One of the movies I wanted to see for a long time in 2004 was Sideways. Well, on the last day of the year, I can finally say I saw it. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. See, Sideways has ridiculously good reviews and tons of hype and kudos around it, much like Lost In Translation did last year. Well, I definitely liked it better than that one, but overall, Sideways is just OK.

Sideways is about a couple of friends that take a week long visit to California’s Wine Country as a last hurrah before one of them gets married. Paul Giamatti is one of my favorite actors ever. He’s always so good, and even when he’s playing less than likable people, he still captivates and fascinates. Here he is once again playing an unlikable guy. Giamatti’s very good, but the character is really obnoxious. I don’t now anything about wine, and if that’s your thing, good for you. But I don’t understand the sort of “Wine Elitist” that Giamatti plays here, and apparently his over the top performance is relatively accurate. Some people really need to get over themselves.
Thomas Hayden Church, “Lowell” on Wings, has finally done good. I know he’s been in other movies, but here he’s half the show and he does a great job. His character is not very likable either, but there’s definitely a charm to Church, and he’s got great comedic timing. I think he and Giamatti had good chemistry together, even though their characters were worlds apart.

I used to love seeing Virginia Madsen’s breasts. Damn. She used to do these cheesy B movies, and psuedo-erotic thrillers. And so we saw her breasts a lot. And the world was a better place for it. But now she does a real movie and gives a great performance, and suddenly, we forget her breasts. Well damn it, I won’t forget them! But seriously, she does a really nice job as the most likable person in the film. Very subtle. Nothing flashy, but very solid. She’s getting rave reviews so hopefully this movie can be a springboard to even bigger and better roles.
I first saw Sandra Oh in a film called Dancing at the Blue Iguana, about strippers at a twisted gentleman’s establishment. Since then I saw her in a small role in BIG FAT LIAR which of course featured Paul Giamatti. So it all comes full circle! But seriously, I really liked Sandra Oh’s performance here, and she looked pretty hot too!

I think director Alexander Payne really likes to focus on dysfunctional people. I also think he has a twisted, secret fat fetish. (Kathy Bates in ABOUT SCHMIDT, and a very carnal couple in this one being Exhibit A and B respectively) Whatever works for him.
Anyway, Sideways isn’t a bad movie, it was just kinda boring and slow at times.

B -