SIDEWAYS is at turns a bawdy, raucously funny, but often
contemplative first novel by indie filmmaker and
screenwriter, Rex Pickett, soon to be a major motion
picture from writer/director Alexander Payne (ABOUT
SCHMIDT, ELECTION) and Fox Searchlight.
Miles Raymond, dreamer/divorcé/amateur wine aficionado,
narrates the story of a weeklong bachelor trip with his
best friend, Jack—part-time actor and charming roué.
Together, the two of them journey to the Santa Ynez Valley—
an emerging viticultural region producing some of the
finest Pinot Noirs in California—to sample the wines and
bask in Jack's last week of freedom before he's to be
married. Things go comically awry when Jack, hellbent on
having one last fling, falls head-over-heels for one of the
wine pourers they meet at a winery and threatens to call
off the wedding. Miles tries his best to keep Jack to the
straight and narrow, but it seems as if they're both just a
little too "sideways" from all the tasting room visits to
make sense of anything.
Wryly funny first person narration, steeped in a rhapsodic
and eloquently-expressed love of wine, SIDEWAYS, beneath
its at times dizzying pace, achieves a surprising depth of
poignancy about Miles and Jack's friendship. As the week
draws to a close and nostalgia builds for this crazy time
they'll never have again, bigger questions are pondered by
Miles as sobriety brings him to a deeper understanding of
the vicissitudes of love, the closure of a friendship, and
accepting one's failures and moving on.