Media Maven: Bottle Shock Movie Review
Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina, Bradley Whitford, Miguel Sandoval, Eliza Dushku
Have you ever gone into a movie and come out feeling like it’s the same glossy-Hollywood package, just the actors and the plot have changed? I go to a lot of movies and I enjoy them thoroughly, but sometimes I feel like Hollywood just mass produces films.
Well, today I write of a nice little film that is well worth your time if you are looking for something different and light. The fact that it is a true American underdog story just makes it more endearing.
“Bottle Shock” begins in 1976, the year of our Bicentennial, and tells the story of the Napa Valley wine industry’s introduction to the world market.
For years the Europeans snobbishly held an unchallenged honor as the world leaders in the wine industry. Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), a British wine dealer, wants to increase his dwindling business. To renew interest in the art of wine his American friend Maurice (Dennis Farina) suggests that he go to Napa Valley and taste the wine made there.
Steven is in fine form as a skeptical, uppity Brit who already believes that this endeavor is a wild goose chase. Once in the Valley, he meets many wine growers and is delighted unexpectedly to be proven wrong in his preconceived notions about California winemakers.
The film’s cinematography and the vistas of the vineyards — both in America and Europe — are truly a visual poetry for the eyes. The screenplay is both charming and sharp in its effort to show the dedication and tenacity of those individuals devoted to the art of winemaking.
By this synopsis you may think this is more of a boring little artsy documentary. On the contrary, actors Bill Pullman — as the patriarch who has left the corporate world to pursue his dream of winemaking — and Chris Pine — as his aimless son who supports his father’s efforts — give this film heart.
Rachael Taylor, Eliza Duschku and Freddie Rodriguez’s performances also enhance this true story of success and perseverance of the American spirit.
Chic Stars: Four Chic Stars
Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top-notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored, watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasè, an enigma.
Photo: Courtesy of Slash Film