Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Movie Moods: Sideways

I'm not sure if this is a mood so much as it's just a totally autobiographical identification with Paul Giamatti's character, Miles, in Sideways. Either way, it's significant.

This is his response when Maya (Virginia Madsen) asks him why he's so into Pinot:

"Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."

You see, like Miles, I am Pinot.

If you want to see five of the most poignant, haunting, romantic, brilliantly acted, and perfect minutes in the history of cinema, watch this clip with the quote in context:

I'm glad I could incorporate this quote. It's very important to me, not only because of its personal resonance, but because I'm on a Paul Giamatti binge lately. I'm in full-on obsession mode. And his performance in Sideways is just the end-all, be-all as far as I'm concerned.

In light of my strong feelings on that matter, his genuine, unceasing class and humility, particularly from an interview with The Onion's A.V. Club, amazes me and only makes me love him more:

The A.V. Club: You've said that you didn't deserve to win an Academy Award for Sideways. Why?

Paul Giamatti: I certainly probably said that. [Laughs.] Sure. I don't think I gave a good enough performance to be nominated for it. I thought I gave a fine performance, but those things are supposed to be about giving an extraordinary performance, aren't they? I don't feel like I did. I feel like it's a great movie, and everybody's really good in it. I feel like Tom [Haden Church] and Virginia [Madsen] actually gave the kind of performances that should have been nominated. I don't feel like I did. I'm not putting myself down or anything. I did a good job. But I always thought those things were about doing better than a good job.

AVC: Is that one of your favorite performances? Do you feel like there's another film where you really knocked it out of the park?

PG: No. I think I'm a fine enough actor. There are performances that I prefer to that one. I see a lot of flaws in that one. There are other things that I think I'm better in.

AVC: What kind of flaws? What would you have done differently?

PG: I don't know that it's so much what I would have done differently in playing the character - like I would have chosen necessarily to have done different things - but I think I would be more relaxed about doing it now. I think I felt a lot of pressure doing it, because I'd never played a part in a movie that big before. So I think I worked too hard at it in the wrong ways. I overworked it.

Au contraire, Mr. Giamatti.

1 comment:

Alexa said...

Sigh. Fantastic.