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Title: Director [Year]
"Sideways" Alexander Payne [2004]

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Liner Notes.

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"Sideways" [Alexander Payne] 2004

"Sideways was directed by Alexander Payne who also adapted the screenplay from the novel by Rex Pickett. It stars Paul Giamatti as Miles, Thomas Hayden Church as Jack, Virginia Madsen as Maya and Sandra Oh as Stephanie.

"Miles is a high-school teacher trying to be a successful novelist, but never quite getting published. He is divorced, rather neurotic and introverted with a passion for wine. Jack is a semi-successful actor, outgoing, primarily doing commercials at present and on the verge of marriage.

"This is a film comprised of different pieces. It is a buddy movie. Miles and Jack are two middle-aged friends, neither particularly successful, Miles quite fragile. Jack is getting married in a few days, so Miles takes him on a stag trip up thru California wine country to do some heavy tasting, which makes this also a road trip movie. During that trip Miles falls for Maya, a waitress he knows at a restaurant he frequents. Jack is just out to have some fun and leads Stephanie on to sow his last wild oats. This leads to an element of broad comedy, making this film also a romcom. Given the wine sub-text, Sideways is therefore a meritage, successfully blending potentially differing plot ideas. That this works is due to Payne‘s considerable skill.

"Giamatti very successfully portrays Miles as self-doubting to the point of being self-destructive. This is painful to watch as Jack tries to nudge Miles out of himself, most of the time successfully. It all finally ends on a very positive note. Sideways is not a great film, but it is a light comedy worth watching, preferably with a glass of red wine."


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Last update on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:15:10.