Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week’s selections are films which offer different views of dysfunction and the corresponding unction, without compunction. And, we’ll try to find some laughs along the way.
The 2017 Russian movie, Loveless, actually needed support from four countries, reportedly due to Russia’s aggressively dim view of the director’s anti-corruption stance. The story turns on the bitterness between two separated parents. Their only child disappears, and they are drawn together again as a search for him drags on.
The movie was compared by critics to the work of Ingmar Bergman, although there are no scenes showing death playing chess. The parents’ neglect and lovelessness spills over into every area of their separate lives. The bleakness of their existence mirrors the bleakness of the society in which they live – if you call that living. Their story could have been featured in “Bleak Living” magazine, if there were such a thing.
My pairing advice for Loveless might well be to simply crack open a bottle of vodka and drink heartily from it. That does seem a bit bleak, so let’s turn to Sonoma County, where the Russian River brings daily fog upstream to make it a perfect place to grow Pinot Noir grapes. Inman Family Wines has the perfect antidote to a loveless story – their $68 Pinot called Whole Buncha Love should get you through the movie. Buy two – you’re gonna need them.
More bleak obsession drives the 1970 British-West German collaboration, Deep End. It’s funny how bleakness seems to appear in movies which required an international effort to produce. Unfortunately, that’s about all that’s funny here. The film’s main setting is a bath house where swimming and less innocent things happen. The main character is a 15-year-old dropout who develops a crush on a woman ten years older with whom he works. Right, he quickly gets in over his head.
Nelson Hill Winery has a line of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir which they call the Deep End, after the vineyard where the grapes are grown. They say the wine is more beauty than brawn, which sets it apart from most other California Pinot Noirs.
Despite his Best Actor Oscar for East of Eden, 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause was James Dean’s career highlight, although he didn’t live to experience it. The teenage dysfunction in Rebel centered not on inner-city kids, a popular movie theme at that time, but on teens from the suburbs – kids who had all the so-called advantages. But, dysfunction learns to thrive in between the advantages.
The “Rebel Without a Clue” paraphrasing has been appropriated over and over again through the years. Tom Petty, Bonnie Tyler, “Quantum Leap” and Garfield have all taken a swing at the line, for better or worse. Clueless, Dean’s character certainly is not. You don’t wear that red windbreaker without realizing you are making a statement.
Let’s go to New York’s Finger Lakes for the wine pairing. Red Tail Ridge Winery makes a delightful sparkling wine – Rebel With a Cause – from Teroldego, Lagrein and Blaufränkisch grapes. They describe it as “slightly restrained and brooding,” so it’s perfect to drink while watching Dean’s performance.