05. November 2005 · Comments Off on Some Notes On Sideways · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I have finally been able to see last year’s sleeper hit, Sideways, uninterrupted, from beginning to end. And I have to say, I’m sorry I didn’t pay to see this at the cinema. This is a GREAT film.

First. some full disclosure:

I’m sort of predisposed to like this movie for the following reasons: A) It’s a road-trip movie through California’s wine country, featuring two guys (sort of) my age. B) Those guys happen to be Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church – two character actors I have long been a fan of. C) And then there is Virginia Madsen – yum-yum.

And then there is: D) California, for which I must confess my undying provincialism. And, E) The wine, for which I must confess, I love – but know only enough about to be dangerous.

That stated, let me continue to say that, like most great cinema, the real beauty of this film is in the details. This is captured definitively in the visit to Miles’ mother’s condo – the subtle interplays are classic.

Ok, so now that I’ve established my creds as a legit movie critic – let me descend into the raunchy technophiliac crap that I love to wallow in:

First) It sort of amazed me that they never got north of Pismo. I mean, when you think about “California wine country” it’s Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino – not San Luis Obispo. This is a good thing. BUT…

Second) They put so much stress on reds. The Santa Barbara/SLO county line (the scene of the film) is sort of the breaking point. But, here in SoCal, our hotter, dryer climate is more given to whites.

Third) And then there’s that tasting thing: At first I thought they were just doing that “cram your nose in the glass” thing for comedic effect. But then I saw them do it later. C’mon, guys – they don’t call it a snifter (rather than an inhaler) for nothing. You are supposed to swish, pass the glass under your nose – inhaling deeply, but gently – swish again, pass again, and then repeat as required, until you are satisfied you’ve sampled all the flavors the wine has to offer. You can’t just “snort a load” and go. A beautiful wine is like a beautiful woman: she requires some time to fully reveal herself to you. This is the most important thing; the essence of wine tasting is not so much in the palate, as the bouquet.

Don’t give up, Miles.

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