Seven days of wine and neuroses is the subject of Alexander Payne's sensational new movie “Sideways,” premiering at the Smith Opera House Thursday.
One week before his buddy Jack (Thomas Haden Church) is getting married, old friend Miles (Paul Giamatti) proposes they spend a weeklong last fling in the California wine country. They may be traveling in the same car, but they're not going in the same direction.
Miles is an anxious, obsessive, depressed, self-hating, dejected, moody sad sack — and a recently divorced wannabe novelist. He's also an oenophile (wine connoisseur to you and me) who's at his most confident when comparing the delicate complexity of a pinot with the insulting obviousness of a merlot.
He envisions a leisurely week of wine tasting, good dinners, maybe a golf game or two.
Jack is a 40-ish actor whose career has shifted downward from soap operas to commercial voiceovers. But his still-chiseled good looks and actor swagger make him successful with women
He anticipates their trip as a last week of freedom, during which he intends to get lucky as often as possible.
Early on, they hook up with two attractive women. Maya (Virginia Madsen) is a waitress and wine expert who's known Miles for a few years, thanks to his frequent wine-tasting travels. Stephanie (Sandra Oh) is a smart, lively, sexy wine pourer who rides a motorcycle. On their first double date, she and Jack head straight for the bedroom while Maya and Miles sit on the porch, shyly courting through their mutual passion for the grape. Miles speaks of the notoriously temperamental pinot, which needs someone who can understand it to bring it to its fullest expression. For Maya, it's how wine is always evolving, how opening a bottle on this day is entirely different from opening it on any other day.
Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, “Sideways,” will be screened at 7 p.m. on March 17, 18, and 19, at 2 p.m. on March 20, and at 7 p.m. on March 21 and 22. Rated R for language, some strong sexual content and nudity, this film has a running time of two hours, three minutes. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. All seats are $3 on Thursday and $2 on Tuesdays. Patrons are invited to wear green on Thursday, St. Patrick's Day, and receive a free bag of popcorn. Call 315-781-5483 or toll-free 866-355-5483 for details or to reserve tickets.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.