I thought that Sideways was a really well-made film, but I didn't find it as endearing as most reviewers. I probably should've expected as much from an Alexander Payne film, but maybe I thought that the transition from Omaha to California would result in something more lighthearted. Which, compared to something like About Schmidt, it probably was while achieving the impossible feat of making wine country look extremely bland. So, it's a realistic movie populated by flawed and not very likeable characters that I appreciated but didn't love.
The department happy hour brought us back to Nectar in Fremont on Friday. We took over a upper level corner that was quickly overfilled; last year's experiment in socialization seems to be a success even when relocated to more remote regions of the city. Fremont still seems to be improving, for the record. Eventually, we needed to vacate our booth, which had been reserved by another party, and the bar had turned into a site for a ski movie premiere; so the remains of the group relocated to the Hopvine.
We lucked into a crowded front couple of tables at the restaurant and our overwhelmed waiter brought us some beer and food. This finding of a table was unexpected and since we weren't especially needy in terms of service, the inattentive service wasn't so bad for our purposes. Aside from the company, I was happy to end the evening close to home.
I did a little bit of domestic work yesterday -- laundry and cleaning and the usual Saturday things -- and tried to catch up on reading and watching episodes of the o.c.. Later, I met Carolyn and Betsy to watch Finding Neverland, which I liked quite a bit even though it was pretty syrupy and featured child actors. That said, the kids were British and there was a hell of a Newfoundland in it. Not to mention Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, and terrific blending of real and fantasy elements. I tried to think of it more of an "inspired by true events" rather than a biopic. I get the feeling that many members of the audience approved as well; the theater was full of sniffling moviegoers as the credits rolled.
We adjourned to Dragonfish, ten minutes before their happy hour started (seven days a week -- who knew?) and decided to wait it out before ordering. Our waitress didn't seem too annoyed by our thriftiness.