Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alexander Payne|
|Produced by||Michael London|
|Screenplay by||Alexander Payne
by Rex Pickett
Thomas Haden Church
|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 film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Jim Taylor and Payne. A film adaptation of Rex Pickett's 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.
Payne and Taylor won multiple awards for their screenplay. The principal actors and actresses received accolades for their performances. Sideways won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for four other awards including Best Picture. The film premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2004 and was released in the United States on October 22, 2004.
As the film's cartoon poster suggests, the film is titled "Sideways" because, to age properly, wine bottles must be laid on their side; and similarly, anyone stuck in middle age must go "sideways in life" so as to change his ways and to grow as a person.
Miles Raymond is an aspiring – but unsuccessful – writer, a wine aficionado and a divorced, depressed, borderline alcoholic middle-aged English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and former college roommate, Jack Cole, on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Though still recognized on occasion, Jack's acting career appears to have peaked years ago, when he had a role in a popular TV soap but now does commercial voice-overs and plans to enter his future father-in-law's successful real estate business after he's married. Miles wants to spend the week relaxing, golfing, 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 meet Maya, an attractive, intelligent waitress with whom Miles is casually acquainted. Jack senses that Maya is interested in Miles, who downplays his friend's intuition, and tells Jack that Maya is married. Jack tells Maya that Miles' manuscript has been accepted for publication, even though it is only being considered. Later, at a tasting in a local winery, they meet an attractive wine pourer named Stephanie, who is also acquainted with Maya. Jack is immediately attracted to Stephanie and arranges a double date, to include Miles and Maya, and tells Miles that he learned Maya is no longer married ("sans rock", as he describes it). During the date, Miles gets drunk and telephones Vicki, his ex-wife, after learning from Jack earlier that day that she has remarried. They return to Stephanie's home, where Jack and Stephanie immediately adjourn to her bedroom for sex, while Miles and Maya connect through their mutual interest in wine. Miles tells Maya about his book, and Maya says she is finishing a master's degree in horticulture so she can leave serving. Miles makes a gauche pass at Maya, which she rejects. They leave separately, but not before he gives her a copy of his manuscript. As the week progresses, Jack's affair with Stephanie continues, to the point where he believes he's falling in love with her; he bonds with her daughter and makes the suggestion to Miles that they move there for him to be closer to Stephanie. After spending the day together, Miles and Maya return to her apartment and have sex. The next day, Miles lets it slip that Jack is to be married. Disgusted with the dishonesty, Maya dumps Miles and later tells Stephanie who, furious and devastated to learn she's been used, hits Jack repeatedly and breaks his nose using her motorcycle helmet.
On finding out his manuscript has been rejected again, Miles drinks heavily, and when the server cuts him off, he ends up drinking from the spit bucket, but Jack eases him out of the room in time. That night, with Stephanie gone, Jack hooks up with another waitress named Cammi, who recognized him from his acting career. Hours later, Jack shows up back at the motel room he shares with Miles – naked and confessing that Cammi's husband came home early while she and Jack were having sex. Jack explains he was forced to flee without his clothes and wallet (which contains a pair of irreplaceable wedding rings). Jack convinces Miles to drive him back to Cammi's house and sneak inside, where he discovers Cammi and her husband having sex. Miles spies Jack's wallet, grabs it and runs from the house, barely escaping Cammi's irate husband, who pursues him in the nude. To explain the broken nose and cover up the infidelity to his fiancée, Jack runs Miles' convertible into a tree, giving the appearance they had been in an accident. The pair return to the home of Jack's fiancée, where he is welcomed with open arms, and Miles drives away in his battered car.
Following the wedding ceremony, Miles runs into his ex-wife Vicki and meets her new husband. After learning that she is also pregnant, Miles accepts that he will never get Vicki back. Alone, he drinks his prized wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, from a disposable coffee cup at a fast-food restaurant and falls into an even deeper depression. After some time passes, Miles returns to the routine of teaching school; coming home one afternoon, he receives a voice-mail from Maya, who says she enjoyed his manuscript and invites him to visit. Ultimately, Miles is seen driving back to Santa Ynez and 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
- Phil Reeves as Vacationing Dr. Walt Hendricks
Impact on wine industry
The film drew attention and increase in 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. Other reports also claimed anecdotally that sales of Merlot dropped after the film's release.
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.
|Soundtrack album by Rolfe Kent|
|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 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.
- "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
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." The review aggregator Metacritic gives Sideways a Metascore of 94%, signifying "universal acclaim". The movie also holds a 96% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with 215 positive reviews out of 223.
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, 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—who later broke up with the film's director, Alexander Payne—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.
Awards and nominations
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, 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's 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 (2006-08-13). "Going Ape For Grape: Annual event celebrates all things wine". Monterey County Herald.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cuellar, Steven S. (January 2009). "The 'Sideways' Effect A test for changes in the demand for Merlot and Pinot Noir wines". Wines & Vines.
- Froymovich, Gabriel. (July 2009). "Sideways 10 Years On: The Cost to Merlot Farmers Has Been More Than $400M". Vineyard Financial Associates.
- "Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Chicago Sun Times by Roger Ebert.
- "Sideways" at metacritic.com.
- "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.
- "101 Greatest Screenplays". Writers Guild of America, West. 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
- "'Sideways' gets Japanese remake". Variety.com. 2008-11-06. 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.
- Mercer, Chris. "Sideways 2 film unlikely, says author". Decanter.com. http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/530155/sideways-2-film-could-be-in-doubt-says-author. Retrieved June 1, 2014. External link in