Sideways

Watched the movie Sideways last night, one of those movies that I have seen countless times and would watch again and again and again given the opportunity. I love it. I’d say it falls into the category of perfect movie. If there is a flaw in it I have not found it…yet.

For those who don’t know this movie it is about two buddies, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), who go away for a week to California wine country in order to celebrate before Jack gets married. Miles is a divorced suffering writer — and boy does  he suffer. While Jack is a carefree actor who is the epitome of the power of positive thinking. He’s also a playboy hell bent on getting laid during this  his final week of bachelorhood. And he does, much to Mile’s chagrin.

I loved this movie when I first saw it, before I was divorced. I even read the book, which was descent, but I prefer the movie. However, now that I am divorced it appeals to me even more. I understand Mile’s suffering in ways that I don’t think I did before. How could I?

I’ve been thinking particularly about one part in the movie. It’s the part when Jack is going to ho0k up with the chubby waitress after Stephanie (Sandra Oh), the women he not only has sex with but decides that he might be in love with, discovers that he is getting married and bashes his nose in with her motorcycle helmet. Jack and Miles are standing there. Miles is lamenting to Jack, wanting to know why he has to hook up with this stranger after all that has happened, that is going to happen, i.e. his impending marriage. And Jack explains to Miles that he, Miles, does not understand his, Jack’s, plight. What is his plight exactly? He does not say. Only that there is a plight. Made me wonder if Jack’s optimism is merely a mask for a deeper angst, that he feels the need to sleep with strange women, in spite of the fact that he’s about to get married, to prove something, fill some void, to what? It strikes me as a jab at the whole phoniness of “staying positive” attitude, that there is something inherently shallow about. It is disingenuous, dismissive. And that Miles, the sullen, miserable man, is the more authentic human being, the more admirable one.

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