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New Japanese Remake of “Sideways” Features Napa Valley Infomercial But No Godzilla

The International Herald Tribune reports that Sideways is being re-made as a movie for Japan’s Fuji Television,  complete with more blatant product and sponsor plugs than a Guthy-Renker infomercial for miracle ab flatteners.

GOODBYE SANTA BARBARA; HELLO NAPA VALLEY

“The two male characters (Michio and Daisuke instead of Miles and Jack) now head from Los Angeles to Napa Valley, instead of traipsing up to Santa Barbara. While wine sales are on the rise in Japan — thanks in part to the comic-book sensation “Kami no Shizuku,” or “The Drops of God,” about a heroic odyssey to find the best wines in the world — a lesser-known wine region like Santa Barbara would still resonate little with audiences. And heading to Napa allowed the filmmakers to weave in some local landmarks. “You can’t do a road trip in California without going over the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Cellin Gluck, the new film’s director.”

NO MERLOT RANT

“But you can, it seems, remake “Sideways” without bashing merlot. The memorable rant by Paul Giamatti’s Miles (“If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving,” he bellowed, before using some saltier language to express his hatred of the wine) is nowhere to be found.”

SPONSOR PLUGS EVERYWHERE

“Frog’s Leap, Beringer and Chandon were among the wineries that signed on, along with restaurants and tourist spots in the area. In the resulting scenes each location gets a plug that approaches parody. There are signs visible in nearly every scene, close-ups of wine labels and real-life employees, in bit parts, stiffly reciting lines like “Welcome to Old Faithful Geyser, Calistoga, California.”

“Mr. Gluck defends the plugs as “payback, in a good way.” He explained, “When you’re a small film, that’s sometimes all you have to offer.” (The Japanese film was made for $3 million; the original cost $17 million.) “We didn’t set out to make a tourism film,” he said. But he added, “If there’s going to be a benefit, let it be for those who helped us out.”

Read the entire article.