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 look at a couple of “Viva” films..
“Viva” comes from the word meaning “to live.” Its use in these movie titles indicates a preference that the subject matter not be forgotten. Seriously, can you ever forget a daredevil’s motorcycle leap… in Las Vegas?
Viva Knievel! is a sort of biopic, in that it is about – and stars – motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. The story is fictional, although it’s a headscratcher why anyone thought Knievel’s stunt career needed sweetening. Beside a host of successful jumps, there were nearly 20 not-so-fun ones that resulted in injuries. The guy spent more time in hospitals than a candy-striper.
Knievel has great support in the film, with Gene Kelly, Red Buttons, Leslie Nielsen and Dabney Coleman among the all-star cast. A subplot of the movie shows a conniving promoter and Knievel as the victim, while in real life it was the other way around only a few months after the film’s release. Jump-boy went after a promoter with a baseball bat. He got only a six-month work furlough sentence and never had to pay anything in the civil suit, claiming he was broke. The movie got hurt as a result, crushed in a hail of bad PR during this time.
One of Knievel’s more celebrated crashes happened at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. It so happens that another heavily promoted performer, Elvis Presley, also had deep connections to that town. Knievel may have even been inspired by the Elvis Jumpsuit in creating his own get-up. His way of handling promoters could have used some polishing by Colonel Tom Parker.
Here is a pairing as natural as an ace and a king on the blackjack table – Evel Ale. A Texas brewery is producing it, and Knievel’s estate gives it their stamp of approval as the official beer of the late daredevil. Since he is no longer around, you may feel free to enjoy a can or two.
1964 saw the Beatles taking America by storm, but Elvis was on the big screen, too. Viva Las Vegas paired The King with Ann-Margaret in what fans and critics say was Elvis’ best movie. Admittedly, that bar was set rather low, but Viva Las Vegas did have its moments. Whenever we drive into Las Vegas, the wife and I always look at each other and say, “Bright light city!” Great songs, beautiful co-star, car race… Viva Las Vegas will keep your eyes busy while you power through that bowl of popcorn and a beverage of choice.
Viva Las Vegas 17 was produced by Sort This Out Cellars of Santa Barbara County. The wine was apparently bottled for an event several years back. It’s a mix of Rhône and Bordeaux grapes, grown in sunny Southern California, with a label full of Vegas imagery.