Saar-Ruwer? Don’t worry, it’s being shortened to Mosel. [Decanter]
Steve De Long has thrown up an interactive map of Lonon wine shops–check it out before your next trip and find some wines to drink there since you can’t bring them back (in your carry-on). [De Long]
The Guardian says that wine producers play a mark em up just to mark it down game in the UK. [Guardian]
And finally, next summer will see the release of Ratatouille, a Pixar movie about an epicurean rat who lives in the sewers of Paris. [movie trailer]
Last year, we kept you updated on the important wine-u-tainment news about the possibility of Russell Crowe starring in a Ridley Scott adaptation of a Peter Mayle novel:
Russell Crowe, Hollywood’s cell phone-launching, bad boy maximus, is rumored to play the lead role. It could be quite an awkward blend of Mayle’s mostly Merlot with Crowe’s brawny Shiraz.
Well, now it is true. Scheduled for an October 27 launch in the UK and a November 10 release in the US (how did the UK edge out the US?!), cinema-goers around the world are about to soak up the warm rays of the Provencal sun. Surely they’ll be ready to throw in the towel on lucrative careers in cold places, ditch their lame glasses, and move to vineyards populated by cranky locals and beautiful women.
While the Oscar winners will undoubtedly be having champagne, what will you be pairing with your favorite Oscar-nominated movie this year? Here are some suggestions from Appellation Wine and Spirits in New York:
“Brokeback Mountain” Feel the expanse of the west with 2004 Shooting Star Washington State Lemberger “Blue Franc”. Soft, medium-bodied red made from the Austrian varietal Blaufränkisch (AKA Lemberger). This offering, made by Jed Steele, has soft red and blue fruit, great acid and soft tannins. $14.99 (find this wine)
“Crash” If you loved Crash, drink Garretson Wine Company Central Coast “G Red” 2003, whose vineyards are just up the highway from sunny L.A. A big red from a field blend of grapes coming from the Central Coast of California. The stelvin closure (i.e., screwcap) ensures no issues with having a corked bottle. $20.99 (find this wine)
“Good Night, and Good Luck” Have a scotch after the evening news. Aged 15 years, Bruichladdich 15 Year Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky is smooth and sophisticated. Butterscotch and crème brulée are some of the notes, finishing with a hint of sea mist. $73.99 (find this
“Memoirs of a Geisha” You will feel like you are on the set of Memoirs of a Geisha when you drink Daimon Shuzo “Mukune Shadows Of Katano” Nigori Junmai Ginjo sake. This lightly-filtered sake is born from natural spring water. With an impression of sweetness, Shadows is dry with notes of mineral and vanilla. Seared tuna? Yes! $20.99 (300ml) (find this
“Munich” For an intense movie, we suggest a glass of 2002 Domaine du Castel Haute Judée “Grand Vin” Bordeaux blend from a top producer out of Israel. Has an herb-tinged nose with dense, spicy blackcurrant fruit. Big and chewy with nice acidity. $51.99 (find this wine)
For their complete list, check out the web site. I would only add that if you’re pulling for March of the Penguins, make it a mulled wine.
On Sunday, Sideways won the Golden Globe for Best Film (Comedy or Musical) and Best Screenplay (Comedy or Musical). As well as being hailed by numerous critics as the Best Movie of the Year and receiving a composite score of 94 on Metacritic (harder than a Parker 94) it is likely to be on the short list for the Oscars. All this led A.O. Scott of the NY Times to call it the most “overrated” movie of the year.
I liked the movie but am surprised that it has found such praise among critics (though it has only about a tenth the box office take as the horribly reviewed Meet the Fockers $230 million).
Anecdotal reports thus far show that the movie is having an impact on wine choices. At wine shops that I have visited recently, staff members have told me that requests for Pinot Noir, the object of one movie character’s infatuation, are way up. There is hope that wine consumption more generally may benefit although with such a relatively weak box office, the impact may only “energize the base” in political parlance. Only 12% of the population drinks 86% of the wine in America and movies like Sideways make wine enthusiasts want to taste a flight of Santa Barbara’s Pinots.
But the wine country where the movie was filmed has experienced a boom with demand for tables at featured restaurants and featured wines outstripping capacity. Even the French wines featured are feeling the effect with one bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc going for $750 on the wine auction site winebid.com. The rising tide lifts all boats? We can but hope wine in America gets a lift upward (not sideways!) from this film.