A divorced school teacher, and failed author, joins up with his buddy who is about to get married and head to wine country for a week of male bonding and wine tasting. What starts out as a whimsical trip to mark the coming milestone in his friend's life quickly dissolves into philosophical discussions and poignant debate. By the end of the week, neither man is convinced that they are on the right track.
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)
- 7 deleted scenes
- Behind-the-scenes featurette
- 3 Easter eggs
- Theatrical trailer
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Top customer reviews
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I just love this movie. So many memorable scenes. Paul Giamatti's Miles' frustrations are relatable and, when they come to a head, hilarious and instantly classic. Thomas Haden Church, through his character, Jack, does a great job at eliciting conflicting responses from the viewer throughout the movie. One minute, you just wanna backhand him. The next, you feel sorry for him. And hands down he has the best line in the movie. Sandra Oh's performance as Stephanie is top-notch, my favorite part of which is what would be the final interaction between her & Jack and Miles. And Virginia Madsen (Maya) is captivating thoughout the movie, but especially during her candlelit soliloquy where discusses the life of wine. Overall I give this movie 10/10. Paul G. should have won best actor at the Oscars - not that I give a darn about the Academy awards - but his acting sure came a long way since Private Parts and Big Fat Liar.
I don't even like wine, but this movie is among my favorites.
I most enjoy is Giamatti's character's meeting with that of Virginia Madsen, and their knowing double-entendre talk about the pinot-noir grape.
The discussion is about ANYTHING but the grape!
Fantastic writing! I'm not a wine fan, but it doesn't matter. This is a great movie for anyone with a pulse.