Movies: Sideways

I’m guessing that Sideways was a bigger movie than I’m aware of. At any rate, it’s not every movie that has it’s own table in the local grocery store’s wine section. This one contains a lot of Pinot Noir. None of it is branded with “Sideways,” but apparently the success of “Sideways” caused demand for Pinot Noir. Knowing that that particular type of wine figures in the movie, I picked up a bottle to drink while watching.

The movie is about two people going up to California wine growing country to taste wines and generally hang around. Miles and Jack were college roommates. Now middle-aged, Miles is a middle school English teacher and currently unpublished novelist. Jack formerly worked as an actor in soap operas, but currently does commercials and voice-over work (“This medication may cause bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea…”).

This trip comes as Miles’ novel has a chance of being published and Jack is about to get married (on Saturday of the same week). Miles is nervous about the novel and clearly still depressed about his divorce two years previous. Besides knowing a lot about wine, he’s also clearly using as a way to handle his feelings about the divorce. Jack, in turn, is using this trip as a way to decide whether or not he wants to be married–mostly by having a lot of sex with women that are not his fiancee.

As I write this, it sounds rather sad and pathetic. In a way it is, but the movie ranges in tone from subtle humor to slapstick to drama. The funny parts are very funny. Even the dramatic parts are funny at points.

It’s very much a character driven movie and the humor largely comes out of that. There weren’t any lines or scenes that existed solely to get in a joke.

So anyway, Kristen and I both liked the movie. Rent it at your own risk.

Sidenote: Owing to our inconsistent renting of movies, I’ve never quite been able to justify getting Netflix or one of the many copycat services. Thus, I go to Blockbuster. As you may know they’ve recently stopped charging late fees. You may wonder what they do to get you to bring back the movie. Other than charging you for it after a few weeks, they also leave automated messages on your answering machine. I got one today–2 days past the due date.

Another Sidenote: It seems to me that there are a bunch of books/movies out there these days in which you bring someone into a private world that you have (winetasting in this movie) and that person causes so much chaos within it that you aren’t sure if you can ever come back again. Is this a particularly modern concern? I first ran across this situation in Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.”

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