Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds & The Wolf of Wall Street

Hey there, Drinkers!

Are you ready to get a little crazy? Maybe do one to eight different drugs at once? Then you’re in the right place because today we’re watching Martin Scorsese’s drug-and-money-fueled film The Wolf of Wall Street while sipping on a particularly potent Wolf Among Weeds from local beer giant Golden Road Brewery. For the astute reader, you’ll know I reviewed this beer last November. But since tonight is all about self-indulgence, I’m re-reviewing it. So there! So grab your penny stocks and come join me for a wild ride. Let’s get started!

Martin Scorsese’s 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street is, for the uninitiated, the dramatic retelling of a real stock broker’s epic rise and fall through the corrupt avenues of Wall Street in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Our protagonist, Jordan Belfort, is played by a particularly committed Leonardo DiCaprio and is surrounded by a superb cast which includes, but is not limited to, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Margot Robbie’s breasts, Rob Reiner (huh?) and Matthew McConaughey (for 5 minutes). From scrappy broker to young upstart to bacchanalian ‘Wolf,’ the film follows every stage of Belfort’s decline as he ascends the ladder of American wealth. As portrayed by DiCaprio, Belfort’s pathos is both disgusting and weirdly comprehensible as we see a man who truly believes that money can buy happiness. All the while we see him ruined by that same belief. More than anything, it’s a fabulous character study on the addiction of greed and a raucous expose on the nature of extreme wealth. And while the fantastic acting and absurd displays of wealth keep this movie engaging, the film ends up collapsing under its weight.

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed...

So I heard this movie addresses wealth & greed…

Simply put, the film is just too long. The Wolf of Wall Street runs for 2 hours and 59 minutes. For most people, that’s just an insane amount of time to watch one film. But the real tragedy is that the movie really only needs to be about 2 hours long. The film, its characters and its story are all frenetic, a reflection of the insane amounts of cocaine shown in the film. But what Scorsese repeatedly does throughout the film is let captivating character moments extend well beyond what they need to be as actors superbly improv long scenes. The result is simple conversations which in turn long back and forths about nothing. And depictions of epic party insanity last way too long without informing new characters or advancing the plot. The true big narrative turn of this film clocks in just under the 2 hour mark. The net result is that as good as this movie is, you can’t help but feel like it’s unending. In every regard, this movie seems to take the adage ‘too much of a good thing…’ to heart.

Cheers, bitches.

Cheers, bitches.

And in keeping with the spirit of selfishness, excess and indulgence, I’m re-reviewing one of my favorite local IPA’s: Golden Road Brewery’s Wolf Among Weeds.

So what about our Wolfy beer? Wolf Among Weeds is a powerful double IPA that is not for the feint of heart. Pouring a hazy golden amber with a modest, fluffy head, Wolf Among Weeds never tries to hide what it is. Off the nose you’ll get strong notes of pine, resin, hops and citrus. IPA through and through. And when you take your first sip, you’ll get all of those flavors mixed together just right. It’s bitter, piney and citrusy without much sweetness. And it’s a bit boozy too. You won’t feel it at first but about halfway through your pint, you’ll realize the Wolf packs an 8% ABV punch. While this DIPA may not be for everyone, it’s a fantastic brew for West Coast IPA true believers.

So there you have it, Drinkers. A wild movie that is simultaneously fantastic and disappointing with an unrelenting and unabashed brew. Thanks for reading and stay tuned over the next few days for another Holiday Slasher Special for Christmas!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
GRB’s Wolf Among Weeds:
-Hazy gold pour
-Super piney bitterness
-Heavy hitter at 8%

The Wolf of Wall Street:
-Stellar acting all around
-Fascinating and disgusting look at excess
-WAY too long. Unfortunately.

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Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA & Raging Bull

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…

He's seen better days, but you haven't seen a better movie.

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.

Raging Bull:
-Powerful performances from every cast member.
-Striking black & white photography. Truly beautiful.
-Lots of sweaty De Niro. Winning!


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Beer and a Movie’s 21st Birthday!

Hey there Drinkers,

Tonight’s beer and a movie was a little special. It’s the 21st entry which means that we’re finally of age! And like any birthday party, we had some friends over and we drank beer. Since we were watching the 2006 Martin Scorsese Oscar-winning insta-classic The Departed, it felt only right to bring on the Sam Adams. With the “cold” weather rolling into Los Angeles, the Winter Variety 12 pack was not out of place and provided a little something for everyone. Oh and one of my friend’s brought over some Mickey’s, because that sounds Irish.

A little sampling of our evening.

To be honest, it’s hard to watch a movie with a group of people. Conversations fly and important screen moments get missed. Which is fine. This was meant to be a social evening and I like to think that I’m not some crotchety old man just yet, but listen, I just like to watch my movies. But moving on, The Departed is really everything you want out of a good, thoughtful (but not too thoughtful) movie. There’s action, suspense, murder, sex, attractive men, old men, Mark Wahlberg. It’s really got everything. Aside from that though, the movie has some of the strongest characterization and acting of anything mainstream of late. Every character we see in this well-paced 2.5 hour film is three dimensional. All of the actors bring their A-game (would you slack off if Scorsese was in the room?) and truly bring their characters to life. And while the film suffers from a few jarring edits (which I know were done intentionally, I just didn’t  like them), it flows seamlessly from scene to scene. You hardly even notice that they never actually experience Winter in Boston despite the film taking place over more than a year’s time. Hardly. Even. Noticed. And when it comes down to it, this movie is just hilarious. Everything that Mark Wahlberg says is priceless. Jack Nicholson is at the pinnacle of his crazy. And even the violence is so blunt that you can’t help but smile just a tiny bit after you recover from the initial shock. Well played Marty. Well played.

"I am actually from South Boston so don't you pull any of that Good Will Hunting shit with me."

You know who else really brings it every time? Samuel Adams. I don’t think I have ever had a mediocre beer from them. I’ve probably had eight or more of their beers and they are all incredible. Unfortunately, I’m wasn’t man enough to try all of the beers from the Winter Variety pack in one sitting, (more pairings to come!) I did get a chance to sit down with the Old Fezziwig Ale and the Black & Brew. I’ve actually had Old Fezziwig before in last year’s Winter mix so I was particularly excited by the Black & Brew, but we’ll talk about both. Black & Brew, as you can imagine, is a stout beer brewed with coffee. And, simply put, it tastes exactly like what you’d expect. The beer is unmistakably a stout with a deep, black color and rich, almost chocolatey flavor. But the kicker is that you easily identify the coffee in this very drinkable stout and it tastes great. The coffee isn’t overpowering either. Rather, it subtly accentuates what is already happening in the stout and really rounds out this perfect winter-time beer. And Old Fezziwig Ale? Another solid performer. This ale is spicier than the Black & Brew and uses some of the classic winter flavors like cinnamon and relies more on noticeable hoppiness. Not too hoppy mind you, just enough to give this beer more of a body, which is exactly what you want from a winter beer. But since I’m in LA and not layering up to keep out the New England chill, these beers gave a me a little taste of home.

So all in all it was a successful birthday party. Good beers, a good movie, good friends. You can’t really ask for more than that. And a special thank you to my friends who came out and supported this largely asocial activity. Be on the lookout for some more wintry Sam Adams combos (someone’s gotta drink ’em) as well as another classic film paired with another New England beer coming soon in the near future. And, as always, keep drinking my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:

Old Fezziwig Ale
Classic winter spices  
Strong, full body
Nice, reddish color

Black & Brew
Lives up to its name 
Noticeable, but not overpowering, coffee flavor
Solid new brew from Sam Adams

The Departed                                                                                           
Meticulous characterization and performance
Huge, star-studded male cast
Marky Mark is a true Bostonian

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