Tag Archives: Michael Rapaport

Port Brewing’s Shark Attack Double Red Ale & Deep Blue Sea

Good evening, drinkers!

Tonight is all about the reds and blues. Blood and water. And beer. I just finished watching Deep Blue Sea while drinking Port Brewing’s Shark Attack Double Red. Before we begin, I have a few facts that I would like to list as a disclaimer for this review:

Fact #1: I just drank 22 oz. of 9% beer. I am tipsy. Sorry.
Fact #2: I originally wanted to watch Jaws, but I couldn’t find it anywhere (Internet fail!), so I settled for the second most famous shark-themed movie.
Fact #3: This movie was awful and featured LL Cool J. I will not treat it fairly in my review. Fair warning.
Fact #4: I’m still tipsy. Sorry.

Let’s begin!

I really should have watched this movie instead.

Despite Deep Blue Sea  being a god-awful film, I’ll assume that most of you have seen this movie. I’m not sure why, but most people I have come across seem to have seen this film. Or, at the very least, you have probably seen this scene. But that’s besides the point. This movie, for all of its wonderful Samuel L. Jackson eating scenes, is just plain terrible. The premise? Scientists have genetically enhanced three sharks in order to harvest their Brain Juice (we’re using capitals, get over it) in order to cure Alzheimer’s. But, surprise surprise, these sharks git all uppity and smart. Since eating people is preferable to getting their Brain Juice extracted, these three sharks decide to wreak havoc on a bizarrely constructed underwater laboratory staffed by some scientists, a badass shark wrangler and LL Cool J. Oh and Sammy L. is along for the ride because his pharmaceutical company is funding research it knows nothing about and the writers needed a way to explain everything to audience. Needless to say, science goes awry and man pays for its desire to play God.

Now at this point, I can only assume that you know how I feel about this film. Moving beyond the terrible premise, there really isn’t much to go off of. The characters are thin caricatures of what we expect from our cinematic heros, scientists and corporate suits. Little shocks the audience beyond the arbitrary killing of characters and the unlikely survival of LL Cool J, who somehow survives a shark bite that literally rips every other character in half. In contrast to my strong opinions about this film, I actually have very little to say about it. The narrative quickly dumps its “be careful of science” storyline for a pure shark-slasher flick that does little to excite its audience. In fact, I mostly just felt bad for the actors. They probably spent months feeling cold and wet to create a genuinely bad movie. Now that’s dedication.

Oh and did I mention that our Special friend Michael Rapaport is in this film? Yeah. And he kind of plays the same character. Just more annoying.

Shark 101: Don't be this guy.

But thank God for beer, am I right? This hoppy, but remarkably well-balanced 9% beer really helped me out with this film. There is nothing quite like 22 oz. of 9% ABV beer to make a bad situation hilarious, am I right? (I am, in case you were wondering). This Shark Attack Double Red poured a striking red color with a thick head that gives off a strong, piney aroma. While not as piney as, say, an IPA, you definitely taste the hops up front. However, unlike an IPA, this red dissipates into a nice, malty flavor that helps balance out that initial bitterness. Moreover, the strength of the alcohol is mostly masked by that initial hoppiness, making this beer fairly easy to drink (provided you enjoy hops). Also, I’d like to point out that this beer got significantly better as it warmed. As it reached room temperature, that malty balance really came forward and really helped the beer out. I haven’t had anything else from Port Brewing, but this Shark Attack has me hungry for more from this California brewery.

While I didn’t get to watch the movie I was originally intending to, this evening ended up being fine. I got to drink a good beer (with a high ABV!) and watch a terrible movie, which almost always means it’s a good night. However, I promise that the next review I do will be of a “good” movie. I think it’s about time that I get back to using that film degree and analyzing films that are more worthwhile.

Also, for those who are interested, BAAM is fast approaching its 40th review. And while my friends are suggesting that I go all out and do an Edward Forty-Hands (duct tape two 40 oz. bottles to my hands and drink, drink, drink!), I am looking for a less shameful alternative. So if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.

And, as always, keep drinking my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Port Brewing’s Shark Attack Double Red Ale:
– Hazy, deep red color
-Piney aroma & flavor
-Tastes better as it warms

Deep Blue Sea:
-What to do when super smart sharks attack!
-Remarkably, LL Cool J survives. Pretty sure it was written into his contract.
-Shark Brain Juice cures Alzheimer’s. Who knew?

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Anchor Steam’s 2011 Our Special Ale & Special

Hey Drinkers!

Feeling special? I know I am. Because tonight we’re drinking Anchor Steam’s 2011 edition of their holiday “Our Special Ale” and watching the 2006 indie flick Special starring Michael Rapaport. So let’s find out if this really was a special pairing, or just an average evening.

Special follows the sad, lonely life of a Los Angeles parking enforcement officer (an occupation you never see on screen) who believes he develops superpowers after participating in a drug trial. Spoiler: he doesn’t actually have superpowers. But the film isn’t particularly concerned with convincing you of whether or not its protagonist, Les, actually has powers or is just crazy. Rather, its purpose is more to put us in the shoes of a man in desperate need of a change in his life. In Les’s case, that change comes in the form of a little blue pill called Special. Intended to “suppress the chemicals in the brain responsible for self-doubt,” Les instead apparently learns to float (Criss Angel status), read minds, walk through walls, teleport and be a badass. All of these powers are cleverly displayed, and disproven, using visual tricks, and it just makes you feel sad for Les (except for the badass part. He gets hit by a car twice and can still walk). But loneliness is what this movie really is. It’s a study in sadness. The writing and the acting are a bit stiff and generic, but the film’s photography is deeply infused with loneliness and alienation. Some of the greatest moments in this film are just long, silent shots of Les walking home after a rough encounter with the forces of evil. As Les points out, being a superhero is lonely work. He feels like everyone turns against him and that’s a fairly true assessment. As he comes to believe more and more in his powers, everyone around Les, including the audience, watches him deteriorate into madness. And while the absurdity of the premise and the general comic nature of Les and his powers help keep maintain levity, the film altogether leaves you feeling a down, because we know just how not special the protagonist is, even if he doesn’t realize it himself.

It is important to point out that this movie is very clearly done on the cheap. So with that in mind, it’s quite a remarkable film. The effects are strong, the cast is decent and it is shot beautifully. Kudos, indie filmmakers!

The face of a hero

But was our beer special? That’s a good question. Tonight’s 2011 Our Special Ale has an interesting history. According to the label, this beer is Anchor Steam’s 37th version of the beer. Apparently, every year they change the recipe of this beer with sole intent of creating a beer that people can come together over during the holidays. While I believe that most of these 37 incarnations are probably on the darker, more Wintry end of the spectrum (’tis the season for dark beers), it is hard to judge this beer based on its pedigree or consistency. But regardless, let’s talk about the beer that I drank tonight. It poured a dark, chocolate-y color and had a nice, dark malty aroma to it. Upon first sip, you’ll get hit with some unexpected bitterness up front. However that bitterness quickly dissipates into a sadly mild and fleeting pine-y taste. The woodsy flavor wasn’t bad, it just evaporated and didn’t leave much behind, which meant I easily forgot what this beer tasted like. And with such a dark color, I was expecting a fuller body but it actually went down very easily. Almost too easily for a Winter beer (typically winter beers are heavier, maltier and more complex compared to their lighter, crisper Summer brethren). The beer wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t much of anything sadly. I like Anchor Steam, but they may have missed the mark on this one. I hate to say it, but this beer was nothing special.

So that was my special evening: watching Special and drinking a 2011 Our Special Ale. Neither stands out as an amazing experience, but at least the movie was occasionally thoughtful and, dare I say, beautiful. Unfortunately I can’t really say the same for this beer. It was just too simple and uninspired to be the hearty Winter beer it should be.

Stay tuned for more editions of BAAM in the near future. I hit up my favorite beer shop this week so I have some cool beers (including two IPA’s) coming up soon.


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Anchor Steam’s 2011 Our Special Ale:
Dark, chocolate-y color 
Mild piney taste
Flavor lacks staying power

Great premise with good execution
Not the best writing
Visually striking and thoughtful



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