I live near Napa Valley and I enjoy wine a great deal, so when I first heard about a new little movie called Bottle Shock all about the historical legitimization of California wine, I was intrigued.
I live near Napa Valley and I enjoy wine a great deal, so when I first heard about a new little movie called Bottle Shock all about the historical legitimization of California wine, I was intrigued. I may have taken for granted the fact that Napa hasn't always been a world-renowned winemaking region, and that at one point it was viewed as nothing more than a bunch of back-water country hicks noodling around with grapes. Which is why I was disappointed to not love this sincere attempt to bring this story to life on the screen. I had such high hopes, but in the end the movie spends too much time on other stuff and not enough on the part that's the most interesting.
Invariably, this tale of Napa's beginnings will be compared to another indie film about California wine, Sideways, and though the subject matter may be similar, it's not an accurate pairing. Where Sideways uses wine country as a setting in which to explore the lives of four intriguing characters, Bottle Shock is a saccharine mix of slapstick comedy, melodrama, and sweeping shots of California's golden hills. This director practically fetishizes the beauty of the state's coast, and at times the movie feels more like a tourist ad than anything else. I wish the filmmakers had relied on the interesting true story for a dramatic arc rather than tossing in several tedious subplots, including an emotionally weightless father-son drama and a mind-numbing love triangle. To see why, read more