Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alexander Payne|
|Produced by||Michael London|
by Rex Pickett
|Music by||Rolfe Kent|
|Edited by||Kevin Tent|
Michael London Productions
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$109.7 million|
Sideways is a 2004 American comedy-drama road film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Jim Taylor and Payne. A film adaptation of Rex Pickett's 2004 novel of the same name, Sideways follows two men in their forties, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti), a depressed teacher and unsuccessful writer, and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), a past-his-prime actor, who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country to celebrate Jack's upcoming wedding. Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen also star. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2004, and was released in the United States on October 22, 2004.
Sideways received widespread acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Haden Church) and Best Supporting Actress (Madsen).
Miles Raymond is an unsuccessful writer, a wine aficionado, and a divorced, depressed, alcoholic middle-aged English teacher living in San Diego. He takes Jack Cole, his soon-to-be-married actor friend and former college roommate, on a road trip through the Santa Ynez Valley wine country. At the beginning of this trip, he stops to see his mother before the day of her birthday. While there he steals a thousand dollars from her secret stash. Though Jack is still recognized on occasion, his acting career appears to have peaked years earlier, when he had a role in a popular TV soap. He now does commercial voice-overs and plans to enter his future father-in-law's successful real estate business. Miles wants to spend the week relaxing, playing golf and enjoying good food and wine. However, much to Miles' consternation, Jack is on the prowl and wants one last sexual fling before settling into domestic life.
In the wine country, the pair visit Miles' favorite restaurant, The Hitching Post II, and encounter Maya, a waitress with whom Miles is casually acquainted. Jack senses that Maya is interested in Miles, who believes she is married. Jack lies to Maya that Miles' manuscript has been accepted for publication, even though it is only being considered. As they are walking back to the motel, Jack tells Miles that Maya did not have a wedding ring on at the bar, implying that she is single as he suspected. At a tasting in a local winery, Jack and Miles meet a wine pourer named Stephanie, who is also acquainted with Maya. Jack is immediately attracted to Stephanie and arranges a double date.
During the date, Miles gets drunk and telephones Victoria, his ex-wife, after learning from Jack that she has remarried. The two couples go to Stephanie's home, where she and Jack adjourn to her bedroom for sex. Miles and Maya connect through their mutual interest in wine. While in Stephanie's kitchen, Miles awkwardly attempts to kiss her. As they are leaving separately, Miles gives her a copy of his manuscript, which Maya had earlier expressed interest in reading.
Jack's affair with Stephanie continues, to the point where he believes he's falling in love; he bonds with her daughter and suggests to a disgusted Miles that they move there for him to be closer to Stephanie. After spending time with Jack and Stephanie at wineries and a picnic, Miles and Maya return to her apartment and have sex. The next day, after spending time with her in town, Miles lets it slip that Jack is to be married. Disgusted with the men's dishonesty, Maya dumps Miles.
Jack and Miles go to a winery that Miles immediately calls mediocre. After receiving word from his literary agent that his manuscript has been rejected, an upset Miles tries to get the server to give him a "full pour" of wine. When the server refuses, Miles ends up drinking from the spit bucket in the tasting room, creating a scene. Jack intervenes and drives Miles back to the motel. Upon arrival, they meet Stephanie, who hits Jack in the face with her motorcycle helmet, screaming about his impending wedding and his supposed love for her. Miles takes Jack to the ER and leaves Maya an apologetic voice message, admitting that his book is not going to be published. That night, Jack hooks up with a waitress named Cammi, much to Miles' disgust. Hours later, Jack shows up at the motel – naked and confessing that Cammi's husband came home while she and Jack were having sex. Jack was forced to flee without his clothes and wallet (which contains a pair of irreplaceable wedding rings). He convinces Miles to sneak into the house, where he discovers Cammi and her husband having sex. Miles grabs the wallet and runs, barely escaping the irate husband, who pursues him in the nude.
To explain his broken nose to his fiancée, Jack intentionally damages Miles' Saab 900 convertible, giving the appearance they had been in an accident. The pair return to the fiancée's home, where Jack is welcomed with open arms. Miles drives away in his battered car.
Following the wedding ceremony, Miles runs into his ex-wife Victoria and meets her new husband. Victoria tells Miles that she is pregnant. Alone, Miles drinks his prized wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, from a disposable styrofoam soda cup at a fast-food restaurant. Time passes as Miles returns to the routine of teaching school. One day he receives a voicemail from Maya, who says she enjoyed his manuscript and invites him to visit. Miles drives back to wine country and knocks 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 Mrs. Raymond, Miles' Mother
- Jessica Hecht as Victoria Cortland
- Lee Brooks as Ken Cortland
- Missy Doty as Cammi
- MC Gainey as Cammi's husband
- Alysia Reiner as Christine Erganian
- Shake Tukhmanyan as Mrs. Erganian
- Shaun Duke as Mike Erganian
- Stephanie Faracy as Ginny, Stephanie's mother
- Natalie Carter as Siena, Stephanie's daughter
- Patrick Gallagher as Gary the Bartender
- Joe Marinelli as Frass Canyon Pourer
Impact on wine industry
The film drew attention and increased tourism to the Santa Ynez Valley wine-growing region of California's Central Coast. 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.
A 2009 study by Sonoma State University found that Sideways slowed the growth in Merlot sales volume and caused its price to fall, but the film's main effect on the wine industry was a rise in the sales volume and price of Pinot Noir and in overall wine consumption.
Sideways Pinot Noir
Rex Pickett, author of the novel Sideways, after a three-month research trip in Chile for his 2015 Sideways 3 Chile novel, fell in love with the country, the people, and their wines. In 2018, Pickett launched his own Pinot Noir, named Sideways.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||12 October 2004|
|Label||New Line Records|
|Rolfe Kent chronology|
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 proved 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. The romantic leitmotif shared by Miles and Maya is excerpted from Symbiosis by Claus Ogerman and Bill Evans.
- "Asphalt Groovin'" – 4:00
- "Constantine Snaps His Fingers" – 3:03
- "Drive!" – 3:56
- "Picnic" – 2:15
- "Lonely Day" – 1:40
- "Wine Safari" – 2:13
- "Miles' Theme" – 2:59
- "Los Olivos" – 2:43
- "Chasing the Golfers" – 3:03
- "Walk to Hitching Post" – 2:32
- "Abandoning the Wedding" – 3:25
- "Slipping Away As Mum Sleeps" – 1:00
- "Bowling Tango" – 0:49
- "I'm Not Drinking Any #@%!$ Merlot!" – 1:13
- "Miles And Maya" – 2:26
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97% based on 233 reviews, with an average rating of 8.55/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Charming, thoughtful, and often funny, Sideways is a decidedly mature road trip comedy full of excellent performances." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 94 out of 100, based on 42 critics, signifying "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Time Out described the film as "intelligent, funny and moving", and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars, saying: "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." A surprise hit, Sideways became popular in Hollywood, the US, and internationally. Santa Ynez Valley, where much of the film is set, experienced 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 the critically acclaimed film American Splendor, the film was a career breakthrough for the stars. Church and Madsen were each nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe Award, and Academy Award for their performances, winning the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and Independent Spirit Award for their respective categories. Giamatti has since been headlined as "The World's Best Character Actor" by Time magazine. Sandra Oh went on to star in the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, for which she won two Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe Award.
Sideways was ranked 494th on Empire's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. Total Film put Sideways on its list of 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America also ranked its script as the 90th greatest ever written.
Stage and musical adaptations
In 2019, it was announced that Sideways was scheduled to be adapted for a stage musical. Kathleen Marshall is expected to be the director and choreographer for the musical, which is aiming for a spring or summer 2020 tryout in a regional venue prior to Broadway. The musical will have a book by Rex Pickett and the score by Anthony Leigh Adams.
In addition to the musical, it was reported that Pickett had written screenplays based on his two Sideways sequels already in print, Vertical and Sideways 3 Chile.
Awards and nominations
Fox International Productions and Fuji TV released a Japanese-language remake of the film in October 2009, often rendered in Romaji as Saidoweizu. The film is directed by Cellin Gluck and stars Katsuhisa Namase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kyōka Suzuki, and Rinko Kikuchi, and has a soundtrack composed and performed by Hawaiian-born ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.
The remake shifts the setting of the film to Napa Valley. Although listed as an executive producer, Payne was not involved with the remake, although he gave it his blessing. Giamatti declined an invitation to appear in an unspecified cameo appearance in the film.
Pickett wrote a sequel to his novel, Vertical, in 2011, following Miles and Jack on a road trip to Oregon with Miles' mother. However, Payne has declined to consider a sequel to the film. Fox Searchlight owns the rights to the characters, but Payne's lack of interest makes the film a non-starter for Fox.
- Sideways at Box Office Mojo
- Reynolds, Julia (August 13, 2006). "Going Ape For Grape: Annual event celebrates all things wine". Monterey County Herald.
- Harlow, John (March 6, 2006). "Oscar winner knocks sales of merlot wine sideways". The Sunday Times.
- Simon, Joanna (June 4, 2006). "Sauce". Food & Drink. The Sunday Times. p. 47.
- Valdespino, Anne (July 25, 2007). "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 (December 13, 2006). "Panned on Screen, Merlot Shrugs And Moves On". Dining & Wine. New York Times. pp. F10. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
- Murphy, Patsey (August 13, 2005). "California dream". Irish Times.
- Stimmell, Gordon (March 17, 2007). "More to merlot, you know". Arts. Toronto Star. pp. H07.
- Cuellar, Steven S. (January 2009). "The 'Sideways' Effect A test for changes in the demand for Merlot and Pinot Noir wines". Wines & Vines.
- "Sideways (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- "Sideways" at Metacritic.
- "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Sideways" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- "Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- rogerebert.com by Roger Ebert.
- "The World's Best Character Actor". Time. May 31, 2005. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Empire Features". Empireonline.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- "100 Greatest Movies Of All Time | TotalFilm.com". web.archive.org. December 22, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
- "101 Greatest Screenplays". Writers Guild of America, West. 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- Rooney, David (May 2, 2019). "'Sideways' in Development as Broadway Musical". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Meyer, Dan. "Kathleen Marshall to Direct and Choreograph Sideways: The Musical" Playbill, October 7, 2019
- "'Sideways' gets Japanese remake". Variety.com. November 6, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- "'Sideways' Returns, Uncorked for Japan". The New York Times. 2009.
- Martin, Peter (March 30, 2009). "Paul Giamatti Kinda Trashes Japanese Remake of 'Sideways'". Cinematical.com. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- Mercer, Chris (July 17, 2012). "Sideways 2 film unlikely, says author". Decanter.com. Decanter.com. Retrieved June 1, 2014.