Tag Archives: Special

Halloween Crossover Special Pt. 1: Alesmith’s Evil Dead Red & The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2

Happy (early) Halloween, Drinkers!

In the first of two installments, BAAM has teamed up yet again with We Recycle Movies to bring you another holiday special review! In part one of this devilishly delightful dual review, Anne from WRM and I watched the first two films from the original Evil Dead franchise while sipping on AleSmith’s appropriately thematic Evil Dead Red. Part two will cover the conclusion to the Evil Dead  trilogy and will be posted next week. So, without further ado, let’s dig up some corpses and get into it!


Hey look! It’s makeup!

Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead  (1981) marks a special time in horror movie history. While it by no means created many of the stereotypes and cliches we now associate with the genre, it quite definitively solidified the tropes that are now almost laughable (as you can see from my review The Cabin in the Woods). It also walks the delicate line between true horror and classic camp. For those familiar with the franchise, The Evil Dead is now camp royalty but when apart from history, this film is more an astounding feat of independent filmmaking. Yes, the acting is poor, the writing even worse and it pretty much has no story, but I don’t really think that’s what this movie was made for. Rather, this film is much more about its visual style. The camera work, while quite jarring, is unique and perfectly captures (and enhances) the tone of the film. The same goes for the editing as well. It may not always make sense, or even be that pretty, but it services the rest of the film so well that you actually will find yourself nodding in approval, rather than shaking your head in disgust. The disgust comes from the blood, so don’t worry.

Which brings up another point: this movie (and this franchise) are not for the feint-of-heart. While all of the gore and other general creepiness is more humorous than upsetting, there is still a shocking amount of blood and guts and other mysterious body fluids. All of which end up on Bruce Campbell’s strong-chinned face. But like the film’s visuals, the movie’s shock-value also serves a purpose and services the story…sometimes. Yes, it’s all absurd, but at least it knows that about itself.

Yup...super gross

Yup…super gross

Since we’re on the topic of self-awareness (and gore), let’s talk about Evil Dead 2 (1987), which is arguably the strangest sequel ever. Okay maybe it’s tied with Mad Max 2 but that’s besides the point. Ostensibly taking place immediately after the events of the first film, Evil Dead 2 weirdly resets the franchise by boiling down the first movie into a two minute prelude that negates much of what actually happened. From there, the film takes a wild twist into campy insanity. Where the first film didn’t laugh too hard at itself, Evil Dead 2 fully embraces its own absurdity while still clinging to its recognizable visual style. What that translates to, essentially, is more blood, more guts, more demons, more possessed hands and more overall craziness (like when the entire cabin starts dancing and laughing).

As is probably quite obvious from the above clip, this movie be CRAZY.

Overall, what is important to take away from these movies, aside from their solidifying insanity and overzealous blood usage, is how visual style (and crafty production design) can really sell a movie. Without its distinctive style, it’s entirely plausible to believe that the Evil Dead franchise could have sunk into oblivion.



And what about your unusually appropriate beer, AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red? I have to say that AleSmith has unofficially become the preferred brewer of BAAM. I’ve reviewed five of their beers (including the Evil Dead Red) and not only are they all delicious, they generally pair very well with movies. And the Evil Dead Red did not disappoint. Pouring a spectacular, clear red with a thin khaki head, this brew was everything I wanted out of the style. It’s nose promised a complex mix of malt and fruit while its flavor was a striking balance of hop and malt. Most interestingly, this beer is decidedly hoppy but does not feature the kind of bitterness you find in most West Coast IPA’s. Rather, the hops are well balanced against mild-mannered malt notes with a few hints of sweet citrus. Truly a well-rounded and well-crafted beer. Looks like AleSmith has done it again.

So there you have it, Drinkers! Part one of our two-part Halloween special with our friend Anne over at We Recycle Movies. She’s a professional smart person, so be sure to check out her review of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 for a better review. Be on the lookout next week for our review of the franchise’s bizarre conclusion in Army of Darkness.

And as always keep drinking, my friends. Happy Halloween!


Tonight’s Tasting Notes: 

The Evil Dead:
-Doesn’t really make sense
-Very bloody
-Striking visuals in every department

Evil Dead 2:
-Makes even less sense
-Even bloodier
-Really goes hard on the camp

AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red:
-Striking red pour
-Hoppy but not bitter
-Remarkably balanced & complex
*Bonus: ABV clocks in at 6.66%


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We Recycle Movies Guest Review: Die Hard Trilogy

Hey there, Drinkers!

Sadly, there’s no new BAAM this week but there’s a good reason. And no, it’s not because I was too drunk to write anything. In fact, I wrote quite a bit. As a favor to my friend and fellow film blogger Anne, I’ve written a guest review for We Recycle Movies. WRM is dedicated to the fine art of Hollywood remakes and sequels. My contribution covers the original Die Hard trilogy of awesome. And how they get progressively less awesome as the series continues. And once you’re done reading my sweet review,  I highly recommend that you check out all of her previous posts. Especially if you want a little bonus film education. Lord knows I could use one.

Here’s the link to the review:

So thanks for reading, Drinkers. BAAM should be back to its regularly scheduled drinking next week. But until then…

…keep drinking, my friends.

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Guest Review: Passover Double Feature

* Hi there, drinkers. Please enjoy this week’s BAAM courtesy of Anne from We Recycle Movies, a blog I highly recommend. If you’d like to submit a guest review, please let me know in the comments. Happy Passover!

Shalom, drinkers!

Gabe is observing Passover this week, which means that he cannot drink beer. Fortunately for all of you, Episcopalians do not have to follow dietary restrictions during Lent, so I was totally free to write a guest blog. I was so excited that I decided on a double feature. I even went with a Passover theme! First up were The Prince of Egypt and He’brew IPA, celebrating the animated history of the Jewish people. After that came the combination of The Ten Commandments and Saison de Lente, which turned out to be an epic undertaking. Two bombers and 5 hours of movie watching later, here is my review:

The Prince of Egypt is an animated re-telling of the book of Exodus. The story follows Moses. I’m pretty sure we’re all at least vaguely aware of his story: baby in the bulrushes, Egyptian prince, Jewish prophet, Let My People Go, Ten Commandments, Foundation for Judaism. Obviously, since this is a kids’ movie, they felt the need to change some things. In the first half of this film, Moses is basically that annoying-but-charismatic frat guy who kept bugging you in college: he races chariots, drops water balloons on priests, and goads Ramses a lot. Prophets: they’re just like us!

Moses: Prince of the Bros

How to Cure a Hangover of Biblical Proportions

Since it came out in 1998, it is of course a musical. And I have to say right up front, most of the music aged well. The only song that really bothered me was “Believe.” The first time I heard it, the song came across as uplifting and hopeful, but it gets overused. Eventually I was just hoping the little Jewish kids would stop singing and start schlepping. Jerusalem is a long walk from Egypt!

What part of Exodus is this from again?

What part of Exodus is this from again?

Our second Passover movie, The Ten Commandments, is a three and a half hour long epic from the 1950s, in the same extremely long vein as Ben HurThe Robe, and King of Kings. Charlton Heston plays Moses as a kind of Biblical action star. He spends the first half of the movie shirtlessly seducing at least 3 women and conquering countries. Once he becomes a prophet, he starts wearing robes and yelling in a booming voice. He’s definitely more forceful and vengeful, and when we get to the creation of the Ten Commandments and the golden idols, Moses throws those tablets down with FORCE. Prophets: they’re just like Arnold Schwarzenneger?

It was a solid spectacle, but I felt the length. The first act dragged (we get it, Moses is hunky and charismatic and Ramses is not). The second half was pretty action-packed though, what with all of the plagues and Red Sea partings and pillars of fire and whatnot. The special effects didn’t age well, but it’s a 50 year old movie so really the fun of it is trying to figure out how they pulled it off with no CGI. I honestly don’t know if this is the best family Easter or Passover celebration though, if only because sugar-high kids hopped up on chocolate eggs and maccaroons will not be able to sit through all three and a half hours

Overall, it was fun to re-watch both movies. You have to admit that the book of Exodus adapts into a pretty great story, especially if you leave out those pesky 40 years wandering the desert. It’s got romance, drama, secret identities, plagues, and acts of God. Now, onto the beer!



First up was He’Brew’s IPA, which I have to say wasn’t my favorite. I get that IPA’s are supposed to be hoppy, but the hops overpowered every other taste in this beer. It pours amber and clear with a solid head and lacing. As it got warmer it got more citrus-y, but overall it was still too flat and bitter for me. I like my IPAs like I like my films: full of character. (nnnnneeeerrrrrrdddd)

Saison de Lente was next. This beer is clearly not brewed by Catholics, because if it was it would have a sad little kid poking at a piece of fish on the label instead of an Easter egg. Anyway, it poured with little head, cloudy and straw-colored. Smelled yeasty but spicy. It tasted spicy and yeasty as well, though not as flavorful as I would have liked. It did get better as it got warmer. I enjoyed it more than the IPA, and it was more drinkable, but still mostly just ‘eh.’

So there you have it, drinkers. Thank you to Gabe for allowing me to write this week, and thank you for introducing me to good beer.  Before I knew Gabe, I thought beer just tasted like beer, which is to say like guilt and sourness. Now I know that beer can taste like citrus or spice or cinnamon AND hops, which it turns out do not taste like guilt or sourness. Hooray for Gabe!hebrew-hop-manna

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
The Prince of Egypt:
-Standard 90s animated movie with biblical themes
-Cannot. Get. That. Song. Out. Of. My. Head.
-When you believe, somehow you will! Now you will! You will when you belieeeeve!

The Ten Commandments
-Charlton Heston was the Ryan Gosling of the 50’s: no shirts
-This is the most action-packed biblical adaptation ever
-De Mille made himself the voice of God. No one was surprised

He’Brew Hop Manna:Saison de Lente
-I either need to learn more about IPAs or drink less sucky ones
-Gabe should probably re-review this and get back to me (Why? Because I’m Jewish?)
-I don’t like my beer tasting like a pinecone

Saison de Lente:
-Not made by Catholics
-Spicier and more drinkable, but still kinda blah
-Two bombers in one night is two bombers too many. I can’t feel my face

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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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