Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"And you almost tell her that I'm gettin' married? What's the matter with you?"

You know how you watch a movie for the first time, have certain feelings about it, then don't watch it until almost 4 years later, with a new perspective on life, and see the movie in a whole new light?  Yeah, that's how I felt with this week's DVD choice.  Before this movie, I didn't know the SO nor had I really had any actual "relationship" with the opposite sex (yes, I was the dude who had lots of girl friends but no actual girlfriends... yes, I admit it).  At the time, I could really identify with the lead character, but I actually hadn't watched the movie a second time until this past Saturday.  Boy, was I in for a treat with the SO... 

Back in 2005, I first saw the independent film Sideways.  In the film, we first meet Miles (Paul Giamatti), obviously a man with a mid-life crisis.  For the next week, he and his buddy Jack (Thomas Haden Church) are going up to wine country in California to live it up one more time before Jack gets married at the end of the week on Saturday.  Miles is a middle school English teacher, and Jack is a struggling actor.  Both want to get away, but neither has the same plan for the next week's events.  Miles wants to enjoy some good wines and play a few rounds of golf.  Jack wants to sow some wild oats before getting the ball and chain locked on him for eternity.

While eating at The Hitching Post, they meet Miles' crush Maya (Virginia Madsen) and Jack makes it his goal to get those two hooked up.  Too bad his penis is leading him towards a single divroced mother who works at a winery.  While Jack and Stephanie (Sandra Oh) spend a LOT of time together, Miles really can't get over his divorce (from TWO years ago!).  It doesn't get any better when Jack tells Miles that his ex-wife will be at the wedding... with her NEW husband!  Miles is about as depressed as you can get.  Throughout the movie, we find out Miles is just one hugely depressed dude about a lot of things: about his failed marriage, about his failed book, about his failed life.  And we learn that Jack just wants to have fun, but his fun ways don't make any money and while he may be sowing his oats, he needs Christine, his future bride-to-be.

In the end, Jack's secret gets out, and so does some of his blood.  And he barely gets away with his clothes as well.  Miles, obviously infatuated with Maya, finds the courage to go after her.  And this little independent film ends with the typical mainstream movie ending.  It seems there are two endings to independent films (that I've personally seen).  One, the guy ends up with the girl at the very end, even though it looked like it would never happen (which would have given the movie a sense of reality, rather than a Hollywood-style ending).  Or two, the movie ends in mid-sequence, to leave us wondering what happens next.  Sideways ends with option two.

When I first watched this movie, I obviously identified with Miles.  I had no one to love, no one to love me.  And I desperately wanted to find love.  Miles just wants to find something to be happy about.  And yet, he is always finding the negative in life, which I'm victim of doing myself.

This time around, though, I still feel like Miles, but this time I feel pity for him.  I may still be glass half-empty sometimes, but with the SO, life doesn't seem so bad as Miles may make it out to be.  And that makes this second viewing change my opinion of this movie.  Life is too short to be down all the time, so I've got to make the most of it.  And that's why I'm ready to get done with grad school, no matter what it takes.

So this movie, in my opinion, can stay.  If I had to leave a movie behind, it could potentially be this one.  But it does remind me how lucky I am to have the SO.  And it also reminds me how lucky I have the SO.  I mean, I'm a geek.  I freakin' write a blog about my DVDs and why I need them.  And it doesn't help that I'm crazy over Star Wars.  I don't get into wearing the gear or pretending I can use the Force.  But for a Star Wars-lovin' movie-watchin' geek, I'm lucky to have her.  But maybe she should be glad I'm not as bad as this guy.  


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