Saturday, October 23, 2004

I went down to LA earlier this week for a special showing of Sideways, the movie that makes Alexander Payne 4-for-4, may win Paul Giamatti an Oscar nomination, and will probably transform Santa Barbara wine country forever. The movie is excellent (see David Edelstein's review in Slate, a right-on take on the film even if he pushes a bit too hard on the alcoholism theme). Sideways has a fun and easy pace and a warm sweetness without at all being saccharine. It's hilarious, true, but there's a deep desperation to both men that yields truly harrowing moments. I left the theater thinking a lot about the search for love and other transcendent experiences.

It should also be said that this is the wine movie of all time. Payne uses the characters beautifully to capture both the glory and folly of wine geekdom. Of course, the best thing about Sideways is that one of the wineries I do public relations for comes off well in the film. It's Sanford Winery, the first tasting room that Miles and Jack hit on their adventure. Miles introduces it as one of the best producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Santa Barbara County. Yes, we've already obtained the clip from Fox Searchlight!

P.S.: David Denby loves Sideways, too. Here's his review in The New Yorker.