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 examine a trio of Christmas movies, or at least movies which have the Christmas season as part of the scenery. We are entering the fray here, about whether or not merely being set at Christmas time is enough to make a film a Christmas movie – see Die Hard or Diner as examples. Or the following.
Christmas in Connecticut was released in 1945 to great success. The end of the war left people hungry for a screwball comedy about food and a soldier returning home from the conflict. Usually, characters who are far from home and dream of “a steak that thick” are marked for death. But Dennis Morgan’s wounded warrior escapes the worst and actually gets his meal, in the form of Barbara Stanwyck. Every Christmas comedy needs a Grinch, and Sydney Greenstreet serves in that role here, to an extent. His Grinchiness is circumstantial, and he isn’t the only one pouring soot on the snow – Stanwyck’s fiance is no Christmas miracle. By the end of the movie, we find that Greenstreet is really a nice guy deep down.
In addition to the seasonal setting, there is also a sleigh ride included to add to the holiday flavor. Me, I’ve never even seen a real sleigh, but apparently back then in Connecticut, they were left unattended outside barn dances, just there for the taking. Understand that not only will you spend a Christmassy night in jail, but Grand Theft Sleigh is sure to land you on Santa’s naughty list.
A wine from Connecticut would be fine here, but how about one which was made in a WWII-era airfield? The Nutmeg State’s Saltwater Farm Vineyard has a Cabernet Franc with enough fruit and spice to tempt Santa before he’s finished assembling the kids’ toys.
1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has that ol’ Pumpkin King Jack Skellington trying to take over Christmas. It seems natural, following in the Charlie Brown TV special’s footsteps, to move from Halloween Town to Christmas Town. Things go awry, and Santa is kidnapped, and his life is threatened, and it looks like there won’t be a Christmas this year. But wait… it looks like Jack saves Christmas Day for all of us. Didn’t see that coming, didja?
If you’re looking for Nightmare Before Christmas stemware, head over to Etsy for a startlingly full complement of glasses. Those craft people never miss a trick-or-treat. We want wine, however, and we want it now. For a slightly scary Christmas wine pairing, let’s throw ten bucks at the cashier and make off with Apothic Dark. It’s heavy on the oak, making you think of that tree in your living room, and it has a hint of chocolate to remind you that Halloween wasn’t all that long ago.
The Apartment, from 1960, is the movie every romcom wants to be. Billy Wilder’s masterpiece stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston and a host of wonderful character actors. The story unfolds during end-of-year festivities which bring Lemmon and MacLaine together in unlikely circumstances, holiday-wise.
Lemmon – Buddy Boy – has an apartment which gets used by his superiors at the office for their extra-marital meetups. He leaves the key under the mat and clears out, then waits for the lights to be turned off, signaling that it’s okay for him to go home. He falls for a gal who turns out to be a one-time guest in his place, with his boss as her host. It’s awkward, situation-wise.
The Apartment has all the holiday trimmings – New York City, loneliness, Santa in a bar, slushy sidewalks and a Seconal suicide attempt. Not to play the spoiler, ending-wise, but everything works out fine.
Holiday entertaining on a working person’s budget? Drink Cava and pretend it’s Champagne, leftover from last night’s party. Vilarnau has a Spanish sparkler that sneaks out of the wine shop for less than $20 and will pair quite well with The Apartment and a couple of cha-cha records. Just keep the music down – the neighbors have been complaining.