Hey there, Drinkers!
It’s officially summer which means it’s time for light beers and dark movies! Today, we’re drinking Coronado Brewing Company’s Orange Avenue Wit and watching Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange. And while I typically steer clear of wheat beers and depressing movies, I made an exception for you, lovely readers. So let’s get started, shall we?
As universally renowned as A Clockwork Orange is, there a few films that I’ve had more difficulty getting through. And not in a bad way, but in a viscerally uncomfortable way. But that’s kind of the point. Everything about this film is designed to make you feel thoroughly uncomfortable. The painfully long, uncut scenes, the extreme close ups, the graphic rape scenes, the blaring loud music. Everything leaves you unsettled and generally unhappy. But that’s kind of what makes this movie great. Kubrick expertly manipulates his audience into going through every painful and disturbing emotion that our anti-protagonist Alex goes through. At the start, when Alex revels in senseless violence, we the audience are brought along in for the thrill. Of course we are not okay with Alex’s action, but his witty dialogue and the uncomfortable levity of the music helps twist your guilt. Once Alex is sent to prison, we commiserate with his institutionalized isolation and obedience. And when he volunteers for an experimental “cure” for his wickedness, we bear excruciating witness to the cruelty which he endures. I won’t take us through the entirety of the film but needless to say it’s a bit of a uncomfortable cinematic ride.
I don’t mean to sound all gloomy about this film. I do truly believe that it’s a great work of cinema, I just don’t think it’s a film that’s taken casually. When you sit down for A Clockwork Orange, you have to be prepared to feel uncomfortable. The excessive use of nudity, sexual material and “ultra-violence” does not make for easy viewing and definitely does not make it a family film. So maybe you casual movie-goers who just want a fun escape should avoid this one. But for those who have a genuine interest in cinema as a venue for art, I’d suggest giving this one a try. And in full-disclosure, there is a lot more to be said about this film. About it’s views on politics and prison reform and the nature of man with regard to sex and violence, but we don’t have the time or the proper citations to have that discussion. But if that sounds interesting, then that’s a good sign that this is a film for you.
And our light beer to go with our dark movie? I think Coronado Brewing’s Orange Avenue Wit was actually a smart decision. This bomber of 5.2% was just the kind of light, easy-drinking beer I needed to go with a movie I felt in my stomach. Pouring a hazy, highly-carbonated orange color, the Orange Avenue gave off strong aromas of straw, malt and citrus. With a sip, you get mild notes of orange, lemon, wheat and light malt. While not extremely complex, it’s a great summer beer that is refreshing, light and developed enough to provide a great alternative to the bigger summer wheats out on the market. It wasn’t as orange-y tasting as I expected from the name, but I was okay with that. Many drinkers enjoy their wheat beers with an orange garnish, which would have certainly put the orange flavor over the top. So for me, it was just right.
So there you have it folks, an engaging summer night cloaked in the orange sunlight of Los Angeles (poetic, no?). For all of the grim warnings I’ve given about A Clockwork Orange, I do want to reiterate that it is a great movie and is capable of being enjoyed. You do not have to be a cineaste of developed-palette to appreciate this film. It just might help you stomach it a little better. And the beer was a good partner for the night. 22 ounces of relaxing wheat to get me through the night. So, all things being considered, I think this was a success. Wouldn’t you say so, my little droogs?
A Clockwork Orange:
-A visual tour-de-force
-Can be difficult to watch, if not disturbing
-Truly a cinematic & storytelling masterpiece