Sideways 2005

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(201) IMDb 7.6/10
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Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment, embark on a week long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the altar.

Starring:
Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 7 minutes
Starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen
Director Alexander Payne
Genres Comedy
Studio 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release Limited availability
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 7 minutes
Starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen
Director Alexander Payne
Genres Comedy
Studio 20th Century Fox
Rental release 3 May 2013
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 May 2012
Format: DVD
Alexander Payne's 2004 film Sideways is by turns an hilarious comedy and poignant tragedy - not exactly wildly innovative or original, but certainly representative of the best of recent American independent (or perhaps, more meaningfully, low budget) filmmaking. Payne is, for me, a very interesting filmmaker, not necessarily that visually distinctive, but someone who nearly always has a slightly different (and consistently perceptive) take on a range of social issues, whether this be the politics in educational establishments, the effects of old age or family politics (as he addressed in his other films Election, About Schmidt and The Descendants).

Sideways showcases a brilliant performance from one of the US' finest crop of (relatively) newly established actors, Paul Giamatti. Giamatti delivers an outstanding performance as the downbeat loser and aspiring author, Miles, who, together with good friend, bit-part actor and womaniser, Jack (Thomas Haden Church) embark on a week's break touring the Californian vineyards before Jack's imminent wedding. Payne creates a beautifully laid-back atmosphere (accompanied by a suitably jazz-inflected soundtrack) as the pair wander between wine tastings and golf days amidst idyllic sunshine. Soon, however, frictions begin to develop between the friends as Miles becomes increasingly frustrated, and eventually despairing, at Jack's obsession with having a final fling before his marriage, a level of despair which is exacerbated for Miles following his drunken phone call to his recently divorced wife and less than positive news on the publication of his debut novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. P. Monblat on 9 May 2012
Format: DVD
I've just seen the film and really liked it. I could not care less whether it was a "comedy" or not - some reviewers don't see it that way, and depending on your defintion, it may not be. But, if it is misdescribed, it's not the film's fault, is it? It certainly is not funny in the way say "Miranda" or "Faulty Towers" are, ie constant, real LOL funny, but there is gentle humour from time to time, which is fine.

I agree with some reviewers who note that one has preferably to empathise with the characters a little to want to see a film about them - I could not do so to a very great extent in the case of one of the couples, but did do so very much in the case of the Madsen/Giamatti relationship. To me it was a gentle drama - not a heavy-hitting deeply and overtly dramatic thing, which films seem to need to be to get described as "drama". It was light, but definitely NOT lightweight. In my view, marketing people who call too many things comedy deserve one star, but the writer, director etc of this film and the above two actors especially deserve five. Giamatti's character may have mildly snobbish tendencies perhaps (although only really in relation to wine, which was only ever one of a number of a pegs to hang the whole enterprise on), but this is not a reason to dislike the film, as he is a thoughtful, intelligent person in the other areas of of his existence, and his humanity including, yes, some human frailties, coupled with the choices he makes, show him to be one of life's "better people" in the sense of goodness, not status. Madsen plays a woman of both attractive looks and personality, she is interesting, bright, intelligent and warm, ie easy for a fellow to fall for, hence my empathy with the Giamatti character who does just that, and the pair come across to me as very real and excellent to watch.

The film may not do quite what the marketeers wrote on the can, but... who cares????

In summary, an absolute GEM of a film.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Horne on 11 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD
I agree with another reviewer, you do have to have lived a little to fully appreciate this film. If you have ever experienced rocky highs and lows, then you may well find something here for you. You don't have to be male to appreciate the struggles and poignancy contained herein.

All the characters are simply superb. Anyone who has felt on an emotional rollercoaster for whatever reason, will be able to feel for, as well as laugh with, the character Miles, who is played so superbly here. There is plenty of pathos and laughter to be found here, and the ridiculousness of the human condition is laid bare without the usual Hollywood gloss. Virginia Madsen is also simply wonderful in this. I finished watching this with a real regret that I would see no more of these wonderfully flawed and rich characters.

There are many moments in this film that are funny. The humour is in a recognition of our own humanity at best and worst. To see Miles (Giamatti) act as a man on the edge is a joy to behold. His loss and rejection reflects the difficulties we all face, and I like that the film deals with this in a very `un-Hollywood' way. How one moment we can lose it and feel utter despair, but, how we can be coaxed out of this a few minutes later by a good friend to feel something encroaching on normality again. This is a film that I will gladly watch again and again.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Lynch on 13 April 2010
Format: DVD
A simple premise - Jack is about to get married and his friend Miles takes him on a holiday of wine-tasting and golf. Except the holiday Jack has in mind has a slightly different emphasis. And it's the last thing Miles needs right now...

There are enough reviews on here without me adding to the details of the film, but I recommend you stick to reading the positive reviews. The negative ones seem to miss the point, going by some of their ridiculous criticisms...

'the characters are unlikeable'.
Actually, the characters are refreshingly human and believable. They have their good and bad sides, like all of us, and the actors draw out the humour in their flaws, and even sympathy where appropriate. Especially Paul Giametti as the intellectual wine-expert, Miles, who was clearly once a popular, amusing guy until the collapse of his marriage sent him into a tailspin of uncontrollable alcohol binges. Anyone who dismisses the film because the characters are 'dislikable' I suggest either has a mighty opinion of themselves, or, more likely, sees something of themselves in the characters.

'It isn't funny'
We don't all have the same sense of humour do we? There isn't a comedy or comedian on earth that everyone likes. I found Sideways funny, but the comedy is consistently and delightfully subtle. It emerges from the characters, it's sprinkled throughout the dialogue and it's brought beautifully to life by the leads' performances. Yes, it probably goes over the head of anyone looking for easy laughs without paying much attention and those that dislike dialogue-driven films. What I will say is that I find it funnier with each repeated viewing (and I've watched it several times now!).

'It's boring'
The film requires a modicum of patience and attention.
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