Friday, January 12, 2007

Sideways: Comedy for the Middle-Aged

I realize I am late to the party, when you have children you nearly almost are, but I recently watched Sideways and, to be perfectly honest, I don't know what all the fuss was about. Best picture? C'mon! It's a dark movie packaged as a comedy with a whole bunch of wine thrown in, so you would think it would be a good movie. It had its moments - like Sandra Oh beating the shit out of Thomas Haden Church - but overall the movie sucked.

Thomas Haden Church plays Jack to Paul Giamatti's Miles, who is a melancholy, little man clinging to the last rung of hope on this ladder of life. Miles is recently divorced, awkward, and utterly miserable. Miles is so miserable that whenever he is on screen, I feel miserable. His buddy Jack is no better. He is a two-bit voice-over actor who shoplifts the pootie from the lovely Sandra Oh. As if Sandra Oh would give a guy like Jack the time of day in the real, non-tannin infused world. I don't think so. Do I like Jack? No. Am I supposed to? I don't think I so, and it comes as a bit of a surprise that I DO find myself liking him despite his major character flaws.

Even though they played their roles perfectly, Church and Giamatti were not enough to redeem what I considered a movie for old folks or, at the very least, the middle-aged. I like smart comedies. I do. Royal Tennebaums and High Fidelity are two movies that were done very, very well. But, I am thirty years old and well-settled. I'm not scheduled to have a mid-life crisis until - oh - ten years from now. So, all the "poor me, my life sucks" sort of thing just didn't resonate with me.

Also, Napa valley took on an identity all its own, which is cool, but not interesting to me. I like wine and I even drink it on an irregular basis, but I think spending hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine just to look at it is freakin' ridiculous, as is the snobbery of the whole Napa scene. A bunch of wealthy a**holes getting drunk is not my idea of a good time. I generally run in the opposite direction when I encounter this sort of scene.

Oh! And, the music. Smooth jazz. I mean -really- we're in Napa and we are so sophisticated that all we listen to is smooth jazz. Good God. The movie painted a bleak picture of middle-age that I hope to never see.

Ultimately, when I stripped away all the layers, I was left with a movie about two alcoholics who don't have their shit together. I am certain this was a highly acclaimed movie because most reviewers fall into the target demographic, educated and over forty, but for those of us Gen Xers who grab life by the balls, and believe anything in life is possible, it was just a sad commentary that portrays Boomers as an unbalanced and idiotic group of folks.

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