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||IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 6 votes
||Release: 2 October 2008 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Comedy, Drama, Featured
||Director: Jody Savin,
||Stars: Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Dennis Farina, Freddy Rodríguez, Geoff Callan, Greg Collins, Hal B. Klein, James Hiser, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kirk Baily, Louis Giambalvo, Luis Saguar, Philippe Bergeron, Rachael Taylor
||Synopsis: In 1976, Steven Spurrier, a sommelier in Paris, comes to the Napa Valley to take the best he can find to Paris for a blind taste test against French wine. He meets Jim Barrett, whose Chateau Montelena is mortgaged to the hilt as Jim perfects his chardonnay. There's strain in Jim's relations with his hippie son Bo and his foreman Gustavo, a Mexican farmworker's son secretly making his own wine. Plus, there's Sam, a UC Davis graduate student and free spirit, mutually attracted to both Gustavo and Bo. As Spurrier organizes the "Judgment of Paris," Jim doesn't want to participate while Bo knows it's their only chance. Barrett's chardonnay has buttery notes and a Smithsonian finish. Written by <[email protected]>
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Watch Bottle Shock - Alternative Versions.
Bottle Shock Bottom Line: "Rocky" for wine aficionados. By Stephen
Farber Jan 29, 2008
Sundance Film Festival
PARK CITY -- When a film opens with the title, "Based on a true story,"
one wonders if the filmmakers are trying to bolster a flimsy premise
with claims of authenticity.
But "Bottle Shock," which had its world premiere at Sundance, enshrines
an irresistible story that happens to be (mainly) true. It takes place
in 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial, and in these cynical
times, it is nice to be reminded of an American victory that is
actually worth celebrating. This might not have been a momentous world
achievement, but it was a gratifying victory all the same.
The contest takes place in the world of wine, in a time when California
wines competed for the first time in a prestigious competition in
France. One of the competitors was Château Montelena, a vineyard owned
by Jim Barrett, who dropped out of the corporate rat race to pursue his
dream of cultivating grapes. Jim is just one of the engaging characters
in this tale of American hayseeds taking on French connoisseurs.
Because of the wine backdrop, some will compare the film to "Sideways,"
but the comparisons are not really fair. This is a different kind of
movie, a classic underdog tale with lots of humor and heart. With the
right handling, it could be a hit on the specialty circuit.
The film begins by introducing an intriguing ensemble. In the Napa
Valley, Jim (Bill Pullman) is locked in constant battle with his
slacker son, Bo (Chris Pine), who works for him at the vineyard.
Another worker, Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez), the son of a Mexican field
hand, hopes to launch his own label. Both of the men are infatuated
with Sam (Rachael Taylor), a new arrival in town. Meanwhile, in Paris,
Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) hopes to revive his failing wine
business by sponsoring a competition, and a friend encourages him to
visit California to add a new gimmick to the contest.
The film is very leisurely in establishing all these characters -- a
mite too leisurely. The first half would benefit from tighter editing.
Another problem is that the characters -- the tyrannical father and the
rebellious son, the snooty European wine connoisseur -- are a bit
stock, and the personal stories are not as well developed as they might
be. But the film keeps building in intensity, and the payoff sizzles.
As he showed in "Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School,"
director Randall Miller has real affection for actors, and he brings
out the best in performers who haven't always had an opportunity to
shine. (Miller wrote and produced both films with his wife, Jody
Savin.) Pullman has his best role in years, and he captures the fury as
well as the passion of a man in thrall to a dream on the verge of
collapse. Pine has enormous charm, and Rodriguez confirms the promise
he showed on HBO's "Six Feet Under." Rickman also has one of his
juiciest roles in recent years, and he's able to satirize British
haughtiness without falling into caricature. Watch his reactions as he
samples California cuisine -- first a vat of Kentucky Fried Chicken and
then a glob of guacamole -- and you'll savor the mastery of a truly
subtle actor. Two beautiful young actresses -- Taylor and Eliza Dushku
as a ballsy bartender -- give equally winning performances.
Once the film gets past the exposition, it brings off a number of
delectable scenes. A high point comes when Rickman and Pine inveigle a
bunch of airline passengers to transport California wine in their
carry-on bags. And the climactic competition, where the scrappy
American interloper has to stand up against generations of French
tradition, is as rousing as any finale you'll see this year.
Cinematographer Michael J. Ozier magnificently captures the Napa
countryside. This intelligent, affectionate, beautifully acted movie
gives crowd-pleasers a good name.
Tags for Bottle Shock Full Movie
, Bill Pullman
, Chris Pine
, Dennis Farina
, Freddy Rodríguez
, Geoff Callan
, Greg Collins
, Hal B. Klein
, James Hiser
, Jean-Michel Richaud
, Kirk Baily
, Louis Giambalvo
, Luis Saguar
, Philippe Bergeron
, Rachael Taylor
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