Will the Cement Suitcase movie be the Sideways of Washington and the Yakima Valley? 10 years later the Santa Ynez Valley is still celebrating Miles and Jack’s journey, and Cement Suitcase has some of the same traits that could inspire visitors and wine drinkers to take an extra look at Washington’s Yakima Valley.
Cement Suitcase lives up to what would probably be the first requirement of pulling a Sideways; it is a good movie in its own right with a unique character driven story. The protagonist, Franklin, is the best wine tasting room salesman in the Yakima Valley, but he is suffering with an existential crisis.
The movie follows Franklin through a series of absurd events that work to resolve his crisis, and though there’s a great deal of humor in the film, which is billed as a comedy, it carries a serious undertone appropriate for the magnitude of Franklin’s crisis. Comedian Dwayne Bartholomew, who plays Franklin, deserves credit for a masterful performance in this complex role.
Although wine does not play as big a role in Franklin’s life as in Miles’, it is part of an underlying theme and source for funny injections that winos are sure to enjoy, and the film showcases the wine country vistas of Yakima Valley beautifully.
If you enjoy wine and independent comedy with some depth, this movie is worth your while, so instead of going on a date to see the latest blockbuster at the theatre, pay the $5 to stream Cement Suitcase from Amazon and spend the other $20 on a bottle of Washington wine for you and your partner. Be warned, however, that this is an anti-romantic comedy, but it will give you something to talk about, and perhaps inspire a getaway to the Yakima Valley.
By Kim Johannsen