Green Book is the new, based-on-a-true-story movie from director and co-writer Peter Farrelly about a trip through the deep south taken in 1962 by Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class pianist. Escorted in a kind of odd couple relationship by Tony Lip, an Italian-American nightclub bouncer of prodigious appetites and limited sophistication, the trip brings the two men into direct conflict with each other in the beginning and then, as they get deeper into the south, with the blatantly racist culture that pervades the place. (The title, Green Book refers to the guide book that tells black people where they can stay in communities where segregation is the rule.)

Much of the movie, to be honest, is fairly predictable. Two guys with nothing in common learn to respect and even like each other in the face of adversity … though at a time when racial tensions seem exacerbated, their circumstances seem almost uncomfortably relevant. I watched the events taking place in 1962, and found myself wondering if we’ve come as far as I once thought.

That said, the performances of Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley and Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip make the movie, elevating the material through pure skill and emotional investment. They’re really, really good in their roles - even the stuff that might seem contrived in less capable hands ends up having greater meaning because the two actors have such an emotional connection to their roles.

Green Book isn’t a perfect movie, but it is an engaging one with an underlying sense of truth that makes it work.

I have a couple of wines to recommend to you this week, both from Oregon’s incomparable Willamette Valley…

The 2015 Firesteed Pinot Noir is excellent … I had it with a lamb burger that was served with a dollop of harissa. (My general feeling these days is that harissa makes almost everything taste better.)

And then, there is the 2016 Halem Heights Pinot Noir, a very drinkable wine made from a blend of pinot noir grapes from a number of valley vineyards. This worked well with a salmon dish I made … but it would go with pretty much anything.

That’s it for this week.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.