This episode we continue our month long descent into madness (which, let’s face it, was bound to happen regardless of this being Halloween season) with a double-feature of “found footage” “horror” “films” and to ease the pain and nausea of watching these shaky “films” we are pairing them with a fantastic cigar and a really good beer. It’s what we do, folks. And I promise I’ll stop with all the sarcastic quotation marks. Because found footage is a legitimate form of “filmmaking”, right? Ok, now I’ll stop.
THE CIGAR – CARNAVALE TRABAJDOR by EPICUREAN CIGARS
Loyal listeners to the podcast know by now that I’m a total sucker for a true oscuro wrapper. If I ever get a new dog I’m naming her Oscuro, that’s how much I love this dark flavorful leaf. Well, now that I think about it, I suppose Oscura would sound a bit more feminine but I’ve always had wienerdogs so even the males aren’t exactly the epitome of machismo and strength. But I digress. Tonight we’re smoking the Carnavale Trabajdor double robusto (5×56). It’s a nice looking box-pressed cigar with a cool band that resembles a Mardi Gras mask that’s had the typical feathers replaced with tobacco leaves. The three of us at the table all picked up on a prominent raisin note on the cold draw before lighting up and I don’t think we’ve ever been in agreement to this degree on identifying a flavor before. Cody yelled out, “Welcome to Raisin Country!”. No no, he didn’t yell that out but I got the sense that he wanted to. I personally hate raisins but this early taste sensation was exceptional, I almost didn’t want to light her up in the fear that it would go away.
The raisin did fade away quickly but fortunately it was followed up with flavors of chocolate and a rich sweetness that would prove to be the dominating notes throughout the duration of the smoke. The cigar remained steady in the medium strength category even with the unexpected blast of black pepper at the finish line. The double robusto had an open draw that was just right and construction as a whole was impressive. At around $9 a stick the Carnavale is, as Tut exclaimed on the show, absolutely worth the price point. C’mon, you’ll drop $9 on some piece of shit found footage “Paranormal Activity” movie without even thinking about it! This $9 will give you the same 90 minutes and you’ll walk away from it relaxed and in a happy place.
THE BEER – SHINER OKTOBERFEST
I can’t believe we’re nineteen episodes into this podcast and, as proud Texans, we haven’t reviewed a Shiner beer yet. For shame! The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas transferred ownership over to a Bavarian-born brewmaster named Kosmos Spoetzl (who may or may not have worn a cape) back in 1915 and the signature Shiner beer taste was born. You can’t go to any social gathering here in our neck of the woods without finding a huge horse trough full of ice filled with, at least, two domestic beers (Miller Lite, Bud Lite) and two “fancy, classier” beers (Shiner, Dos Equis). Sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t use quotations any more. The Marzen-style copper colored Oktoberfest originated as the last beer to be brewed during the calendar year as it was brewed stronger to survive the cold winter months. While it is strong, especially compared to the original Shriner, it has no bitterness whatsoever and it’s not meaty like the Spaten Oktoberfest we reviewed on the last podcast. This complex beer is much more floral and overall lighter than the Spaten as well. Shiner Oktoberfest is only available for a limited time so get your ass to the iced down horse trough and try one for yourself!!!
THE FILMS – THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT (2014) & MOCKINGBIRD (2014)
This little girl in the porcelain mask shown above scares the living shit out of Tuttle. She gave him nightmares and every time she came up while discussing “The Houses October Built” on the podcast he got very uncomfortable. So on a strictly visual costume design level, this recent entry in the found footage subgenre of horror works. But that’s sadly the only level it worked on. You can have all the spooky imagery in the world and without character development, or in this case even an ATTEMPT at character development, your movie will sink. The characters in this film never had a chance out of the gate which is crazy because two of the main actors wrote the script! What actors wouldn’t push to have their characters given a fleshed out background with layers and texture? Not these guys apparently. So who are these people seeking the most “extreme” haunted houses on earth? We don’t know. Why are they doing this? We don’t know. Don’t they have day jobs? We don’t know. Don’t they have brains? This question we are easily able to answer as their collective lack of brain cells really hurt this movie where implausible choices and decisions are made by the “extreme” group of friends every few minutes…
Our second film up for discussion tonight is director Brian Bertino’s “Mockingbird“. I purposefully point out the director’s name here because unlike our first film, “Mockingbird” actually was DIRECTED by a skillful filmmaker and it shows in every scene. Although the film’s camera work is once again completely performed by the onscreen characters, this time around you can really sense that the actors were given specific instructions on how to hold the camera and where to place their camcorders down to capture the exact frame Bertino was seeking. Oh yes, the actors! This film actually has real talented actors in it as well!
Oops! Sorry! Sorry! Wrong photo! There’s that little girl who scares the shit out of Tut again… how could I make a mistake like that? Now here’s the pic I was meaning to post: A shot of an actor from “Mockingbird” filming himself because that’s what people do in these types of movies…
I suppose I should mention that I was completely outnumbered in my appreciation for our second film. The other guys just couldn’t get past, again, certain decisions that the characters made and a shocking ending that left an unpleasant “What The Fuck?” taste in their mouths as opposed to my “What The Fuck but it Works For Me!” reaction. Personally, I think Tuttle just hated it because it had another clown in it and apparently they scare him just as much as little girls in porcelain masks.
I’m so sorry Tut! I don’t know how the hell that happened! NO MORE CLOWN PHOTOS I PROMISE!!! These two movies really led us into some lively heated debates on this episode, perhaps we’re even a little more fired up and opinionated than usual if that’s possible. I highly suggest you give us a spin below or on iTunes and listen for yourself.
While I don’t see us revisiting the genre of found footage films again on the show any time soon, I’m glad we did. Just like every variety of cigar should be explored and every style of beer should be sampled, no category of film should be completely ignored because you never know what little gem you might discover. At the very least, if you surround yourself with the right friends it can lead to some entertaining, engaging, often memorable discussions that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
We’ll see you here next time when we review another film, cigar, and beverage. May the wings of liberty never lose a feather.