Tag Archives: Tim Burton

Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper Imperial Stout & The Nightmare Before Christmas

Hey there, Drinkers!

What’s this?! A nightmare after Christmas? Yes, it’s true. And in true Christmas fashion, I’m giving you a gift after the fact now that the crowds have died down at Target. Though, to be truthful, this review was supposed to be out earlier but life decided that the holidays would be a great time for me not feel so hot. But here we are! With Santa’s Little Helper in hand and The Nightmare Before Christmas on  my screen, we’ve lined up a holiday that will be hard to forget!

…unless you’re Jewish like me and always get confused between the concept of Christmas Eve with Christmas Day with Christmas Eve Day with Christmas Day Eve. It really is confusing…But let’s get started, shall we?

On tonight’s menu is the short-but-sweet 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. And while most people  (albeit understandably) associate this super stop-motion film with Tim Burton, he is actually not the director. Yes he helped write and produce it, but frequent collaborator Henry Selick is actually credited as the director. Yes, Burton’s fingerprints all over this film but I thought it was an interesting distinction to make. But beyond that technicality, I’m just going to assume  that all of you have seen this movie. I mean, I’ve seen it like 50 times. And Jack Skellington, our protagonist, appears on so many angsty teenaged girls’ clothing and apparel that it’s hard not to be familiar with the film at least in an abstract or artistic sense. And while I still don’t really get why the film has become a fashion statement, I do get why this film is frickin’ awesome. Aside from the impressive technical foundation on which any stop-motion film stands, it’s also a musical! With the exception of maybe two songs, the musical component of this film, expertly crafted by the unparalleled Danny Elfman, is utterly engaging. It drives the plot forward, is playful and fully integrated into the core of the film. And, most importantly, the songs are incredibly catchy! Who knew that the simple phrase “this is Halloween” could play over and over in your head?

Let's all sing along with the living incarnation of Death!

Let’s all sing along with the living incarnation of Death!

All fandom aside, I should point out how utterly dark and creepy this film is. What kind of Halloween’s did Tim Burton experience as a child? These monsters are scary and really sadistic (as good monster are wont to do, I guess). I feel like if this Halloween were based on reality, everyone in Halloween Town would have just been really really slutty. But hey, it’s a movie. Let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment. But aside from the creep-factor, those same monsters do provide a clear perspective on how carefully this film was constructed. The individual detail and characterization of every creature is immaculate and fully-realized. What could have easily been a hammy and cliche Halloween village is instead a fully realized universe inhabited with a plethora of distinct characters . Few live-action movies get even that right, so to see it in a movie with no flesh-and-blood actors is truly remarkable and refreshing. Not to mention that Oogie-Boogie is one of the more entertaining bad guys you’ll find on the silver screen. For the none of you who have not seen this film, don’t wait until next Halloween or Christmas to give it a whirl. Watch it now! Remember, This Is Halloween!

Children welcome

Children welcome

And Santa’s Little Helper? Well, for starters, I think it’s an understatement to call a beer that boasts 10% ABV a “little helper.” This Imperial Stout from Port Brewing is one of the stronger beers I’ve reviewed here on BAAM and, to be honest, I’m still feeling it. The beer wasn’t boozy, mind you, it’s just that it’s a high ABV beer and I drank the whole bomber. By myself. Hurray for Thursday nights! But seriously, this imperial stout poured a classic deep, dark black with a rich chocolate-brown head. Instantly you’re hit with a strong nose of chocolate malt with hints of coffee. And that’s pretty much what it tastes like. In my experience, I find that most imperial stouts, while delicious and perfect for that chilly winter night, all have these same basic characteristics. What it comes down to for me with these beers is the body, the booziness and how it warms. In that regard, Santa’s Little Helper holds up pretty well. It’s got an unexpectedly medium-body without too much booziness. This meant that I had an easy drink that didn’t weigh me down or make me pucker up too much from the alcohol. And as it warmed, I found that these characteristics came out even more. In a sense, the warming smoothed it all out. Where the was a hint of booze right after I poured, once it reached room temperature that small bite mellowed out. Overall, this is a very good Imperial Stout. Perfect for sipping over a long period of time. So chuggers, find another beer!

So that’s it, folks. A holiday classic (that’s not an overstatement, is it?) paired with a very good, hearty winter beer. Not that The Nightmare Before Christmas needs a hand, but it was nice having Santa’s Little Helper at my side tonight. I think we’ll call this Christmas a win!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:Santa's Little Helper from Port Brewing in a glass.
Port Brewing’s Santa’s Little Helper Imperial Stout:
-Lovely, dark pour
-Rich, chocolate head
-Medium-body & not too boozy

The Nightmare Before Christmas
-A nice change of pace from your other holiday films
-Beautifully realized, even if it is creepy
-Catchiest, darkest lyrics you’ll find

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Guest Review: Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale & Sleepy Hollow

Tonight’s review comes courtesy of my brother, Jesse. Since he’s a dedicated BAAM reader, he decided to pick a beer I’ve already reviewed…for a second opinion! Enjoy! Or don’t. This really isn’t his thing anyway.

Greetings, drinkers!

Tonight you are in for a treat, as your intrepid, indefatigable author has handed the reins to me, his older, significantly better looking brother.  Will I crash and burn and take down BAAM with me, or will my prose be so enlightening, so utterly indescribably wondrous that you, the faithful BAAM reader, will abandon Gabe for the charms of his senior? 

Ok, probably none of the above.  With that longwinded introduction out of the way, and with my sincerest apologies in advance, tonight’s pairing is in keeping with the traditional October theme of Halloween spooks… and beheadings.  That’s right, tonight we review Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and Rogue Dead Guy Ale.  A fairly obvious pairing, but hey, this is my first BAAM.

You may be familiar with this story from your school years, or have seen Burton’s 1999 adaptation, starring Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, a New York police constable sent to investigate a series of gruesome murders in the town of Sleepy Hollow.  The film also stars a silent yet terrifying Christopher Walken as the Horseless Headsman (in his head-inclusive scenes).

A dentist’s worst nightmare.

The movie certainly does not shy away from gore – Burton revels in the separation of heads from shoulders – yet I found the most cringe-inducing scene to be the bloody tree of death.  Beyond the gore, the scenery, lighting and muted color pallet sets the mood wonderfully for this entertaining thriller that still manages to not take itself too seriously.  As a non sequitur, Harry Potter fans will notice several side characters featured here: Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel/ Rita Skeeter), Richard Griffiths (Magistrate Philipse/ Vernon Dursley) and of course Michael Gambon (Baltus Van Tassel/Professor Dumbledore).

Nearly Headless Nick can suck it!

And what of Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale?  It was a tasty, medium bodied ale.  While it has a strong hops undertone, it did not overpower the other flavors.  Smooth to drink, with a bit of sweetness behind it as well that reminded me of a Magic Hat #9 (though not as fruity).  I’d recommend Dead Guy for anyone seeking a unique beer that doesn’t veer too far away from what you expect out of an ale.  Finally, to those keeping track, yes BAAM has reviewed this beer before, but hey, I’m a guest blogger.  Cut me some slack.

Thanks for reading, BAAMers, and thanks little bro for the guest post!

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Rogue Dead Guy Ale:
-Well-balanced combination of malt and hops
-22 ounces for twice the fun
-A bit derivate of a better Dead Guy Ale review (said the editor of the this review)

Sleepy Hollow:
-A fun, non-traditional horror-thriller hybrid
-Classic Burton feel, including the gore
-Fun for the whole family!
(fun blogging for the whole family, the editor additionally stated)

Once again, a special thanks to my brother Jesse for this review. Assuming he didn’t instill violent discontent in you, the readers, maybe we’ll bring him back in the future. Stay tuned later this week for another Halloween special featuring Anne from We Recycle Movies. Keep drinking, my friends!

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Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale & Beetlejuice

Hey there, drinkers!

Now that I’m back from the East Coast (aka Sixpoint Brewery and Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project drinking-trip) and have somewhat reliable internet,  BAAM is back! Tonight’s combo actually comes from a friend of mine.  A few weeks ago, a good college friend came down to Los Angeles with a “thanks for letting me crash at your place” gift of four bombers of Rogue brews (she’s from Portland).  The only condition of her lovely gift, other than being able to stay at my place, was that I pair the beer with the uniquely bizarre 1988 film BeetleJuiceSo, being the awesome friend that I am, I happily drank all 22 ounces of the beer with a quizzical smile on my face as I tried to figure out what Beetlejuice was all about. So shall we?

Tim Burton’s 1988 Academy award-winning film (it won for makeup, but a win is a win!) is, simply put, the story of a dead couple trying to rid their home of new, obnoxious tenants. Unsure of what to do, they kinda-sorta ask this weird dude named Beetlejuice to help them out. Michael Keaton, in one of his most bizarre roles (other than Batman…thanks for that one, Tim Burton!), performs some low-grade shenanigans and the two previously frustrated parties make amends. But the plot is mostly irrelevant as that’s not really what the movie is about. Sure, the movie makes a hint of sense, but the film’s primary purpose is to serve as a forum for Tim Burton’s now tired but distinct visual style. Using asymmetric angles, bright colors and creepy stop-motion animation, Tim Burton successfully creates a thoroughly realized world that we can all appreciate for its quirkiness. But really, the movie has almost no point whatsoever. It’s mostly just an expensive way for Tim Burton to show off his artistic sensibilities. The supposed danger that is Beetlejuice is never explained and he does not serve as the focal point of the film. He’s mostly there to be silly, like most other parts in this film. For example, a young Winona Ryder plays a My Chemical Romance-esque goth girl and Alex Baldwin is skinny. Catch my drift?

Academy award nominee Winona Ryder!

It’s all just too weird to handle. For me, Beetlejuice is one of those films is that mostly remembered for being stylish. If you’re really in the mood for some Tim Burton, go watch The Nightmare Before Christmas or Edward ScissorhandsDon’t even both with Mars Attacks!I already took care of that one for you.

This really explains nothing about the film.

And our other Dead Guy? Well, this isn’t BAAM’s first rodeo with Rogue. In fact, this is BAAM’s third booze-fueled rodeo with the Portland brewery, so I guess they’re doing something right. The Dead Guy Ale pours a very nice honey/amber color with about an inch of head and smells pretty much like how it tastes. With a strong, malty backbone, the Dead Guy is actually a remarkably well-balanced beer. It’s quite smooth and easy to drink despite holding onto that distinct malty flavor. The fact that it’s 6.5% ABV (just above average) also helps to make this beer a real crowd pleaser. I found that it wasn’t too dark to keep casual drinkers away and wasn’t too light to earn condemnation from beer snobs like myself. And so, despite its name, I found the Dead Guy to be quite lively…I couldn’t help myself. I’m sorry.

So that’s it, drinkers! A baffling, if not stylish, film and a simply tasty beer to help you get through it. The quiet buzz I got from drinking 22 ounces by myself helped wash down this bizarrely empty film. And before any of you Burton-lovers come down on me for being a hater, I invite you to take a look at his next film. Frankenweenie. Or Planet of the Apes.

Really?

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale:
-Appealing, amber color
-Very well-balanced beer while still remaining “dark”
-Easy-to-drink & approachable

Beetlejuice:
-Beetlejuice (Michael Keeton?)
-Betelguese (Winona Ryder?)
-Betelguise (What just happened?)

 

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New Belgium’s Biere De Mars & Mars Attacks!

Evening, Drinkers.

Well, that was terrible.  Truly just awful. I mean, thank god for beer and having a friends to watch movies with (thanks Anne!) because otherwise I think I would have just turned Mars Attacks! off. Without exaggeration or hyperbole, this was the worst movie I’ve watched for BAAM. Keep in mind that this is stacked up against god awful heavyweights like Megapython Vs. Gatoroid and IroncladYeah, it was that bad. Yay! Let’s do a review!

Before tonight, I was actually kind of excited to see Tim Burton’s 1996 film Mars Attacks! I had managed to avoid seeing it over the years and I had only heard great things about it. I knew it was supposed to be a bit campy and zany, but most opinions seemed to rate the movie as quite funny and entertaining. I would rate my experience as the opposite of funny and entertaining. Without listing off the litany of issues I have with this movie (and we’ll just ignore the plot considering it doesn’t have one), I’ll just briefly talk about what bothered me most. Whether you know it or not, Tim Burton is trying to channel B-film legend Ed Wood in Mars Attacks!. Ed Wood is known for his horribly campy and cheaply made sci-fi and horror films, such as the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space. The thing about campy movies, and Ed Wood, is that they are unconsciously terrible. It’s not as if Ed Wood set out to make terrible movies. He actually believed in his work and committed to it whole-heartedly, allowing the audience to forgive the director and just laugh along with the movie. In the case of Tim Burton and Mars Attacks!, you can tell that Tim Burton is actively trying to be self-reflexively campy. The result is that the movie doesn’t feel campy at all. It’s just terrible. It feels like a waste of money and a good cast. No one is likable. Nothing makes sense and nothing is explained. It seems to me that purpose of the film is it’s own absurdity. Unfortunately, a film can’t stand solely on pointless absurdity. As a result, despite an excessive number of explosions and body-meltings, the movie drags. I kept checking my watch, hoping the movie was over. I really could keep talking about how awful this movie was, but it just makes me angry. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to my happy place. My happy, beer-filled place.

Oh but before we change subjects, let’s just list off the fabulous cast of this film:

Jack Nicholson          Rod Steiger
Glenn Close               Michael J. Fox
Annette Benning      Sarah Jessica Parker
Pierce Brosnan          Pam Grier
Danny DeVito            Natalie Portman
Martin Short              Jack Black

Why? Just why?

Dear god let’s talk about beer. Okay so tonight I cracked open a bomber of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series Biere De Mars. This clever twist on a Biere de Garde pours a hazy golden, copper color and instantly gives off a sweet aroma. Quite fruity with a distinct maltiness to it, this beer is actually quite light in its body. The beer is only 6.5%, which helps keep it fairly light but it’s not particularly complex in its flavor. It’s very easy to drink and it offers few surprises. Though the beautifully designed bottle (see below) spoke of spice, I didn’t really get that. To me, the beer was fairly simple and uncomplicated. Not in a bad way, just not in an extraordinary way. But that’s fine. New Belgium makes so many great beers that this one has a bit of a pedigree to stand up to.

So while the beer didn’t obliterate the memory of this awful, awful movie, it certainly helped me through it. This movie goes beyond non-sensical to just plain stupid. The films tries so hard to be campy while also acknowledging how campy it is. The end result is that the film gets twisted up in itself and delivers absolutely nothing. It’s safe to say that you can skip this one. And that I might have been better off sneaking this beer in to see John Carter.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
New Belgium’s Biere De Mars:
-Great hazy copper color
-Light body
-Fruity aroma & taste

Mars Attacks!:
-Great cast doing nothing but getting killed.
-Tim Burton wishes he were Ed Wood.
-Just go watch Plan 9 From Outer Space. You’ll be happier.

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