Saturday, 29 August 2015

Sideways; a review.

Sideways is a newish film from 2004. I'm about 20 mins in and it smacks very much of a Woody Allen in California. Two guys -groom and best-man- go on a pre-wedding trip to the Santa Barbara wine country. The groom seems to be on a big hunt for a last female hurrah while the best-man is on anti depressants having divorced two years earlier.
Writer and actor. One with and an ever unpublished novel and the other peaked early and is now voicing commercials.
There's a pretty incessant soundtrack a la the Rockford files, and lots of semi documentary filler.

It seems the car, a convertible Volvo 940 sedan is as much a character as the actors.
It turns out the ex-wife, now remarried, is going to the wedding. And he's just drunk dialed the ex.
OK. The groom found a sex buddy that he didn't tell he was getting wed the next weekend. And the writer found a woman to ease his heartache. Didn't end well for the writer for he told the truth about the up coming event.
The writers book was turned down so he'd left being a middle school teacher. Odd sort of concept of failure IMO.
I had to stop and follow the film that's now rolling credits. 

Right, was it a waste of time, no. How it was nominated for 5 Academy awards is utterly beyond me. Yes the acting was excellent, but the story was thin and could be summarized using the words queer in the old meaning and odyssey. 
It was made for 16 million and that seems a lot for what I saw. But it made that back and brought another 100 million of it's brother dollars home with them. I must have another look at the producers, for I really wonder how it could've been pitched to the money men unless those guys and gals were of the industry and could see the potential.
Anywoos, I'm now looking at The Descendants, with Clooney and a good little actress named Shailene Woodley. I think she just might have real potential.


  1. It's hard to believe that was 11 years ago, huh! I have to say that it was definitely one of those films that I saw because it was getting such good reviews, but it didn't live up to the hype. It wasn't bad, by any means, but I've seen far better films that weren't reviewed as well. That's likely though with any entertainment - someone with "clout" gets a hold of it an proclaims its greatness so the masses follow.
    It's been awhile to comment too much on the characters, but I've never been a fan of the actor who played the guy getting married - he seems to always play an idiot. If I remember correctly, the story focused mostly on the other one and his hook up. I do think Paul Giamatti is a good actor, and this film moved him from that supporting role to a main role as he's been in A LOT of things since that movie as a main character.
    I will add that the film might have single handedly commercialized the Santa Ynez wine region. Up until that movie, Napa was the only CA wine ever given any recognition. The Central Coast has since become renowned in its own right. And it did kind of glamorize the whole romantic, winery, picnic, outdoor thing.
    It's based on a book, but I've not read it.
    The Descendants was another one that had greater reviews than my opinion of it. I am a Clooney fan, and he did a good job in it. But it won a lot of awards its year and, in my opinion, there were better films that year which didn't get any nominations.

    1. I'll look up the producers later and get back. I've a feeling it's a worthy investment by a large number of very rich actors. Something to write-off tax wise, if it went wallop but not enough to sting, a sorta win win.

      I'm not a fan of Church(McMillen) either. He has that male voice, akin to the high pitched kitten one you hear from some women albeit different in timbre.

      I wondered about the Santa Ynez Santa B wine country. I only knew about the valleys and the area around the Livermore Valley. Most vines in California are from the Concannon estate began by an Aran Islander.

      The descendants wasn't quite as thin as the other one. And oddly, both, thinking on them, could render really powerful stories. Things that needed exploration were either ignored or glossed over. And regardless our opinion of Haden-Church, even he can act. So they had the tools. There seemed to be lots of extraneous filler and bridges.

  2. Ha! When I went to look this up at IMDb, I accidentally clicked on the remake done some five years after (with Japanese actors). I like Giamatti and Church, but just don't know if this is for me. can't be any worse than some of the losers we watched in recent months.

    1. It's not a dead loss. Will I remember it next week, no. Was it worth any AA nominations, no. Was it worth the €5 I spent for both films, yes. Will I watch it again, probably yes, in a month or two. It's a bit grating rather than outright annoying.

  3. Didn't see the film but am curious, were you reviewing while watching? I was excited about "A Walk in the Woods" which comes out next week, but then I've read the reviews. But I'll go watch it as I loved the book and have hiked the Appalachian Trail

    1. Yes, as I was watching. It had these longish bits of cars driving down roads. All-in-all, I'd say 20% was stuff you'd buy today for pennies to give backing packing to a webpage.

      I will watch that film myself.

  4. I watched that movie and liked it. But then I am a Paul Giamatti fan. Every year I put all the best picture nominees onto my Netflix list and watch them and I rarely think there wasn't a film nominated that shouldn't be there. Its been so long ago that I can't remember why I thought it was worthy but I remember thinking at the time it most definitely was.

    1. I'm not saying I didn't like it. Just that it's a story that wasn't fulfilled. I expect by the way it was edited there are lots on the cutting room floor that would've lifted it to my mine to semi-greatness. Incomplete, I think is the term I'd use. And I strongly suspect had it another editor we'd have a different film.