Taylor A darling of the Oscar and film festival circuit a few years back, Sideways is the story of two friends, a future groom and his best man, traveling through California wine country a week before the groom's marriage. Along the way, the play golf, meet some of the locals and drink lots of wine, their friendship being tested by the situations they find themselves in.
Let's start with the positive aspects of the film. I will say that the casting was spot on. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church were completely believable in their roles as Miles and Jack. I can see why Giamatti was so well respected for his portrayal of Miles in the film. As it begins, you really don't like the character. He appears to be nothing more than a pretentious loser. As the film continues, however, I found myself sympathizing with his loneliness and his lack of control over his life. Church was also committed as Jack, the over the hill actor who wants to have one last fling before his wedding. Jack makes no apologies for his plans for the week, and just when you think that you understand the character, he portrays a side of himself that is a testament to the actual love the character shares for his bride. Finally, Virginia Madsen was by far the standout of the foursome making up the main players in this film (Sandra Oh was nice enough, but I found myself thinking her to be the weakest of the actors, and thought that her character could have been played by a multitude of actresses.) Madsen plays Maya as vulnerable and likable from the moment she walks into the film. She has a monologue that uses wine as an analogy for life that many other actresses could have chewed up and performed in an overdramatic way. Madsen's performs the scene with just enough passion, just enough subtlety that makes you believe that what she is saying is true for her. It's a beautiful, understated performance.
Now, that being said, did I enjoy Sideways?
For all the hype I had heard about the film when it came out, I was really expecting an amazing film. I thought that at times the material was pretensious and self-indulgent. Some of the camerawork appeared very 70's-esque to me, (angles, lighting, etc.) and considering these characters are supposed to be in the very upper crusty wine country, I found that to be an odd choice. If you took the film and split it into three acts, I would say the second act was by far the most enjoyable to watch. The first act of the film seemed to take a little too long (We get it, they're going to wine country), and the final act appeared to flounder for a while (including a scene with a stolen wallet and a car accident that seemed a little too zany for the movie's sensibilities.) But, this seems to be a recurring theme with the director, Alexander Payne's, previous works (Election and the sinfully underrated About Schmidt).
Sideways is one of those movies that I'm glad I saw it, but am fine with never seeing it again. If you happen to catch it on cable, watch it for a while. Sideways gets 3 Pugs.
Babaloo Sideways is about Miles (Paul Giamatti) going through a sad and pathetic mid-life crisis. He takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) to wine country to taste wine. But alas Jack would rather get drunk on Women before he gets married the following week. At first you kind of feel sorry for Miles. He is to controlling and uptight about a lot of things. Jack his best friend, the whore, wants nothing more to loosen his friend up.
I happen to enjoy this movie. Why? Cause it was about a geek (Miles) talking about wine….I know nothing about wine but I have some knowledge of geek speak. I don’t know, I guess I could relate in a way. Like a geek talking about comics and then geek meets super hottie geek.
The story was slow at first but very good and entertaining towards the middle and end. My favorite part of the film was the Monologues between Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Maya (Virginia Madsen). Miles talked about how complicated it is to grow a pinot grape and Maya how good a wine tastes after so long. It was the most absolute brilliant way of expression in writing between the two characters I have ever seen. The film had a lot of subtle funny moments that were also brilliant.
Not much bad to talk about.
The beginning was slow and the film seemed low budget but that didn’t bother me as much. The acting and the story itself was very entertaining.
I give it 4 pugs out of 5.