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]

Clear and Present Danger

  • Directors: Phillip Noyce
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Tom Clancy, Screenplay, Donald Stewart, Steven Zaillian, John Milius
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer, Miguel Sandoval, Joaquim de Almeida, and, James Earl Jones

The film opens with a United States Coast Guard patrol boat stopping a suspicious yacht, finding that an American businessman and his family had been murdered by several men still operating the craft. The murdered man happens to have been a close friend of President of the United States. President Bennett (Donald Moffat) finds out that the man was murdered because of his ties to the Cali Cartel, having skimmed over $650 million from the Cartel for his own use. In his anger, the President tells James Cutter, his National Security Advisor, that the Colombian drug cartels represent “a clear and present danger” to the U.S., indirectly giving Cutter unofficial permission to take down the men responsible for his friend’s death.

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford), meanwhile, is appointed Deputy Director (Intelligence) when his friend, mentor, and boss Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) is diagnosed with an aggressive, and ultimately fatal, case of pancreatic cancer. Upon his appointment, Ryan is asked to go before the United States Congress to request increased funding of $70 million for ongoing CIA intelligence operations in Colombia. Congress agrees to provide the funding, with Senator Mayo receiving Ryan’s word that “no troops” or black-ops will be used in Colombia. Needing to keep an unwitting Ryan out of the loop, Cutter turns to CIA Deputy Director of Operations Robert Ritter, who secures a document giving him permission to do what he sees fit to take down the cartel. Ritter then assembles a black-ops team with the help of John Clark (Willem Dafoe), a secret field operative. Clark and his team travel to Colombia and begin destroying the various Cartel gangs, their equipment and hidden drug lab facilities.

Back home, Ryan angrily confronts the President, who was indirectly responsible for all the carnage. The President smugly tries to convince Ryan that he now holds “a chip in the big game” â€” by being in the loop of what happened, Ryan can use the President for special favors, in return for keeping the debacle secret. The late Admiral Greer would be the scapegoat instead. Ryan is unable to bear dishonoring the black-ops team who died in the raid, the innocent civilians (whom Cutter called “collateral damage”) who died from the aerial bomb at the villa and the legacy of his mentor. He angrily tells the President that he intends to blow the whistle at a Congressional Oversight Committee session despite the damage it could do to his career, saying to the President, “Sorry I don’t dance”. He then walks out of the Oval Office, and the film ends with Ryan beginning his testimony to Congress.