CVIndependent

Thu12052019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Wow! Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet was a show that was just OK in its first season—but not only does it hit its stride in the second; it becomes one of the funniest shows on TV (or streaming, or whatever).

Why? Mainly because Timothy Olyphant’s performance as mildly agitated Joe—husband to recently undead cannibal Sheila (Drew Barrymore)—has gone from slightly off to totally on. In the first episode alone, he has a solid 10 moments that are worth a laugh. He not only gets the laughs; he gets them with pitch-perfect timing. Barrymore is no slouch, either, although she’s simply continuing her great work from Season 1.

The writing on this show is done by a group of people (including Victor Fresco) who have just said, “Who gives a fuck anymore?” All the proverbial stops have been taken out. There are lines in this show that are as nasty/funny as anything you will find in your living room watching things on the rectangular doodad that spits out imagery and sounds and whatnot.

Here’s a line of dialogue for an example: “If this helps you be less murdery … that’s great. My concern is, if somebody sees you running around snatching at rabbits like a coyote in yoga pants, they might start asking questions, like ‘What the fuck is that?!’” Olyphant delivered that line with a combination of deadpan and agitation that was drop-dead funny.

This one gets super-violent, so beware of hardcore gore. As entertainment that gets an equal amount of gross-outs and laughs, this one just crossed into Evil Dead territory.

The second season of Santa Clarita Diet is now streaming on Netflix.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

What’s that, you say? You love rosé? Well, if you live in the sunny Coachella Valley, you’re in luck!

While people in a large portion of the country are preparing for a frigid future—planning to spend part of their Labor Day weekend digging out the plastic bins that house their parkas and fleece underwear—here in the valley of eternal summer, we have another two months of scorching heat. While that thought is enough to bring grown men to tears, I choose to celebrate this fact with more rosé—yes, the little pink wine that was once the recipient of scornful glances, side-eye stares and snickers from fellow restaurant patrons is now having its proverbial day in the sun.

Considering all of this newfound fame, I started wondering whether people actually know what rosé is. This question was answered, in part, when I watched the recently released Vogue video interview with Drew Barrymore, self-proclaimed winemaker. If a “wine-expert” like Drew thinks that rosé is made by peeling the skins off the grapes early, then the answer is a resounding “no.” (Seriously, watch the video. It’s both horrifying and hilarious.) Given that it takes an average of 600 grapes to make one bottle of wine, the price of a bottle of Drew’s rosé with its peeled grapes would probably cost around $5,000. Instead, this delicious summertime wine is usually cheap and cheerful.

So why are some rosés more expensive than others? Why do they vary in color? What makes a pink wine sweet? Now that our desert markets and restaurants are offering so many different options, things can get a little confusing. Let me break it down for you.

Rosé can be made from any red grape, and while the process can differ slightly depending on the producer, the idea is the same: It is red wine that is taken away from its skins after mere hours of fermentation. Skin is what gives a wine its color; therefore, less skin equals less color. (OK, Drew, your comment was half right.) If these rosés were left in the tank, they would soon become red wines—big, bold, slap-you-silly, macho reds. In fact, in an attempt to give you a bigger, punch-you-in-the-face red wine, some winemakers will “bleed” off some juice from the fermentation tank in the first few hours to increase the ratio of skin to juice for a more concentrated final outcome for the reds—with rosé the wonderful byproduct. Waste not, want not … am I right?!

Because it can be made using any red grape you’d like, you’ll see rosés spanning the color wheel: from pale salmon-colored options, probably made from grenache or pinot noir, to cranberry and pomegranate colors, stemming from malbec or syrah. However, don’t be too quick to judge a bottle by its color: The wine’s hue isn’t going to have any bearing on the sweetness, acidity or alcohol content. Nowadays, most any bottle of rosé you pick up will be a dry, delicious, delight. That said, if you’re worried about buying the “wrong” rosé, my only advice is to steer clear of the word “blush” or any pink wine that comes in a box or 5-gallon jug. (Although that stereotype is changing now, too.)

If you’re looking to drop a pretty penny on a fancy-pants bottle, there are several regions, like Bandol and Tavel in the south of France, where rosé is taken very seriously and produced with the same amount of care and passion as some top-dollar reds and whites. They’re definitely worth a splurge every now and then.

So what about white zin—that sweet beverage reserved for prom-night motel rooms and the wine-confused can’t possibly be the same thing as my delicious bottle of Domaine Tempier, right? Well, yes and no. Just to be clear: white zinfandel isn’t a grape. It, too, is a pink wine made from red zinfandel grapes, but stylistically and historically meant to be sweet. It was really just an “oops” moment at Sutter Home in the ’70s that turned into one of the most profitable accidents the winemaking industry has ever seen.

Still not sure this pink drink is your thing? Do yourself a favor, and grab a seat at one of the valley’s wine bars, and give one a swirl. A few hot spots like Dead or Alive in Palm Springs, Cork and Fork in La Quinta, and Piero’s PizzaVino in Palm Desert offer a handful of different options by the glass from regions like Washington, Austria, Provence, Tuscana and Santa Barbara, just to name a few.  

And if you need one more reason to keep drinking this sunshine in a bottle just remember: It’s socially acceptable to drink rosé for breakfast.

Katie Finn is a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine with more than 15 years in the wine industry. She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is currently studying with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. When she's not hitting the books, you can find her hosting private wine tastings and exploring the desert with her husband and two children. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Wine

Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet begins with Sheila (Drew Barrymore)—a real estate agent along with her husband, Joel (Timothy Olyphant)—getting a little stomachache. That’s followed by some major projectile vomiting during a house showing.

She’s having diet problems … and, as things turn out, she’s craving human flesh. And that human flesh needs to be fresh. Basically, she’s a zombie, and Joel is doing his best to be understanding about the whole thing. When Sheila eats one of their co-workers, however, things get a little intense.

Barrymore and Olyphant make for a funny, bizarre couple. Olyphant seems a little out of place in the first episode or two, but he finds his footing and hits his stride. Liv Hewson is a good find as their daughter, Abby, while Skyler Gisondo adds a nice geek element as the helpful neighbor who knows all about zombies from his comic books.

The show is pretty damn gory (Sheila’s first kill is memorably disgusting), so you shouldn’t watch if you can’t handle stuff that goes beyond an R-rating. Walking Dead and Evil Dead fans … you will have a blast!

Santa Clarita Diet is streaming on Netflix.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen) directs Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore in Miss You Already, an illness-of-the-week movie that rises above the formula, thanks to great work by the two stars and the men playing their husbands.

Milly (Collette) and Jess (Barrymore) are lifelong friends who have shared many experiences together. Milly marries a rocker (Dominic Cooper), and Jess couples up with a blue-collar worker (Paddy Considine), with both couples looking to start families. Milly has two kids, while Jess tries hard to have a baby. She finally gets pregnant—and at the same time, Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hardwicke and friends do a good job showing the hardships Milly faces, including chemotherapy and emotional stresses. The proceedings feel real, thanks in large part to a screenplay that isn’t afraid to show human frailties and flaws.

Collette gets the showier role here, and she again displays why she is one of the more underrated actresses out there. Barrymore gives what may be her best performance yet as the best friend who won’t take shit from her pal, even if that pal has cancer. Cooper and Considine deliver dark humor with male characters who are refreshingly honest and goofy.

I’d say this is a Beaches for the new millennium, but that would be an insult. This movie is actually good.

Miss You Already is now playing at the Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9 (789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 844-462-7342); the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 844-462-7342); and the Cinemas Palme d'Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).

Published in Reviews

Maybe I’m crazy, but there is still part of me that believes Adam Sandler will wake up one day and proclaim, in his angry voice, “Alright already! Enough with keeping my no-talent friends working. I can just give them money. It’s time to make decent, funny movies again! Stay home, Dennis Dugan! Screw you Frank Coraci! Maybe Paul Thomas Anderson will put me in a movie again! Flibberdy-Doo!”

Blended, Sandler’s latest collaboration with director Coraci—who actually made some of the better Sandler films back in the day with The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer—might be Sandler’s worst movie yet, and that’s saying a lot. He plays a widower who has a terrible first date with a woman (Drew Barrymore) at Hooters. One thing leads to another, and the two wind up on a vacation together in Africa with all of their kids. Yes, you read that right.

This all leads to rhino-humping jokes, ostrich-riding and Terry Crews making an ass of himself with some sort of makeshift musical group that kind of sounds like Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

I had a real bad time with this thing. It caused major, jaw-clenching tension, and I think I may’ve cracked a molar. It’s the sort of racist, sexist movie that you watch in complete disbelief, wondering how such a monstrosity could ever get past the, “Hey, why don’t we send Adam and Drew to Africa … it’ll be so funny!” stage.

Everybody involved should be embarrassed.

Blended is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews