Anyone for a nice Merlot?

First of all, I love Paul Giamatti, think he is a brilliant actor, for all the powers-that-be in Hollywood seem to think he's doing a John wayne, i.e., playing himself up there on the big screen.

I don't understand all this "breakthrough" nonsense about Sideways since I thought he'd already established himself as major actor in American Splendor. At least most of the world's movie watchers thought so along with me and millions of others.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sideways, and still do, despite the fact that some women I know, and whose opinion I respect, have found it to be just another "men behaving badly" movie, a genre of which they are seriously tired. I get their point, and I agree, but that doesn't lessen my admiration for the movie -- although to be honest, as a man who has been -- and is still, on occasion -- wont to behave badly, perhaps I'm not completely objective. I also thought that Sandra Oh, for the first time I can recall in such a movie, enthusaistically demonstrated the woman's point of view about such behavior.

But this bizarre business about how Merlot is no longer drinkable is just a little bit of moronic.

This is based on screen lines said by a character that postures as a loathesome wine snob but is in fact an alcoholic, a drunken poseur low enough and far enough gone to steal from his mother's cash stash during a visit.

I am someone who has been enamored of Merlot all the way back in the days when restaurants apologized for not offering it. I know Cab and Pinot Noir are the pick hits of wine snobs everywhere, if only (so I have come to believe) because it is so much easier to get an undrinkable bottle of the stuff than it is to get a bad Merlot.

Other people with other agendas and very little acumen or sense of humor have attacked the film because Giamatti's character is "really an alcoholic." They may be the only people around who haven't yet realized that IS what the character is supposed to be.

Giamatti himself, in promo interviews, described his character as a man who "starts each day as a wine connoisseur and ends each day as a drunk." But then social reformers of other people's habits seem to always miss the point and believe they're the only ones who discerned the secret flaw.

That's why they run for office -- because they never get the joke.

On the other hand, whether or nor Virginia Madsen's character would have low enough self-esteem to want to hook up with this amusing, spineless, and amiable drunk who has all of one day clean under his belt is another matter, one we are spared having to witness regardless of how it will go.

As for me, I will continue drink my Merlot, but now with a bit more enjoyment than usual, knowing the true assholes are afraid to order it.


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