ACADEMY AWARD WINNER BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY WINNER OF 2 GOLDEN GLOBES, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE (COMEDY / MUSICAL)
In this intoxicating, intelligent comedy, director Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt) serves up "one of the best movies of the year" (Entertainment Weekly) about the ups, downs and sideways journeys of life. A wine-tasting road trip through California's famed Central Coast takes an unexpected detour as Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) hit the gas en route to their mid-life crisis. The comically mismatched pair soon find themselves drowning in wine, women... and laughter!
With Sideways, Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Storytelling) has become an unlikely but engaging romantic lead. Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles (Giamatti) takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church, Wings) on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them in into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer (Sandra Oh, Under the Tuscan Sun) and a recently divorce waitress (Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot)--and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time. Sideways is a modest but finely tuned film; with gentle compassion, it explores the failures, struggles, and lowered expectations of mid-life. Giamatti makes regret and self-loathing sympathetic, almost sweet. From the director of Election and About Schmidt. --Bret Fetzer
On the DVD
Stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church have an absolute blast on their commentary track, gleefully ripping themselves, fawning over "La Madsen," and recalling "that bad fake wine we had to drink a lot of." Director Alexander Payne dismisses the seven deleted scenes (about 17 minutes total) as "meager offerings," and it's true that there are no gems. But even better than the scenes themselves might be Payne's text introductions, which offer insight into his editing process. Each scene is surrounded by brief bits from the finished film to provide context, which should be done more often. The 6-minute making-of featurette is better than most because it spends less time on self-promotion and plot summary. --David Horiuchi
Stills from Sideways (Click for larger image)