Bottle Shock

  • Directors: Randall Miller
  • Producers: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Brenda Lhormer, Marc Lhormer, J Todd Harris, Marc Toberoff
  • Writers: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Ross Schwartz
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina, Bradley Whitford, Miguel Sandoval, Eliza Dushku

Sommelier and wine shop owner Steven Spurrier, a British expatriate living in Paris, concocts a plan to hold a blind taste-test intended to introduce Parisians to the quality wines coming from elsewhere in the world (and save his business in the process). He travels to the not-yet-famous Napa Valley in search of contestants for his Judgment of Paris taste test, where a chance meeting introduces him to floundering vintner Jim Barrett of Chateau Montelena. Spurrier goes around Napa tasting chardonnays and leaving money for tasting. Through unfortunate circumstances, the chardonnay is lost and people go to throw it away. The local diner discovers it and buy it from them for Bo telling him to leave a crate as payment for the favor. Bo is picked to represent Chateau Montelena and travels to Paris where the taste test begins. While tallying the scores from the eight Parisian judges, Steven is shocked to find that Montelena has won. Each of the judges, choosing Montelena as their favorite continue to drink it as Steven tallies the scores and spit it out in shock at the news that it is, in fact, American. The report is featured in an article of Time and restaurants all around America are asked continually for the wine (Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973) and forced to state that they don’t have it. This twist of fate and the resultant oenological epiphany forever change their lives along with that of Barrett’s son, Bo, as well as the fortunes of Napa Valley wineries and the global wine industry as a whole. In the end, the futures of the characters are revealed to present day. Jim Barrett still makes wine at 81 at the time of this film’s release, Bo now runs the Chateau, a bottle of Montelena Chardonnay 1973 and the red wine, also from California, that had won the same competition were given a case at the Smithsonian Institute. Steven Spurrier hosted another contest, this time with full confidence that Parisian wine would win. California won again.[1]

Snatch.

  • Directors: Guy Ritchie
  • Producers: Matthew Vaughn
  • Writers: Guy Ritchie
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford, Lennie James, Ade, Robbie Gee, Benicio del Toro, Mike Reid

The movie begins with Turkish (Jason Statham) narrating. In Antwerp a valuable 86 carat diamond is stolen. Franky “Four-Fingers” (Benicio del Toro) takes the stone to London, but one of the Russian thieves tells him he can get a gun from Boris the Blade (Rade Serbedzija). Meanwhile Turkish and Tommy, who work in the world of unlicensed boxing matches, are preparing their fighter, Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty) for a match. Turkish sends Tommy, his cowardly, dim-witted accomplice, to go buy a new caravan. Turkish then notices Tommy has a gun bought from Boris the Blade, as they are dealing with the leader of the unlicensed boxing world, Brick Top (Alan Ford). Brick Top is a dangerous crime lord in London who kills people who displease him, and then feeds them to pigs. He’s counting on Turkish to win this fight, which means they cannot let him down.

The Russian tells Boris that he sent Franky to buy a gun, so Boris plans to steal the stone. In New York, Jewish crime boss Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz (Dennis Farina) is told Franky has the stone. Avi tells Franky to visit his cousin in London, Doug the Head (Mike Reid), an expert, so that they can sell the stone for what it’s worth. Avi also warns Franky (who is a compulsive gambler) to stay away from the casinos, especially with the diamond in tow. Franky then visits Boris, who offers him a gun if he places down a bet for an unlicensed boxing match at a bookies in Boris’ name.

The next day, the Pikeys are revealed to have left their campsite. While Turkish and Tommy are at where the Pikeys originally were, the cops show up and question them. Vinny’s dog then shows up, and they claim they were taking it for a walk. The cops let them go, and they both drive by Sol and Vinny who are also being questioned as to why they have Franky and Tony’s body in their trunk. We then cut back to the beginning of the film where Turkish and Tommy are in a room with an unknown man who is revealed to be Doug the Head. They ask him if he knows anyone who’d be interested in this diamond. Doug calmly suggests “he might”, and then calls up Avi, and who promptly heads back to London.

Saving Private Ryan

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn
  • Writers: Robert Rodat
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Jeremy Davies, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Dennis Farina

The film begins with an elderly World War II veteran (Harrison Young) and his family visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. The veteran collapses to his knees in front of a gravestone, overwhelmed by emotion. The scene then changes to the beginning of the Normandy invasion, with American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach and struggling against dug-in German Army infantry, machine gun nests and artillery fire. One of the officers who survives the initial landing, Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks), commanding officer of C Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, assembles a group of soldiers and slowly penetrates the German defenses, leading to a breakout from the beach.

Meanwhile, in the United States, General George C. Marshall discovers that three of the four brothers of the Ryan family have all died within days of each other and that their mother will receive all three notices on the same day. He learns that the fourth son, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon) of Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment is missing in action somewhere in Normandy. The drop target for Ryan’s unit was Neuville-au-Plain, Manche. After reading to his staff Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Mrs. Bixby, Marshall orders that Ryan be found and sent home immediately.

Back in the present, the elderly veteran is revealed to be Ryan at Miller’s grave. Ryan asks his wife to confirm that he has led a good life and that he is a “good man”, and thus worthy of Miller’s and the others’ sacrifice. He then salutes Miller’s grave as the camera pans down the gravestones to the American flag and fades out.