Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, we take the express train, with three stops along the way for a quick drink.
The 1994 Hong Kong crime/dramedy/romance Chungking Express has so many genres attached to it, you can probably find it under just about any heading on the Criterion Channel. “People who watched Chungking Express also liked In the Mood for Love, In the Mood for Laughs, In the Mood for Crime,” etc. It was written and directed by Wong Kar-wai during a break in editing another movie. Dude has a serious work ethic.
Wong grew up in 1960s Hong Kong, when the 17-story Chungking Mansions building was still fairly new. The “Express” part of the title takes a bow towards the Midnight Express food stand in Central Hong Kong.
Two stories make up the movie, both about a cop who is broken up over a breakup with a woman. The dual tales share one element, a snack bar. A can of pineapple provides a love connection, while a dishtowel plays the role of a sympathetic ear. It sure sounds like fun. However, it could be, as Toomgis might say in the AM/PM commercials, “too much good stuff.”
You could try trekking over to L.A.’s Chinatown and amble around Chung King Road in search of a wine pairing for Chungking Express. However, I hear that weird little wine shop is no longer open there, so you are more likely to stumble into an art gallery. Hong Kong isn’t exactly well-suited to wineries, but the people there sure love their Bordeaux, and the richer it is, the better they like it. Pair this film with a Chateau Margaux, if you happen to have a handful of Benjamins that aren’t doing anything.
1972’s Horror Express was directed by Spanish low-budget master Eugenio Martin. It’s a blend of sci-fi and horror with a red-eyed monster that roams the Trans-Siberian Express, looking for more victims. The train is sort of like the Orient Express, except it’s not so tough to figure out who dunnit. The film stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, an early signal that the ride will not be a smooth one.
After blowing the wine wad on Chungking Express, you’ll want to find a bargain, and fast. Look to Spain’s low-budget master, Borsao, for an awesome Garnacha that costs less than ten bucks. I discovered it several years ago, when it only cost five dollars. I said back then that it would be a bargain at twice the price, and lo and behold, it is.
The Silk Express is a 1933 effort, one of 73 movies directed by Ray Enright. A train load of silk has to make it from Seattle to New York to bust up a gangster’s death grip on the market. Among those on the train: a silk importer, a detective, an insurance man, a lawyer, a hobo, a paralyzed professor and his daughter. With a cast like that, we could work up alternative lyrics to the Gilligan’s Island theme song. When folks start turning up dead, the prof starts blinking his eyes. Wouldn’t you know it – the one guy with all the clues can’t communicate. That’s just dumb luck.
Ménage á Trois makes a wine called Silk, so here we go. It’s another bargain-bin wine, too, at less than $15. The blend looks a little weird – Pinot Noir, Malbec and Petite Sirah – but they promise it’s soft and seductive. And a bit on the sweet side, too, I’ll bet.