AN EVENING OF WINE AND FILM – DECEMBER 5, 7-10PM
Join us for a screening of the critically acclaimed 2004 comedy/drama SIDEWAYS. Following the film, there will be a tasting of Merlot and Pinot Noir wines from around the world. Trustee Lori Devlin and Sales Manager for Winebow will discussion how the film influenced the drinking habits of the American wine consumer.
Admission: $40, includes a variety of cheeses and fresh local bread. (Complementary for our Bronze, Silver and Gold Members).
Middle-aged BFFs Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) take off to California’s wine country for the week as Miles’s gift to Jack before he is to be married on Saturday with Miles as best man. Both, however, have a hidden agenda: Miles just wants to drink as he’s clinically depressed about his divorce (two years and counting) and failure to get his novels published; Jack wants to get laid one more time before settling down with one woman.
During the week, they encounter two women: one is Maya (Virginia Madsen), a kind-hearted, beautiful, and intelligent woman who Miles has longed after for a while (not in the least because she’s just as knowledgeable about wine as he is) but Cannot Spit It Out. The other is Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a spirited MILF wine pourer who instantly takes Jack up on his charming advances. Hilarity, heartwarming, and bittersweetness ensues. And wine drinking. Lots of it.
Sideways opened to universal acclaim, winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Golden Globes for Best Picture- Musical/Comedy and Best Screenplay, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast, which was notable since that ensemble was made up of only four actors instead of the usual loads and loads of actors. It was also a huge success, being Fox’s biggest indie hit ever at the time, scoring $70 million domestically after an initial limited release turned into an eventual wide release.
The film elevated Paul Giamatti from character actor (as seen in films like The Negotiator and The Truman Show) to billed actor in more mainstream films. It put the careers of Thomas Haden Church and Sandra Oh on the map after a career in bit roles; Church nabbed the role as The Sandman in Spider-Man 3 based off his performance here and Sandra Oh landed a key role in Grey’s Anatomy shortly after the film’s release. It also resurrected the career of Virginia Madsen, an ’80s sex symbol who had been relegated over the years as simply “Michael Madsen’s sister”.
Interest in wine and tours shot up like crazy after the film came out; it even affected the sales of certain wines. Miles’s love of pinot noir caused that wine’s sales to soar, while his disparaging of Merlot (“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving; I am NOT drinking any FUCKING Merlot!”) caused Merlot’s sales to dip, although it continues to be the most prevalent wine in the States.