Sideways This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Alexander Payne’s “Sideways” is a funny and touching film about two old college buddies who set out on a road trip. The set up may seem like a cliche, but “Sideways” is much more - it is a journey worth going on.

The always funny and always good Paul Giamatti gives one of 2004’s most overlooked performances as Miles Raymond, a sad sack eighth-grade English teacher and failed novelist living in San Diego. Desperate to stop wondering if his latest book will be published, Miles persuades college buddy (Thomas Haden Church) to explore California’s wine country during Jack’s last days of bachelorhood. Jack goes along with the idea, viewing the trip as a way to meet women and get things out of his system before his big day.

Along the way, Miles and Jack meet Stephanie (Sandra Oh) and Maya (played to sheer perfection by Virginia Madsen). Together they share wine, good food and laughs. Stephanie, not knowing what lies ahead for Jack, instantly hits it off with him. There is obvious attraction between Maya and Miles, but they have equal amounts of baggage and move much slower than Stephanie and Jack.

Yes, obvious things happen during Miles and Jack’s trip, like Stephanie discovering that Jack is to be married, but all the situations are either so funny or so touching that you can’t help but love the film. There is a scene in which Miles and Maya talk about wine, but really they are talking about their own personalities. This is one of the best scenes in recent film history and makes you fall in love with Madsen’s Oscar-nominated performance.

Under the direction of Alexander Payne (who co-wrote the screenplay with Jim Taylor) and using Rex Pickett’s novel as the framework, “Sideways” was one the 2004’s best films and a masterpiece forever. Payne created two of my other favorite films (“Election” and “About Schmidt”), but “Sideways” is his best to date. Don’t miss it. .

This movie is rated R.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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