The final act of any career is what the artist makes of it. Some will cash their cheques and coast along with passion projects like Paul McCartney or the sale of their back catalogue like Bob Dylan. Others will continue to chisel out their filmography with drab hands and easy cash like Bruce Willis. Some will cater to their passions; others will take the backhander and very few will finesse it so well that they can do both. Jack Nicholson feels like a man that could do both, and he did that with the final few films of his career. About Schmidt was his last gasp at Academy Awards success, and although he fell just short, it doesn’t matter all that much.
Will I turn into someone as pretentious, annoying and self-loathing as Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways? I like to think I’m already there, and can go beyond how gratingly upset and miserable Miles is for the duration of this Alexander Payne directed piece. Considered to be one of the modern American classics, Sideways pairs up two somewhat likeable, yet wholly flawed characters, on a week of wine country exploration. Jack (Thomas Haden Church) is obsessed with having one last week of freedom before tying the knot, whilst Miles is still reeling from a divorce, a pending book deal and the general horrors of depression and anxiety that plague his life.