Independence Day

by Randy Fuller Jul 01, 2023

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 pair wines with three movies which examine the American experience for Independence Day.

1776 hit movie screens in 1972, preceding America’s bicentennial by four years. The producers didn’t miss the mark, they simply got a running start on the festivities. The film was adapted from the Broadway hit musical. The fictionalized account of what led to the Declaration of Independence is dressed up with a lot more singing than I expect there was in real life. Ben Franklin getting tuneful I could see, especially after a couple of drinks. John Adams, not so much.

As you may have learned in school, unless you went to the schools that Trump attended, the beloved document describes the will of the colonies to break free from Great Britain and it serves up a lengthy list of grievances against the British throne. If they’d had Twitter back then, the colonists could have canceled King George without throwing a single teabag into Boston Harbor.

Speaking of despots, Nixon didn’t like the movie. He felt one of the songs in the score reflected badly on conservatives, as if conservatism needs any help finding the bad light. It is worth remembering today that nearly all of the founding fathers were slave owners themselves. That includes Thomas Jefferson.

Mr. Jefferson loved his Bordeaux, but not until later in his life. For decades, he was a Madeira man, as were the other founding fathers who imbibed. The Rare Wine Company has a Special Reserve Madeira with TJ’s name on it.

What would July 4th viewing be without a war picture? Here is a dandy from 1945, They Were Expendable, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne. Is there anything more American? The movie – taken from a bestselling book – tells the story of the US Navy’s PT boats. It is fact-based fiction, and is supposedly very close to how Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three was actually introduced into WWII.

President John F. Kennedy, you may remember, served on a PT boat while he was in the navy. Movie costar Robert Montgomery actually commanded one, something that film buffs say former Navy officer Ford really liked about him. John Wayne was reportedly in Ford’s doghouse because he was turned down for military service. The film was shot in the Florida Keys, moviedom’s version of the Philippines.

The Tackitt Family Vineyards in Paso Robles is veteran-owned. Leon was a military ordnance guy in the Navy. Now he blows up people’s expectations with his fruit of the vine. The Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel was a gold medal winner, and it’s only $40.

The Red Badge of Courage, from 1951, brings Stephen Crane’s 19th century book to life. Director John Huston thought his two-hour cut was the best work he had done, but MGM thought differently. They slashed the film to 70 minutes and put in narration to explain what was happening. MGM, apparently, decided that nobody ever went broke underestimating the audience.

It is a Civil War tale about a young man who deserts the battlefield in fear, only to return in hopes of getting his war wound – the titular red badge. It is fitting to watch a Civil War movie for Independence Day, as it was that bloody confrontation that declared the nation’s independence from slavery.

For a Civil War pic, what could be better than a wine from the first battlefield? The Winery at Bull Run is located at the entrance to Manassas Battlefield. From that historical locale, they produce Virginia wines that echo the Civil War era. Back in that day, the wines were probably made from Muscadine grapes, but the Virginia wine scene has grown exponentially since then.

Randy Fuller

NowAnd Zin Wine –

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