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Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm a Loser Baby

I've always liked Alexander Payne's films, and am glad to see his I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is out this summer, but when I watch Sideways always feel the one scene in it that jars on me (where the Virginia Madsen character, Maya, starts holding forth on her philosophy of wine) is the key to a common misreading of the film's ending. If she is right for Miles (the film ends with him knocking on her apartment door) it is not just because he's ready for happiness again, but also because he has finally let go of his misplaced desire to be a writer. She is all right with his failure and confirms him in it, in other words, and far from being a happy ending it's a damning reminder of how what we class as happiness is usually just another word for failure.

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