Mar 23, 2012

Rants and Reviews

A couple of days ago I had a customer, standing in front of the Domestic Wall, Sauvignon Blanc section.  I asked her if she needed any help and she said, "Are the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs mixed in with these? Because I don't see any."  I showed her to the New World set and pointed out where all the Kiwi SBs are.  She took a v cursory look, then asked if I had a certain brand.  I said, "No, I do not have that brand," and tried to sell her on Cloudy Bay, or Craggy Range, or Whitehaven, or Isabel.  She did not say anything, stood there a few more seconds and walked away.


There is a very cute little Italian film out there, streaming on Netflix, called Mid-August Lunch.  It tells the tale of a down on his luck dude, Gianni, living with his mother in a flat that is falling apart all around them.  Not only are they way behind in their rent, in danger of getting kicked out, but there is no way they can pay for any of the repairs the flat needs.  The landlord is sympathetic though and proposes a deal.  This is Europe, after all, and it is August, so the landlord is desperate to get out of town for a couple of weeks.  If the landlord's Mother can stay with Gianni and his Mother while he is on vacation he will forget all about the back rent.  Agreed.  But then the plumber comes by the next day.  Gianni can not pay him, either.  The plumber thinks about it and says, "If you could take care of my Aunt here while I go on holiday then I will do the repairs for nothing." Eventually, Gianni ends up having to deal with four cranky, elderly Italian Grandmas in a dilapidated apartment in the middle of a scorching hot Italian August.  It is a sweet and delightful motion picture.  But my favorite scene takes place in a wine shop.  Gianni goes in to purchase some wine.  The proprietor, Gianni's friend, asks Gianni what he would like today.  Gianni says, "Gosh, it is so hot out there, I would like some Chablis."  The proprietor says, "Would you like the expensive kind or the cheaper kind?" (What the proprietor is asking Gianni is if he would prefer Petite Chablis, which is entry-level Chablis, a blend of different lower-quality Chablis vineyards or 1er Cru or Grand Cru Chablis, which are single vineyard wines that come from the best Chablis vineyards.) Gianni says he would love some of the pricier stuff but can not afford it and asks for the cheaper bottle.  Ring it up, put it in a bag, Thank you, have a wonderful day!

See how easy that is.

Americans are so hung up on brands it drives me crazy.  It is much more important where the vineyards are located, and the quality of the vineyards then the Brand.  And there are plenty of very affordable options out there that still express the terroir of a specific region, especially in Europe and the New World.  (Napa and Sonoma not so much.  I love Spring Mountain Cabernet and there are no entry-level Spring Mountain Cabs made, really.  Ramsay is my best Napa Cab deal, Napa appellation, fifteen bucks.  Great deal.)


You know, oftentimes when I read a lukewarm or even hostile review of a film, I read right between the lines and realize I am going to like the film anyway, usually a lot.  Such was the case with Polanski's Carnage.

Renee and I adored the film, and why not? Let us see, we have Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, and John C Reilly in it.  It is based on a very famous, successful play.  Polanski directed and co-wrote the screenplay with the playwright.  It is masterfully performed and paced. The film gets in and out the door in eighty minutes.  It is absolutely side-splittingly hilarious.  And I always love seeing frickin' cell phones destroyed, to boot.

It may not be to everybody's taste, but it is right in Renee and I's wheelhouse, and we loved it.  All four of the main players are excellent but I thought Waltz's performance was especially curdled and magnificent.  I will definitely purchase Carnage for my home collection.

And Polanski is having a bit of a come back lately.  His previous film, Ghost Writer, was very good, too.


Ms Kiberlain on the left, but the cocktail dress on the right is stunning, too.

Renee and I also had a chance to re-watch The Women on the 6th Floor, which is aging nicely, indeed.  It was even better at home, than in the theater, I think.  Anyhoo, Renee and I love the costumes that Christian Gasc built for the film, especially the jackets, dresses, and blouses for the Wife character, played by Sandrine Kiberlain.  Just gorgeous, rich, textured, period appropriate (the film is set in Paris in the early 60s)  clothes that are absolutely perfect for Ms Kiberlain's hair, features, and long, elegant body type.

Ms Kiberlain on the left.

Unlike Carnage, The Women on the 6th Floor, is a movie I can heartily recommend to every one out there.  It is a real joy.

Mwah, ... 

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