After a botched Thanksgiving special BAAM with We Recycle Movies, due to a movie that was literally unwatchable, we’re back to our regular scheduled drinking. Tonight’s we’re hitting the high seas with the 1938 DeMille epic (is that redundant?) The Buccaneer while sipping on some potent Tongue Buckler from Ballast Point Brewing. So your raise your sail and your glass for tonight’s combo!
It’s been awhile since we’ve done a classic, so tonight I decided to go with the 1938 Cecil D. DeMille film The Buccaneer. Taking place during the historically irrelevant War of 1812, The Buccaneer follows the tribulations of a Louisiana privateer caught between loves and loyalties. When principaled yet swashbuckling Jean Lafitte is propositioned by the British Navy to aid in the war against the fledgling United States, he is thrown into a military and political maelstrom that has ramifications for the entire nation. Though Lafitte is established as a merciless pirate, he has a certain soft spot for American flags and Dutch women. Struck with a certain level of patriotism, mostly because the Louisiana government refuses to arrest Lafitte and his men, Lafitte finds himself a devout American willing to defend New Orleans. There’s a certain amount of back and forth on the allegiances but I don’t want to spend more time on plot. Needless to say America wins and everyone important falls in love with who they are supposed to. What I want to say is that this film is actually pretty good. Old epics have a tendency to be a bit melodramatic (and a tad but racist) but this one strikes a good balance between love, drama, politics, humor and action. And racism. And yes, it is still melodramatic but only in small bits. For the most part, this film is actually a lot of fun. Lafitte is easily lovable and the political drama is engaging enough to pull through the otherwise excessive two hour running time.
What I want to make a point of actually is the humor of this film. For what should be a serious film about political and national affiliations, The Buccaneer does a fantastic job of mixing this drama with great humor. Laffite, like any self-respecting pirate (privateer!), always has a clever retort. His men are equally clever and Gretchen, his Dutch indentured lady-slave/love interest always manages to toss in a humbling line. And Andrew Jackson is friggin’ hilarious. And a baller. As is Dominque. He’s cool too. Beyond the humor, I want to briefly point out that the film does dare to suggest that the United States is imperfect. While the U.S. is still undoubtably the preferable nation to England in this film, The Buccaneer makes a point of showing that the U.S. is a fallible entity. It also takes the time to note that America is comprised of people who have crawled out of the sewers from the rest of the world. Quite the selling argument!
And how was our swashbuckling Tongue Buckler from Ballast Point Brewing? Damn good. This is only the second time I’ve had this beer, as it seems a bit tricky to track down but boy is it a good ‘un. Boasting a healthy 10% ABV, this Imperial Red pours a hazy coppery-red color with a modest creamy head. The nose gives off strong, sweet maltiness that you could drink in. And good thing you can! The Tongue Buckler is a crazy malt-fest with just the right amount of bitterness to balance it out. It’s a nice mix of sweet maltiness, boozy grains and hoppy bitterness. It’s actually quite impressive. It’s definitely not for the feint of heart and the full 22 oz. was actually a bit difficult to complete on my own. Definitely doable, just….challenging. It’s mostly that the beer gets boozier as it warms and the high ABV gets to you after awhile. But overall, the beer is remarkably smooth and definitely tasty.
So tonight’s BAAM? Quite a success I have to say. A solid, classic film with the mix of drama, comedy and action we all crazy paired with a strong yet balanced beer. The movie is worth checking out, if you’re feeling a little old school and the beer is definitely worth a taste, though I might suggest trying it with a friend. And for the record, Ballast Point makes some other incredible beers. If you see some of their beers, do me a favor and pick one up. You won’t regret it. In fact, I have another one of their beers in my fridge already.
Thanks for reading everyone and have a great Thanksgiving. Remember to drink locally and responsibly this holiday season. And as always keep drinking, my friends.
-Great mix of everything we love about film
-Huge, lovable cast
-Actually critiques the U.S…a little