*** Official SIDEWAYS Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Adam_S, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Sideways - [​IMG][​IMG]½ (out of four, recommended with reservations)

    Sideways is an extremely well made, film. The writing is excellent, the characters actually work, the cinematography perfectly matches the mood and atmosphere of the piece, and it's never really boring. Everything clicks really well.

    It just didn't pack a huge appeal for me. IN fact it's almost an identical reaction to Garden State. Both are films I can easily see why they are so well loved, I can even see their quality and reasons I should really like them. But something about morose main characters learning to live just isn't a story genre that has much relevance to me. It's a great message and all, but just not my bag baby.

    That said Paul Giametti, Virginia Madsen, and Sandra Oh are absolutely fabulous in every one of their scenes. Thomas Hayden Church has, like, watched too much Jeff Lebowski dude. That's harsh, and he gave a really wonderful performance, he does an outstanding job of making you loath and despise his character.

    I guess I'm just too much of a romantic sucker, but this is like the first act to a story stretched out to fill the whole film. I like romantic comedies, and I think that the film is just getting going when it ends. ON the other hand I can completely understand and accept why it ends where it does, it works perfectly for the film, I just have issues with this type of story it seems.

    I really wanted to love this film, I'm a food nut, I could very easily become a wine fanatic, this has so many things in it that should really appeal to me, but just don't.

    Also I wonder why it is that we get the respectful closed door for the middle class wanna be bourgeosie main characters but its okay to see the redneck fat people going at it? That's totally unfair, btw, but I sense the same sort of backhanded casual almost subconscious derision of the joe-six-pack-non-elite people of the world that turned me off About Schmidt.

    Payne says a lot of things that I think have value and are worthwhile, but there seemed to be so little point to them, and I can't recall any of the specifics that worked for me during the film. And I don't really have any desire to see the film again.

    But cineastes should get a kick out of it, and a lot will probably really love it, but I've just enough populist tastes that the end result of the film was very mixed for me--this is, more or less, a film where taste is a metaphor for life, it's all about taste.

    Adam
     
  2. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Made the usual 150 or so mile round trip to Nortwest Austin so I could see Sideways, or Zelary. Sideways was starting 15 minutes after I arrived, so I was very fortunate.
    This wonderful film, set in Los Angeles and the wine country of California stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh.
    The direction and screenplay are from Alexander Payne who has already gifted us with About Schmidt (2002), Election (1999) and Citizen Ruth (1996).
    Please try to find this movie in your area, it's the best thing I've seen this year.
     
  3. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    This is just a really amazing film. Incredibly nuanced performances from Giamatti (my choice for Actor of the year) and Madsen.

    It's difficult for the first hour or so - so tough to watch uncomfortable moments and behavior from Miles. And, then, something happened. I hooked into him. Into the film.

    That Madsen monologue about wine is something else.
     
  4. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Just got back from this. I thought it was very good, though not in the same league as Eternal Sunshine. But I completely agree on the performances, top-notch work from everyone involved.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Just a wonderful movie. And for those who don’t know, they got the whole wine thing exactly right. I know some of those people.

    The only downside: Good Pinot Noir is already too expensive. Now it may get even more so.
     
  6. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    Just got back from a showing...took my parents and ended up being at least half of the average age of the theater-goers. [​IMG]

    I absolutely loved Payne's latest film...Giamatti's performance was so detailed and believable, his character became like a good friend by the end of the movie. I also loved the premise of wine tasting/wine country...gorgeous settings, makes me want to take wine-tasting classes next year. (Which I already wanted to do...but thought I'd wait longer)

    too many shows to catch up on right now, but I can't wait to see what others think of it.
     
  7. Jerry R Colvin

    Jerry R Colvin Stunt Coordinator

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    Saw this last weekend and now it's my favorite film of 2004 so far (replacing Eternal Sunshine and Spider-Man 2).

    Love it... why so little feedback here on this gem...?
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Sideways". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Alexander Payne’s character study of two unlikable individuals in their mid-life years who have very little to show for is well acted, heartfelt and emotionally realized. Paul Giamatti follows his breakthrough performance in American Splendor with yet another nuanced performance worthy of mention for one of this year’s top acting awards.

    Payne, and mostly through Thomas Haden Church, sprinkles his script with the right touch of comic moments that keep this dramedy on balance. As with his previous films, Payne has a gift of giving us flawed characters along with their transgressions lest be judged by their actions – individuals that may not be like one of us but all the while, someone that we can relate to.

    Sideways delves into failed relationships and unsatisfied lives that it also becomes a second coming of age for the midlife guy.

    ~Edwin
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Alexander Payne manages to balance a child-like outlook with the weight-of-the-world weary outlook in this film pairing up Jack, man-child, (Thomas Haden Church) and his best man Miles (Paul Giamatti) on a road trip for Jack's last week as a free man before he gets married.

    Jack and Miles are very funny together and know how to push each other's buttons, and share a long history of friendship, which requires both to accept the other's faults, pretty much unconditionally as this yarn is unravelled to many comedic, honest, and true moments.

    The film gives the viewers a cursory look into the world of wine-tasting, and all the nuances that go into it. This springboards into using wine as a metaphor for life, a scene that Virginia Madsen nails as Mya when she and Miles discuss how they developed their passion for wine. Sandra Oh is also good as Stephanie, a cool chick that Jack is immediately attracted to, and Jack experiences a whirlwind romance within that week that almost defies belief, but it's so much fun, it's easy to overlook otherwise.

    Giamatti is the emotional anchor for the film, and he gives us an all-too-flawed human character who's emotionally adrift, but wants desperately to find solid ground again and set down some roots and be considered someone worthwhile, which gets some play in his quest to become a published author.

    A solid film, and one worth looking out for if you're in the mood for strong characterizations and some good comedic bits that buoy the film throughout this particularly life-affirming week between Jack and Miles.

    I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.
     
  11. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    (2004 film thread copy)

    Sideways
    9.5 of 10

    Only the fact that the film plays a little dry at times keeps it from being a 10 for me. Its an excellent blend of serious drama and outrageous silliness in line with Payne's other works. The direction is outstanding in the film with a wistful style that plays perfectly to the story being told. I liked Schmidt more, but this is yet another outstanding effort by Payne.
     
  12. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Sideways - [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2

    I think this is Payne's best and most even work to date. I can't think of any other filmmaker that has mastered the art of the depressing character.

    I really enjoyed the movie, but Payne's pacing sometimes is a bit too slow even for me and that tends to draw me out of the film at times. I was laughing out loud during several scenes and nearly crying during several more, which is the sign of a truly great film in my opinion. Since the first time that I saw Sandra Oh, I always thought that she'd make a great "Nasty Girl", and here she is in all of her glory.

    When the film ended, I found myself at first being disappointed by the ending, but then realized how perfect it really was and that it parallels his novel with both having vague endings.

    Great Film and #2 for the year so far behind "Eternal Sunshine...", although I have a bunch to see still.
     
  13. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Excellent movie. Jack is one of the most memorable (and oh so true) characters for me this year.

    And Giamatti. Has this won an award yet? He is right up there with the John C. Reilly's, William H Macy's or Phillip Seymor Hoffman's of this world.

    --
    H
     

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