Oscar Bait

by Randy Fuller Jul 27, 2020

Pairing wine with movies!  See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies and many more at Trailers From Hell.  This week, a look at some award-winning movies.  If you are reading outside, please keep your mask on.  Intense laughter can really send those COVID germs a-flying.

There are still more than six months until the next Academy Awards show, if there is a next one.  The way things are going, February is like that car in the rear view mirror – closer than it looks.  Hopefully, a vaccine against COVID-19 will be developed before we lose another 650,000 people from this planet.  Yay, Pfizer!  Said no one ever.  That’s right, this pandemic has brought us to that – cheering Big Pharma.

Amadeus was a big hit and an award magnet in 1984, sort of a curious time for a movie about a classical composer.  The Cars, Prince and Wham were riding high on the Billboard charts that year.  Pop star Falco – Austrian, like Mozart – also rode the charts with “Rock Me Amadeus,” a song which praised Mozart as a freewheeling party boy, albeit in German.  It was a classic ditty, but it was anything but classical.

Mozart died at the young age of 35, and his death is surrounded by conspiracy theories.  It’s nice to know our time doesn’t have exclusive claim to those annoyances.

One theory posited that the Italian composer, Antonio Salieri, poisoned Mozart.  The theory has been debunked, but that never stopped anyone from making a movie.  That whole Mozart/Salieri rivalry does sound like a baroque version of rap’s East/West feuding, but there are no reports that someone bus’ a cap in young Wolfgang.  Rock us, Amadeus.

There’s a Mozart wine – an Austrian Blaufränkisch – which is sold on a website that looks cheesy enough to pair with the wine.  Sonoma County’s Tara Bella Winery plays Mozart’s music to the Sangiovese grapes in the namesake vineyard.

The 1953 epic Julius Caesar gathered a handful of Oscar nominations, but only one win – for Best Art Direction.  Marlon Brando was hailed for his role of Marc Antony, largely because he didn’t mumble his lines or stand in the street yelling, “Stellaaaa!”

Those ancient Romans loved their wines, and they were kinda snooty about it.  They derided beer as being fit only for those living north of the Alps.  Isn’t it amazing how many nations have adopted France as their designated punching bag?  Planeta makes a wine even today which pleased Julius Caesar – a Sicilian Nero d’Avola/Nocera blend called Mamertino.

Moulin Rouge – the 1952 version – centers on the life and death of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  His body didn’t develop properly, leaving him with a man’s torso and a child’s legs.  He was tortured by the derision brought on by his physical deformity and sought refuge in booze, prostitutes and jobs which paid him in booze and prostitutes.

Nowhere was life gayer in the Gay Nineties than in Gay Paree.  Toulouse-Lautrec hung out at the Moulin Rouge cabaret so much that people thought he came with the place.  Sitting before the beautiful ladies dancing the can-can, the artist with his sketch pad provided the template for everyone who would later do their jobs while sitting in a Starbucks.

Bordeaux’s Château du Moulin Rouge makes a namesake wine, but due to the stuffy French labeling regulations, there is nary a red windmill in sight.  The official drink of the actual Moulin Rouge is Champagne, so here’s to bubbles.  Spring for some Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé, the kind that will likely be flowing again at the tables in the Moulin Rouge when it reopens after the COVID crisis.

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