Friday, July 24, 2009

Jason watches CORKED

So right after THE KID BROTHER at the Cal, I rushed over to the Camera 3 (I'm still a little giddy that it's back open) to catch a screening of CORKED, a new mockumentary about Sonoma wine country made by people who work there.

The key to a good mockumentary is it should be believable enough that you could be fooled into believing it's real. And this movie gets it just right. It follows the guys behind 4 very different wineries. There's the big, elitist winery, led by Donald Smythe (co-director Ross Clenenden). Best line (paraphrased): "The wine business is full of underdogs trying to take down the big guy. And that's not what America is about. I think it's about quality--for the right kind of people." There's the exhausted one-man winery, based on John Hawley of Hawley Winery (and father of co-director Paul Hawley). There's the old, established winery that just got new management--a spoiled rich brat whose father bought the winery to force him to take responsibility. Of course he clashes with the professional winemakers ("We're not gonna make Burgandy because we're not in fucking France!" "Hey, we should make Sake!"). And maybe strangest of all are Scogar--Scott and Gary, who've never been to wine country and just buy wines in bulk and put their own label on it. They're marketers, and are currently working on a wine for the urban hip-hop community, "Shizzle Creek".

The acting is all pretty good. As I said, for about 90% of the movie I could fool myself into believing it was a real documentary. There's also some great supporting characters. There are tourists who wanted to stomp grapes and are disillusioned by the reality of winemaking (they do get to spend a day on the picking crew, though). Vineyard manager Dane "the Dane-meister" Philips pretty much steals every scene he's in just by being himself (I think they said he's Paul Hawley's uncle). And I should mention Sara Woo as Allie, the spoiled rich brat's model girlfriend (and a total bitch on screen, but very nice in person).

Oh yeah, Paul Hawley, Ross Clenenden, Sara Woo (Allie, the art director, and San Jose native/publicist), and a producer (I think it was Brian Hoffman, but I'm not sure) were there for a Q&A afterwards. And they were all cool.
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