Movie Night Review: Bottle Shock.

Short answer: Bottle Shock is a good sports movie about one of the greatest sports upsets of the twentieth century – which was, of course, the defeat of French wines by Californian ones in 1976.

No, really, it’s a sports flick.

You can get the background at Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine; suffice it to say that the French wines were supposed to win, they didn’t, and suddenly the Napa Valley was the vineyards of the gods. I’m exaggerating for comic effect here, obviously.

It really is a good idea to contemplate Bottle Shock as a sports film. It has all the right elements: a small group of plucky, underrated, can-do individuals against the nobody-has-ever-beat-us big guns of their particular world; dramatic tension as the former assembles itself to do battle with the latter; and, of course, the dramatic upset. The actual contest itself is only a small part of the film (mostly because it’s a little hard to make a bunch of people sitting around a glass-strewn table, swigging sips of wine, and spitting most of it out interesting for more than a minute, at best); most of the film is about the various heroes of the film being obnoxious and rude to each other, before they all pull together. Again, sports movie.  Admittedly, one with Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman in it, but that’s hardly a problem.

Lastly, you get to see the French lose at something that they don’t really want to lose at. It’s sort of like watching the Russians lose at hockey, which is why Miracle there and not at the actual medal game.

So I’d say check it out, and ignore utterly the previews on the DVD.  Not an exploding starship to be seen.

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