Tag Archives: Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel Adams’ Dark Depths & Sphere

Evening, Drinkers!

In continuing with our theme of underwater movies that feature Samuel L. Jackson, we’re watching Sphere in the dark company of Sam Adams’ Dark Depths Baltic IPA. So grab your swimming gear and let’s dive in.

In 1998, the underwater psychological sci-fi mystery horror thrill known as Sphere came onto the scene. Based on a Michael Crichton novel, Sphere is the story of a group of scientists who investigate a mysterious spacecraft 1000 feet beneath the water. Not to spoil anything, but they find a giant sphere and mayhem ensues. And though we come to understand that the sphere causes people’s dreams to manifest in reality, the film is really more of a study in stress and paranoia. While the characters do manage to dream up some scary encounters with giant squid, jellyfish and some weird “nocturnal” sea snakes, these are not the real moments of drama. Rather, the moments when the characters start to accuse each other of lies, betrayal and confusion are the film’s strongest. Part of this might be due to the fact that the film has a more acting driven cast, as compared to a more action-themed cast. Leading the film you have Dustin Hoffman who, from time to time, actually is a fantastic actor. Obviously, Sphere is not one of finest moments but he does lend some legitimacy to our connection to the characters and their predicament.

Well this doesn’t seem to explain much at all…

Where the film falls flat is that leaves you feeling bizarrely unsatisfied. For the most part, all of the major questions are answered but something seemed terribly amiss to me when the credits began to roll. Some of the major questions regarding Samuel L. Jackson’s character are left unanswered; and for a film about a sunken spaceship, very little time is actually spent discussing said spaceship. It seemed to me that no one in the film was asking the big, glaring questions any normal person would. But I guess if you’re under the influence of an interstellar golden-swirly ball 1000 feet under the ocean, we can cut you some slack. This film is by no means great. It’s long and slow but it is a nice change of pace when it comes to sci-fi movies. Aside from the really annoying interstitial titles that felt like commercial breaks, most of my gripes with this film stem from lack in satisfaction with the answers provided. But I guess if we were to ever encounter an alien entity or an unknown spacecraft, I doubt all of our questions would be answered to our liking.

Now let’s go see Prometheus!

Creeper face.

And how was my descent into the Dark Depths? Well, like Sphere, it was an odd experience that left me with some questions. From my understanding, Baltic IPAs (BeerAdvocate labels this beer as a Baltic Porter) were born many years ago from shipping porters long distance by sea. The long travel time altered the nose and flavor of the original beer and inspired this style of beer. With that, I guess it explains the Dark Depths unusual flavor. It pours very dark with a chocolatey head that is reminiscent of a stout or porter. When you first taste it, you get hit with that rich maltiness of a porter. However, as the taste finishes on the back of your tongue, you get that hint of bitterness that you could identify as IPA-ish. It’s faint, but it’s definitely there. The whole experience is quite smooth and the 7.6% ABV doesn’t hurt either. And though the beer taste pretty good, I felt like the two aspects of the beer, the porter and the IPA, weren’t meshing as well as they should. It was good, but maybe I thought it should be better or more special than it actually was. But fortunately for me, Sam Adams makes about 239048 other fantastic beers, so I’ll be seeing them again soon.

So let’s come back up to the surface here and just review our thoughts here. Sphere was an interesting yet ultimately unsatisfying movie experience. The premise is interesting and the character interactions are pretty strong, but a lot of key questions are left unanswered. For Sam Adams’ Dark Depths, I was also left a bit confused by the combination of the malty smoothness of a porter with a fruity, bitterness of an IPA. It wasn’t a bad beer but I was left a bit perplexed.

And for those who are counting, our next BAAM review will be our 50th! Crazy! And it’s been pretty much a year since I started this thing too! Wild! Exclamation! And while I’m not sure if I’ll be a doing a big celebration for the big 5-0, I will try my best to make the review something special. And I’ll be thanking you all profusely. Sorry in advance.

Thanks for reading and, as always, keep drinking my friends!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Samuel Adams’ Dark Depths:
-Deep, dark color
-Mostly porter with hints of IPA in the finish
-Good beer but not a great beer

-Claustrophobic sci-fi underwater nightmare mystery thriller starring Dustin Hoffman…
-Intriguing yet unsatisfying answers & conclusion.
-Surprisingly lack of sphere in Sphere.

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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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Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale & Jackie Brown

Evening Drinkers!

Tonight for BAAM (that’s the abbreviation. Just deal with it.) we’re drinking Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale and watching the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. I’m not usually too keen on brown ales and I feel as if Jackie Brown is a forgotten Tarantino film, but both are pleasantly surprisingly and are worth returning to.

When stacked up against Tarantino’s other films, Jackie Brown is generally low on the list in terms of its popularity. Sandwiched between Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill years, Jackie Brown is a little treasure tucked away behind some big stars. While the film sports actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro and Michael Keaton, the real star of the filmis Jackie Brown (as to be expected), played by a superb Pam Grier. To boil down a convoluted plot, Grier’s character triple crosses (I think triple…I lost count) Samuel L. Jackson who makes his money by running guns. Caught between jail time and the possibility of her own murder, Jackie Brown forges a clever way of getting clear of jail while stealing all of Sam Jackson’s cash with the help of a bail bondsmen. Retrospectively, the film is quite simple but when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to see what lies next. Sometimes the ambiguity works as it builds narrative tension. Other times I just felt confused. But that’s kind of how Tarantino does things and I don’t think he’s going to change anytime soon. His writing is sharp and quick while his cinematography is slow and often poetic, but sometimes the two don’t mesh. While it’s cool to see tense, important moments shown distantly or mundanely, at times the visual style of a scene or shot drowns out the narrative altogether. There are a number of times when we are left staring at empty rooms, expressionless faces or people walking down a street without a real purpose. And while this is unusual and done with the best of intentions, it feels as if sometimes Tarantino is more interested in how cool his movie looks than in telling a great story. That complaint ties directly to my second complaint, which is the length. The film is an unnecessary 150 minutes long. While I appreciate the choice of using long, slow takes, at times they really just felt indulgent on the part of the filmmaker. But all in all, I like this film. Pam Grier kicks ass, Samuel L. Jackson kicks ass (as can be expected), Robert De Niro almost says nothing and it looks very cool in the way that only Tarantino knows how. Also, quick side note, this film loves music. Seriously, just listen to this movie and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Did I mention Mr. L. Jackson's funky hair and affinity for screwdrivers?

And on to our beer for the evening. As I mentioned earlier, I usually don’t drink brown ales. They tend to run a bit too malty and bitter for my tastes but Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale seemed to do the trick for me. This beer, which I’ve only seen sold in 550 ml bottles, pours a lovely reddish-brown color with a rich, creamy head. The aroma does not hide that classic, dark malty flavor of brown ales. However, with that first sip, you get something much smoother and downright tastier. You still get that chocolately maltiness, but it isn’t overpowering. You still get some of that yeast flavor and just a taste of bread. Also, it continues to taste great as it warms, a trait I love to see in beers. To be honest, I didn’t really taste any nuttiness but that’s just my unrefined pallet. While other brown ales have disappointed me in the past, I think Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale might have given this brew a second chance in my book.

So that was my evening. Jackie Brown and Nut Brown Ale. An interesting mix actually. I enjoyed both and I also learned a little bit as well, which is more than I can usually say when I sit in front of the TV and drink a beer.

A quick closing note: as Thanksgiving is rolling around the corner and I’ll be headed home to my beloved Boston, odds are you won’t be seeing another BAAM (there it is again, get used to it) for a little over a week. Obviously I’ll be drinking some beers when I’m home (Sam Adams? Harpoon? Magic Hat?) but I’ll probably be too busy socializing and being popular to spend my time with likes of you.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy drinking!


Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale:
Lovely, coppery brown color 
Classic and inviting aroma
Surprisingly easy to drink yet full of flavor

Jackie Brown
A somewhat overlooked Tarantino flick
Razor-sharp writing with excellent delivery
Great visuals but at times they get a bit carried away


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