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I Finally Give My Two-Cents on Sideways

Published May 9, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Fox Searchlight
Sideways Take a journey through California wine country
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.

Sideways Review


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


Sideways Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church
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.

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.



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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Fox Searchlight
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