Let's hear it for the Red, White, and Cru...

Bottle Shock - A condition not unlike Jet Lag, for wine. A wine suffering from Bottle Shock will most likely not show well - Bottle shock greatly changes the taste.

It's also a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.

Cast List

Chris Pine......................Bo Barrett
Alan Rickman................Steven Spurrier
Bill Pullman....................Jim Barrett
Rachael Taylor...............Sam
Freddy Rodriquez..........Gustavo Brambila
Dennis Farina..................Maurice
Eliza Dushku....................Joe
Miguel Sandoval..............Mr. Garcia
Bradley Whitford.............Professor Saunders

Napa Valley, 1976: One small American winery and its workers are about to show the French that the world's finest wines will now come from the other red, white, and blue. For connoisseur Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), there's no finer art than French wine, despite rumors that the new California wine country holds the future of the vine. Positive the small Napa wineries are no match for established French vintages, Spurrier challenges the Americans to a blind tasting. But when he finds the valley full of ambitions - and talented - novice vintners like Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his son Bo (Chris Pine), he realizes his publicity stunt may change the history of wine forever.

I don't know what it is... perhaps I have a love for this movie because of my American (and Californian) pride. Perhaps it has something to do with my love for cinematography (the shots in this movie are absolutely beautiful!), or perhaps it's a mix of both... but this movie is absolutely fantastic.

It tells the story, as stated above, of the 1976 blind tasting in France that put Napa Valley on the map. It's a beautiful, interesting story, and you don't have to like wine to think so (I personally can't stand the stuff). The movie gets you interested in the story - the history - of Napa Valley, Jim Barrett, and Chateau Montelena... but it's not even about the wine. Throughout the entire movie, you find yourself looking at the relationships of the people involved. You learn things about everyone involved and respect the hard work they put into making wine, and it's hard to view wine as just another alcoholic beverage after it. Wine truly is an art form - wine is essentially the perfect balance between grape juice and vinegar, sunlight held together with water. You don't have to like the stuff to see the beauty in it, and I think this movie gets that across very well.

The cast involved is phenomenal, each giving a stellar performance (especially Chris Pine, whom I will continue to extend my apologies to, till the end of time... lol) and bringing the story to life. There is a perfect balance of romance, drama, and humor that is only accented by each actors' quirks. They all bring something special to the table, and the movie is better because of it.

The cinematography, as I've stated before, is wonderful. The movie is littered with GORGEOUS shots of both Paris and the Napa vineyards. Having grown up in California, and now being a current resident, I grew up with the sight of the vineyards and orchards out the car window as we went on family trips or what not. The rows upon rows of grapes, walnuts, oranges, strawberries, etc. will always be etched into my mind. As a child I spent a lot of road trips just staring at them and wondering if they ever ended, or if they just stretched on for miles. I remember wondering why the vineyards seemingly sparkled as we drove by, and ultimately wondering what they were for. The shots in this movie took me right back to my childhood, and I'm now at an age where I can simply appreciate the beauty of the valley.

And finally... the soundtrack... the music used in this is AMAZING! Not that it's unknown stuff and will simply blow your mind (though, if you can honestly say you've never been in awe of the Doobie Brothers, I will bite you), but it's used in a way that really makes the movie pop (much like Pine's gorgeous blue peepers). Each song sets the tone for the scene, but subtly enough to where it doesn't DRIVE it. It captures the beauty and magnificence of the story, and helps to pull on the emotions that effect each moment, all the way up to the announcement of the Chateau Montelena and the history it made. The score, composed by Mark Adler (The Rat Pack, California Fast Forward), is magnificent and deserves awards... not that he doesn't have enough. ;)

As most well done films do, Bottle Shock tends to teach us all a little bit more about ourselves and the people around us through grapes.

Final Say:

Wine fans and haters alike should flock to the nearest video store and pick up a copy of this movie, you won't regret it. A great cast, wonderful story, beautiful cinematography and perfect soundtrack all make this movie a MUST see. If you liked "Little Miss Sunshine," "Sideways," or "Nobel Son" will like this. Bravo Mr. Miller, Bravo.

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