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The Bruery’s Mischief & Rumble in the Bronx

LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBBLLEEE!

Sorry drinkers, it needed to be said. Here we are with another BAAM and boy is it a doozy. We all know what it’s like to wrap up a long day at the office and need a drink. But, if you’re anything like me, every now and then that craving for a great craft beer comes along with a sudden, inexplicable desire to watch kung fu. Moreso than any other genre of film, kung fu inspires the same levels of desire and immediate satisfaction as chocolate. Or Mexican food. And so, tonight I present you with Jackie Chan’s mid-nineties classic Rumble in the Bronx and The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong. So let’s rumble, shall we?

As a casual connoisseur of Jackie Chan films, I feel obligated to educate you readers before we dive into the actual review. Prior to the 1995 release of Rumble in the BronxChan was largely a Hong Kong cinematic phenomenon with little penetration in the American market. While he was already quite famous in Asia, Rumble in the Bronx marked his first major foray into American cinema. After Rumble, Jackie Chan became synonymous with kung fu and was instantly an American movie star. So with that out of the way, let’s discuss how absolutely crazy this movie is.

Okay, brief plot summary: Jackie Chan (aka Keung) arrives in New  York City for his Uncle’s wedding. Soon thereafter, he finds himself at odds with a local street gang (the most racially diverse and strangely dressed gang you will ever see). This gang finds Chan frustrating and thus decide to make his life utterly miserable.  Somewhere in the middle of the movie, after Chan beats submission into the gang and then ends up entangled in a diamond heist-gone-bad. This then escalates into a chase/fight on  hovercraft. Oh and along the way he falls in love with the girlfriend of the gang leader who seems totally cool with all this. Also the entire film takes place over the course of about three days, though the film would have you think otherwise.

Hold it right there buster...dude...ese...buddy...amigo...sir

Hold it right there buster…dude…ese…buddy…amigo…sir

As absurd as this film is, it is important to note that no one watches a Jackie Chan movie for the plot or the acting. They watch it for the action. And the action is kick-ass. For me, it isn’t even that Jackie Chan is totally baller, it’s his use of the environment around him. As staged as it all is, there is something utterly exhilarating about seeing Jackie Chan using everything at his disposal, from chairs to refrigerators to crutches to skiis. Jackie Chan is a master of incorporating his surroundings into the action. Ironically enough, this adds a certain level of believability to his largely unbelievable actions. While it is obvious to every viewer how choreographed every move is, it is still fun (and logical) to see him push chairs in the way of his enemies in order to best them. Though it doesn’t explain why the gang had so many refrigerators in storage….

He also jumps off a building onto the fire escape of another building. Also kind of badass.

He also jumps off a building onto the fire escape of another building. Also kind of badass.

For the record I truly do love this movie, but I should point out the absurdity of it all. For one, everyone is dubbed into English. Even the people speaking English are dubbed into English. And if they weren’t dubbed, then their acting is even worse than I thought. Good lord is it terrible. Also, it is important to note that New York City has no mountains. Such are the pitfalls of trying to use Vancouver as NYC. On a similar theme, what Bronx does this take place in? Yes, the Bronx is a racially diverse borough but seriously, where the F@&% does this movie take place? It’s a weird mix of urban slum, lawless subway system, public beach and private golf course. I just don’t understand. But as I said before, you don’t go into a Jackie Chan movie, or any kung fu movie for that matter, to pick over the plot or the setting. You watch it for the raw, visceral action. And Rumble in the Bronx delivers. As silly as it is, it remains one of my favorite kung fu movies and I would happily watch it again and again.

NECK CHOP!

NECK CHOP!

So was our beer as kickass as our movie? It kinda was, to be honest. The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong Ale is an easy-drinking, high ABV beer that, in my totally unprofessional opinion, would appeal to drinkers across the spectrum. Pouring a thick, two inch head with a mild Belgian yeast aroma and a light orange  color, Mischief is a bit deceptive and is definitely delicious. With your first taste, you’ll be struck with how mild the beer is overall. And not in a bland way. Rather, all of the flavors blend together nicely without any one overpowering the other. You’ll get notes of hops, citrus, banana-y yeast and a touch of booziness. And considering this beer sports a hearty 8.5% ABV, the lack of a strong, alcohol bite is quite surprising. In fact, I have to say that the alcohol snuck up on me, hitting me just in time to write this review. Ultimately, the subtle blend of these flavors and it’s lack of an overstated booziness make this beer easy to enjoy over a long period of time and completely accessible to drinkers of all tastes.

So that’s it, folks. A little Mischief in the Bronx (because, you know, Jackie Chan gets into trouble…mischief…WHATEVER! STOP JUDGING ME!). What’s important is that this is a great, easy-watching movie and a tasty, easy-drinking beer with enough complexity to satisfy a more discerning drinker/viewer. I highly recommend both. Together. Seriously, Rumble in the Bronx is even better when you’re tipsy.

If you’re looking for the complete BAAM experience, I suggest you hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or Untappd. Also, I’ll be attending LA Beer Fest in early April so if you’re planning on coming, let me know!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

pizzalounge-002edit


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

The Bruery’s Mischief Belgian Strong Ale:
Thick, foamy head
-Mild aroma and flavor, but not without complexity
-Good, easy drinking for an extended period of time

Rumble in the Bronx:
-Jackie Chan’s official U.S. debut
-Fantastic, environmentally-involved action
-Silly plot and silly story, but we don’t care!

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Samuel Adams’ Dunkelweizen & Space Jam

Welcome to the Jam, Drinkers!

I know it’s been awhile but we’re back and we’re drinking! It’s Beer Week here in Los Angeles, which means that there are tons of cool events to be going to throughout the area for the next ten days. And while none of them are movie-related (as far as I know), we’re sticking to tradition and pairing Sam Adams’ Dunkelweizen (from their Fall mixer) with the 1996 “classic” Space Jam. If you’re not in LA, settle in and enjoy tonight’s review. If you live in LA, turn off your computer, go to your favorite bar and drink something local. Game on.

Man oh man have I not seen this movie in a loooong time. The 1996 Ivan Reitman-produced, Michael Jordan-starring, semi-animated film Space Jam brings up some old memories and some conflicted emotions. I think most people my generation saw this movie when they were young. It was one of those gimmicky movies that really captures its time. A time when you could slap Michael Jordan’s name to something and it was an instant success. A time when the Chicago Bulls were relavent (zing!). A time when a film’s plot was ancillary to the amount of fun it could provide. Because really, there’s almost no plot. For a two hour movie, there’s maybe 15 minutes of story. The rest is either hijinks or a basketball montage. To be fair though, I didn’t really expect much other than those two things, but if that’s all you’re going to do, at least do it well. Specifically, I feel a bit cheated by the Looney Toons. I love the Looney Toons. I still find the original cartoons hilarious. But maybe due to an updating in the writing staff or just because they’ve aged poorly, our favorite Looney Toons aren’t very funny. They feel like parodies of themselves. Bugs doesn’t even sound the same. All the cartoons say and do what they’re supposed to, but it all just feels stiff. It doesn’t have that fresh, insane energy of the original cartoons. Bugs doesn’t even dress up as a woman bunny! He has a girlfriend instead. YAWN. Atleast Taz and Wile E. Coyote are still pretty hilarious but that’s because they don’t talk. And why don’t they put Road Runner on the court? (S)He’s so fast!

I’m not feeling the love.

But I’ll ignore most of my gripes with this film simply because it’s not trying to be anything more than entertaining to kids. So we can just look past Michael Jordan’s odd willingness to sacrifice his freedom for some cartoons he’s just met (cartoons that forcibly remove him from reality and demand training), the mushy rules of cartoon basketball or how almost none of this film takes place in space. Ignoring those, and many other complaints, I just want to point out a few weird thing. One: the strange frequency of references to the film industry (union contracts, agents, likeness fees, Teamsters, etc.). I don’t think I got that when I was younger. Two: the oddly stoned alien (“I’m ready for another trip!”). It’s just a bit blunt…see what I did there? And three: Bill Murray. Did you remember that Bill Murray was in this? As himself? Zombieland premonition! But seriously, it’s hard to take this movie seriously. It’s meant for kids in the simplest of interpretations. It does little to be treat its audience intelligently and does not age well with the audience that saw it when they were seven. And, sadly, I have the suspicion that today’s youth would be too fond of this one. Sorry, Mike!

About as odd as it looks.

And was tonight’s Dunkzelweizen a slam dunk (now you’re getting it)? I’d say it was a decent two-pointer (sports knowledge!).  It was nothing special but it’s solid beer for an average night. This Sam Adams beer, fresh out of their Harvest Collection, is a darkish wheat brewed with Belgian yeast. The end result is kind of what you’d expect from that description: a medium-bodied wheat beer with some classic banany yeast flavor. There’s some fruity sweetness in there that’s balanced against the darker malts, making this beer fall right in the middle of the road in almost every regard. So while it doesn’t do anything special, it’s still a pretty good beer for when the evenings start to chill. But since I’m in LA, that won’t be for awhile.

So that’s the game breakdown, folks. We had a once-funny, now-frustrating film with a solid but ordinary beer. Not the best way to get back into BAAM but it’s hard to complain when you have a beer in your hand, a movie on your screen and Michael Jordan crushing Bill Murray’s hoop dreams. Very hard.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Samuel Adams’ Dunkelweizen:
-Pours hazy, medium brown
-Classic Belgian-yeast flavor
-Solid but unremarkable

Space Jam:
-Childhood classic, but the shine has faded
-Michael Jordan+Bugs Bunny=hijinks
-All kinds of Hollywood & NBA cameos. Charles Barkley anyone?

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