Sideways is a 2004 comedy-drama film written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne and directed by Payne. Adapted from Rex Pickett's 2004 novel of the same name, Sideways follows two forty-something year old men, portrayed by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara County Wine Country. Payne and Taylor won multiple awards for their screenplay. Giamatti and Church, as well as actresses Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, playing local women who become romantically involved with the men, all received accolades for their performances.
Sideways won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for four other awards.
Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) is an unsuccessful writer, a wine-aficionado, and a depressed middle school English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and college roommate, Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Miles wants to relax and live well. However, Jack wants one last sexual fling.
In the wine country, the men encounter Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress at Miles's favorite restaurant, The Hitching Post, and her friend, Stephanie (Sandra Oh), an employee at a local winery. They arrange a double date without revealing that Jack is to be married. Jack has an affair with Stephanie while Miles tries to connect with Maya.
Maya finds out Jack is to be married and tells Stephanie, who attacks Jack, breaking his nose. Miles gets drunk at a wine tasting room, and Jack links up with another woman. To explain the broken nose to his fiancée, Jack runs Miles's car into a tree. At the wedding, Miles faces the fact that his ex-wife will never return to him. Alone, he drinks his prized wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc. Later, he receives a message from Maya, who says she enjoyed his manuscript and invites him to visit. The last scene in the movie shows Miles back in Santa Ynez, knocking on Maya's door.
Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymond
Thomas Haden Church as Jack Cole
Virginia Madsen as Maya Randall
Sandra Oh as Stephanie
Marylouise Burke as Phyllis Raymond
Jessica Hecht as Victoria
Stephanie Faracy as Stephanie's mother
Missy Doty as Cammi
M.C. Gainey as Cammi's husband
Alysia Reiner as Christine Erganian
Shake Tukhmanyan as Mrs. Erganian
Shaun Duke as Mike Erganian
The Hitching Post II Restaurant in Buellton - where Miles and Jack first encounter Maya.
Time Out London said the film was "intelligent, funny and moving," and the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert, giving the film four stars, said, "what happens during the seven days adds up to the best human comedy of the year -- comedy, because it is funny, and human, because it is surprisingly moving." The review aggregator Metacritic gives Sideways a Metascore of 94%, signifying "universal [critical] acclaim." The movie also holds a rare 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 206 positive reviews out of 213.
A surprise hit, Sideways became popular in Hollywood, the US and internationally. Santa Ynez Valley, where much of the film is set, attracted increased tourism. The film was nominated for dozens of awards, winning many, and was dubbed "the best reviewed movie of 2004." With the exception of Giamatti, who had already starred in critically acclaimed films such as American Splendor (2003), the film was a career breakthrough for the stars. Haden Church and Madsen were nominated for Oscars. Giamatti has since been headlined as "The World's Best Character Actor" by Time Magazine. Giamatti was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his performance in Cinderella Man (2005). Sandra Oh, who has since broken up with the film's director, Alexander Payne, has gone on to star in Grey's Anatomy for which she won a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. Church went on to play a prominent role in the blockbuster Spider-Man 3 (2007).
Sideways ranks 494th on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.
Impact on wine industry
Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot noir, while denigrating Merlot. Following the film's U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. Sales of Merlot dropped after the film's release possibly due to Miles' disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film.
Awards and nominations
[show]List of Awards and Nominations
Main article: Sideways (soundtrack)
The original soundtrack album features 15 jazz instrumentals composed and produced by Rolfe Kent and was orchestrated and arranged for the band by Tony Blondal. The album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Score", and the music so popular there was demand for a national tour. Eventually a few cities were chosen to perform in as the composer was too busy to commit to more.
Fox International Productions and Fuji TV released a Japanese-language remake of the film in October 2009, often referred to in English as Saidoweizu (the anglicization of its Japanese title). The film is directed by Cellin Gluck and stars Katsuhisa Namase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kyōka Suzuki, and Rinko Kikuchi.
The remake shifts the setting of the film to Napa Valley. Although listed as an executive producer, Payne was not involved with the remake but gave it his blessing. Giamatti (perhaps facetiously) criticized aspects of the remake, and turned down a cameo in the film.
^ "''Time Out London''". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
^ Chicago Sun Times by Roger Ebert.
^ "Sideways Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
^ "The World's Best Character Actor". Time. 2005-05-31. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
^ "Empire Features". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
^ Reynolds, Julia (2006-08-13). "Going Ape For Grape: Annual event celebrates all things wine". Monterey County Herald.
^ a b c Harlow, John (2006-03-06). "Oscar winner knocks sales of merlot wine sideways". The Sunday Times.
^ Simon, Joanna (2006-06-04). "Sauce". Food & Drink (The Sunday Times): p. 47.
^ a b Valdespino, Anne (2007-07-25). "Don't forgo Merlot: The wine's popularity has declined, but it can still be a foundation for a tantalizing tasting party". The Orange County Register.
^ Asimov, Eric (2006-12-13). "Panned on Screen, Merlot Shrugs And Moves On". Dining & Wine (New York Times): pp. F10. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
^ Murphy, Patsey (2005-08-13). "California dream". Irish Times.
^ Stimmell, Gordon (2007-03-17). "More to merlot, you know". Arts (Toronto Star): pp. H07.
^ By (2008-11-06). "'Sideways' gets Japanese remake". Variety.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
^ ‘Sideways’ Returns, Uncorked for Japan
^ Martin, Peter (2009-03-30). "Paul Giamatti Kinda Trashes Japanese Remake of 'Sideways'". Cinematical.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
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