Monthly Archives: October 2014

Halloween Crossover Special: Alesmith’s Horny Devil & Idle Hands

Hey there, Drinkers!

Guys, I did it again. I’m sorry, but I did…I watched another terrible movie. In celebration of Halloween and in keeping with BAAM tradition, We Recycle Movies and I found a terrible slasher movie and shared a spooky beer. Only this movie was real bad. Not even redeemably bad. Just good ol’ fashioned bad. So if that’s something you’re interested in, keep reading! If not, be kind and ready anyway, because you’re a good person. Up for our 2014  Halloween Special is Alesmith’s Horny Devil Belgian Strong paired with the forgettable 1999 Idle Hands. Let’s get it started!

Since 2012, BAAM and WRM have been teeming up to watch some not-so-classic holiday slashers while softening the blow with high ABV beers. And while this year we sadly didn’t have time for our usual double (or triple) feature, today’s pairing is in the same spirit. Our spooky movie? The understandably forgotten 1999 film Idle Hands starring such actors as Seth Green, Vivica A. Fox and a pre-super hot Jessica Alba. Anne from WRM effectively summed up this movie when she it was a horrible attempt to unify the popular genres of the 90’s: stoner film, self-aware slashers and edgy teen comedy. Such a combination is really only going to produce two outcomes. The first result looks something like Scream, which is, by most accounts, a good movie. The second possible result would look exactly like Idle Hands. Idle Hands is unequivocally a bad movie. In a nutshell, oh hero stoner/slacker Anton has his right hands possessed by the devil. Said hand forces him to murder pretty much everyone around him. Oddly, Anton seems to take most of the murder in stride, especially when his two (murdered) best friends come back as zombies to help him fight his own devil hand. He also doesn’t realize that his parents’ corpses are in the living room for, apparently, several days.

Dat. Hair.

Dat. Hair.

But let’s really sink our fingernails into this movie. What makes it so bad? Is it the stupid concept? Maybe. What about the cast? Oh just awful. And their acting? Yikes! Our lead, played by Devon Sawa (recently seen in Nikita), is really just annoying. He overacts an underwritten role and his character is painfully clueless (as opposed to the charmingly stoned sort of clueless the writers were going for). Even Jessica Alba, who is a real actress, was terrible. In addition to her awful 90’s haircut, her line reading is painful. Not to mention her inexplicable attraction to the blood-soaked Anton to whom she has never spoken. And then there’s Vivica A. Fox who is in the movie for a grand total of 5 minutes. Apparently, she’s from a secret order of druids (?) who are dedicated to casting out the devil hand. Maybe. It’s unclear? Regardless, she’s one-note, underserved and makes no sense, much like this entire film. I know I’m skipping a lot here but I’m really trying to protect you from this movie. The faster you forget that it exists, the happier your life will be.

Bonus: Fred Willard is in this movie and he dies immediately. Take that as you will.

IH4

Helpful stoner zombie friends!

And what about our devilish beer? Is it weird to say “thank God” for Alesmith’s Horny Devil? I think not. Alesmith, which is one of my favorite SoCal breweries (and was featured in last year’s BAAM Halloween Special), knows how to make an exciting beer and the Horny Devil is no exception. This Belgian-Style Strong hits all the notes you want from this type of beer. It pours a lovely orange-amber with a beautiful 1-2 finger head that leaves behind some nice lacing. Off the nose, you’ll get the classic aromas of Belgian yeast, banana and citrus. And with your first sip, those aromas will pull through with the addition of some notes of wheat and candi sugar. All of this is nicely balanced against the wicked 10% ABV. Really just an overall fantastic beer that I have to recommend.

So there you have it drinkers. A movie you should forget about and an outstanding beer to aid in the process. Special thanks as always to Anne for enduring yet another awful movie with me. Be sure to check out We Recycle Movies for her take on the film. And if you like what you read, you should tune into her extraordinary series My Year With Katea 52 week blog series about Katherine Hepburn. Needless to say, Anne is really smart.

And always keep drinking, my friends!
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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Alesmith’s Horny Devil:
-Well-balanced Belgian
-Notes of banana, citrus, wheat & sugar
-10% ABV, so you may want to share

Idle Hands:
-Makes no real sense in terms of character, geography or life
-Young (bad actress) Jessica Alba
-Seth Green is the best part of this movie. Seth. Green.

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Allagash Brewing Company’s 2013 Interlude & Phantom of the Paradise

Hey there, Drinkers!

In classic BAAM fashion, today’s pairing was originally going to be something special. Something elevated. We were going to drink a great beer while watching a critically-acclaimed film. Please note the past tense. What happened is that I realized the aforementioned critically-acclaimed film was over three hours long and thus I made a last minute change to an AWFUL (re. amazing) film that was only 1.5 hours long. And so today’s BAAM pairing was born: Allagash Brewing Company’s 2013 Interlude and the 1974 Brian De Palma cult-favorite Phantom of the Paradise. So grab your noise-canceling headphones and let’s get started!

Believe it or not, this is the second time I’ve seen 1974 Brian De Palma campfest that is Phantom of the Paradise. And while the film is generally regarded as a cult-classic, I’m not sure it’s a classic for the right reasons. Speaking broadly, it’s a pretty terrible movie. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is amazing. But terrible. Terribly amazing. Amazingly terrible. Long, convoluted story short, Phantom of the Paradise is an updated, “satirical” version of the The Phantom of the Opera crossed with the story of Faust (a man who sells his soul to the devil) all set in the world of 1970’s mega music labels and rock operas (no, this is not The Apple). In this version, a weird composer named Winslow Leach writes a cantata about the story of Faust, only to have it stolen by record mogul Swan. And as if that wasn’t enough, Winslow is then falsely imprisoned, has his teeth removed and then has his faced crushed by a vinyl press. Between the many confusing and elaborate musical numbers, we’re treated to a story of Swan’s continuing betrayal of Swan until we learn that Swan is in fact an agent of the devil/Dorian Grey/a murderous publicity-whore. Like every aspect of the film, it’s a jumbled amalgamation of stories, themes and movie references all snugly wrapped in  spandex leggings and liberally coated in facepaint.

BEEF!

BEEF!

As beautifully terrible as this movie is, there are a few moments where the actual filmmaking expertise of Brian De Palma shines through. There are a few sequences that are shown in split screen that are visually and aurally confusing, but are technically quite impressive, as they feature long, uninterrupted takes. And there is also some smart use of POV shots that help shake up the visual language of the film. Unfortunately, the movie is generally so overstated that these moments are quickly swallowed by the chaos. So while this movie is considered a cult classic to some, I’m not sure it really lives up to the niche hype. All that being said, you will still have a good time if you’re splitting a couple of high ABV beers with friends. It makes the whole experience go down a little smoother.

SwanPhantom of the Paradise - 4

 

So what about our boozy interlude for the evening? Well, Allagash Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries (despite the high price on many of their bottles). Nearly every brew of theirs that I have tried is unique, complex and delicious. And the 2013 Interlude is no exception. The Interlude is a Saison (or Farmhouse Ale, depending on how you like to label things) that is brewed with some schmancy Brettanomyces yeast, aged in red wine barrels and cork finished. Pouring from a bomber, the beer was a hazy, reddish amber with a very thin head. Off the nose you’ll get distinct notes of red wine along with tart and sweet fruits (thanks to the Brettanomyces). When you take a sip, you’ll get a nice, tart acidic bite balanced against some tasteful sweetness (cherry?). It also has a bit of an alcoholic bite, as the beer runs between 8.5%-9% (depending on the year). With all of these intermingling flavors, you’ll also note that the beer is fairly light in body. With mild carbonation and a lighter body, the beer manages to refresh while still remaining complex. All things considered, it’s really a special brew that deserves slow sipping.

So there you have it folks,  a campy cacophony of a movie paired with a complex symphony of a beer. But together, they actually balanced each other out nicely. A strong, complex beer with a mindless camp musical. While I can’t strictly recommend watching Phantom of the Paradise, I won’t say I didn’t enjoy myself.

Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends!

Allagash-Interlude-Sour-Ale-e1393785733410

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Allagash Brewing’s 2013 Interlude:
-Lovely, winey aroma
-Complex layering of sweet, tart & yeast
-Pricey, but worth it for an occasion

Phantom of the Paradise:
-Campy (satirical?) redux of Phantom of the Opera
Bizarre musical set-pieces with tights & facepaint
-BEEF!

 

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Eagle Rock Brewery’s Red Velvet & Blue Velvet

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today’s pairing is one of those obvious and simple combos that we almost never strive for here at BAAM. In fact, the last (re. only) time we had as beautiful of a naming pair was all the way back in 2011 with Blue Moon & New Moon. But with age comes taste and today’s pairing is all about great taste. I watched David Lynch’s acclaimed 1986 film Blue Velvet while drinking Eagle Rock Brewery’s acclaimed Red Velvet Imperial Red with Rye. So let’s get it started!

Let’s begin with a disclaimer regarding Blue VelvetBlue Velvet is one of those films that is generally regarded as one of the greatest films in recent history. It’s layered with meaning and heavy with artistry. And I’m not here to dispute that. Educated in film as I am, I fear I may not have the critical or artistic wherewithal to fully or dutifully review this film the way ‘real’ critics have in the past. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try! Okay now GO!

At its most base level, Blue Velvet is a neo-noir film. What does that mean? It means that the film builds off the foundational tropes of film noir (a mystery, an investigator, a femme fatale, high contrast, etc.) while adapting it with newer or more modern themes and styles. But what makes Blue Velvet a standout neo-noir film is its ability to adhere to noir tropes while undermining or destroying the genre at the same time. It’s not just a reactionary film, it’s a complete reinvention. The setting is a small town, the investigator is a college-aged man, the femme fatale a much older woman and, notably, the mystery is secondary to the film.

But there are musical numbers!

But there are musical numbers!

It’s funny, in a David Lynch sort of way, that the murder mystery is not really the driving force of the film. Sure, our hero Jeffrey hunts for clues and snoops where he shouldn’t, but really the investigation happens to him instead of Jeffrey being the active player. Moreover, any investigative beats are shown through exposition, almost as a flashback, rather than a major set pieces like a classic noir. They’re more a statement than a discovery, if that makes sense. Really, the film is more interested in the damaged psychology of our characters through unsettling voyeurism. Just as Jeffrey watches this murder mystery unfold in front of him, so too does the film unfold before the viewer.

Do you get the theme?

Do you get the theme?

There’s a lot more I could say about this movie but I think it’s actually better if you just experience it on its own. I will say that the film is 100% David Lynch (for those who are familiar with his humor, darkness and visuals) but it’s not as off-puttingly weird as some other films of his, namely Eraserhead (which you can skip, in my opinion). I know there can be hesitancy towards Lynch for many viewers (myself included) but I do think Blue Velvet is worth watching, if only to watch it is as an experiment in genre. But truly, it’s an interesting and engaging film that I would recommend.

Also, Dennis Hopper is crazy. But in a good-to-watch kind of way. Also Laura Dern.

Like nitrous-fueled crazy

Like nitrous-fueled crazy

So what about our beer? Was it Velvet-y good? Actually, yeah! It was damn good! For those who live in Southern California, you may have heard of LA-based Eagle Rock Brewery and its famed, very limited-release beer Red Velvet Imperial Red with Rye. The 2010 GABF Gold Medal Winner is only released a few times a year and instantly sells out in the entire LA metro area. I was lucky to grab two bombers the last time I visited the brewery. This brew pours a lovely reddish-brown with a two finger khaki head and leaves behind some beautiful lacing. Off the nose you’ll get notes of malt, pine, booze, caramel and rye. And when you taste it, you’ll taste all of those but in a perfectly balanced symphony. The malt plays nicely off the piney hops but is smoothed out by the rye. And sweet caramel notes also help undercut the hoppy bite from the 10.8% ABV. For such a hefty beer, it’s shockingly easy to drink. It’s smooth, delicious and complex. Really just an outstanding beer.

So there you have it, Drinkers! A night of stellar art and entertainment. We had an interesting and unique bit of filmmaking paired with some excellent beer craftsmanship. I have to recommend you give both a shot (though the Red Velvet may hard/impossible to find for many).

And always keep drinking, my friends.

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Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
ERB’s Red Velvet:
-Nice reddish pour
-Perfect flavor balance
-Easy to underestimate the ABV

Blue Velvet:
A disruptive neo-noir
-More character study than mystery
-Disturbing depictions of sexual assault (just FYI)

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