Bottle Shock Randall Miller

Bottle Shock Randall Miller
Without the wealth of bonus features, this DVD would be a marginal release. Bottleshock is entertaining but inconsistent. It only comes alive whenever Alan Rickman graces the screen as Steven Spurrier, a British wine seller in France who organized the Judgement of Paris of 1976. That was a landmark blind tasting that elevated California wine from joke status to international respectability. Though it starts with great promise, Bottleshock suffers from telling two stories at once, and the main one between quarrelling father-and-son vinters Jim and Bo Barrett (Bill Pullman and Chris Pine) is predictable. Dad is a stubborn perfectionist who challenges his hippie/stoner son to get real about life. It doesn't help that supporting player Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) upstages Pine in their scenes together. Rickman's Spurrier is pompous yet somehow likable; his performance marks yet another feather in this actor's cap. The group audio commentary by the filmmakers and starring cast is fun and informative. They discuss how they cast Rickman at the Tribeca Film Festival, admit to knowing nothing about wine-making and reveal how they shot on location at the real Chateau Montelena winery in Napa. Director Randall Miller and his collaborators offer other titbits like "looping" a few words to conceal Bo uttering, "fuck" to avoid an R-rating in the U.S. Many of the deleted scenes feature Rodriguez, who plays a buddy of Bo's and goes on to start his own winery. The Rodriguez story (a Mexican immigrant overcoming racism) could've been a film itself and highlights the problem of including too many subplots in a movie. An 11-minute corporate video about Chateau Montelena tells the history of the winery but is so slick that it feels out of place on this DVD. A more earnest featurette about the Judgement of Paris would've been a better choice. This DVD is best viewed with California chardonnay. (Alliance)