To be brief, I have not blogged in a long time because I am getting married. I will probably not blog for another three weeks. You understand.
In any case, a night of drinking and needing something to not really pay attention to, we decided on Sideways, a curious film by Alexander Payne. My favorite of Payne’s work is his short that concludes Paris Je t’aime, for its incredible honesty and empathy. I haven’t watched Sideways since before I was of legal age to drink, so three years later, it’s quite the film to revisit, in terms of oenophilia and maturity.
The vernacular and vocabulary of the film is fun to be reacquainted with, both through times of pretension and legitimate understanding. I can see his obsession with the fruit and flavor and the other sensual qualities offered from wine. But at the same time, I found myself perpetually annoyed by Miles. His character is incredibly pathetic, and his authority as a connoisseur of wine really provides his only outlet in which he excels: his intelligence. He has the capacity to expound and pontificate, but he only teaches English to 8th graders. How much authority does he really have?
Additionally, Payne as a filmmaker treads both insight and cliche. The awful montage of Miles and Jack visiting vineyards before getting to Buellton reeks of middle-aged guffawing, crappy lounge music and split-screened kooky imagery. And yet, the scene where Jack, Miles, Maya, and Stephanie have dinner contains poetry, an ode to a night of belabored drinking. Miles indulges into self-pity through each glass of wine, only to dissolve through numbness to make a telephone call to his ex-wife. It’s a profound sequence and insightfully executed. It’s the drunkest cinema because it has the most clarity.
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