a Lynne's


Monday, January 31, 2005

Watching the movie Sideways was such a joy. I was surprised by how much I liked this film. I had heard many mixed thoughts about the film, none of it mattered. Know this - I spent the entire time laughing.

Most of us know by now that this film is about two guys, Miles and Jack, who go on a road trip into wine country. Like most road trips, the planned journey goes out the window and the magic of road starts to dictate.

Miles is the tortured and cynical writer played by Paul Giamatti. Giamatti is superb, you could not ask for a better disappointed middle aged guy. A man that admittedly is “a little sour but showing excellent potential for structure down the line.”

Thomas Haden Church plays the opposite and opposite of Miles. Jack is the aging television actor whose paycheck now comes from doing nationals. Jack adores sex (its his plight), and freedom. He is also well aware that he soon will be living a non-actors life. A life of stability, a wife and real estate. At the start of his plight he hooks up with a “wine pourer”. It's just sex because he is getting married in a few days. However, soon Jack is thinking about calling off the wedding. We can’t believe him -- but we know, because he is an actor, that he believes himself.

Sandra Oh, the wine pourer is a great free spirit with sex appeal and a fiery right hook. I love how natural she is; especially in the scene when she is smoking a joint and her daughter wakes up.

Virgina Madsen’s portrayal of a woman dealing with a recent divorce and moving on is perfect. She plays Maya role with much class and delicacy. She also delivers a wonderful monologue on why she loves wine. No question, that monologue is going to be read again, and again, in acting classes all over.

The lines are perfectly delivered, sharp and right one. The drink and dial comment. Uncle Jack. I am so insignificant, I can’t even kill myself.

The movie is filled with such wonderful talent, details, and pain and I totally got it. So much so that all I could do was laugh during the entire film.
The jazz-infused music was splendid and the ending did not disappoint.


If you mentioned liking merlot, I was so going to stop reading your review!

Seriously, the only thing I didn't care for in the film was the overuse of the score you mentioned. I don't think I've ever seen a film where music was playing so blatantly in almost every scene, and I found it distracting.

It's absolutely amazing that Giamatti wasn't nominated, but that only means that the next film he does with even a remotely substantial role will give him a delayed-reaction nomination and possible win.
And here I thought all the music was subtle and only a few picked up on its richness.
Whether subtle or not, it drew attention to iself by being in almost every scene, even on top of dialog, which is not something I can recall seeing before to this degree. It was if someone in the crew accidentally left on the radio just out of view of the camera.

Picture another recent conversational film, such as the wonderful "Before Sunset," and then overlay on it a constant French score (it was set in Paris) and imagine the result.
Yeah I like that. Reminded me of a road trip and wine and relationships.
Having said that - There was one point in the flick when it was distracting. The part when Maya was doing her wine monologue. One song was playing then it just ended, no music, silence, then more music started. I was painfully aware of the music at that moment and did not want to be.
Haven't seem Before Sunset.
It's the sequel to Before Sunrise (which should be seen first, of course), from about 10 years ago, both starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I hope they make another every several years. All these films involve actual conversations, not quick cuts to the next scene, which is why they're linked in my mind. Unlike so many other films, when you're done with them you feel like you've had a full meal.
I'll add it to my Netflix queque.

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