Mr Rogers died, American troops invaded Iraq, and Saddam Hussein was captured. The year was 2003. Do you think you could persuade any reasonable Pinot Noir winemaker that a small-budget Hollywood movie would turn their world upside down?
If you love Pinot or just reading about wine you know the story. Now, Pickett is back along with Miles and Jack and gallons of Pinot Noir in Vertical. It’s the Sideways sequel.
The novel was released last year and talk of a Sideways follow-up has stayed hot since. During an October 2010 visit to Paso Robles, locals were discussing a possible movie. And having completed the novel, there is no question itwill be coming to a screen near you.
Miles has been invited to host the International Pinot Noir Festival in McMinnville setting the scene for more over-the-top drunkness and sex.
Pickett has mastered storytelling and attention to detail but he’s shown no ability to exercise self control. Wading into the first few chapters you might be shocked by the raunchy descriptions of the orgies centered around Miles and Jack.
Pickett includes a level of detail on the sexual forays of our favorite author that just didn’t advance the story. It often reads awkward and out of place. It goes from making the reader uncomfortable to worse when Jack suffers from a problem erectile dysfunction medications warn you about in their wonderfully odd commercials.
But he does tell a wonderful story that serves as a screenplay for what could be another very successful movie. There is plenty of sex, winery name dropping, Willamette Valley wonderfulness, and Pinot Noir. It’s really a two-part novel. The first two-thirds of the book is the two buddys’ madcap roadtrip with the final third of the pages serving as a moving novelette about a middle-aged man dealing with the health and well-being of his aged mother.
If moviemakers can sign Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church for Miles and Jack, a hit seems assured. How about Betty White in a serious dramatic role as Miles’ Mother?
If you like wine and good story telling you’re going to like Vertical. Or, you can just wait for the movie that’s sure to follow.
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