There was a sitcom called, Wings (’90-’97), I watched religiously. It was one of those rare shows I saw from episode #1, loved it, and stayed a loyal fan of it right until it went off the air. Tim Daly played one half of the Hackett brothers who owned this New England airline, and it was through this show I became a fan of Daly and pretty much all the regulars on it. It was because of him that I took notice of the movie he did in 1992 called, Year Of The Comet. I still remember seeing the commercial on TV and not sure if I was recognizing Daly (with a ‘stache this time, he never had any facial hair whatsoever on Wings). I never saw the movie in a theater and honestly have never seen the movie all the way through until now. I caught portions of it on cable one time, but still don’t know why I didn’t watch it. Then again 1993 (when I presumably saw it on cable), like 1992, was a terrible year personally for me, so that could’ve had something to do with why I didn’t stick with it. It’s also a comedy-romance, and during those two years “romance” was slowing dying on the vine for me.
The movie has three great leads, Tim Daly as Oliver Plexico, hero and “troubleshooter,” as he likes to call himself; Penelope Ann Miller as heroine, Margaret Harwood, and Louis Jourdan, as Philippe, the movie’s villain. As I mentioned it’s a romantic comedy, not really my forte, but I have made an exception once before with Speechless (1994). Year Of The Comet isn’t quite as funny as that flick though, but it is a little more romantic, since everything Oliver puts himself through, which includes more than a few life and death situations, is because of his love-at-first-sight feelings for Margaret.
The movie is set in the “fast paced world” (no, not really) of wine tasting and acquisition. Margaret is the American-raised daughter of very well known U.K. wine merchant, Sir Mason Harwood (Ian Richardson), who has a tendency to send her brother out on “wine jobs” more than she, in fact she’s never gone out on one and feels it’s about goddamn time she did. Father says, no, not until she’s ready, and she hands him her notice. You see she works for the family business cataloging all their wine, hosting tastings and knows just about everything there is to know about red-fucking-wine!
Plexico is a playboy, loves beer more than wine, and owns 80% of the wine company of his family. The dude’s rich, but Margaret doesn’t know that, and won’t until the end of the movie.
Ian finally relents and gives his daughter the new job that just came up on the Scottish Island of Skye. A rich, wine lover died and his wine cellar needs to be inventoried for anything valuable. This is a blessing and a curse, for during her visit she bumps into what I presumed was this guy’s manservant, Philippe, he and his two friends are torturing another guy in an upstairs room for part of a growth hormone formula he so desperately wants to create that’ll allow him to regain his youth. While in the cellar, Margaret discovers a second cellar that has a gigantic bottle of wine in it from 1811. It’s deduced to be once owned by Napoleon and 1811 was the “year of the comet,” when most legendary wines were created, so goes the movie’s legend. So, she has to have it, and her father agrees. This is where Plexico comes into the picture again. She and Plexico met earlier at a wine tasting where he came off as kind of a douche, but this is where both of them fell in love. They just haven’t admitted it to each other yet, that’ll happen during a helicopter flight that looks to be fatal later on in the movie.
Plexico is sent to retrieve the bottle and ship it back, problem is that guy Philippe was torturing got away during the night and hid that part of the formula he needs behind the label of Napoleon’s wine. The moment Plexico and Margaret take possession of the crate is when all hell breaks loose. Not only is it now wanted by psycho Philippe and his men, but some random Scottish ex-con by the name of Jamie (Nick Brimble, who played Frankenstein’s monster in 1990’s Frankenstein Unbound) wants it so he can throw it in the Loch. No idea why he wants to do it, but he believes that’s where it belongs. And a Greek billionaire by the name of Nico (Art Malik, the main terrorist Schwarzenegger faces off with in True Lies). At various points in the movie each of them gains possession of the bottle and this leads to the various comedic action scenes of the movie!
Now that I’ve finally seen Year Of The Comet in its entirety it’s not bad, not as great as I was hoping it would be, but not bad either. The scenic locations are breathtaking to behold, and if the movie wasn’t as well cast as it is I probably wouldn’t care for it in the least. The actors are a majority of the attraction. And for those that love wine, especially red wine, you’ll probably love the hell out of this film.
Year Of The Comet (1992) finally made it to DVD for the first time last year through MGM’s MOD Program, which you can buy here, if you haven’t gone blu-ray yet. If you have then you’ll want this blu-ray that Twilight Time just released this month! All their titles are limited with most getting only 3,000 pressings. Go to their site here to buy the blu, or get it from Screen Archive Entertainment’s site.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.35:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH subs only
The transfer looked great!
Extras included . . .
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Isolated Music Track
As Julie Kirgo puts in the closing of her article in the accompanying booklet, “Nowadays, wouldn’t we all give our left… well, anything…just to get away and feel good for 90 minutes or so?” Yes, I would, and if the film did anything it certainly did that for me.