Tuesday, November 15, 2005

(Movie) Review: Sideways

Since Sideways is probably the most prominent food (in which I include drinking) centric (or at least food-related) movie of the last few years, and since I just got around to watching it lately, I thought I might as well offer some thoughts.

First of all, this is definitely intended for adults. (I certainly did not need to see Mr. Winky make an appearance.) It is about some fat, pig-faced loser English teacher, who knows what the latest edition of Barely Legal magazine is and who is trying to get his book published, and his clueless, horny, C-list actor friend. (And it's never clear in the movie just what kind of friendship they have--are they close friends, or were they just freshman roomates at San Diego State?) Shortly before the actor's wedding they spend a few days touring wineries, with the actor trying to get laid as much as possible before getting married.

Rather than go into plot details, I'll make a few general observations. (1) Someone who looks like Virginia Madsen would never be attracted to some short, fat, pig-faced, border-line alcoholic, who is a mean, little drunk, like Miles. (2) Sandra Oh is not a "hottie." She is intensely annoying and possibly the ugliest person to have ever had their image burned into celluloid. (3) The movie is filmed in that hideous soft focus that should have died out 25 years ago, never to be revived.

I suppose it is an interesting movie for serious oenophiles, which I am not. And it is interesting in a quarky kind of way and fairly grounded in reality. But I had no sympathy for the characters, other than that Miles was such a pathetic loser that you wish there is eventually some ray of hope in his life, which, apparently, there is.


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