Streaming and Suds* #12 – Gose Pointe Blank

Hollywood Bungalow - Intersect Brewing - Streaming and Suds

*I decided to break from the concept of this feature for this one moment. Won’t happen again… hopefully.

I found myself at the liquor store pacing back and forth in front of the two large cold boxes. I couldn’t make up my mind of what I wanted. Nothing was screaming out to me. It wasn’t out of boredom of the selection. There were numerous beers that I still haven’t tried. I was just being fussy like a small child with food. Then, something caught my eye on one of the bottom shelves. A label I hadn’t seen before: Intersect Brewing.

There were only two options to choose from. I went with the one that stated on the label that it paired well with 60s AM Radio Rock or 80s Pop on cassette. This doesn’t make me unique, but I have a fondness for the music of the 80s. I’m a child of that decade. There are times when I get sucked into a YouTube rabbit hole of music videos from that era (or 90s alternative music that became the soundtrack for my teens).

There wasn’t much excitement growing up in the suburbs of Rochester, NY. The appearance of MTV on our television screens gave me a glimpse of what was the embodiment of cool and broadened my horizons. MTV was something truly unique back then. It was weird, edgy, and exotic. It’s a shadow of its former self now, but those music videos from back then really left an impression on a developing brain. I was a huge fan of Michael Jackson back then, yet whenever the “Thriller” music video came on I would run out of the room when the full moon peaked out from behind the clouds. I made sure to stay within earshot so I could still hear the song. When I heard Vincent Price’s cackle I knew it was safe to return.

It was strange and thrilling time to grow up. I’m pretty positive I thought the lead singer of Culture Club was a pretty lady for a spell. As I got into my early teens, and my friends were into G N’ R and Poison, I was searching for something that spoke to me, and MTV was there for me by introducing me to those bands from dreary Seattle that I fell in love with (I can vividly remember watching Kurt Loder breaking the tragic news about Kurt Cobain’s death).

Yo! MTV Raps brought A Tribe Called Quest into my life, and I hung out with Matt Pinfield of120 Minutes late at night. Then TRL and effin’ Carson Daly happened. Luckily there was MTV2.  Plus, MTV aired shows like Beavis and Butt-head, The State, Liquid Television, and Daria which was cool. Now, I have no idea what goes on those channels. I skim by them sometimes while impatiently trying to find something to watch. I never come across anything resembling music videos. I’m getting old and sounding like a character from Portlandia.

Hollywood Bungalow - Intersect Brewing - Streaming and Suds

Hollywood Bungalow – Pink Guava: The Basics

Hollywood Bungalow – Pink Guava: The Details

I had never heard of Intersect Brewing. Granted, I’ve only been living in Northern Colorado for a few months and there tons of breweries in the area (I’m doing my best to catch up). While they aren’t new new, the brewery had its one-year anniversary in August, I was down to try something new. A gose seemed like a perfect companion for the weather at the time, and the beer’s connection to music (80s specifically) fit perfectly with the movie I am pairing with it. If you check out Intersect’s site you’ll notice they make a music recommendation for every single beer on their menu. For example, they have a Belgian wit to go along with listening to Nirvana, R.E.M., and The White Stripes, or an imperial IPA to rock out to some Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Queens of the Stone Age.

The label doesn’t lie about the guava. It is intense when the cap pops off. Behind the initial blast of guava, I got hints of grapefruit, honeydew melon, and oddlyHollywood Bungalow - Intersect Brewing - Streaming and Suds some rose. After that, you get the tart citrus notes of the Indian Coriander and a whiff of ocean breeze from the Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. The white head pours thin and quickly dissipates. What’s left in the glass is a hazy, straw colored beer with a faint pink hue to it.

By golly, this is an effervescent beer. The bubbles really dance on your tongue. Just like in the smell, the guava dominates on the taste. It’s not overbearing or in any way artificial. Actually, it’s quite refreshing, and the citrus and subtle wheat notes remind you this is a gose. I detected a minimal amount of brininess on the tongue. The tartness of the beer is sneaky. It creeps up on you and then is gone; making you take sip after sip.

The fizziness and fruity flavor of this light-bodied beer remind me of those fancy carbonated fruit beverages you get from Europe. This beer is quite a conundrum. The tropical fruit flavor of the beer makes you want to savor it, but the undetectable ABV and medium tartness make it tempting to chug it.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Grosse Pointe Blank - Streaming and Suds

  • Director: George Armitage
  • Genre: Dark Comedy
  • Total Running Time: 1hr 47mins
  • Rating: R
  • Availability: None for now. It’s a damn shame.

When I read the label on Hollywood Bungalow I knew in my heart what movie I wanted to review. Normally I watch something I’ve never seen before, but this I time I couldn’t resist. Then the disappointment hit when I found out that Grosse Pointe Blank was no longer available on Netflix. I clicked and scrolled through many titles to find something appropriate. After hitting a dead end I finally said “screw it,” and broke out my DVD copy.

The basic premise is about a hitman who returns home for his high school’s 10-year reunion. I was a few months shy of graduating from high school when I saw this in the theaters, and I’ve revisited it numerous times since. Every time I rewatch it I fall back in love with it. It’s a hilariously dark comedy with plenty of shootouts, a good love story, and an insane soundtrack. For my sensibilities, it’s the best romantic comedy out there.

John Cusack stars as Martin Q. Blank, the hitman returning to the Detroit area after a decade being away (Remember when Cusack was in good movies?Grosse Pointe Blank - Streaming and Suds There was maybe a time in the mid-90s to the early aughts when he was on fire.). Minnie Driver plays Debbie, the girlfriend he deserted on prom night who is now a local DJ. And in probably his last great performance is Dan Aykroyd as Grocer, a rival hitman. The supporting cast is excellent too with Hank Azaria (from The Simpsons) playing one of the two NSA spooks tailing Martin, Joan Cusack as his secretary (and head of operations), Jeremy Piven (Cusack’s former real-life bff) as his old high school buddy, and Alan Arkin as Martin’s terrified therapist.

After two bumbled hit jobs, Martin takes on a contract back in Detroit that happens be during the weekend of his reunion. His secretary prods him into going thinking it would be good for him to reconnect. You see, Martin just upped and left town on the night of the prom to join the military, and got placed in a CIA program that lead him on the path to becoming a hitman. Nobody back home in Grosse Pointe had seen or heard from him since he left.

Martin thinks this is all a bad idea but something draws him to check out how things are back home. He finds that the house he grew up in has been turned into a convenience store, and his mother is in a home suffering from dementia. Yet when he sees his old love spinning 80s vinyl to celebrate the weekend (they become part of the soundtrack), all those feelings he had come rushing back. Debbie is justifiably pissed that he thinks he can walk back into her life. She thought he was dead or kidnapped.

The spark of their relationship is rekindled with some touching scenes while Martin deals with Grocer (there’s a running joke about Grocer forming a union for hired killers), the two government agents waiting for him to do something wrong, and a Basque terrorist trying to kill him in retribution for accidentally blowing up a dog. After an explosive shootout in his former home, a tense breakfast meeting in a diner (featuring a discussion of what is and isn’t an omelette), a fight that ends with death by pen (and a great throwaway line about the pen later), and a final showdown with Grocer, Martin is able to break away from his old life and start a new journey.

Overall

The bottle of Hollywood Bungalow says it’s a great poolside beer for you to kick off your sandals and enjoy. And I agree, even if you aren’t basking out in the sun. This an extremely refreshing and tasty beer no matter what season. The guava adds a nice touch to the citrus and slightly salty notes to give it tropical essence. I do wish the tartness lingered a little longer, but when it hits, it’s very pleasant.

You may have to wait for next summer to find it, but the brewery currently has a mango and passion fruit version on tap. I look forward to trying more of their beers. Eventually, I’ll get around to visiting the tap room. I like the concept of integrating tunes with beer. They seem to have good taste in music.

I didn’t discuss much about the score of Grosse Pointe Blank (composed by Joe Strummer of The Clash) and its soundtrack (featuring a lot of The Clash songs). The soundtrack, and its usage, is amazing. It’s predominantly songs from the early-to-mid 80s with a few outliers. “Blister in the Sun” bookends Martin’s journey back to Grosse Pointe. It plays in the car as he arrives and at the end when he drives off into the sunset. There’s a hilarious scene where Guns N’ Roses’ cover of “Live and Let Die” starts to get cranking and as Martin enters his former home it switches to a diegetic use as muzak coming out the convenience store speakers. There’s also a sweet scene at the reunion where Martin and Debbie sneak off to the bleachers as Pete Townsend’s “Let My Love Open the Door” plays from the DJ’s booth.

The soundtrack was so plentiful and popular they released a second volume. There aren’t too many movies that release two volumes for their soundtrack. Trainspotting is the only other one that comes to mind.

Cusack would go on to High Fidelity in 2000 that would make great use of its soundtrack. Yet I keep going back to Grosse Pointe Blank. It takes a wacky premise with a dark worldview and is able to blend its dry humor and violence to create something with heart. The movie has the vibe of a 90s independent film with the soul of the 1980s. It’s worth a watch for the soundtrack alone.

Adam M. Bruns

About Adam M. Bruns

Adam M. Bruns is an award-winning filmmaker (it was a short about a puppet who wants to get a sex change) with an MFA in Motion Pictures and Television from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Besides craft beer, his hobbies include film, TV, comic books, writing, drawing, cooking, and feeling the constant, crushing sense of disappointment from watching his favorite sports teams (the Buffalo Bills, the Baltimore Orioles, and Syracuse University Basketball). Some have called him a modern-day Renaissance Man…ok, that was just his mother.

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