My wife and I saw our third Oscar contender for Best Picture on Sunday, "Sideways". This smaller, independent film is loved by the critics. If you love wine, wine tasting, wineries and mid life crises, you will love Sideways. The premise is a bachelor party week tasting wines outside of Santa Barbara for two former college buddies, one a failed writer and the other a mostly failed actor.
While there is plenty of wit and good dialog and great information for wine connoisseurs, we found it difficult to care for the plight of either of the characters. The lead is brooding, and the supporting actor (played very well by Thomas Hayden Church) is a philandering, self-centered groom-to-be.
I think this is receiving positive press from Academy members because many of them may be boorish males in their mid-lives going through problems finding meaning. That is obviously overly harsh, but we were at pains to see what the critics love in this film. I like Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator, in that order, over Sideways. I must see Ray, though. I hear it is a wonderful and powerful performance.