Hey there, Drinkers!
Tonight we get ruthless with our BAAM combination. Nothing says Friday night like drinking a beer by yourself while watching a random 1940’s version of Wall Street...right? Maybe? Anyway, while little about this evening was particularly ruthless, there’s still a review to write! So let’s get to it!
(that may have been the least enthusiastic sounding intro I’ve ever written…but onwards!)
Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, we have the 1948 film Ruthless. While I promise I was mostly paying attention to this, I have to admit that I don’t understand what most of this movie was about, what happened or why. In the vein of Citizen Kane, most of this film is told largely through flashbacks that skip years and traverse the entire lifespan of one Horace Woodruff Vendig. It begins when Horace escapes from his broken home and is taken in by a wealthy family and follows Horace’s story of consumption and greed. A brilliant investor and manipulator of the stock market, Horace’s insatiable desire of wealth bleeds over into his personal life as he collects and discards female companions. Generally speaking, Horace is not a good guy and we don’t like him. Which, among many other reasons, is why I didn’t particularly like this film. Horace really has no redemptive moments and never fully learns his lesson (a conclusion we as American-moviegoers have come to expect). Rather we spend two hours learning about the life and times of a vulture-capitalist we largely understood from the get go. There is little growth in the film beyond the women Horace spends his time with and the diminishing respect from his best friend Vic. And from the perspective of plot, it’s just hard to stay engaged. A number of the more heated bits of dialog center around Wall Street deal making that is never well explained. With an influx of lingo I didn’t understand, I found myself tuning out and caring less about the events on screen.
All of this isn’t to say that the film is bad. To its credit, it is shot well and the acting is solid. Sadly however, the pacing if fairly slow and there is little development or forward momentum to keep the viewer engaged. Rather it feels more like an extended character-study of a stoic Gordon Gekko predecessor. And while I should point out that (sadly enough) many of the film’s concerns about shady stock market dealings still ring true today, the film is mostly a slow slide into boredom rather than a biting criticism of greed.
So was our Ruthless Rye IPA as timid as our film? I don’t think so, but maybe ruthless was the wrong adjective. With such a strong name, I was expecting a beer that would knock me on my ass with big flavor and bold hoppiness, neither of which are characteristics I attribute to rye beers. Typically speaking, based on my limited experience, rye beers are smooth and a bit grainy. But not this beer. For one, this is a rye IPA, meaning that it presents a bright, piney bitterness that comes from hops just like any other IPA. But actually I found this hoppiness that was a bit biting at first but mellowed out as the beer warmed. And while I got a little bit of that rye smoothness at the finish, I wouldn’t describe it as a standout note for this beer. If I hadn’t seen the label, I might have even simply called this beer a solid IPA. Don’t get me wrong, Sierra Nevada brews some great beers, but I just don’t think this one did anything special for me. However, it does make me want to try other rye IPA’s so I can speak more intelligently about the genre. So there’s that.
So there you have it folks, not a particularly ruthless evening but nevertheless enjoyable. I think both of tonight’s selections struggled a little with defining what they were about, but that is not to say that they are bad or not worthwhile. I say if you have the time or the curiosity to give them a try. What’s the worst you could happen? Lose a little time and drink a beer? Doesn’t sound like a bad Friday at all to me!
And as always keep drinking, my friends.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA:
-Clear, amber pour
-Strong, bitter hoppiness at front
-Slight rye finish but lacking
–Solid film, just not too engaging
-Hard to follow timeline
-Little growth in primary character