Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…


So this past weekend was “Wiener Weekend” at the Condo in the Sky.  Now mind you, I didn’t come up with that, my wife did.  What began as me excitedly exclaiming, “honey! The new film by Todd Solondz has come to Amazon Prime!”, soon turned into a 3-day party involving brats, beers, wiener-dogs, roasts, and, well…failed candidate for NYC mayor, Anthony Weiner, and his wiener.

See, sometimes ya gotta get creative in a marriage.  Especially if you’ve been together for almost a quarter of a century like we have.  Things can get stagnant.  And so if you attach a weekend of fun activities to a really inspired premise and through-line, well…it can only help remind you that you chose your partner wisely.

Friday night was Comedy Central’s Roast of Rob Lowe, who, let’s face it, has a fairly well-documented reputation for being a real weenie.  I love these roasts because they can be downright brutal, some say mean-spirited, but that doesn’t bother me when it comes to soft targets like Ann Coulter, who, for some CRAZY reason, was one of the members of the dais.  Turns out she was just there to shill her new book about why Trump should be our next president.  Ann took so many hits, I almost started to feel sorry for her.  But when it was over, I treated myself to a crash course in Coulter’s controversies (Google search) and no longer felt sorry but sad.  How anyone can think and speak the way she does is beyond my comprehension.  But it was truly fascinating to skim the countless verbal offenses she’s guilty of. Man, I hope that woman finds peace.  Hate must take a LOT of energy. That said,


As for the roast itself, it was a riot and we were howling all the way through. I gotta say, I think that Pete Davidson kid from SNL is pretty damn hilarious and I look forward to seeing his new show on Comedy Central.  I also couldn’t be happier watching Ralph “Johnny Cade” Macchio sufficiently crunch the nuts of his longtime “greaser” pal compatriot, Rob “Sodapop Curtis” Lowe (these are all character references from Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders”, in case you’re confused).

Saturday morning found us going from a Pilates class to – WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT??? – a (very spontaneous) Pumpkin Beer tasting at our most favorite local liquor store, Vendome Wine & Spirits! Pumpkin Beer tasting?? I LOVE Pumpkin Beers and tasting them!!


Yes, I am most definitely one of these idiots who loves that time of year when pumpkin shows up in every damn thing. And MOST of these beers, ales, and ciders were absolutely delicious. I stuck my nose so deep in my glass and just INHALED the scents of falling leaves, candy corn, rubber masks, Michael Myers, scarecrows, hayrides, corn mazes, my own Dark Harvest drawings…you name it.  We had SO much fun. Wound up talking to some very eccentric beer nerds, too.  It was cool to bust out of our comfort zone. Wine tastings? ALL the time. Pumpkin BEER ones??  Hardly ever. 

Saturday supper was the newly-opened Dog Haus, just up the street from us. Described as a Southern California “craft casual hot dog concept”, the joint is just to die for.  I mean, I start to salivate the second I step through the doors to survey my options.  As it turns out, I’ve grown to be most fond of The Fonz: spicy Italian sausage, pastrami, melted mozzarella.  I KNOW.  SO decadent. But it was Wiener Weekend, man, what’d you expect I was gonna order?

Believe me, ain’t easy having a Dog Haus within walking distance.  That sure as hell ain’t gonna support the work I’ve been doing in Pilates these days. No, no, Dog Haus ALWAYS has to wind up being a special occasion-type deal. Or I may as well just give it all up and become a professional butt of fat jokes.  No thank you.

So with our wieners in tow, we made our way back home to quickly visit with some dear ones who dropped by for a quick visit. Then we busted open a bunch of our newly-acquired pumpkin beers (utilizing our frosted mugs) and ambitiously took in Todd Solondz’s latest cinematic masterpiece of pain, Wiener-Dog, currently streaming on Amazon Prime. You remember his 1995 film Welcome to the Dollhouse with Heather Matarazzo in the role of Wiener-Dog?  Well, this time she is embodied by one of my very favorite “newer” actresses, Greta Gerwig. 


Listen, no joke. I can barely bring myself to recommend this film, it’s so depressing. Of course, that’s what I LOVED about it. Oh, I’m just crazy about Solondz. But if you think a movie about a little wiener dog bouncing from situation to circumstance and the effect she has on the lives of varying broken souls and misfits is going to warm your hearts and make you wanna rush out to the pound to rescue one? You must be thinking of another movie. And don’t get me STARTED on Danny DeVito as a washed-up former screenwriter turned disrespected college film professor named – brace yourself – Dave Schmerz.  

Yeesh.  One of his greatest, glum-iest performances of all.


The film ends in a shocking and profoundly upsetting way.  One which we weren’t expecting. Uh, like, at ALL. But it worked…for me.

Just do this: heed caution if you choose to proceed with Wiener-Dog.  Especially if you’re an animal freak like me. The spoiler-abundant customer reviews on Amazon are hilarious.  Like, WHAT were this people thinking showing this movie to their KIDS?!  It’s Todd Solondz!  Not Beethoven Poops A Buncha Legos He Ate, Part 2!  Maybe they were expecting THIS type of wiener dog movie…?


No idea.

Sunday, I man-scaped the region of my body containing my own personal wiener and we closed the frank-centric festivities with Josh Kriegman and Elyse Sternberg’s 2016 documentary, Weiner, a very provocative peek inside Anthony Weiner’s 2013 failed campaign to become the new mayor of New York City.  I’ve lost count of how many times the former congressman has sexted his sin-pipe out to the world, causing all kinds of problems for not only him but his family, but I will say that he came across to me as a very passionate guy who truly cares about making healthy, beneficial changes in the world. He just can’t seem to get a grip on this very odd compulsion he has to ruinously flirt with gross gals he never even winds up copulating with, much to the detriment of his marriage.  Evidently, he and his wife, Hillary Clinton’s vice chairwoman, Huma Abedin, are officially on the outs.  I hope they find peace, too.



WINE PAIRING: In honor of all the fantastic pumpkin beers I sampled, I’m going to go with the Avery Brewing Company’s Rumpkin Ale Brew with Pumpkin and Spices. Aged in RUM barrels!  At 17.5% Alc by Vol, his stuff’s so good, you’ll wanna whip out your wiener and dance a jig ‘neath the next Harvest Moon! (Which, uh, just so happens to be September 16th, the opening day of Blair Witch, wahoo!)