Movies: He's Got Good Taste

I don't see it coming. He's wearing A cashmere vest, talking about the limitations of the Sangiovese grape and the appeal of Italian neorealist films and then--boom--Alexander Payne whacks the top of my knee to emphasize a point. The Nebraskan bonhomie explodes right there on my kneecap. He does it again. And again. He's the kind of guy who can swirl a glass of Pinot Noir like a pro and then down it with a "Cheers, bro."

He seems, at the very least, far less awkward than any character in his films. After exploring the unlikable, self-tortured inhabitants of his hometown...