Where’s Francis Ford Coppola When You Need Him?
I sat down in front of my big screen TV a couple mornings ago around 5:00am to watch “Wine Country”, the new Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph movie set in, yes, Wine Country. Having lived in that country for the past 30 years, I had an interest.
When the carafe of coffee was empty and the film ended I couldn’t stop thinking, “I wonder what a film about ‘Wine Country’ would be like?”
Granted, agriculture hans’t exactly been a topic that has lit up the silver screen and put butts in the seats over past many decades. And fermentation is about as exciting as watching…well…fermentation. And it’s true that rows and rows of vines can become the very definition of redundant.
It’s not like there aren’t good “wine country” stories to be told. “Bottle Shock” is literally the only real, American “wine country” story I’ve ever seen depicted on film (if anyone brings up Keanu Reeves I’ll barf on my keyboard…And “Sideways” wasn’t a story about Wine Country so let’s not have that discussion). It’s hardly the only one.
There are plenty of good stories about underdogs and Average Joes made good in wine country. Then there is the story of John Caldwell smuggling vines into the country with the eating of receipts from the feds and pulling the old vine-switchero when the authorities came for him and all. That would be a lot of fun.
What about a simple murder mystery in wine country that also depicts the culture of Napa or Sonoma in, say, the 1960s or 70s? I’d take that. The key is to wrap the plot around an honest exploration of wine country.
I don’t think Ms. Poehler’s new “Wine Country” is going to do that well. It’s a legitimate chick flick that is moderately entertaining so it will have some audience. However, it could have been filmed in just about any vineyard region. The film wasn’t really about any remotely approximating Napa, despite reportedly being filmed in Napa Valley. To be fair, though, no one involved in the making of this film claimed it would be about wine country.
The point is that It would have been nice if the film were a real “hit” if only because it may have inspired someone to write and produce a film about wine country. Where’s Francis Ford Coppola when you need him? Probably went and moved to Oregon.