Number of Times Seen – Between 3-5 Times (11 April 2006, 11 Jan 2009, DVD and 20 Nov 2016)
Brief Synopsis – Two friends take a vacation in the California wine country during the week before one of them is to get married.
My Take on it – This is a film that I actually saw for the first time while going thru my own painful divorce a bit over a decade ago.
I was able to sympathize with the main character and felt I could understand his depression and loss of hope.
All 4 of the main actors here, Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh are all excellent and each of them feel so realistic with everything they say and do.
The story and plot seem so realistic because it all feels so down-to-Earth that it’s quite easy for most people to relate to the characters in some way, shape or form.
Yes, each of the characters have their flaws, but that makes them even more real and we can accept them more as people instead of characters in a fictional universe.
The story revolves around a trip to the California wine country, but fear not, one doesn’t need to understand wine in order to follow the film’s story-line; whatever we need to know about wine, they find a way to inform us about it.
The relationship between Giamatti and Church is the best part of the film because they show us what a true friendship can be like despite having its ups and downs, they find a way to continue their more than a decade long friendship.
The two of them seem like complete opposites, but they still find a way to keep their strong friendship afloat.
The relationship between Giamatti and Madsen also feels very real and it’s easy to believe that they find each other interesting and wish to learn more about one another.
IMHO, this is clearly the best film of 2004.
It was able to win many awards during the run up to the Oscars including Best Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes, (eventhough this isn’t really a comedy or a musical for that matter) but unfortunately wasn’t able to get the big one at the Oscars since it was edged out by Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Bottom Line – All 4 of the main actors are superb here because they give the film such a realistic feel to it. The story and plot is so down to Earth that it is quite easy for most people to relate because it shows what a real true friendship could be like. The characters have flaws but still we root for them all to get what they want. One doesn’t need to be a connoisseur of wine to like this film because all you need to know is explained properly. Clearly the beat film of the year IMHO and it was beaten out slightly for Best Picture that year by Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece. Highly highly recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – This is the first film to win best screenplay from all five “major” critic groups (National Board Of Review, New York, Los Angeles, Broadcast and National Society Critics), the Golden Globes, the WGA and, ultimately, the Academy Awards. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy
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