Remember a decade ago, when it seemed like Paul Giamatti had the leading role in a movie a couple of times a year? Those were good days. Those were the days of Sideways, an adaptation of a Rex Pickett novel that writer-director Alexander Payne and his co-writer Jim Taylor turned into a surprise smash hit. Giamatti gives one of his best performances in Sideways as Miles Raymond, a depressed writer and wine connoisseur who takes a trip through California wine country with his horndog buddy Jack (played by Thomas Haden Church). Couching his damaged psyche and alcoholism in snobbery, Miles finds himself just as miserable as he was in his home in San Diego. But as played by Giamatti, Miles is a sympathetic grump, with a quick mind and a good heart. And as directed by Payne, Sideways is a film about the real America, where crappy motels and tourist traps sit side-by-side with some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. The trick for mopes like Miles is to know where to look. Sideways airs on HDNet Movies tonight at 8:15 p.m. Eastern, and again at 12:15 a.m.
December 02, 2014 Cable Pick Of The Day