In the last few years, a glass of wine being sipped in movie scenes has become as common as a cigarette dangling from an actor’s lips in films over a good part of the last century. Just as this is art imitating life, so too have movie themes been taking center stage.
Last week I presented a number of movies that are wine-based. My wife and I enjoy pizza and wine on most Friday nights. I suggested pairing this combination with a wine-themed movie. I received several comments on my suggestions. Mention was made of a few movies I had omitted from the column. I also received a criticism that 10 of the 13 titles presented were documentaries, not movies.
Reflecting on that comment, I decided to reprise last week’s column with a movie-centric theme. I went back to my working list of movies and documentaries, seeking movies to feature this week. That’s when I realized that my previous omission was inadvertently deliberate. Why? There are a number of mediocre wine-themed movies that I feel are not worthy of mention. An isolated scene featuring wine does not make for a wine-themed movie. Regardless of how infamous each may have been.
Nevertheless, in the spirit of recognizing each person’s right to their opinion on good or bad movies, I provide a list of movies that didn’t make the cut last week.
The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969). An emotional villager (Anthony Quinn) and his fellow citizens hide their secret from the Germans at the end of World War II: one million bottles of locally produced wine, upon which the town is financially dependent. This is a feel-good movie that portrays the plight of many Italian and French wine-producing towns during the war.
French Kiss (1995). A rom-com pairing Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan on a collision course to falling in love. And quite a soliloquy by Meg on the concept of terroir – in the vineyards and in life.
A Walk in the Clouds (1995). What a way to return from World War II. Keanu Reeves meets an unwed pregnant girl and agrees to play a hoax on her family, posing as her husband. They then spend the rest of the movie immersed in subterfuge and lies while tending the beautifully filmed vineyard life of her parents. Not one of Keanu’s best works, but the nostalgic grape-stomping scene and (spoiler alert) the burning vineyards warrant a Friday night viewing (with a finger strategically positioned on the fast-forward button of the remote).
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003). Not every mention of the word Tuscany conjures visions of sun-drenched vineyards – and certainly not this forced, farcical love story.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Never before, or since, has the name of Chianti been taken in vain. Do not mention the movie’s infamous pairing in mixed company.
The Kids Are All Right (2010). Bold product placements of California wines are embedded in this 21st century family celebration. The frequent shots of wine bottle labels deserve a supporting actor nomination.
Most James Bond Movies. By someone’s anonymous count, the double agent has consumed more than just his legendary martinis. Champagne comes in a close second at 12 bottles of Bollinger and eight of Dom Pérignon. Now that’s impressive product placement.
A Good Year (2006). A tale of the confluence of the high finance business world (London) and the allure of making wine (Provence). The allure of Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott are quite evident.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962). What? No wine theme? Deceptive advertising, I say. Also, a gripping tale of the dire consequences of having one drink too many over too many days.
With this additional compendium in hand, a binge-watching weekend may be in order. But be careful to avoid binge-drinking that favorite bottle of wine.
Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member of the Wine Media Guild of wine writers. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @sharingwine.