Sideways give birth to a VERTICAL



Rex Pickett authored Sideways which evolved from a nice read to a cult movie bringing new people into the realms of the wine world. More defining was that as a movie, it single-handedly put Pinot Noir on the map and almost decimated the market for merlot. Rex has got a new book on the market now following the same main characters on another journey into the world of wine, this time into the wonderful Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Rex Pickett, Author Vertical

Rex Pickett, Author Vertical

The future adventures of “Sideways” characters Miles and Jack find its original author, Rex Pickett, reclaiming not only his own story from the hit film but striking out in a bold — and sober — new direction.

The novel’s road trip puts four decidedly troubled human beings, plus a dog, into Miles’s rental rampvan heading for the [International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon].  Along with Miles, rolling in dough, and Jack, now divorced and so permanently pickled he can no longer get directing work in Hollywood, are Miles’s stroke-addled mother, Phyllis; her pot-smoking Filipina nurse, Joy; and his mom’s Yorkie, Snapper.  Miles’s ill-fated scheme is to snatch his mom from the Southern California assisted-living facility she hates and take her, via Oregon, to her sister’s home in Wisconsin.  While Miles and Jack wind up in beds with voracious women and in bottles neither could afford until recently, the trip is a disaster from the get-go.

“Vertical” is a real change in direction from “Sideways.”  The latter is a classic buddy story, the new novel a mother-and-son story.  Pickett’s … character depictions are ruthlessly vivid and clear.  Everyone is the captain of his or her own fate; blame belongs where it belongs, which is not on bad fathers, absent mothers or demanding ex-wives.

In the last chapters, as the journey heads from Oregon to Wisconsin, you sense the writer, clear-headed and determined, narrowing his focus on Miles and his mother.  He insists they better understand each other and resolve a lifetime of distrust and hurt feelings. These passages contain the most powerful writing in the book.

The novel’s final note might spark controversy, but not here.  The ending makes perfect sense; it’s one of supreme compassion and renewed hope.

— Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter


2 Responses to “Sideways give birth to a VERTICAL”

  1. March 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Yeah, but does he drink any Merlot?

    • 2 Christopher
      March 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      HAHA! I’ve not seen anything from him about that…. If you find out I would be interested in hearing about it!

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