BAAM is back, bitches!
We’re coming out swinging after our week long hiatus for Passover with a well-regarded beer and a well-respected movie. That’s right, it’s a night of RAGE (!) with Scorsese’s boxing classic Raging Bull and Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA. So let’s hop in the ring and get started.
Martin Scorsese’s 1980 Oscar winning Raging Bull chronicles the thoroughly depressing rise and fall of 1940’s-50’s boxing legend Jake La Motta and his inability to be a sane human being. In his quest to become world middle-weight champ, Jake manages to physically destroy every relationship he has (seriously, he hits pretty much everyone he loves). Unable to contain his rage (wonder where the title came from…) and control his paranoia-fueled jealousy, Jake manages to ruin two marriages and his relationship with his brother, played by everyone’s favorite Joe Pesci. And while the story is compelling and the acting is top notch (it’s truly one of De Niro’s finest performances), what is most striking about this film is its visual style. Photographed in haunting black and white at varying frame rates, the film effortlessly dips between painful realism and beautiful surrealism. Within the longer fight sequences, the audience is treated with overwhelming close-ups, dream-like slow-motion and a sort of horrified revelry in the blood of boxing. Every shot stands on its own as a great work of filmmaking. If you were to watch the film without the sound, I think you would still find the film easy to follow and beautiful to watch. Not to overstate anything, but Raging Bull truly is a great film (though a bit slow at times) that I would recommend to anyone, even if you’re not a “sports movie” fan. In fact, this film hardly qualifies as a sports movies, as it focuses much more intently on the fractured emotional states of Jake La Motta than on the actual matches themselves. Long story short, watch this movie. It’ll…wait for it…knock your socks off.
I swear I’m funny…
And now for our Raging Bitch. I’ve actually seen this beer, and many others by Flying Dog Brewery, at a few beer shops but I’ve held off on buying them mostly because I don’t like their labeling. I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me when I say that their packaging does not make their product appealing. However, on the suggestion of a friend, I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a Raging Bitch. But this is where I kind of have to end my review. See, from what I can tell, my bottle was spoiled. After a few sips and double checking against reviews on Beer Advocate, I think that this is really the only explanation for the mildly carbonated, generally flavorless and stale beer. I got none of the piney, hoppiness of the IPA, nor did I get any of the banana-y characteristics of a beer brewed with Belgian yeast. Moreover, this beer was supposedly 8.5% but, for me, it tasted very weak. So, for the time being, I’ll give Flying Dog the benefit of the doubt and not condemn this brew to a BAAM thumbs down. Of course I was disappointed to drink a spoiled beer, but I guess it means I’ll have to give this one a shot in the near future. Sorry everybody, but that’s just way it goes.
And so BAAM’s comeback night was a bit of a swing and a miss. Raging Bull was right on the money, delivering the one-two punch of fantastic acting and unbelievable cinematography. However, Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch couldn’t handle the punches with the spoiled bottle I drank. I definitely want to try this beer again for all of its positive reviews, but I’m out of boxing puns for now and I have many other beers to try. Catch you next time!
But until then, keep drinking my friends!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA:
-Unfortunately received a bad bottle, so there isn’t much I can say here. Sorry kids.
-And by kids I mean young adults who are over 21 years of age. Just to clarify.
-And by young adults I pretty much mean anyone over 21. I don’t discriminate.
-Powerful performances from every cast member.
-Striking black & white photography. Truly beautiful.
-Lots of sweaty De Niro. Winning!