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Sideways, the movie

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Has anyone seen "Sideways"? When the waitress character started explaining what wine made her think of, I had reached my limit and walked out. I found it pretentious and off key when it came to discussions about wine. Fairly bad acting throughout (OK, maybe only till that previously cited scene, but I doubt it improved after I left). Do people really have conversations like these in California? A one day trip to Nappa valley was enough for me. Sonoma felt a little more sane. I did like the scene where one of the two main characters is chased by the other going down a hill towards the vineyard, trying to drink his bottle of wine as he goes. I laughed. Well done. When the characters showed vulnerability, I suppose the director came close to something, at times. I suppose it would be a good movie for someone who might want to hear cliches about wine, men and women.
post #2 of 37
Ouch. I guess we disagree. I thought the characters (particularly the men) were among the most honestly drawn of those I've seen on film. I've known men like those, and I found the acting to be outstanding.
post #3 of 37
Fabienne, I didn't think the film was great, but I did not think it was terrible either. I don't meant to insult your intelligence, I really don't, but it's a movie for crying out loud, i.e. fiction. And the point is to make fun of wine snobbery while hopefully making some worthwhile comment about human nature. Of course people don't have conversation like this in California. This is a comedy. It was exaggerated on purpose. Well, maybe some people have these conversations, but that's the whole point -- the movie was meant to make fun of such people, and I though it did a decent job. I thought the acting wasn't universally bad. Paul Giamatti, in particular, did a very good job. I saw the film in the company of a professional psychologist, who commented that he was *very* convincing portraying a depressed individual. That's got to be worth something. WARNING: SPOLIER FOLLOWS It's too bad that you didn't give the rest of the film a chance. Jack spends the rest of the movie having sex with Stephanie, Miles inadvertently tells Mayah about Jack's upcoming wedding, Stephanie's heart is broken, and Miles keeps obsessing about his ex-wife. Cliche? Of course. But... when they come back to San Diego, Jack gets married anyway, and Miles drinks his 1961 collector's wine alone, out of a styrofoam cup, with a burger at a fast food joint. To me, that ending is deeply sad -- both losers, one a jerk, the other simply a loser, keep going about being losers, just like in real life. There is a lot of power in that statement. No, definitely not a happy ending, and that's what makes the film worthwhile. There is a thread of optimism at the end -- Mayah calls Miles and tells him that she read his novel (which, by the way, gets rejected by the publisher earlier in the film). He goes back to Napa to see her. The movie ends with him knocking on her door. On balance, though, I found the film deeply sad. Great work of art it ain't, but the emotional impact is undeniable. Happy New Year, Tony
post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 
I would say the balance between the comedic aspects and the exploration of the characters did not work for me. The movie tried my patience, and I wasn't sure, at several points, how I was supposed to feel. An example of what really got on my nerves: the overbearing wine expert teaching an air-head about wine; that has been done before, and I couldn't wait for those scenes to end. Everytime I felt one coming, I braced myself. I suppose part of it is that I am unused to wine being discussed that way. The maternal side of my family has been been making wine for over 3 centuries, so you can understand there are many things I don't get about how wine is talked about in this country. And that's OK, I'm learning. Yes, Giamatti delivered the best performance of the movie. I can't help but wonder if the actor wasn't torn between the need to be funny, and the compulsion to deepen the depression portrayal. It does redeem it a little in my eyes that the ending was not an absolute cliche, although I might have stopped at the styrofoam tasting.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
   The maternal side of my family has been been making wine for over 3 centuries, so you can understand there are many things I don't get about how wine is talked about in this country.  And that's OK, I'm learning.  
I hope this didn't come off as pretentious. These were three centuries of labour intensive work. I saw my great-grand-father as a man of 80 years old come back with frost-bite from the vineyards at 8pm on New Year's eve because he was worried about his fields. Nothing snobbish there.
post #6 of 37
Fabienne, I didn't take your comments that way. People see movies through their individual lenses, and what works for some people doesn't work for others. I grew up in North Dakota, a place that is brutally cold in the winter, and I remember seeing a movie set in Antartica that had the characters running outside while pulling on their parkas. That rang very false because in a truly cold climate, you ALWAYS put on your coat and zip up BEFORE going out--otherwise you lose body heat and it'll take a long time to get it back. Kind of ruined the movie for me. But other people, I'm sure, were able to enjoy the movie, not having that experience... In the US, wine has become a hobby for many people (some take it much more seriously than others, as portrayed in the movie), and the language/"code" has developed to help those people communicate. Obviously (and thankfully) it's not necessary to be as into the wine as Miles was to enjoy drinking it.
post #7 of 37
Yeah, I remember this flick about this dude who wanted to summit K2 for a T.V. commercial. Storm came in. Mountain started eating the climbers. In one scene, above 26K feet, one of the actors got a running start to jump across a crevice. Funny, funny, because nobody runs anywhere when they are that high. It's baby steps up there, with long periods of stopping to catch your breath. There's one movie I'd love to see turned on its head: "Ransom," about this rich couple (Mel Gibson is one of them) whose son has been kidnapped. They have all this cash, all these connections and resources to go after the kid. I'd like to see the same thing happen but with a family on welfare. Sick thought, I know. But I am really tired of Hollywood films. The atmosphere in these films is typically so inbred and chocked up with special effects. Seeing any film about people who talk to each other without make up in a realistic manner is, for me, a rare and often amazing experience. But even Hollywood can screw that up: "Coffee and Cigarettes" anyone?
post #8 of 37
Thought it was an excellent movie, but I know others who walked out on it. artdeco73, for Pete's sake, don't EVER give the ending to a movie. Some people may not have seen it.
post #9 of 37
Agreed Mano. At least Art Deco, right the word "SPOILER following" at the top of your post, or RIGHT that you are giving away info about a film, book, etc. 'Spoiler' is the universal term for letting a reader know to stop reading if he hasn't seen the film yet. On another note: I saw an interview with Giamatti where he explains that he spent a week or two with this wine snob/expert to get his inspiration and style from as he knows absolutely nothing about wine. The whole, blocking one ear while tasting wine thing, totally came from the guy he spent time with. The interviewer (and myself) were astonished that Paul G. really was ignorant about wine, he was that believable. Best movie of the year? Maybe not, but i thought all the performances were great, albeit a depressing type of story and i'm allergic to alcohol. Looking for another alternative smaller film to check out? Try Napolean Dynamite or Garden State. Both comedies. ND quite a bit quirkier than GS. Can't say its for everyone, but if you like that style of movie, Napolean Dynamite really nails it. stevo
post #10 of 37
Apologies, everyone. You're absolutely right, I should not have given away the ending of the film so non-chalantly. I tend to forget that while knowing the ending before seeing the film rarely influences my opinion of it, this is not true for most others. Again, I apologize. My bad. Regards, Tony
post #11 of 37
artdeco73, glad you understand your mistake, so here's what you need to do: Go back to your "spoiler" post and edit it so you don't give away the ending. I see you live in D.C., hope you're not involved in running our government.
post #12 of 37
Go back to your "spoiler" post and edit it so you don't give away the ending.
I see you live in D.C., hope you're not involved in running our government.
Goodness, no. Private industry all the way. But hey, my approach would do wonders for transparency, wouldn't it? Tony
post #13 of 37
I really enjoyed Sideways. I would call it best film of the year.
post #14 of 37
I just added Sideways to my Netflix queue -- sounds like a must-see movie.
post #15 of 37
Hmm, did any of you guys like Before Sunrise and Before Sunset? I've only seen the former of these, I thought it was interesting, and since I spent some time living in Vienna, I liked that aspect of it
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