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Bottle Shock (2008)

The story of the early days of California wine making.

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Characters and Charm

  • Apr 21, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5

I'm a sucker for interesting characters and based on true-story-underdog-feel-good films.

Bottle Shock is that. And more. A Brit, living and "teaching" in Paris, isn't quite in the inner circle of wine experts. Though he knows his juice, no one is even remotely interested in anything he might have to say. His neighboring shopkeeper is an American with big suggestions (Farina). Together they decide to host an international wine blind taste test. In 1976, in celebration of the American and French connection, they will test the rumor that California wines are actually deserving of the word wine on their labels.

Alan Rickman plays the misunderstood wine snob oh so well. Amusing in his dry delivery and his new passion for his discovery that not only should California be on the wine map, but that it might turn France into the little brother of wines.

A father/son vintner team (Pullman/Pine) struggle with money issues, relational garbage and the remnants of Woodstock while trying to make a few bottles of the perfect chardonnay in California. Another young man (Rodriguez), with wine in his blood and the soil of California in his soul, shoots for a red that makes men cry and women fall in love.

Surprisingly clean, this film contains a few intimate scenes that mostly play out off-screen and surprisingly few curse words. I remember one F-bomb and just a smattering of the standard movie fare regulars. There is a bong scene at a party and some drunk patrons in a couple of bar scenes. But most kids aren't going to be willing to sit through the movie's quieter moments. There are some truly amusing moments, beautiful scenery and poignant scenes. Poetry pops up unexpectedly both in photography and words. Several scenes are in French with English subtitles.

The movie is about the characters and contains some great acting and writing. Those who get bored with character pieces might want to pass. However, my taste runs toward "making toast" movies, as my daughter has dubbed it. Those are the movies where characters go about the normal activities of the day and grow and change through circumstances and character tweaking.

If this scenario appeals to you, I suggest you give it a shot. We rented it, but I would definitely consider adding it to my library.

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More Bottle Shock (2008) reviews
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2009
One of the best movies I have seen this year. Rickman and Pullman are excellent in this film.
Quick Tip by . September 02, 2009
The only thing that was good about this movie was the true story it was based on. But the writing, acting and directing, ruined even that.
Quick Tip by . September 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Great cast and a great story. I recommend adding Bottle Shock to your Netflix instant queue.
review by . August 18, 2009
This movie has so many things going for it. It has a nice tight script with both dramatic and comedic elements. It is gorgeous "eye candy" of Napa valley area of California. The actors are all handsome people, and the stars, especially Pullman and Rickman, give very fine performances. I was not familiar with Chris Pine, but I'll make myself familiar.     The 1970s rock and roll that pepper the soundtrack are well chosen cuts from among others the Doobie Brothers and Allman Brothers, …
review by . April 20, 2009
I'm a sucker for interesting characters and based on true-story-underdog-feel-good films.    Bottle Shock is that. And more. A Brit, living and "teaching" in Paris, isn't quite in the inner circle of wine experts. Though he knows his juice, no one is even remotely interested in anything he might have to say. His neighboring shopkeeper is an American with big suggestions (Farina). Together they decide to host an international wine blind taste test. In 1976, in celebration of the …
review by . March 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
This is a pleasant little film. It's not as good as Sideways, and actually is a bit different film. It's not a bad family film, and that is meant in a nice way, not some saccharin way.    Oh sorry for the little hit in the title of this review, Stags Leap turned out to be the red wine in that blind tasting, and has been a perennial crowd pleaser in my wine choices.     The good about this film, it appears to be pretty well filmed in California (turns out the …
About the reviewer
Kelly Klepfer ()
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Member Since: Feb 11, 2009
Last Login: Jun 8, 2012 02:25 AM UTC
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Wiki

"Bottle shock" describes what can happen to wine as it travels from place to place. Set in 1976, Randall Miller's widescreen docudrama concerns the real-life showdown between California's wineries and their French counterparts. Napa Valley's Jim Barrett (Lost Highway's Bill Pullman) has been plugging away for years with minimal success. A former attorney, Barrett runs Chateau Montelena with his wayward son, Bo (Chris Pine, theStar Trekprequel's Captain Kirk), who would rather do anything than assist his stern father. Bo's co-workers include Gustavo (Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodríguez) and Sam (Transformers' Rachael Taylor), who long to produce the perfect chardonnay. Naturally, the young men compete for the favors of the beautiful blonde (the movie's least interesting angle). Across the Atlantic, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) struggles to keep his Parisian wine shop going (cheapskate American Dennis Farina is his only regular customer). Then Spurrier conceives a contest to attract customers; surely, his beloved French growers will put those upstart Yanks in their place. He flies to Napa to look around, and persuades the Barretts to compete. Miller and his wife, screenwriter Jody Savin, previously worked with Pullman and Rickman onNobel Son, but decided to releaseBottle Shockfirst. Though comparisons toSidewayswill be inevitable, the filmmakers take more of a historical look at California wine country. The "Judgment of ...
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Details

Director: Randall Miller
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Randall Miller, Jody Savin
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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