Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, Hit Men take center stage – guys who kill for money and say “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” You know the phrase if you’ve ever been fired from a job.
Ah! A movie title with an exclamation point in it! Hit! came out in 1973, apparently before Strunk and White clamped down on such punctuation abuse. Still at large on their hit list: Oliver!, Airplane! and Tora! Tora! Tora! Boy, are they in trouble.
Billy Dee Williams was richly praised for his performance as a federal agent who assembles – through coercion – a team of vulnerable misfits, Richard Pryor among them.
The team takes out a drug cartel, one by one, showing how easily it could be done. The hits are carried out using weapons which range from poison to a speargun to a bazooka. Now that’s a variety show. The agent’s success does not endear him to his bosses, who have been losing the war on drugs while playing by the book.
Yeah, there are plenty of holes in Hit!’s Swiss cheese of a plot but it’s actually a pretty fun popcorn movie. The critics were mixed back in the day, but then they always seem to be, don’t they?
For a wine to pair with Hit!, let’s look at The Uprising, a red blend which is part of the 19 Crimes line. It should be called 19 Criminals, but we’ll ride with it as labeled. It was aged for a month in rum barrels, so expect a bit more sweetness to offset the sour topic of the film.
Murder By Contract is a 1958 film noir which had a lot more influence than its sphere at the time of release would suggest. Martin Scorsese has hailed the movie as one of the biggest influences on his style of movie making. Vince Edwards stars as a hit man who carries no gun, who has principles despite his choice of professions and who thinks a bit too much for someone in that job.
He routinely kills men at the request of his bosses – guys with names like Mr. Brink and Mr. Moon – but he experiences pangs of guilt when an important witness in a big case is targeted, and it turns out she’s a woman. Right, the hit man with a heart o’ gold. Nah, actually he thinks women are too unpredictable to make good targets. He thinks they are trouble. He finds out that in his case, they are.
Oregon’s Witness Tree Vineyard no longer offers their Witness Protection Plan Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but if you can scare up a bottle, that’s the one to have. Trust me, there are not many wines out there with “Witness Protection” on the label – this is it.
1971’s Get Carter brought real, honest-to-god violence into the British crime film genre, and did so without even blushing. The plot works about as easily as a Rubik’s Cube, but the film has collected a cult following over the years and is now considered one of the very best British films. Michael Caine stars in it and excels as the morally bankrupt double-barrel trigger man.
Grab a bottle from Temecula’s Carter Estate Winery to pair with Get Carter. A well-structured Syrah, Malbec or Merlot should fit nicely within the loose moral structure of the movie.