Bottle Shock/Mark Adler

August 23, 2008






“Judgment of Paris” is the story given to the now blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 in which Napa Valley,California wineries proved the quality of their product to the rest of the world. Directed, produced, written, and edited by Randall Miller the film stars Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, and Alan Wickman in the story of one man’s dream Jim Barrett (Pullman), his son Bo (Pine) and a girl Sam (Taylor) to produce the Chardonnay good enough to win the prize in the wine tasting test and put an end to the myth that the French always make the best wine. A bit corny, predictable and sentimental it is still a watchable film that will give you a surprise or two along the way. Alan Rickman (Steve Spurrier) is a joy to watch as the Brit who organizes this entire tasting test.

When was the last time you left the theater after watching a film and actually caught yourself humming the main title? Mark Adler, Emmy award winner for the HBO film The Rat Pack, not only created a great opening theme for the titles but at least two more I remember. “Bottle Shock Main Title” opens the screen with percussion which sounds like two bottles clinking followed by a wonderful hurdy gurdy melody on the synthesizer with accompaniment from piano and country like fiddling from solo violin. “L’Academie du Vin” is the theme written for Steve Spurrier (Rickman) a delicate European sound from the clarinet and violin. The clarinet reminded me of passages from Peter and the Wolf, that sneaky cat-like sound the clarinet can duplicate so well. “Spurrier Arrives” with its accordion sounding melody is a very french sounding motif which announces the arrival of Spurrier in Napa. “Sam and Gustavo” is a simple delicate love melody that brings out a romantic moment in the film that brings a tear to the eye. “Sam Kisses Bo” is guitar with words I can’t decipher but is a period sounding piece of the 70’s. “Bo Represents Napa” is a repeat of the main title theme with a little more guitar action and less percussion. The CD sent to me for review is marked ‘score highlights’ and only represents a little over 15 minutes of material (8 tracks). There is a possibility that it might be released on the Nicabella label in the future.

This was a score written for a smaller ensemble with some of the material being performed by Mark Adler. The main title immediately got my attention with the use of the bottles that became a part of the percussion. This humming theme which is used on many occasions in the film doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore; in fact the opposite is true. In fact this reviewer can’t remember the last time he was able to remember not one but three melodies from a film. At least in the writing of Adler one almost could get the idea that the motif is returning to the film score. A return of an old concept? One could only hope. Recommended

Track Listing:

1. Bottle Shock Main Title (3:01)

2. L’Academie du Vin (1:20)

3. Bent Axle (1:04)

4. Sam and Gustavo (1:46)

5. Spurrier Arrives (1:24)

6. The Wine Turns Back! (3:06)

7. Sam Kisses Bo (1:23)

8. Bo Represents Napa (1:10)

Total Time is 15:34


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