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Sideways
DVD disk
04.05.2005 By: Johnny Moreno
Sideways order
Director:
Alexander Payne

Actors:
Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Xanax ridden Miles and his recently engaged college bud Jack, go on a road trip for one last week of freedom before Jack gets hitched. But Jackís got a separate agenda from Miles that includes partying and getting laid at any opportunity that presents itself. Infidelity rules! A lot of wine drinking and whining in general follows.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Sideways has that distinct, cut & dry/black & white trait of either reeling you in with its easy pace, its fleshed out characters and bouncy dialogue, or putting you the hell to sleep. And Iím not sure if that trait is part of its charm or to its detriment. For me, the charisma lies in its characters and the way they interact, the story itself and the pace in which information is revealed. Thatís usually the best part of any Alexander Payne movie. The chemistry between Giamatti and Church (and all 4 actors, really) is so palatable, that you quickly forget youíre watching a movie, and feel like youíre a voyeur, watching a week and a life of four very real people. All the wine talk borders on pretentious. Maybe because of the fact that Iím not into wine culture (just give me a damn bottle, I donít care how old it is or how the grapes were cultivated, I wanna get drunk dammit!) but there is one scene between Giamatti and Virginia Madsen where she gives a monologue on why she got into wine that made me get up and kiss my TV. Love that woman.

But whereís all the Oscar attention coming from? Thereís no doubt in my mind that Giamatti and Co. did a number on their performances (especially the hilarious Thomas Haden Church) but itís pretty much par for course by now. Especially for Giamatti. I think the Oscar talk is about a few years too late on that one (Planet of the Apes anyone?)
THE EXTRAS
Audio commentary by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church: The guys display some great chemistry, bouncing one liners off each other and generally keep things hilarious with stories about being drunk on the set (most of the scenes where they are drinking wine is actually wine) and talking about Virginia Madsenís boobies. No, really.

Deleted Scenes: Some pretty good scenes showing more background to the characters. Each scene is introduced by Alexander Payne. As he notes in one of the scenes, ďnothing groundbreaking here.Ē But if you liked the characters, you should enjoy this.

Behind-the-Scenes Featurette: A very brief behind the scenes doc. So and so likes so and soís work and so and so is glad to be on the set with so and so. You know how that goes.

Theatrical Trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I wouldnít go knocking down walls for this but itís a pretty good movie. Unless youíre an insane fan of everyone involved, a safe bet would be to head down to the liquor store for a cheap bottle of Boones Farm and rent this one.
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