Getting Sideways on "Sideways" -- Less Here Than Meets the Critical Eye

nice writing in your review, but I don't think the movie glorifies Miles in the least. . . it was brutally honest in its depiction of his "sideway" life, and the closing sequence doesn't show the girl jumping into his arms. . . the snobbery, self-indulgence, solipsism, and even petty thievery (from his Mom's drawer!) are enough to say to the viewer that Miles, as well as Jack, aren't noble "everymen" but just characters representing different ends of the spectrum. . . my simple take. . .

Posted by Spear Shaker at January 7, 2005 3:52 PM

Sounds like it would make a great double feature with...a root canal.

If Alberto Gonzales were to show this movie to our detainee guests at Guantanamo, would the IRC accuse him of torture?

Posted by slimedog at January 7, 2005 5:40 PM

Given my review, I naturally disagree with your assessment. For one, I don't match the movie's supposed demographic in the least (24, conservative, Christian, etc), though I do sport an English degree and an unabashed, though uneducated, love of wine. Hardly a Napa Valley elite.

However, I think your opinion is slightly off-kilter in that you accuse the film of shallowness, yet you don't explain why (accusing it of being a shill piece for the liberal elite is hardly an explanation of its failings).

Finally, I think you've simply misinterpreted the film's purpose and its characters. Miles is hardly a glorifiable figure, nor is Jack a model figure. Madsen's Maya is sympathetic toward Miles partially because she herself is (whilst hot and smart and all that) slightly frumpy and is on similar footing, age-wise, as Giamatti's Miles. His novel is never proclaimed to be the paragon of truth-with-a-capital-T unrecognized, though she does praise its veracity as a character-driven drama.

I also think your accusation of overt diversity is simply mistaken. Sandra Oh is married to Payne. She got the job. Seems simple to me.

However, I'd certainly not want to go up against you in a verbal fight. You've got some pretty good zingers in there, though I disagree with most of what you say. It's an interesting, if flawed look at what I still perceive to be an excellent piece of cinema.

Posted by Jeremiah at January 8, 2005 4:45 PM