The Peoples Critic

News and Commentary on Movies that Matter

Brew & View

July 2015

redundancyA coworker said to me yesterday, “So a new Terminator movie and a Jurassic Park sequel are being released in theaters, and Clinton and Bush are running for President.  What year is it?”  That got me thinking about the redundancies that occur right under our nose, and how sometimes we don’t even notice.  This week’s Brew and View follows this same theme.  Summer movie season is upon us and next week is a big one for the movies as it leads into the Independence Day holiday.  Now some people just don’t have time to hit the movies during the holiday week.  They don’t have time to see the humans versus robots conflict in Terminator Genisys, and they don’t have time to see the living teddy bear named Ted’s quest to be deemed a real person in Ted 2.  What if I told you all of this is basically a cinematic redundancy?  That one film from 2001 offers all of this and more, and you can watch it from the comfort of your own couch with a brew in your hand?  That’s right, Steven Spielberg’s first film of his “Running Man” trilogy is that film, and it’s called A.I: Artificial Intelligence.  

Here, instead of Terminators, the robots are called Mechas, but they are still human inventions gone AIwrong.  What about that bear you say?  Well the David, the Mecha played by Haley Joel Osmment has a Mecha teddy bear named Ted.  Oh and don’t worry about that subplot from Ted 2 about something formally thought of as property looking to be called human. A.I. has got that covered too as David is on a quest to find the “Blue Fairy” in the hopes that she can change him from Mecha to a real boy, Pinocchio style!

A film like this needs a carefully paired brew.  One that while familiar, also has an air of “Never too much of a good thing.”  That’s why this week’s brew is Dogfish Head Brewery’s Herbed/Spiced BeeMidasTouchr Midas Touch.  Made with ingredients found in drinking vessels over 2000 years ago, this beer fits with the redundancy premise.  It’s a pretty unique beer for having such an old foundation.  You might experience the sensation of drinking mead while drinking Midas Touch, with hints of grape and honey.  King Midas may not be here to turn this summer’s movies into gold, but enjoy the beer named in his honor by watching a better film that has all the same stuff in it!

June  2015

prestigeWe’re back!  The Summer Brew and View partnership between The People’s Critic aBells-Uranus-Black-Double-IPAnd Pantheon Brewing Co. founder, Michael Kaplan is back for year two!  Summer is a magical time of year, so it’s fitting that Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI has released its sixth brew in their planet series: Uranus, nicknamed “The Magician.”  This double black IPA is out of this world!  Hoppy from the start, this Black IPA deceives you with hints of citrus and chocolate rather than the malty heft usually associated with these styles.  This is a sipping beer that pays off big, but have a bite to eat before tackling this 9.5% ABV brew, or the only disappearing act you’ll see is your memory of your evening.

And what better film to pair with a beer as masked in prestidigitation as “The Magician” than one that combines the magic of the silver screen with that of illusionists.  That’s right, this week’s film pairing is Christopher Nolan’s fifth movie, The Prestige.  Like his film Inception, this film was a follow-up to a Batman film.  After Batman Begins, Nolan and his brother Jonathan wrote this suspenseful movie about two rival magicians who become tangled in a dark battle to pull off the greatest illusion ever performed (much like how I imagine the brewers at Bell’s battled as they set out to create the best Double Black IPA).  Christian Bale stars with Hugh Jackman along with some very strong supporting work from Scarlet Johansson, David Bowie, and of course, Michael Caine.  According to the film, the term “prestige” is one magicians use to describe the final part of a trick where something vanished reappears.  This term will likely also apply to your empty glass the moment you realize you’re out of “The Magician.”  Enjoy and drink responsibly!  See you next week.

October 10, 2014

gigliHaven’t had enough Affleck?  Well this week’s Brew and View is sure to change that!  This week’s Brew and View is an interesting choice. Perhaps because it is October and Halloween is near that prompted The People’s Critic to force Pantheon Brewing Co. founder, Michael Kaplan to drudge up memories better left back in 2003. Still Kaplan is up for the challenge and offers a pairing that complements a film that virtually no one has ever complemented before.  No, this week’s selection involves no serial killer, no otherworldly haunting, nor a mythical monster. This week is something far more terrifying…. Bennifer!! Like Jason rising from the dead to terrorize overtly affectionate teenagers, the original super couple is back for a viewing of Gigli. The question posed to Pantheon Brewing was: What does one pair with arguably the worst movie of all time? My initial reaction was go for the worst beer ever made like Natural Light Ice, Milwaukee’s Best, or even Shlitz Malt Liquor. But no. I can never condone the drinking of those beverages, even tongue in cheek. Instead we will allow the pendulum to swing to the other end of the spectrum to the rarified air of those beers deemed the Best Beers ever crafted. Two that come to mind are Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing and Hopslam from Bell’s. But for this gem of a movie I can’t help but recommend Celebrate by Sierra Nevada. It’s hoppiness is nice and bitter which echoes our fascinating with the voyeuristic nature of our society. It is also biscuity and smooth which feels like a soothing balm to the hoppy envy of the “perfect couple” that simmered under the collective skins of society. And above all, at 6.8% it’s going to kick start a good time so no matter what your mindset is, you’re going to soon forget the bad script and worst acting and find yourself enjoying and celebrating the friends and loved ones in the room with you. If Gigli can help us to do that, one could argue it may be the BEST movie ever made…

September 26, 2014

neighborsHowdy, neighbors. This week’s brew and view is a homage to those folks across the property line. Autumn is in the air and nothing beats a crisp evening, sitting out on the deck, sharing a few brews with the people who can instantly affect your property value. That being said, tonight’s viewing suggestion is Neighbors. It’s slap stick, it’s anarchic, and it’s the best use of Robert De Niro impressions to ever hit the big screen! A film like this needs a brew recommendation that walks a fine line. Like the film’s conflict, this beer must garner the sophisticated and erudite tastes of the successful middle class but still ring true to the throw away swill of a college frat party. It must have the sense of purity of a finely crafted ale and yet the irony of a Zima. Therefore, tonight’s brew suggestion is the Jack-O Traveler Shandy from The Traveler Beer Co. This Pumpkin ale is a fall favorite and hits just the right notes of refinement and frivolity. On first taste, the lemon peel leaps onto your taste buds like an airbag exploding out of an office chair, but it’s that refreshing seasonal spice that you’re left with, which is ultimately as satisfying as the disgustingly cute pictures of the main characters’ baby dressed like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad and Don Draper from Mad Men.  Cheers and happy Friday!

September 13, 2014

Captain AmericanFor the past 13 years, September has been a month of reflection and patriotism. We are invited to ponder what it is to be an American and to consider the lengths we would go to protect the freedoms we have fought so hard to protect. That’s why for tonight’s Brew and View, The People’s Critic recommends a film that stands for those same values and may be this year’s most entertaining movie thus far, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In 1941 the chips were down in World War II. America was attempting to maintain neutrality when Captain America first appeared in March of 1941. By December, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor catapulted the US into the war and Captain America began his own battle against the Axis powers. The motive for Captain America quickly became protecting his homeland from threats, and while ostensibly a children’s comic book character, the reality was that his popularity was at its peak during wartime because people needed a hero. Fitting that tonight’s brew continues this patriotic tradition. Michael Kaplan, founder of Pantheon Brewing Company recommends Sam Adams Boston Lager as tonight’s brew. Named after an American patriot who lead the movement that became the American Revolution, this beer pairs nicely with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Like Steve Rogers, this beer longs to be one of the guys yet has an unimpressive body, but what it lacks in body it makes up in heart. The strong taste and complex flavors will remind you why this beer has been a leader of the craft beer movement. So grab a pint a watch the First Avenger kick some ass!

September 6, 2014

Two for the MoneyTonight’s Brew and View features a pairing that turns the page on summer and puts you firmly in fall’s grasp.  With the NFL’s opening weekend upon us, The People’s Critic selects a fine but forgotten football film from 2005 starring Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino called Two for the Money.  McConaughey does his fair share of oat sowing in this film, so Eric Kuczewski’s suggestion for tonight’s brew is New Holland Brewing’s The Poet oatmeal stout.  This creamy stout’s opaque appearance mirrors the relationship between McConaughey and Pacino, and like the game of football itself, this stout is bittersweet but has rich character (or characters).  Still, Two for the Money is not really about football; it’s about picking winners and losers.  And New Holland has a winner with this mildly alcoholic but complex beer.  Cheers and happy Saturday!

August 29, 2014

IMG_3301-1.GIFLabor Day weekend. To some, it is the annual celebration of the American Labor movement. To others, it is a welcomed break from the daily grind during the dog days of summer. To most, it means Back to School! While a good film exists for each of these circumstances, my recommendation as a teacher lands on the latter. So for this week’s Brew and View, my recommendation is Back to School starring the incomparable Rodney Dangerfield. For this film, Pantheon Brewing Co selects Bells’ Oberon. Much like Thornton Melon himself, Oberon is beloved by so many. Growing up, this time of year was filled with excitement, trepidation and a little bit of melancholy that the freedom of summer was ending. We taste that in the bottled sunshine and carefree attitude that accompanies every taste of this refreshing wheat beer. The orange zest is much like Sally Kellerman’s role as Dr. Diane Turner. She is love, passion and everything right about the power of the written word. She is refreshing and lively, especially set in juxtaposition to Paxton Whitehead’s portrait of the uptight Dr. Barbay, intent on the demise of our fun-loving protagonist. And come on, who doesn’t love Robert Downey Jr. heckling divers?! As adults, we accept the fact that summer must end. This is true for “Oberon Season” as well. With that in mind, grab some Bell’s and cherish the last remaining rays of Helios’s golden smile. And if you’re feeling especially daring, try your hand at a Triple Lindy. You may just get some respect.

August 15, 2014

Tonight’s Brew and View is approached with a heavy heart as The People’s Critic joins with Pantheon Brewing Co. to honor a man who has claimed his own spot in the pantheon of comedy: Robin Williams. The People’s Critic’s choice for this week’s view is “Good Will Hunting,” which contains Williams’s most acclaimed performance. Pantheon Brewing Company’s founder, Michael Kaplan feels the best pairing for this film would be Harpoon Leviathan IPA by a local Boston brewery, Harpoon Brewing. Up front, this beer is big and bold and full of flavor and life, like Robin himself. This Imperial IPA is brewed with loads of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt backbone to balance the hop intensity. This is a difficult balance to strike, much like the balance Williams displayed in being a comic genius while at the same time winning an Oscar as a dramatic actor. The finish is dry and the bitterness is smooth but it lingers. The People’s Critic and Pantheon Brewing Co. feel that this loss will linger on our tongues for awhile too. We understand that a “brew and view” may not be the most appropriate way to eulogize this particular figure, but humbly affirm that our hearts and “spirits” are in the right place. Happy Friday!

August 8, 2014

Well, it’s Friday and it’s 5:00, which means it’s time for the weekly Brew and View! This week The People’s Critic teams up with Eric Kuczewski, a renowned and celebrated member of the Dark Horse Brewery Mug Club in Marshall, Mi. This week’s “View” in honor of today’s date being 8/8 is Kill Bill and as The Bride creates a perpetual blood bath of those Crazy 88, Eric suggests you grab a pint of Dark Horse’s Reign in Blood Orange. This opaque copper-brown bodied beer is nice looking like Uma herself but don’t let your guard down because the spicy orange zest comes at you like a Black Mamba! After a few of these, you may not be able to “wiggle your big toe” given the nearly 6% Abv! Still, this beer is the perfect match to quench your thirst for blood and revenge on those who have beaten you senseless and left you to die…garnish with a crustless sandwich if watching Volume 2. Enjoy and happy Friday!

August 1, 2014

The People’s Critic has teamed up with Pantheon Brewing Co. to bring you the weekly Brew and View! With Guardians of the Galaxy opening this weekend, this week’s “view” is another intergalactic Zoe Saldana film, Star Trek: Into DarknessPantheon Brewing’s founder Michael Kaplan chooses Left Hand Brewing’s Nitro Milk Stout as this week’s accompanying “brew.” It’s big and bold but extremely smooth and easy to drink. The nitrogen and milk stout combine to make it a subtle yet interesting beer, and much like Khan himself, there is more than meets the eye. At 6% it’s no pushover, but it’s not making a show of its strength either; it should remind you of Capt Kirk. Spock and I concur that this sweet stout is the logical choice as tonight’s pairing. Happy Friday!

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