Sideways

Year: 
2004
Rated: 
R
Genre: 
Indie
Director: 
Alexander Payne
Writer(s): 
Rex Pickett
Actor(s): 
Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen
Sandra Oh
Missy Doty
Runtime: 
123
Review: 

I hate wine.

Although I have been known to quaff Strawberry Hill and other Boone's Farm delicacies - not to mention the occasional "box-o-wine" - I (and most drinkers outside of the hardcore, homeless winos) hardly categorize those things as real wine. Real wine is seriously gross. Red wines, by far, are the grossest, although my distaste for red wine likely dates back to an unfortunate incident involving Mad Dog 20/20. In addition to being grossed out by the taste, most red wines - and cider for that matter - send me into mild anaphylaxis. I suspect sulfites as the culprit, as this also happened to me the last time I ate grapes.

So I bet you're expecting me to write that Sideways changed all that and I am now itching to become a member of Sommelier Society of America? Nope. I still hate wine, still think it's gross and still think that wine aficionados are a bunch of snobby tools. (Strangely enough, the movie did make my mother want to try wine. That's pretty fucking weird, since she doesn't drink at all.)

It was a good movie though - I enjoyed it, although it was mightily depressing. Movies about losers are always entertaining, likely because by the end of most films, the loser isn't a loser anymore. Sideways breaks out of that mold - at the end, Miles and Jack are still losers, possibly even bigger losers than when the film began. Imagine Revenge of the Nerds ending after their house is trashed, but before Lewis' triumphant "nerd power" speech - and that's Sideways. 2004 was the year of the schlub, just ask Napoleon Dynamite.

Speaking of Napoleon Dynamite, I see these two movies almost as peas in a pod - a very bizarre and misshapen pod, given that the movies couldn't be more different. Just as Napoleon Dynamite is a film that I would have identified with more a decade ago, I suspect that I identify with Miles a great bit more these days than I possibly could have at 19. Whether that's due to maturity or attributable to having the weight of several failures (relationships, careers, you name it) under my belt, I'll never know.

Jack was a right asshole. I guess that's the determining factor in getting an Oscar nod these days. Asshole losers like Jack are a lot more fun to watch than your garden variety losers like Miles. I'm still confused as to why Paul Giamatti didn't even get nominated - maybe it's the bug eyes? I do predict that he'll get nominated for his role in Cinderella Man and possibly even get a pity Oscar because of his dis for Sideways.

Oh yeah, next time the pay-per-view pre-movie ratings blurb says 'nudity,' I'll try to keep in mind that it may not necessarily be nudity that I want to see. I think that tow truck driver's nuts made me blind.

 

 

"I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!" - Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti)