Crime Spree

by Randy Fuller Oct 14, 2020

Pairing wine with movies!  See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies and many more at Trailers From Hell.  Crime is a hot topic in the movies, but be careful – you don’t always know who the criminals are.

Clay Pigeon didn’t exactly set 1971 on fire, but if it had it would have been liable for more serious crimes than artistic ones.  Plus, in the pairing-wine-with-movies biz, it’s always touch-and-go when dealing with a movie involving substance abuse.  The laughs don’t exactly fall out of the balcony.

This movie starred Tom Stern, who also co-directed with Lane Slate.  You may know Stern as the one-time husband of Samantha Eggar, or he may be on your radar for being what IMDb calls the “Orson Welles of ‘60s biker movies.”  Citizen Knucklehead, anyone?

In Clay Pigeon, he was a Vietnam vet who wanted to kick hard drugs.  An admirable pursuit, and one that would be hard enough without CIA goon Telly Savalas leaning on him to help take down drug kingpin Robert Vaughn.  A lot of actors in Clay Pigeon had to master the art of looking like a dead body – a time honored Hollywood skill set.

Savalas was very proud of his Greek heritage, so a Greek wine might be a nice pairing with Clay Pigeon.  Skip the Retsina – that beverage you might sample at a Greek church festival.  It tastes like a pine tree, and not in a good way, if there is a good way to taste like a pine tree.  Try a bottle of Nu Greek Wine of Sonoma.  It is made in Greece and shipped to Sonoma where it is bottled.

1988’s The Dead Pool was the fifth and final movie to feature Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character.  Harry Callahan gets to assert his dislike of criminals and the media in more or less equal measure.  The story centers on a friendly wager over premature celebrity deaths.  The bet becomes an issue for Harry when he becomes one of the celebrities and murder becomes a way to fix the betting line.

Eastwood was once the mayor of Carmel, California, so a Monterey wine would be appropriate.  He told interviewers that he preferred to drink Chardonnay, so let’s grab one from Bernardus, which has several good Chards in the 30 to 50 dollar range.

Prime Cut was a dark 1972 glimpse of the underbelly of the underworld in the American Midwest.  Director Michael Ritchie – before Bad News Bears – manages to juxtapose the sex trade with slaughterhouses, and it doesn’t seem like that much of a reach.  Anyhow, it stars Lee Marvin as mob muscle and Gene Hackman as a miscreant meatpacker.  You had me at Lee Marvin.  And Gene Hackman.

For some reason, the scene that stuck in my seventeen-year-old mind was Marvin looking over Hackman as he tore through a hideous looking plate of food.  “You eat guts,” says Marvin.  Hackman replies, with a mouthful of food, “Yeah. I like ‘em.”  Then Marvin blocks the plate and says “Talk now, eat later.”  The scene leaves me with mixed feelings about sausage.

We will want a wine for Prime Cut which pairs nicely with midwestern beef.  You may opt for a Napa Cab – nothing wrong with that choice if you are afraid to branch out.  I’ll go out on a limb for Zinfandel without any prompting.  Beekeeper Zinfandel hails from Sonoma County and will face off against any Cab, anytime.  And, people who wear lab coats to work say red wine is not only good with guts, but also good for your gut health.  Cheers.

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