By Judy Berman
A huge red balloon floats ahead of you, just out of reach. It entices you to follow, and you do, until it loses oxygen and fades away.
In a moment of clarity, that might be months or years in the making, you look back and realize how lucky you were that relationship fizzled or made a noisy exit.
Suddenly, you’re on a new path. A crook in the road, unexpected twists and turns, result in a less stressful and happier life.
Let’s face it: You dodged a bullet. Now, move on.
It takes Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) awhile to realize this when he’s visiting Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her parents. True, she doesn’t support his dreams of leaving his job as a screenwriter to write a novel.
Soon there are other cracks in the blissful relationship.
One night, Inez goes out dancing with her friends, Paul and Carol Bates. Gil is not in the mood to join them, in part, because he dislikes Paul, a professor, who acts like he’s an expert on everything from wine to art.
As Gil meanders thru the streets of Paris at midnight, an old car stops and offers him a ride. He accepts and finds himself back in the 1920s, where he meets some of the literary and artistic greats of that time.
With each midnight ride, Gil realizes he can achieve his dream of writing. He wants to stay in Paris. Inez wants no part of that.
Another roadblock to happiness is when Gil discovers that Inez has been cheating on him – with Paul. Gil breaks off their engagement.
Gil decides to stay in Paris. On another midnight excursion, a new love appears, and they walk off into the glow of the City of Lights.
Whew! That was a close call. But some never see that train wreck coming.
In the movie, “Sideways,” Miles (Paul Giamatti) goes on a weeklong road trip to wine country with his buddy, Jack (Thomas Hadden Church).
Miles, a wine connoisseur and unsuccessful writer, hasn’t gotten over his divorce. Miles meets Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress, at his favorite restaurant, and they arrange a double-date with Jack and Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a friend of Maya’s.
Jack, Miles’ former college roommate, conveniently omits the fact that he is days away from getting hitched.
On one outing, Miles accidentally tells Maya that Jack is about to get married.
What’s that phrase? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Maya breaks up with Miles, and Stephanie breaks Jack’s nose with her helmet.
That scamp, Jack, has already moved on to still another waitress – with disastrous results.
Meanwhile, Miles flips out in a wine-tasting room and downs a container of wine when he learns that still another manuscript has been turned down.
His buddy, Jack, pulls Miles further into his drama.
Jack begs Miles to retrieve his wedding rings that he left after a hasty exit from the second waitress’s home when her husband returned “unexpectedly.”
Before the two middle-aged men return home, Jack wrecks Miles’ car in an effort to explain away his broken nose to his future wife and her family.
At the wedding, Miles runs into his ex-wife and her husband. He learns they are expecting a baby.
Later, alone at home, he has a phone message from Maya. She liked his manuscript and invites him to visit.
Love, at last, no longer eludes Miles. But it took a round-about route to get him there.
Have you ever had a close call, one you were glad you sidestepped?
Main Photo: Stress – Depicting never having enough time and the stress this can cause. Taken: 1-3-13. Source; https://pixabay.com/en/hustle-and-bustle-hours-timer-73400/ https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Never_enough_time.jpg
Photo: “Midnight in Paris” – Gil Pender (Owen Wilson). http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/oct/06/midnight-in-paris-film-review
Photo: “Sideways” – Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) http://www.cinemablend.com/images/news_img/70727/alexander_payne_70727.jpg
Movie Video: In “Midnight in Paris,” Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a screenwriter and aspiring novelist, is vacationing in Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. On a solo midnight excursion thru the City of Lights, he finds himself back in the 1920s. His return to present day only fuels his desire to write a book and remain in Paris. His fiancée doesn’t support either goal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nOF93SzX6s
Movie Video: “Sideways” – Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his buddy, Jack (Thomas Haden Church), on a road trip to wine country, their last single-guy bonding experience. Jack decides to have a fling with Stephanie (Sandra Oh) before his wedding, while Miles begins to fall for Maya (Virginia Madsen). The deception soon unravels and throws the trip into chaos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS9ocP6FNvM