At lunch the other day, my friend David Craig and I were discussing Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” a movie which we both really liked (my review is here). One thing we admired was how Payne got the images of the era right — everything looked like it took place in 1970.
Except for one anachronism he caught that I had missed.
It occurs in a scene late in the movie — don’t worry, this won’t spoil anything for you — when the characters played by Paul Giamatti and Dominic Sessa are in a liquor store. Payne broke it down for the NY Times feature “Anatomy Of A Scene,” which I have embedded below. At the very end, the clerk in the store gets off a funny line, and if you look carefully, you’ll notice a Coors sign on the shelf over his right shoulder.
Here’s the problem. “The Holdovers” takes place entirely in New England, where Coors was not available in 1970. Its distribution was limited to eleven states west of the Rockies, and didn’t expand to the rest of the country until 1986. The beer’s lack of availability in the east gave Coors a forbidden fruit mystique that was the basis for the plot of Burt Reynolds’ movie, “Smokey and the Bandit” in 1977.
Of course, it’s possible the liquor store owner or someone he knew had traveled to Denver, purchased the sign, and brought it back to the shop. But I think it’s more likely that when Payne — a renowned perfectionist — chose this real-life store to shoot in (and used its actual employee in the scene), neither he nor his crew noticed the Coors logo on the shelf.
But my eagle-eyed friend David spotted it. Can you?