Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week’s three films deal with a future that looks like the past and serves as the present. Of course, there are wine pairings for each.
Filmmakers from the U.S., New Zealand and South Africa collaborated on the 2009 sci-fi District 9, which is set in an imaginary 1982. Back then, I thought 1982 was imaginary until I got my MTV.
In the movie, a spaceship appears over Johannesburg and it turns out to be full of alien bug-people. The South African government puts these aliens into a camp – District Nine – and the place turns into a slum over the years. Locals derogatorily call the residents “prawns” and claim that they are dirty, dangerous and a drain on government resources. Sound familiar? Maybe they should have given them tinfoil blankets.
The tale was inspired by actual events in South Africa’s time of apartheid. There was a Cape Town area called District Six which was branded by the government as “whites only,” resulting in the removal of thousands of black Africans from their homes.
Let’s do a wine pairing that is as ripped from the headlines as the inspiration for District 9. In South Africa’s Stellenbosch region there is a wine estate named Louiesenhof Wines. There is also controversy after impoverished people from a neighboring township stormed part of the owner’s land a few years ago and built shacks upon it. Last year, the owner was murdered in his home. One of the people facing charges in the case is… his wife. Excuse me while I update my Final Draft program and get started on this script.
If you can locate any product from Louiesenhof Wines, try a Pinotage. The grape’s detractors say it leaves a taste in your mouth as bad as apartheid. Its fans think of it as wine’s Rusty Nail.
1997’s Event Horizon is another blend of science and fiction. In science, an event horizon is basically the border around a black hole. My high school physics teacher liked me, but not so much that I made good enough grades to understand that.
The movie is about a rescue/recovery mission sent to a spaceship which is found orbiting Neptune. There is no truth to the rumor that the script originally called for the ship to be orbiting Uranus, but nobody could get through the table reads without laughing.
Paramount reportedly had the director cut more than a half hour out of his film. The resulting movie tanked at the box office but became a hit at the video stores. When the studio came asking for the deleted footage – no doubt for a “director’s cut” version – the scenes could not be found. Too bad they didn’t care that the movie they initially had in their hands was the director’s cut.
The story is scientifically complicated with stuff that I don’t think is even possible, but there is a lot of action and wild visions that come from, you know, breaking the space-time continuum. Let’s drink.
As luck would have it, there was an Event Horizon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, but it appears to have fallen out of our gravitational pull. A bottle of Pétrus that was aged for 14 months aboard the International Space Station was auctioned off for a reported cool million. For something a little more down to earth, try Bright Cellars Dead Planets and Black Hole Pinot Grigio. It’s a California PG, so don’t expect anything too transcendental.
Escape from New York made my 1981 bearable, and I didn’t even know how close I was to having my MTV. John Carpenter directed this movie that consists of 100% attitude, mainly from Kurt Russell. After seeing the film, I couldn’t stop saying to my friends, “The name’s Plissken.” It was mighty confusing for anyone who hadn’t seen the film yet.
And hey, how’s this for rounding out a cast: Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, and Harry Dean Stanton all play parts in it. Everyone should be all in on each of those co-stars. And on Russell, too, of course.
For Escape From New York, let’s find a wine which grew up there. From New York’s Finger Lakes region, Red Tail Ridge Winery on Seneca Lake keeps husband-and-wife team Mike Schnelle and Nancy Irelan busy. They produce excellent Chardonnay – oaked and unoaked – along with Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Blaufränkisch. You might not be able to resist telling folks, “The name’s Blaufränkisch.”