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Saw Sideways last night, the new movie from Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt) and it's easily the best film I've seen this year. Paul Giamatti is a cusp-of-40ish failed novelst and oenophile who takes his about-to-be-married best friend (Thomas Hayden Church of Wings) on a week-long trip through the Santa Ynez valley wineries. Giamatti is in search of the perfect Pinot; Hayden-Church just want to get laid before committing to marriage.

 

It's a road trip that never takes the obvious path. It's hilarious, touching, insightful, heartbreaking, all that good stuff. And it takes it's wine seriously, or it seemed to at least. I don't claim to know much about it. But I know a great movie when I see one and Sideways is just that. I can't imagine anyone on this website not finding something to love about it. Paul Giamatti will be nominated for an Oscar; he does more with a look than half the actors in hollywood can do with a perfectly-written scene (of whichthere are plenty here). I would call it just about perfect.

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Right you are, bb, although I would rank it as one of the best movies of the year. (This is, after all, the year of Before Sunset and Goodbye Dragon Inn.) I'm surprised there haven't been more comments on this thread about this movie. Lippy and I went to dinner right after seeing it at a restaurant near the theater. The place was out of pinot noir. The waiter attributed that to the popularity of the movie.

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Saw it and loved it. (Besides being about a subject I am very fond of.) The performances were outstanding. Paul Giamatti's character was someone you really cared about.

 

How many movies have a line about over oaked California chardonnays with ruined with malolactic fermentation.

 

Crazy, funny, sad, and happy movie.

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Someone explain to me why, after that character-revealing speech about pinot noir, and its superiority to cabernet sauvignon, we have the cathartic scene toward the end featuring a Cheval Blanc '61, rather than, say, a Chambertin '47.

 

Other than this flaw, I rather enjoyed it. Although the humor became a little broad toward the end.

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Someone explain to me why, after that character-revealing speech about pinot noir, and its superiority to cabernet sauvignon, we have the cathartic scene toward the end featuring a Cheval Blanc '61, rather than, say, a Chambertin '47.

Well, there is not cabernet sauvignon in Cheval Blanc, but I see your point.

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Guest Aaron T

After loving Election and loathing About Schmidt, I enjoyed Sideways, but not as rapturously as the critics who seem to be swooning in unison about this pic.

 

A tad too depressing and slow at points, I was expecting more. Although I must confess I did quite enjoy Sandra Oh's performance.

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I thought Ms. Oh's performance was revealing, having only seen her work in Arliss. Ms. Madsen was more nuanced: at times guarded, at times luminous. Giamatti was good and continues to have a way of revealing his character's interior struggles, e.g., American Splendor. Nice touch that they had Church's character engaged to an Armenian, setting up the possibility of a different sort of wedding, and without the usual hackneyed ethnic schtick. Definitely a movie you can respect in the morning, but did I love it all that much at the time? :D

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