Hey there, Drinkers!
Tonight we have a great beer, a terrible movie and a few chuckles in between. In celebration of the history of jazz, we’re drinking Dogfish Head’s Mile Davis tribute beer Bitches Brew with the 20’s throwback film The Cotton Club. If there’s only thing I impart on you tonight, it’s that tonight’s pairing is indicative of how beer (and friends) can make the world a better place. My friend Mike and I sat down with what turned out to be a terrible movie but through the power of beer, friendship and force-of-will, we made it through. And now it’s time to share that experience with all of you! Let’s get swinging!
Tonight’s film had so much promise. Directed by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, the 1984 The Cotton Club sports a tremendous cast that one would assume could act. One would be mistaken. I’m almost tempted to not say much about this film because I truly have no idea what happened and it really doesn’t dignify discussion. But I’m going to talk about it anyway. Here’s what I gathered on the plot: I think Richard Gere gets involved with a Harlem mob boss (or mob bosses?) and I think there’s also some drama with some tap dancing brothers. Honestly, that’s about as much I got out this film. It has no narrative, no structure, no character development and, most importantly, no purpose. Characters and scenes seem to be thrown together almost arbitrarily. We’re not sure of the connection between each story line or why we should even care about any of the characters. On top of that, many of the actors seem to be reading their lines directly from the script, with almost no thought or care. Some of them try to put on a 1920’s gangster air, but even that seems like they stole their characterizations from other, worse films. Notably, Nicolas Cage (right?!) mumbles and laughs his way through at least three different accents. And then you have Diane Lane showing up all pouty and getting Richard Gere’s man-panties all in a bunch FOR NO DAMN REASON! GAH THIS MOVIE MAKES ME SO ANGRY!
The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that the costume design is impeccable. As I told my friend while we “watched” this “film,” I got the sense that Francis Coppola got so involved in his costume design that he forgot about the rest of the film. While the action on screen bored me to death, I thankfully had some pretty sweet outfits (and hats…so many hats) to ogle. But seriously, that’s the only good thing about this movie. Hats.
So thank God I had some Bitches Brew from Dogfish Head to keep me happy. Brewed in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album (yes I know it’s a different era of jazz but just cut me some slack), this tasty imperial stout is infused with honey and gesho root. The end result? A deep, black beer with a dark chocolately head. A beer with classic, smooth stout flavor but sweetened ever-so-slightly with honey. It’s a big, bold flavor that finishes smooth and carefully masks the 9% ABV. It really is a great beer. I’d say it’s a stout for real stout lovers. For newcomers to the genre, it may be a bit overpowering but it’s definitely worth at least a taste.
So there you have it, folks, beer to rescue! An honest-to-God awful movie rescued only a great beer and a good friend (the better to lambast the film with!). Steer clear of this movie, but be sure to pick up the beer. I think it’s only a limited release each season, so get to your local purveyor of booze and grab a bottle or two! But seriously, this movie was so bad. I really regret it. I’m so sorry everyone.
The Cotton Club:
-Good cast, terrible acting