Star Wars Downunder: The Good, The Bad & The Thirsty

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For some reason I really got caught up in the hoopla of Star Wars Day today. But what about beer and Star Wars, you might ask? Believe it or not, I found something. It’s an interesting fan film made in Australia, entitled Star Wars Downunder. It’s shot in 35mm and took 10 years to make, directed and co-written by Michael Cox. And because it’s Australian, it’s also about beer. The creators describe it by asking “what would happen if you crossed Star Wars with an Australian beer commercial?” And their answer was “Star Wars Downunder: an epic tale of the good the bad and the thirsty, described as “half an hour of action, special effects and lovable Aussie larakins.” On the film’s website, they recount the plot as follows:

The film tells the story of a lone Jedi: Merve Bushwacker (David Nicoll), returning home after a long absence. His mission? To partake in a refreshing beverage, known locally as amber fluid. On his arrival, he is dismayed to discover the planet has become as dry as a dead dingo′s donger, thanks to the tyrannical rule of Darth Drongo. Drongo has hoarded all the amber fluid in his impenetrable fortress “Dunny’s Deep” for reasons unknown. Can Merve, and a motley collection of unlikely allies band together to topple Drongo’s evil regime? Will liberty and amber fluid flow freely once more?

As many reporting on the film lament, there’s no scene in which the character says: “That’s not a loightsabah! THAT’S a loightsabah!” And while that would have been hilarious, there are, however, lightsaber boomerangs, because … well, why wouldn’t there be? Here’s the trailer:

Star Wars Downunder Trailer from Michael Cox on Vimeo.

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Intrigued? You’re in luck, because you can watch the entire 30-minute film on YouTube, or below.

Reservoir Dogs Beers

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The debut film of auteur filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was the violent heist film Reservoir Dogs. I remember being blown away by it when I saw it in the theatre when it was released in 1992, and especially the stylish opening credits scene with the principal characters walking down an alley in slow-motion to the nearly forgotten 1970s hit Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection.

One of my favorite devices is that the six characters involved in the heist are each given code names so they won’t accidentally reveal their names during the diamond robbery and be able to give away each other’s identities should they be caught. Here’s the main cast, in order of their appearance in the slow-motion opening credits:

  1. Harvey Keitel as Lawrence Dimmick: Mr. White
  2. Michael Madsen as Vic Vega: Mr. Blonde
  3. Chris Penn as Eddie Cabot: Nice Guy Eddie
  4. Steve Buscemi: Mr. Pink
  5. Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot
  6. Edward Bunker: Mr. Blue
  7. Quentin Tarantino: Mr. Brown
  8. Tim Roth as Detective Freddie Newandyke: Mr. Orange

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Earlier this month, Brazilian art student Peter de Andrade, for a school project created a series of beer labels based on the film, using “cães de aluguel,” which translates in Portuguese to, of course, Reservoir Dogs. The artist created the labels as if they were brewed by the Brazilian brewery Cervejaria Wäls, which each label and type of beer based on the film character’s code name color. As far as I know, Wäls was not involved and isn’t planning on making the Reservoir Dogs beers. Coincientally, there is a Reservoir Dogs Brewery in Slovenia.

Mr. White, a Pilsner
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Mr. Blonde, an Ale, presumably a Blonde Ale
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Mr. Blue, a Weisss beer
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Mr. Brown, a Stout
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Mr. Orange, an Amber Ale
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It’s a pretty cool idea, and I’d love to see the actual beer made. There’s really only one question about all of this. Where the hell is Mr. Pink?

Beerish Birthday: Nathan Fillion

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This is not, strictly speaking, a beer birthday, which is why I called it a “beerish” one, but my wife and I are both Browncoats, fans of the criminally short-lived television show Firefly. Like many Browncoats, we’ve continued to follow its cast members, especially the star of Firefly, and its companion film Serenity, Nathan Fillion. Today is Nathan Fillion’s 44th birthday.

Fillion is currently one of the stars of the hit TV show on ABC: Castle, which is now in its seventh season. He was also Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog (in fact a few years ago in All About Beer magazine’s “It’s My Round” when I wrote Living In The Silver Age, the photo showed me wearing a Captain Hammer t-shirt). Some of Fillion’s films include Waitress and Slither, and he was the “wrong” Ryan in Saving Private Ryan. Some of his television appearances include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Drive and Desperate Housewives, and he got his start on the soap opera One Life To Live.

Before he’d had a hit TV series, my wife attended a Firefly convention in Los Angeles and Fillion not only attended it but was at one of the after parties that she was involved in. Thanks to me, she brought the beer — a collection of whatever I could part with from the cellar at that time. Sarah snapped a photo of Fillion drinking one of those beers, Drake’s IPA, through a curly straw. Join me in wishing Nathan a very happy birthday. And if you aren’t watching Castle or haven’t seen Firefly, you owe it to yourself to right that wrong.

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Beer Birthday: Anat Baron

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Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, four years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.

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Anat behind the bar.

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Publicity photo for Beer Wars.

Craft: New Documentary About California Breweries

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This looks interesting. Jeff Smith and Fran Ellsworth are directing and producing a new documentary film about California breweries entitled “Craft: The California Beer Documentary.” They recently released their first trailer, which you can watch below. All I know at this point is from a short description of their project. “A road trip throughout California, learning from the master brewers of the state. It’ll also feature interviews with beer enthusiasts and home-brewers.”

Film History: Old Man Drinking A Beer

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Here’s a curious piece of film (and beer) history. I don’t know if it’s the first time someone was filmed drinking a beer, but I imagine it has to be one of the first. The film is from 1898 (or 1897), and is known as Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer, though it’s also sometimes known as Comic Face. Frankly, he doesn’t look that old to me.

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It was made by legendary British filmmaker George Albert Smith and features a close-up of comedian Tom Green drinking a beer and making faces. Green was a local Brighton comedian and was known for his “pantomime harlequinades at the Brighton Aquarium.” He went on to appear in many subsequent films made by Smith.

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This was apparently a groundbreaking development in film, showing the actor close up making changing facial expressions and this type of film became known as a “facial,” defined as “a work showing a variety of facial expressions to the audience.” According to one source, “the ability to get close up to the star was a great advantage that film had over the stage and early filmmakers were keen to exploit it,” and in this one Green is shown in a single shot “drinking a glass of beer whose face and hands become increasingly lively as a result.”

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Here you watch the entire 38-second silent film:

Beer In Film #99: Beoir, A Tale of Ireland’s Craft Ale

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Today’s beer film is trailer for Beoir: A Tale of Irelands Craft Ale which looks like it could be a very interesting, cool film about Ireland’s growing craft beer scene. Here’s the description of the film:

Beoir, (the Irish word for beer), is a short film about the emerging Irish craft brewery scene, showcasing The Donegal brewing company, Innishmacsaint brewing company, Mescan brewing company, Kinnegar brewing company and Poker Tree brewing company. These new mainly farmhouse breweries are based on the wonderful green island of Ireland. This film showcases not only the breweries but the Island of Ireland itself. Listen to the brewers tell their story in their own words and follow them on their journey at the very start of this emerging craft brewing scene in Ireland. From under Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick to the lakes of Fermanagh, Beoir is a fascinating and beautifully shot film.

Beer In Film #92: The Beer Hunter Episode 6 — Our Daily Beer

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Today’s beer film is the sixth of Michael Jackson’s six-part series, The Beer Hunter, that he did for Channel 4 (UK) and the Discovery Channel here in 1989. Since last Thursday was the birthday of Michael Jackson, it seemed like a good time to pull out the classics. Episode 6 is Our Daily Beer.

Beer In Film #90: The Beer Hunter Episode 5 — Burgundies of Belgium

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Today’s beer film is the fifth of Michael Jackson’s six-part series, The Beer Hunter, that he did for Channel 4 (UK) and the Discovery Channel here in 1989. Since last Thursday was the birthday of Michael Jackson, it seemed like a good time to pull out the classics. Episode 5 is Burgundies of Belgium.

Beer In Film #89: The Beer Hunter Episode 4 — The Fifth Element

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Today’s beer film is the fourth of Michael Jackson’s six-part series, The Beer Hunter, that he did for Channel 4 (UK) and the Discovery Channel here in 1989. Since Thursday was the birthday of Michael Jackson, it seemed like a good time to pull out the classics. Episode 4 is The Fifth Element.