Wine Country, The Netflix Movie!
I had a chance to see a sneak peak of Wine Country, this past Sunday, on special invitation extended to the Patron Circle and vintner sponsors of Napa Valley Film Festival. I loved this movie and I loved how NVFF gave us the red carpet treatment! Before I go into my review… If you are on the fence about whether to purchase passes or whether to go in at the patron level for Napa Valley Film Festival 2019, then you should know that these kinds of events are some of the perks of investing at the Patron Level. Invitations to special screenings and parties take place all year long to patrons. As we get closer to NVFF 2019, there will be even more of these events. Here is my blog post about NVFF and why we love this festival and why we have committed to the patron level each year!
The VIP Reception at Erin Martin
It was really nice to sip on bubbles and wines courtesy of Raymond and JCB, in the extraordinary showroom of Erin Martin, which is conveniently just next door to the Cameo Theater in St. Helena. Both of these venues are jewels in St. Helena’s crown. The Cameo is a lovely small cinema serving a need in Napa Valley by showing independent movies, and always being so generous in supporting community events. It is one of the best spots to screen a film come festival season. Next door, Erin Martin’s design studio has generously hosted an annual party for the Film Festival each year. She offers some of the craziest home decor and interior design I have ever seen, but its genius and it works. Outside the box designer for sure. Not really what you think of when you think of wine country! I would love to have her decorate my future SF apartment someday (its a fantasy now, but if you don’t make plans for your dreams, then they just remain dreams, right?) She even has an almost life size T-Rex in the middle of the showroom, complete with a gold tooth! Brave. (Sorry folks, supposedly T-Rex is already sold!) Just click on this link and you will see her outside the box thinking. Cool website. Nibbles were provided by Elaine Bell Catering, who we all love in the valley. I have hired Elaine Bell for various parties over the years and have always been very happy with their creativity and professionalism. I was puzzled by the display of lavender popcorn, until I was told by the caterer that it features in the movie! That peaked my curiosity and I tried the popcorn (didn't really taste like lavender at all, oh well).
Photos of Erin Martin’s gallery (including T-Rex). Thanks to Sarah Hansen for sharing these! Does anyone think my friend, Jennifer, in the middle on the 2nd photo looks a little like Maya Rudolph?)
The Movie Screening at The Cameo…go see a movie here!
The Cameo is such a lovely little theater. It is small enough that there is no bad seat in the house, but the technology is excellent (Dolby, digital, and all the bells and whistles). There are cookies and goodies for purchase from The Model Bakery, Annie the Baker, Woodhouse Chocolate , fresh popped popcorn, and good wine for sale that you can take into the theater. It is a great venue during the Film Festival because the stage is so close to the audience that you really feel an intimate connection with the cast and filmmakers who come out for Q&A after the movie screening. Sadly at this event there were no members of the cast. That would have been so fun! The Cameo offers really cool events besides their regular movie screens, so you can check out their offerings here.
My Review of the Movie….finally!
Now to my review. Well, I throughly loved it. I was open to be entertained. I really wanted to enjoy it. It also hit my sweet spot as its a group of girlfriends coming from all over, in a little reunion to celebrate one of their 50th birthdays. I have organized quite a few girls’ trips in wine country and elsewhere, and I am also approaching the milestone birthday, so a lot of the humor really hit home for me. As a Napa local (Napkin, Napan, Napanista), I could truly appreciate some of the wine tasting jokes liberally sprinkled throughout. I would say the target demographic for this movie is women 40-70+. I suggest you grab a girlfriend or two, leave the husbands and the boyfriends out for this one, (though I think my husband enjoyed it). I would build a Girls Night In around it.
There were a lot of really funny scenes, some of them expected for this type of film, but a few very creative scenarios (not to give too much away, but watch for a squid, lavender popcorn, and a bunch of millennials in an art gallery). The fun laughs are combined with gorgeous aerial cinematography of Napa, sun filled scenes of a winery (Artesa) and Calistoga downtown. Hopefully these will entice more people to come visit us - we love visitors (even if we make fun of some of them!) Each character will remind you of a girlfriend you know, or possibly yourself. I definitely identified with Abby, played by Amy Poehler. Abby is the group’s organizer, who zealously over-plans every minute of the trip, even handing out printed itineraries. As we in wine country all know, trying to keep any group on track after a few glasses of wine is difficult, but with these girls its herding cats time. (Many of you know or could guess that I plan my girls’ trips very tightly - even relaxation time is planned out to the minute.)
Amy Poehler makes her directorial debut with this movie, and I think she killed it. The cast includes SNL and Groundlings comediennes, all masters of comedy, including Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey and Tina Fey. I mean, you kind of know what is going to happen….when girls get together for more than 12 hours, there is generally going to be some drama. We all love each other, but there’s always drama! The wine tasting humor gives it a fresh twist, that we locals here in wine country can especially chuckle. I also really loved the charming character of Devon (Jason Schwartzman), the chef/tour guide who “comes with the house”. He’s quirky and a doll, and perfectly cast for this role.
So, I give this 5 out of 5 stars! It is totally worth your time and I would see it again. In fact, I think there are some really good lines that I would like to quote occasionally. And its on Netflix, so its basically free and you can wear PJs and have a big slumber party. Gather your girl squad, some wine, and pop some lavender popcorn, and enjoy!
If you see it, let me know your favorite line!