Sideways: Movie Review
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Produced by: Michael London, Jay Cohen
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen
Released by: Fox Searchlight
is poignant without being sappy. It is hysterical
without being a comedy. And it deserves — unlike
so many movies out these days — more than
just a sideways glance.
the Wine Fantastic
Sideways: Hysterical, Poignant and Real
common knowledge that George Clooney wanted to play
the scoundrel sidekick, Jack, in the film, “Sideways.”
But director/co-writer Alexander Payne (“Election,”
“About Schmidt), knew exactly what he was doing
when he cast the much lesser known Thomas Haden Church.
For this is not a movie about stars. This is a movie
about people. Real, flawed people… albeit a few
of these people know an awful lot about wine.
The movie opens with Miles (Paul Giamatti), a grade
school teacher and failed novelist, taking his old college
buddy, Jack, a once-famous soap star, on a weeklong
trip through the Santa Ynez wine country. Jack is about
to get married, and this is to be their last hurrah.
It turns out Miles and Jack define “hurrah”
in quite different ways. Miles wants to golf and taste
wine. Jacks wants to have one last, well, you know.
is dowdy, depressed and obsessed with wine. Jack is
a womanizer — the worst kind, one who is scarcely
aware of what he’s doing and can’t understand
when his “last fling,” Stephanie (Sandra
Oh) finds out about his fiancée and nearly beats
him to death with a motorcycle helmet. While it might
seem that Miles’ partner-in-crime during this
week is the no-good Jack, it is in fact wine. It offers
him solace, and it gets him a girl. Stephanie’s
friend Maya (Virginia Madsen), is a waitress studying
horticulture on the side. There are many ways to seduce
a man, but when it comes to Miles, Maya wins his heart
unwittingly, with one of the most sensuous monologues
in film history, as she rhapsodizes about her love of
every scene in this movie is worth mentioning, but we
can’t do that to you. One of the best things about
this film is its element of surprise. It is poignant
without being sappy. It is hysterical without being
a comedy. And it deserves — unlike so many movies
out these days — more than just a sideways glance.
Learn about Sideways the play