Let’s go to the moon on this week’s “Cogill Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolver Podcasts. We raise a glass to the “First Man” to ever walk on the moon with a wine from the first man to plant the ideal wine grapes in Texas for the state’s terroir, Professor “Doc McPherson,” co-founder of Llano Estacado who first planted earthy Sangiovese in the Texas High Plains. Today his son, Kim McPherson carries on his legacy, creating McPherson Cellars to honor his father. Kim continues to craft elevated Texas wines from non-traditional varieties of Texas grown grapes. Gary’s review of the film below.
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Also, we are excited to share an exclusive deal with a fantastic new wine website called Wine Access which features hand-selected, premium wines from across the globe. If you are looking for a few great bottles of bubbles to enjoy with this, or any film, Wine Access has offered our listeners an incredible deal of 20% off their already well-priced selections, just by clicking here or going to their website, wineaccess.com/cogill.
“First Man” is different than all the other “early days” of space exploration NASA movies. It’s more introspective, demanding, melancholy, private, and personal. It’s also a stunning achievement both technically and emotionally.
Ryan Gosling is perfect as the aloof Neil Armstrong, playing as a no-nonsense early astronaut eventually chosen by NASA to command the first lunar landing for Apollo 11 in 1969. He is also a married man mourning the loss of his daughter and the father of two young boys apparently learning how to grow up emotionally guarded, just like their father.
There is a difficult scene in “First Man” where Neil sits his two boys down at the dinner table trying to explain to them why he might not return from the moon. A sit down demanded by his distraught wife, played Oscar-caliber by British actress Clair Foy (The Queen, The Girl In The Spider’s Web). She is right, and holds the family together while Neil opts to crawl into an elaborate metal can and blasted into space.
One thing you quickly lean in “First Man” is that launching into space isn’t as romantic as it seems or sounds. Not everything is a centered around a press conference or a Life magazine cover. Metal creaks and bends, rivets and walkways look dirty, even smelly, and claustrophobia takes on new meaning. Throw in a sound track by Oscar winner Jason Hurwitz (La La Land) and here is a movie that jumps off the screen as it jumps into space. It’s remarkable to watch.
Oscar winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) stretches his cinematic muscles by crafting a film that plays slow and deliberate rather than fast and furious. A welcome relief providing the audience with a rare chance to listen and learn rather than over react. These are thoughtful people doing thoughtful, difficult things so let’s give them all the time they need.
Chazelle’s Oscar contending film is a tribute to craftsmanship and collaboration in all areas of film making, and when Gosling and crew finally land on the surface of the moon, it’s a breathtaking, contemplative sequence.
And finally, this nonsense about the American flag not being planted on the moon is a disappointing, mean spirited lie. It’s there and significant.
There is a quiet dignity and patriotism to “First Man.” A subtlety much more powerful than wrapping yourself in the flag and screaming, “look at me.” It’s a beautiful, sobering film. One of the best of the year.