All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.
Two middle-aged men embark on a spiritual journey through Californian wine country. One of them an unpublished novelist suffering from depression, the other only days away from walking down the aisle. Both meet two beautiful women on their trip and become romantically involved with them.
Wine is probably the most boring subject on Earth, so how come Payne’s film about a lonely, bitter best man (Paul Giamatti) taking the soon-to-be-groom (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long tour of vineyards is so bloody good? Perhaps because of Giamatti’s astonishing characterisation, which imbues an arrogant, self-destructive, self-hating pseud with a completely disarming humanity. Or perhaps because it’s not really about wine at all, but love and friendship and the choices that people make that end up deciding and defining their lives. It’s the antithesis of formula filmmaking: incredibly entertaining, but also about something, and featuring – quite unexpectedly – a handful of brilliant sight gags.
I admit it, I love Alexander Payne as a filmmaker and, even though I recognize I am not particularly the target audience of his films (at least most of the times), I can't help but to fall in love with everything involving his little dark comedies. Take Sideways as an example, I don't really enjoy wine nor talking about it and I don't really know what's it like to be married or divorced, but the writing is so good and the execution is so careful that I end up having a great time. Here, he creates a film that is continuously funny (the dialogue is great and the jokes are more hit than miss) and still feels dramatic & heartfelt in…
"Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."
And thanks to that emotional speech that Paul Giamatti's character gives to Virginia Madsen's Maya explaining why he is so passionate about Pinot Noir, the sales for that wine actually rose by more than 20% compared to the past year. The characters in this film are fascinating, but it was the wine that took the center stage and became a metaphor for the entire film. I'm not an expert in wines, but we all know that the older a…
If ever proof was needed, and I'm not sure it is, that Paul Giamatti is one of the greatest character actors of our time, then Sideways really is it. Alexander Payne's bittersweet comedy puts him front and centre as Miles, an eighth grade English teacher who undertakes an eventful wine tasting road trip with his best friend, and both create a truly wonderful character whose journey is quite the joy to follow. Sideways ends up being one of those movies you really aren't quite prepared for - shot with a love of California and it's vineyards, often funny and equally quite moving, it's a superbly written and performed portrayal of lost hopes, dreams and self-discovery.
Now I'm no fan of…
4th of July really took it out of me. After the events of my day, I feel like Sideways is the perfect sobering film to watch late at night.
"I am a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of sewage."
Is that funny at any other time of day than 12am?
Probably. But it sure helps.
Sideways is a buddy comedy/drama that is a tranquil yet chaotic wine tasting trip through the mediocrity of middle aged life. Its a mid-life crisis movie more than anything, and hits all the low key notes that go along with that kind of story setup. I find that like a bottle of wine it gets better…
"I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!"
Like all fine wines this one just gets better with age. I love 'Sideways' it has a strong melancholic base but with warm, touching flavours and a hint of wistfulness. It, like many other Alexander Payne films, is a road trip movie of sorts, again looking at people who are of a certain age going through a crisis in life.
Paul Giammati was robbed of an Academy Award nomination (in my opinion he should have won the damn thing!) as Miles, a wine enthusiast going through a mid-life crisis after divorcing his wife (two years previous). Thomas Haden Church is great as the man child Jack, Miles's old college buddy who is getting…
Best re-watch of 2015. From 2 1/2 to 4 1/2. Phenomenal film about human existence and how to experience life through wine.
Damn good film.
While I'm probably not the target for Sideways as I have no interest in wine, it's hard not by drawn into this intelligent, funny and moving piece. The charters are brilliantly observed and the performances all round are terrific. Paul Giamatti is simply wonderful, bringing to life a difficult but a very relatable character. Sideways packs bags of energy and bundles of laughs, with engaging dialogue plus an undertone of something much darker.
A quiet, deftly directed little film with a great deal of humanity. It might've benefited from a bit of shortening (some beats feel repetitive) and less of the near-omnipresent quirky soundtrack, but on the whole, it's a very solid piece of work.
(Original review outdated, re-evaluation required at later date)
One of my personal favorites. It is funny and sad and profound in a way pretty much all of Alexander Payne's movies are. He's one of the best directors working in my opinion.
"I'm a thumbprint on a window in a skyscraper."
The best way to describe this film is in a scene towards the end of the film where Paul Giamatti sits in a crappy burger spot, drinking this expensive red wine in a styrofoam cup from a bottle tucked away beside him. He has a plate with a cheeseburger and onion rings, and his suit is hanging off him and he just stirs the wine in around in the cup, takes a sip and there's a hint of happiness. It's in this scene that shows the exquisiteness, the finer things in life but it's right there with just the simpler things in life. This disposition of beauty and ugliness is what…
I never tire of this film from Alexander Payne. Beautifully shot, wonderfully written and perfectly cast. Sure, there isn't much in the way of a plot, but the characters, Giamatti's in particular, are so complex and fleshed out they're joy to watch.
In some ways this is deeply, darkly depressing, but in others it balances this with the hilarious characterisation of Jack and his antics, all set beautifully, lyrically (but never pretentiously) against the California wine country. Most blokes will recognise some of themselves in both Miles AND Jack - and this is what creates a lot of sympathy for these deeply flawed, deeply funny characters.
Slow start, but rewarding
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…