After all the hoopla about the small-time film
Sideways, I was finally talked into not only renting the DVD, but
sitting down and watching it. The film, which has an amazing amount of hype
for its small stature, is pretty good, but nothing spectacular.
Take a journey through California wine country
Sideways is about Miles Raymond [Paul Giamatti] who decides to
take his college buddy Jack [Thomas Hayden Church] on his final trip as
a bachelor before getting married the following week. While Miles sees this
as a chance to get away, get drunk on wine [and not just any wine], and
explore wine country, Jack sees the trip as his last chance to get laid
by as many females [skinny or fat] as physically possible.
The differences between Miles and Jack couldn't be larger, and that is half
the beauty to the film [the other half I'll explain later]. Miles is a struggling
author who was divorced within the last two years. Due to Miles history,
he offers a very negative personality that leads to anger, depression, and
drunkenness. Therefore, lets just say Miles does NOT have a way with women.
But then we have Jack.
Jack, played by Thomas Hayden Church, was one of the main reasons I was
able to sit through the entire two-hour plus showing of Sideways.
While Miles was at times hard to watch, Jack offers tons of simple laughs
by playing your average carefree guy who looks at every opportunity with
optimism. Miles will tell you the glass is half empty, as Jack will joyously
state that the glass is half full.
In that sense, a part of the formula to Sideways reminded me a
lot of Swingers, as we see one very outgoing guy trying to get
a friend back on his feet. However, along the way the friend [Miles] must
be made to look like an ass and do things he does not want.
Watch Sideways with Wine
The second half of the magic behind Sideways
is based strictly on the wine. There is a large base of people out there
[hopefully over the age of 21] that enjoy drinking wine, wine tasting, or
those who want to get into the business of understanding the palette of
wine. A lot of the enjoyment of Sideways comes in a lesson of how
to become a wine advocate. Through out the film we learn how to sample the
wine, what to look for, and what to like and dislike.
Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church
Not only does the wine work well for the viewers of Sideways, but
I am also sure some money was earned showcasing some of California's Southern
and Central Coast wineries. There are moments in Sideways where
so many labels are shown in front of the camera that I felt I was watching
an extremely brief wine infomercial.
So, definitely have a good bottle of wine handy
when watching Sideways-- I suggest a Riesling.
Final Judgment: Kudos to Thomas Hayden Church and Paul Giamatti, who
do a wonderful job in Sideways. Even though the two actors represent
completely opposite characters, the two play off one another perfectly
to make us feel uncomfortable or laugh in our chairs. However, in the
end, Sideways is like one of those rare bottles of wine that
you can only drink once.