Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, let’s get crazy to usher in 2022. And while we are at it, let’s start demanding that each new year has to be better than the one it is replacing.
The 1963 madcap comedy, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, stars Spencer Tracy, backed up by an all-star cast featuring Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Dorothy Provine, – lemme catch my breath – Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, – did I say Dorothy Provine? – Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters and about 200 other notables in cameos. Mr. Winters was enough to grab me as I was already a huge fan by the tender age of eight years.
The characters all scramble to be the first to discover the hiding place of $350,000 in stolen cash. Jimmy Durante spills the beans about the money before dropping dead. For his “the gold…it’s in the…” moment, Durante tells the assembled mob only that the treasure is under a big W. Terry Bradshaw should give a hint like that about how to win “his money,” but maybe Fox really is taking it out of his paycheck.
The movie turns on the various troubles everyone has while trying to get to the place where the big W is. It puts the mad in madcap, the screw in screwball, the slap in slapstick and the road in road comedy. To be precise, it puts four mads in madcap.
Director Stanley Kramer was reportedly none too happy about the studio ripping out footage like a drywall demo team. Apparently nobody told him that Hollywood didn’t need any three-hour comedies. Even with more than a half an hour of celluloid on the cutting room floor, the movie still ran 161 minutes. To quote Robert Vaughn from Blake Edwards’ S.O.B., “That’s too long.”
Well, so just open three bottles of wine to get through the viewing. Try Madcap, a red blend from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The winery, Fairview Cellars, is described as being “on the Reed Creek alluvial Fan at the North end of the Benches of the Golden Mile.” I think there may be too many capital letters there, but that’s how they wrote it.
2011 gave us a glimpse of a duplicate of our world, mad or otherwise. Another Earth has a fairly convoluted plot, the crux of which is a second earth just like ours which hangs in the sky like a harvest moon. The sci-fi film does not deal with how a second Earth might affect gravity or the tides or whether the extra light it sheds at night means we could get rid of daylight saving time. Fingers crossed.
Another Earth does examine the result of taking responsibility for one’s actions and the issues that would arrive if you got to meet your other self from the mirror world. I worry that I wouldn’t recognize myself. I mean, Aidan Quinn was pumping gas right next to me and I was oblivious until my wife pointed him out.
I seem to be digressing a bit this week, for which I am sorry. The holidays, the pandemic, you know. Languishing. But I cannot let the opportunity pass without mentioning that, in the cast of Another Earth, there is an actor named Flint Beverage. I’m not kidding. So, with the drop of his name, it must be time to select a nice wine to pair with the movie. Beverage time.
Broken Earth Winery is a likely pairing, although their name probably is less a reference to the planet as it is to a shovel turning dirt. They make a Paso Robles Cabernet Franc, which is a good grape no matter which Earth you find yourself visiting.
In this very space, I have referred to the 1989 black comedy musical parody Meet the Feebles as a Peter Jackson pre-hobbit fever dream. Jackson has Muppet-like characters cast as members of a twisted and violent theater troupe. Jim Henson could not have possibly given his stamp of approval to this use of puppets, and within a year of Feebles’ release he was dead. I’m not saying one thing had anything to do with the other, but there you are. The poster for the movie shows a hippo in a party dress hoisting a machine gun, and that tells you all you need to know about whether you should drink while watching.
For Meet the Feebles, lets find a black wine for this black comedy. I’m thinking of a Malbec from Cahors. That French region is known for its dark-times-three wine. Georges Vigouroux’s Pigmentum – “that which colors” – is a nice choice, and easy on the wallet, too, at about $12.