Well, it's been a little while but I'm due for a movie review. So, I decided to cover a movie I just finished watching and thoroughly enjoyed: Sideways. The first thing I must say is that I was honestly suprised I enjoyed the movie given the underlying theme is on a topic I have no interest in: wine connoisseurship. If it was up to me (queue gasps) I'd rather have a glass of Boone's Farm (strawberry) than a Chardonay or Merlot (this is supposed to be a low quality wine - but I wouldn't know, which is my point). My pallet for alcoholic beverages is little to none and (being a sweet tooth) my preference is for sweet wines. So, needless to say I avoided seeing this movie, with the notion that I wouldn't have any sympathy with the characters and their experiences.
That being said, I absolutely loved this movie for every other reason than the main theme. Primarily, this movie is an excellent example of how subtle, mature comedy can often hit harder than slapstick if done well. The scenes of hilarity by themselves could easily be misconstrued as being in bad taste. They ride right up to the line of what is appropriate but do it in a way you can't help but appreciate (if you have a minimal sense of humour).
Sideways is also an example of how you develop characters with almost unforgivable traits in a way that is both believable and sympathetic. It's hard to explain how this is so with this movie without spoiling the experience.
The main character, Miles, is reminiscent of Jack Nicholson's character (Melvin) from As Good as it Gets - one of my favorite characters of all time (for the same reasons I liked Miles). They are both characters with serious social issues (arguably for good reasons) that still are able to reconcile their harsh outlooks on life by meeting women with the insight and courage to appreciate that underneath all the layers of social armor are men with genuine characters.
Jack and Miles are probably the oddest of couples you will ever find in such a movie, but the care that is taken in developing their experience makes it almost impossible not to believe that they are indeed best of friends. So, for me Sidways was more a celebration of the art of character development and mature humour than of wine sniffing and tasting.