Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, in lieu of fireworks leaping from these digital pages, we have wine pairings for three films which concern the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Paul Newman stars in WUSA, along with Joanne Woodward, Anthony Perkins, Laurence Harvey, Cloris Leachman, Pat Hingle and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. That’s a stellar cast, but the critics were not impressed – despite Newman saying it was his most significant film. Of course that was in 1970, well before Slapshot, which gets my vote.
The story revolves around a conservative radio station in New Orleans – we call them right-wing media, now – and its owner’s plan to stage a white supremacist rally. There are, as you might expect, bitter personality clashes, gunfire from a catwalk, a change of heart for a cynical host and an antihero who leaves town after all is said and done.
The movie appeared at a time long before the AM radio dial was co-opted by GOP talking points. One has to wonder, with all the good music on the radio in NOLA in 1970, who was wasting their time on talkers?
Louisiana’s Landry Vineyards has a wine called Bayoutage, but don’t worry. It’s not made from Louisiana grapes, it hails from Lodi, California. I suppose that’s why it’s available for shipping. Of course, it could be a right-wing conspiracy.
Coming along in 1975 was Nashville, just a year before the Bicentennial but equipped with enough red, white and blue to get the party started early. The Robert Altman spectacular ran nearly three hours, featured an hour or so of music, starred about half the actors who had a SAG card and spawned a hit record which took the Best Original Song Oscar that year.
Nashville took a satirical look at politics and the country music industry, two fixtures that lend themselves easily to satirical looks. The film got varied reactions from critics – from “superficial” to “brilliant” – and the public wasn’t exactly beating a path to the box office, although the movie did rake in enough cash to rank it in the top 30 that year.
Did Altman’s take on politics and country music have enough gravitas to put Jimmy Carter in the White House the following year? Just wondering.
What better pairing could we find than a winery that’s a half-hour south of Nashville and co-owned by a country music star? Arrington Vineyards has Kix Brooks on its corporate ledger and offers a nice rosé called Celebration, although the label goes easy on the stars and stripes.
Medium Cool, from 1969, centers its action in 1968 Chicago. With the Democratic National Convention and the associated riots as a backdrop, the film calls TV news on the carpet for dispassionately covering events without a contextual framework. Shot in documentary fashion, the movie originally got an X rating, for language and nudity, but director Haskell Wexler said it was “a political X.” Later, the rating was changed to R.
The title of the movie comes from terminology coined by Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian philosopher. Canada’s Jackson-Triggs Winery has an estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and their Proprietors’ Selection Shiraz is a great choice – unless you’d prefer an icewine for Medium Cool.