Sideways - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sideways Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2015
Giamatti's manic self-loathing is the films' greatest aspect, but Payne has written and directed a mature and humorous drama.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2014
Engaging, well-paced, and ultimately satisfying, Sideways is an enjoyable, well-acted comedy that features tender moments, strong writing, and subtle humor.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2010
Humanistic, comedic, dark and bittersweet, Sideways is a film that is temporarily moving, and has certain staying power. It creates a fracas, as two best friends see the underbelly of the middle of their lives, while preparing for marriage, the beginnings of a life after divorce, and despairing over the evils of old age. Buddies Miles and Jack road trip to wine country, which ferments the rest of the film in a drunken regard. Between showing drunk Miles pitching away his life again and again, at the bottom of a wine glass, and Jack throwing himself at every woman who moves, it's a nice contrast between two pathetic men showing their true colors in different ways. Giamatti is certainly one of the best character actors of his generation and shows his resolute grace in a role that was made for a sad sack with a penchant for the dramatic. The two friends seem unevenly matched, as Jack wants to be a wild child in the heart of California country, while Miles wants to golf, taste the wine, and bask in sophisticated luxury. They bicker as an old married couple and each gets stranded along the way in their own self-pity and gluttony. Once their female companions (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh) enter the fray it becomes a love story, one that is awkward and slow, but real and heartbreaking. Between Giamatti and Madsen is the greatest friction and watchability. I couldn't quite get behind Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) who flees from his infidelities with such pathetic irony that it's hard to keep listening. Giamatti comes out the victor of the film, the only one to gain any pride or closure from the trip, or his plight for self-discovery. It's a film about the chances we take and the decisions that bring us happiness rather than self-implosion.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2006
A very smart, poignant, well written film that is loaded with hilarity. I can't think of a better or more talented cast for a film about finding oneself during a mid-life crisis in California's wine country.

Jack is about to get married, and decides to spend the week before the wedding living it up in California's wine country. Accompanying him is his neurotic, sad sack teacher/best friend Miles, a real wine snob. The two spend a lot of time enjoying wine, women, and life, and also trying to deal with midlife crises and life choices.

The film, typical of Payne's work, is a nice bittersweet mixture of funny and sad, but it's got an undeniable realness about it, so, despite some uncomfortableness now and then, it works quite well and makes it easier to relate to.

The cast was perfectly picked, and they give some Oscar caliber performances. It's just too bad they all got snubbed. At least this film got a Best Picture nod, even if it too got snubbed.

I suppose this film is the source of annoyance and irritation for people who work at liquor stores and wineries, having to deal with people who go to rip on merlot or pick up some pinot noir, but hey, at least it's a sign this movie was watched and enjoyed by people.

Give this one a shot. It's a touching and nice film that really sings. It's incredibly well written, directed, and acted, and is probably Payne's best film, which is really saying something given his track record.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2007
Here's my review from the first time I watched this: "I think I was too young for this one... maybe I'll try again during my own mid-life crisis."

Upon re-watching, I'm bumping this rating up by a full star. This is a story of a real-life J. Alfred Prufrock, preparing a face to meet the faces that he meets, and in general, always being let down by life. There may be too many slow music montages, the one metaphor just before the hour mark is _way_ too heavy-handed, and the whole parade-your-pain style of creativity isn't for everyone, but this film has a lot going for it.

A couple of years ago, a friend told me that Paul Giamatti was "robbed" of the Oscar for this film. I bit my tongue. But his character is so believable. The story is honest, engrossing, and the "too real" bits only last so long before moving into more absurd, depressing, blackly funny and/or poetically just moments. That might be the best way to describe Sideways: an okay movie made up of great moments, as two friends embark on a road trip through wine country: Paul Giamatti is like the angel on one shoulder and Thomas Haden Church the devil on the other, and where this movie shines is in their conflict. Like all male friendships, they sort of love each other, but they sort of want to beat each other up...

Oh, and the first time I watched this movie, it was on an airplane. My money says that some parts were omitted to keep it safe if somebody's kid turned it on. With adequate time and space to appreciate all the aromatic notes of the film's flavour, perhaps (like a fine wine) this one gets better with age.**

**-WINNER, Corniest Review Sentence I've Ever Written
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2009
A delicious slice of entertainment. The acting and writing complement each other perfectly. The ending was kind of a let-upper, but except for it, I can't recall anything worth complain about. (However, I don't think that will be the problem with others.] Besides, I wasn't expecting it to be this entertaining; gave me more than I was looking for into it. Whether or not you're into wines, this one, at the very least, ought to fulfill your thirst of entertainment.
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2012
A lovable and funny comedy with the typical humor from Alexander Payne. Fresh.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2011
Lovely, splendid movie. Despite the indie production value, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen because of the fluid conversation, engaging characters and in-your-face genuineness. No matter how depressing, I appreciate honesty in every aspect of my life (which explains why I'm such a big Judd Apatow fan) and when Alexander Payne can deliver that in such an aesthetically watchable vehicle, it's just a gift to his audience. Paul Giamatti captivated me with his personal, intense expositions on wine, and could make me laugh out loud with a single sardonic quip. The script was so divine, I forgot I was watching a movie and felt like I was part of the conversation, watching real people struggle with their issues, struggle with their friends. Sandra Oh kicked butt as usual, but I was particularly won over by Virginia Madsen's beautifully sensitive performance. Just a delightful movie by any measure.

I was fortunate enough to be able to round up my family to watch this on Christmas Day, as we swirled and drank our leftover Australian and French reds with Camemberts, fresh mangos, cherries and grapes. There was one golf scene that sent my Dad into the hardest laughing fit I have ever seen in my life. His face was scrunched up, seized by the chuckles for a couple minutes and I think he almost sprained his stomach. He's also a huge wine buff, so I think he enjoyed the movie.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2011
Big fan of Alexander Payne and this proved that his films are always a fun watch. Paul Giamatti was hilarious and Thomas Haden Church was a great match. The story has its ups and downs and eventually keeps us following behind.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2011
I was very much looking forward to seeing this film, and after hearing good things about it, gave it a shot. The film starts well enough and has a good cast. However, the film was quite boring, and though there were some great performances here, I just didn't like the film that much. The film just wasn't my cup of tea. There were some good performances here, however I lost interest in the film and ended up not really caring about in the end. Sideways, was disappointing for me, and I felt that by the second half of the film it went into a totally over dramatic storyline. At first the film was great, but it slowly dissolved and became uninteresting. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy films like this; however I felt that Sideways could have been done much better. In the end, I didn't see anything that special about it. I felt that that halfway through the film there was too much going on and that the film tried to do too many things at once. Unfortunately, I didn't like the film and I thought it was a waste of time. I was surprised that I didn't enjoy this, because I do like dramedies such as this, but by the films conclusion, there was just too much that I really didn't it, and felt that director Alexander Payne tried to fit too much material into one film. I was disappointed and the end result wasn't satisfying.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ September 23, 2011
I loved this movie! It's the quirkiest buddy movie/comedy/romance I can recall. Director Alexander Payne has crafted a deliciously offbeat film. It is heartbreaking and funny; its subtlety and desperation are unusual for a mainstream Hollywood movie in much the same way that Payne's Election is an atypical high school film. This is a masterpiece about both the failure and the potential of middle age.

The main male characters, Miles and Jack, strangely complement each other. They couldn't be more different, and its hard to imagine them being friends. Their goals, insecurities, and instincts, differ vastly resulting in both awful and hilarious consequences. Miles' frustration erupts in his upending a swill bucket while Jack nails anything that moves, terming that his "plight."

The female leads are incredible as well. Sandra Oh delivers an outrageous performance, and I was in love with Virginia Madsen at the end of the film. The fact that this movie brought her back into the national spotlight is one of its greatest accomplishments. She represents the second chance at happiness that we all crave so badly. It's a very poignant, human love story.

No scene is superfluous in Sideways. The naked husband running down the street is raucously funny, at least. Maybe my favorite and the least expected along with the swill bucket, is the staged car accident to cover up the well-deserved beating inflicted on Jack. Its both a hilarious and bittersweet journey into midlife.
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2011
Alexander Payne's "Sideways" is a lovely film about human flaws. This sparkling comedy features honest performances and works as a constant reminder for how dialogue can be absolutely magical.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
Life is short, spend it fun. A funny life drama film, the two are a great duo team and really cool. The story was actually very good too, I understand the praise too. But my problem was some moments in the movie dragged on and were boring, but soon got right back on track. A really nice and fun movie.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2007
This modern comedy about love, angst and wine is even better on DVD. The truth is my taste of wine is average.
Lovely scenery, Thomas Haden Church's irrepressible performance and the usual good work from director Alexander Payne.
Super Reviewer
½ December 3, 2010
Slow beginning, but I laughed out loud more than once during the last 45 minutes. One of those movies you gotta love character development to love.

Or Paul Giamatti. He's usually enough for me.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2007
It was okay. It didn't really keep my attention. I found it mostly boring with like two hysterical moments.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2007
Not exactly life-changing but it had its moments. And fuckin' Paul Giamatti.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2008
A funny but somewhat forgettable film concerning two buddies trying to live it up boring middle-age guy style before one of them (Church) gets married. Paul Giamatti is one of the best actors working in Hollywood right now, and his performance is unsurprisingly brilliant. Church matches him yard for yard as well. Although it gets a little silly near the end, it's still worth a view just because of how offbeat as well as how watchable the actors in the film are.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
Truly original.Full review later.
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