As a wine enthusiast, I was greatly looking forward to the new film Sideways from director Alexander (About Schmidt)Payne, featuring a roadtrip in California wine country. I was not disappointed. Sideways feels so real and is so involving that when the final scene came I yelled "No!" And I wasn't alone. You could tell that the others in the audience wanted this movie to keep going.

As in one of his previous films "About Schmidt," director Payne introduces us to an unlikely hero. Myles is a divorced, depressed, wine-loving near-alcoholic failed-novelist turned English teacher (memorably played by Paul Giamatti) who is slowly sliding down the bleak side of middle age. This poor schlubb is treating his old college buddy, a failed Hollywood actor (in a star-turn performance by Thomas Haden Church), to a week-long excursion into wine country before his friend's impending marriage-of-convenience.

As in all such road movies, their trip takes some fateful turns, revealing both the depth of their failure in life, as well as some glimmers of redemption.


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