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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2006
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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on 13 April 2010
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. If you can't be bothered to give it that then I would suggest that it is YOU who is boring.

The script is extraordinarily clever. It deservedly won an oscar and so too should have Giametti. His partnership with the oscar-nominated Haden-Church as the infantile actor, Jack, is a joy to watch unfold.

As I said, whether you find it funny depends on your sense of humour, but if you watch it with your brain out of gear and 'don't get it' then the fault is with you and not the film.
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on 16 May 2005
Miles has decided to take Jack on a bachelor road trip for some hedonistic fun before he eventually gets married a week later. Miles's idea was for the two of them to enjoy Jack's last few days of freedom together in wine country and perhaps play some golf but Jack has other ideas.
to go into anymore detail would be to ruin the whole experience for you, so i'll stop now.
this film reminded me so much of classic '70's movies particularly those of Hal Ashby such as Harold and Maude and The Last Detail. were so much more emphasis is placed on characters rather than plot, which in my mind almost always makes for a more interesting experience. unfortunately some people will and have disagreed...their loss. Miles and Jack are very interesting characters, Miles is particularly prickly but Giamatti's excellent performance manages to get us to care and love the character neverthless, he is if you like the new Bill Murray playing the sort of depressed, world weary characters directors like Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola have excelled in creating for Murray. how he never recieved an academy nod is beyond me. Jack is lovable straight away with his witty fun loving antics but his infidelity makes you question his behaviour. Thomas Haden Church's performance is equal to that of Giamatti's and he definately deserved an Oscar over Morgan Freeman who was playing the same stereotypical role of reliable sidekick that he always does in the majority of his films, but anyway.
the supporting cast is equally good as well with, particularly Virginia Madsen.
the direction is understated and there are some incredibly hilarious, poignant and sad moments particularly for Miles as he struggles to accept the rejection he sees everywhere. The ending was particularly brave and allows the characters to linger on after you have watched the film and wonder "what are they doing now" perhaps the greatest compliment i could pay to a film so interested and focused with its characters.
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"Sideways" is a road trip/buddy movie starring the popular Paul Giamatti. He plays Miles, a failed and depressed writer, who takes his friend Jack (played by Thomas Hayden Church) off to California's wine country for a week before Jack's wedding. Miles is a serious wine lover and wants to teach Jack about the local varieties, while Jack is only interested in sowing as many wild oats as possible. As the men become friendly with two women (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh), Jack isn't so sure he wants to keep his date at the altar after all.
This comedy/drama, co-written by director Alexander Payne, concerns ordinary people doing ordinary things, like coming to terms with loneliness and change. Giamatti's sad-sack persona and endearing charm make the movie a pleasant character study of things that might have been and may still be. Church's fun-loving oaf is likeable, too, and Madsen is positively luminous in her best role to date.
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on 27 July 2009
A trully marvellous film that I watched by accident on a plane to the States. I love this film and can watch it repeatedly. Mid-life crisis meets road-movie meets stag weekend, all with the sophisticated backdrop of a wine-tasting trip. It is quite hilarious in parts but also dry as a bone. The groom to be having to make up an excuse for his broken nose decides his best man's car must show signs of a road accident, the result sums up the tragic and comic nature of thyis film. Watch it.
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on 10 September 2006
I nearly switched this film off after the first hour,but I was glad that I stayed with it. This is a film of two halves, the first is wrapped up with the main charactors discussing types of wine or grapes which was semi educational but a little tedious, but the second half became really interesting. If you are over forty, you will enjoy this film, because like the charactors you will have suffered the ups and downs that life throws at you.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2015
In Alexander Payne’s seven day road trip movie through the Santa Ynez vineyards of California Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church excel as two pathetic (but not irredeemably lost) middle-aged men each coping as best they can with what life has so far thrown at them. Giamatti’s Miles, an aspiring but unsuccessful writer is still moping about his failed marriage while Church’s Jack is a fading actor who seems to have resigned himself to a future in his wife-to-be’s family real estate business. While quaffing good quality wine both men appear to have found their soul-mates but the contrast in behaviour between the two friends is both poignant and hilarious. There is much to admire and enjoy in this film – the beautiful cinematography, the wonderful soundtrack, the intelligent sharp and witty screenplay, indeed the overall melancholy tone of the movie. I suggest that you watch this film having read its Amazon reviews in order that you know what you are letting yourself in for. For me, I loved every minute of the two hours runtime.
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on 30 June 2006
The first 20 minutes left me wondering whether to reach for the off button but it began to absorb my interest and continued increasingly so as the story developed. My early gentle smiles evolved into deep belly laughs come the end.

I can identify with both leading characters, who being so different in terms of intellect and masculine charm nevertheless have that male bonding of deep friendship which forgives so much failure.

A very neat ending that says everything and yet nothing.

Overall it's witty and belivable.
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on 8 June 2013
'Sideways' was a gift from one of my sons so I suspected it would make good viewing - and it did.

'Sideways' has an unusual and clever scenario revolving around a wine tasting trip, chosen as a 'stag-do' and embarked upon by two 30 something males; the groom-to-be, whose eagerness to have 'one last fling' places him at odds with his best friend and connoisseur of wine who is somewhat depressed at his own life situation including his apparent inability to accept the finality of his own divorce.

'Sideways' is acted out magnificently and credibly by all the cast and I highly recommend it.
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on 4 May 2010
I really didn't care at all for the director's previous films. He was the sort of person who had absolutely no problem having unnecessary boring sections in his films. His interests, preoccupations and way of filming and presenting things were not for me. So I've always avoided Sideways and dismissed it as a boring film with a slim "story" inserted somewhere amongst two men drinking and talking about wine. The sort of thing that would get very tiresome after fifteen minutes.

I was reading a book about the new 90s/00s film directors called The Sundance Kids. It probably spent more pages talking about Sideways than it did any other film. My curiosity was piqued so I decided to watch the first ten minutes of my Dad's copy to see if it's any good. And it was. It was very good. It's far superior to his previous films.

The film is much more incident packed than I expected and the pace never drags. It has a definite sense of forward momentum at all times so we never get trapped for long stretches with nothing happening.

I fully recommend taking a chance on it even if you're not convinced by the look of it. The film it most resembles is Withnail and I, so if you like that film you should love this.
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