I did see the film Sideways, which was decent, the most we can ask for this year really. The story follows two emotionally stunted, middle-aged men on a wine-tasting tour of the California wine region before one of the two is to be married. Paul Giametti is the lead character, and we can tell this because he is wimpish and emotionally crippled.
That was a running theme this year, eh? Hollywood must be responding to the war by having a real problem with masculinity. Spiderman was an emotionally-crippled wimp. Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, played an emotionally crippled wimp. Howard Hughes was overcome by his emotional and psychological problems. Jesus Christ was tortured for two hours. Ray Charles was literally crippled, and apparently tortured by a drug problem. The hero in Constantine is not only emotionally crippled, but has cancer. David Carradine showed up, only to get easily killed by Uma Thurman. Tom Hanks was a wimpish immigrant who can't go home. Men were really helpless this year. I mean, our only hero, aside from Will Smith in I, Robot, was Michael Moore, who looks to be one donut away from a heart attack.
Anyway, Sideways is very funny and the audience does begin to care about these two hopeless screwups. Giametti is a very talented actor, and I imagine he will eventually win an Oscar. The two female leads, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, were great, although honestly their characters were a bit one-dimensional. Mostly, women exist in this film as mommy figures for the emotionally-stunted males to be succored by. Director Alexander Payne still indulges in his arrogant need to make average people, here a fat waitress and her fat husband, look repulsive. But, the theme of the dawning disappointments of middle age strikes a chord, and there are some very funny scenes. Giametti has this constant sense of disappointment to him that gives his alcoholic character a bit of grace, especially when he does anything kind or selfless. He seems soulful, even while the movie itself is amusing, bordering on tepid.