De Ja Movie

I learn interesting things from press releases. One of the films at HIFF this year is Sideways—no, not the wine movie starring that guy from “Wings” and that short, unattractive guy who always plays short, unattractive guys. HIFF’s Sideways is a 2009 Japanese remake of that 2004 American road-trip-buddy-movie-bachelor-party-art-house film. Yes, Japanese actors, in a Japanese language film, tour California’s wine country on a comedic quest for self-discovery.

Apparently, the film is a blend, if you will, of two recent trends in Japan—an interest in remaking American films for a Japanese audience, and a booming interest in fine wines in the land of sake and Suntory.

I’m curious what the remake is like. The American Sideways is adored by the smart set, I know, but I thought it was repellant. The closest it came to any kind of dangerous truth was its suggestion that wine connoisseurship can be an expensive cover for alcoholism.

Sideways plays October 17 and 24, click here for show times and more info on HIFF, running October 15-25.

Japan, if you’re reading, let me save you some grief. If you’ve heard of another quirky American wine movie called Bottle Shock—well, don’t waste your time on a remake. I suspect it’s undrinkable in any language.

On the other hand, if Japan is into remaking successful American films, the mind reels at what it would do with a remake of Transformers, which was a 2007 American movie remake of a 1980s American TV cartoon series made to promote a line of Japanese robot toys that Hasbro had imported into the United States. You say Megatron? I say, Metanarrative!