Published on: November 9, 2012
We've had a number of stories this week about Flight
, the new Denzel Washington movie. Anheuser-Busch InBev brought the movie into the headlines by going to Paramount Pictures to ask the film studio to remove its Budweiser brand - or at least obscure its label - from all future digital copies of the movie, which, as the Hollywood Reporter
writes, "centers on an alcoholic pilot who guzzles alcohol and takes drugs both before and after he takes prevents a malfunctioning airplane from crashing."
For the moment, let's put the business story aside and consider Flight
as a piece of art.
To begin with, the interesting thing about Flight
is that the movie is almost completely different from what the trailers and advertisements would suggest. The movie is only airborne for the first 20-25 minutes or so, and after that is a Lost Weekend
-style look at drug and alcohol addiction through the eyes of the Washington character.
I have to confess that I don't think that the movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and is equal to Washington's searing, unsympathetic performance; he is unsparing in his willingness to examine all of the least attractive characteristics and compulsions of this thoroughly unlikeable character. You hate him, but you feel for him ... which is quite a trick.
The rest of the movie, I'm afraid, veers too often into soap opera; it all seems too predictable and convenient, and the beats of the screenplay go exactly where you expect them to. And it never really addresses how the airline captain manages to avoid being detected for all the years that he's apparently been flying under the influence, and doesn't talk about the responsibility shared by the corporation and people that never challenged him. (There's a great business lesson here - the importance of being willing to speak up, or not closing your eyes to matters of legality and morality that subvert and corrupt a corporate culture.) There is a moment late in the movie when the extent to which the organization is willing to enable Washington's character is made chillingly clear, but it is played for a quick laugh rather than for the moral failing that it represents.)
There are good supporting performances by Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood, but I cannot help but think that there is a problem with a movie in which the character you;'d most like to spend time with is the "Dr. Feelgood" drug pusher played with enormous verve by John Goodman - he may enable all of the airline captain's poor choices, but he also seems like he'd be a lot of fun to hang out with. (His appearances match up with all the best choices on the soundtrack.) Flight
is worth seeing for a towering lead performance. But don't expect a great movie. It isn't.
Some really good wines to suggest this morning...
• the 2011 Domaine Mittnacht Freres Pinot Blanc, which is described by Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines - which powers the MNB Wine Club, by the way, as having "pleasant scents of fresh butter and ripe orchard fruits nuanced with fine yeast notes ... fresh and complex on the pallet, the finish is crisp, fruity and quenching."
• the 2010 Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon, described by Nicholas Roberts as having an "intense, dark ruby color with enticing aromas of ripe, black plums and black currants. The richly textured plum and currant flavors are joined by accents of dark chocolate and some vanilla-scented oak. The ripe, vibrant tannins give the wine beautiful structure and an amazingly long finish."
I offer the Nicholas Roberts descriptions because they are far more detailed and sophisticated that I could offered. I just thought they were delicious.
BTW...if you haven't checked it out, you ought to click here to look into the MNB Wine Club
. It is a great way to find out about and taste some unusual and hard-to-find wines, and be a part of a growing segment of the MNB community.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.