Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth

Stone’s Old Guardian Barley Wine & The Cabin in the Woods

Hey there, Drinkers!

Today we’re getting Ancient with Stone’s Old Guardian oak-smoked barley wine style ale and the 2011 sci-fi horror/slasher Whedonverse film The Cabin in the Woods. It’s a big, bold pairing filled with blood n’ booze! And while that sounds like any episode of Game of Thrones, I promise that this combo is something special. And equally badass. So let’s get started, shall we?

The Cabin in the Woods is, interestingly enough, a film nerd’s dream. Created as both an adoration and parody of the horror/slasher genre, Cabin is pretty much a wall-to-wall cinematic reference. From the broad strokes of genre trope (abandoned cabin, young people, zombies, etc.) to technical details (camera references to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)Cabin in the Woods expertly walks the line between satire and cliche. I won’t discuss much of the plot, but suffice it to say that at its core, the film is every horror movie ever made. Young, attractive people wander off the beaten path, display risque behavior and suffer the horrifying consequences. But where many other filmmakers have just stuck to the formula, Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have bent those genre stereotypes into something new and utterly self-reflexive. Without revealing too much, Cabin is built on a premise that explains and/or justifies every horror movie ever. The cliches of movies past become the narratives hooks that drive the story forward without patronizing the audience. Rather, they became the moments of levity that make an otherwise gruesome film completely HILARIOUS!

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Shot-for-shot lift from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre

There are actually a lot of things I want to point out about this film but since I am a wordy writer, I figure a list will be more efficient. Let’s go!

-Before Chris Hemsworth was Thor, he was a Sociologist major jock. Though this film was released after Thor, it shot a few years before. Hollywood be crazy!
-When this came out in theaters, it was the first film I saw on the big screen in over a year. (I was unemployed at the time). My friends and I laughed at all the movie references while the rest of the audience was dead silent. Aaawwkkward.
-Joss Whedon’s dry sense of humor is SPLATTERED all over this film. If your unfamiliar with his writing style, watch anything of his. Literally anything.
-A Firefly Reaver can be seen during the monster massacre scene. How awesome is that?!
-Boobs are acceptable in this film because they make a statement about the use of female nudity in this genre…what am I talking about?! Boobs are always great!
-Character stereotypes exist for a reason. Because they prevent the end of the world.
-If you think it’s Sigourney Weaver’s voice, it probably is.
-All in all, this movie is actually quite well shot and well acted. Who knew?

But seriously folks, this is one of those movies that exists for pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a big horror fan or into blood n’ guts (I’m not), this film is actually quite good fun. Yes, it does get a bit bloody at times but for the most part, it all serves the purpose of parody. You don’t even have to know most of films Cabin references to enjoy it. It is so intelligently constructed that any viewer should be able to identify it as both parody and reverence for one of the most overwrought genres in cinema.

References on references

References on references

And Stone’s Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine Style ale(that’s a mouthful)? Well let me tell you, it is quite the beer. As with everything that Stone brews, it is a BIG beer. Pouring a beautiful, deep amber color with a tan head and remarkable lacing (the foam left behind on the edge of the glass), the Old Guardian is a beer to behold. While the nose is fairly mild, hinting at rich barley and refined hops, the beer itself is quite potent. With your first taste, you’re hit with substantial malty flavor. Toasty deliciousness fades into a respectable hoppiness that is prominent without overpowering the palette. It finishes with a bitter, boozy bite brought on by the 11.5% ABV. As with most Stone beers, this is not for the feint of heart. The Old Guardian is a powerful beer that is complex and yet thoroughly enjoyable. Not to mention quite pretty to look at. In the end though, it left with me an impressive buzz. In short, this beer is not to be underestimated. Maybe try it with a friend. Or don’t be a lightweight like me. Either way works.

So in case you haven’t figured it out, today’s thematic link was the Old Guardian protecting us from the Ancient Ones from The Cabin in the Woods. If that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, go watch the movie. And pick up this beer. I promise that the fun (and blood) will complement the alcoholic haze of this tasty brew. Truly a wonderful pairing that I would recommend to both the casual consumer and the seasoned connoisseur…though maybe the beer isn’t so casual.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:IMG_79591-189x300
Stone’s Old Guardian:
-Beautiful pour
-Mild, malty nose
-BIG (and balanced) taste with significant booziness

The Cabin in the Woods:
-A nerd’s best friend
-A Whedon film to its core
-Surprising balance of respect and parody for the genre

1 Comment

Filed under Review

Orkney’s Skull Splitter & Thor

By Odin’s Beard! We’re back, Drinkers!

Sorry folks, I went to a screening of Anchorman last night night, so I’m feeling exclamatory.  But now that The Avengers has been out for some time, I figured this was an appropriately inopportune time to check out Marvel’s Avengers lead-up film Thor and Orkney’s Skull Splitter. So let’s get crackin’.

Let’s start with The God of Thunder. For an superhero action film, very little actually happens in Thor. An angsty, war-mongering and ravishingly handsome god disobeys his dad, gets cast out of Asgard, eats breakfast foods with Natalie Portman, fights a robot and then returns home a reformed hero. I’m actually impressed that they were able to drag it out to a 115 minute film. Part of that is due to director Kenneth Branagh’s (of Much Ado About Nothing fame) sweeping, operatic vision. The visual splendor of Asgard and its clothes ate a decent amount of screen time. And while the movie looks pretty, the acting is pretty stiff. But I guess that’s to be expected when half of your cast are gods from another region of space.

It’s not even fair.

Tom Hiddleston (Loki) does manage to steal every scene he is in by injecting true passion and rage into his character. For me, he was the real highlight of the film, a sentiment echoed by many viewers of The Avengers. And Natalie Portman also manages to stand out as well by simply being a fantastic actress and really good-looking. Unfortunately, they are exceptions to the rule. Our protagonist Thor, played by the inhumanly attractive Chris Hemsworth, manages to undergo a complete character transformation in about five minutes with little explanation. Apparently he and Natalie Portman fall in love but that’s more of a statement of fact rather than the conclusion to a meaningful character dynamic. Also, for no other reason than the studio wanting some explosions, a robot destroys a small town. That’s not even related to acting quality, but I wanted to point it out. Overall, I found this movie to be honestly be quite shallow. What I mean is that the film remains entirely on its surface. The narrative can be condensed into about 15 minutes and all of the actors seem to just be floating through it. When the credits began to roll at the film’s conclusion, I truly found myself wondering what had just happened. I actually thought that there might be more as I never felt that the stakes were particularly high. Not to be an Earth-elitist, but shouldn’t the fate of the planet be on the line? So Loki might have destroyed a nasty ice planet and illegitimately seized control of Asgard, but what does that mean to me? To us as silly mortals?  If you want another opinion on this film, and the other Avengers films, I suggest you head over to We Recycle Movies, where my friend Anne does a great job of breaking down the whole series in a way more befitting our film degrees.

But in an effort to prove that I have actually studied film, I do want to point out the use of canted (Dutch) angles in this film. Those are the shots where everything seems to be leaning to the side. While, at times, they do appropriately reflect the unbalanced scenario of our protagonist, I found the visual trick to be overused and occasionally unnecessary. Okay, I’m done.

Forged in Fire and Plaid, love is born between god and mortal.

And our Skull Splitter? (Yes, I know Thor has a hammer, not an axe, but you get the connection.) This UK brewed, Viking-inspired brew is actually far more subtle than a blow to the head. According to BeerAdvocate, this dark copper beer is classified as a Scotch Ale, meaning that it has a smooth mouthfeel despite its high ABV. And I think I have to agree. At no point did I feel this beer’s 8.5%. Rather, I got a smooth drink with some earthy, fruity malt flavor. I actually didn’t know what to expect from the Skull Splitter. With a name like that, I figured it would be knock me around a bit with big, robust flavor and overpowering booziness, but neither was the case. Instead, I found this beer to be smooth, relaxed and very easy to enjoy. Not sure how common this beer is here in the States, but if you come across it, I’d suggest grabbing a bottle or two.

And so, by the Hammer of Thor, I declare this 47th BAAM review to be complete! We had  fairly shallow movie with a surprisingly deep beer. The movie left me wanting for something more. More character, more action, more explanation; but fortunately this tasty beer helped carry me through the film and made the evening fairly enjoyable.

There’s only two more reviews to go before we hit our 50th. Coincidentally, the 50th review will match up perfectly with our one year anniversary here at beer and a movie. I’ve got some good movies and beers lined up, so stayed tuned. But until then, keep drinking my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Orkney’s Skull Splitter:
Deep copper color
-Surprisingly smooth despite the high ABV
-Nice, layered maltiness

– Surprisingly little happens. Shockingly little
-Impressive set and costume design (kudos, Art Department!)
-Special thanks to Tom Hiddleston & Natalie Portman for making the film somewhat enjoyable

1 Comment

Filed under Review