It's a pleasent surprise when a film that is so talked about lives up to its hype. Sideways is one of those films. There was a point in the film that I thought about how much I wish I had seen it waaaayyyy earlier in the year, so that I could love it before it became "trendy" and then I could share it with other people and tell them that they should go see it. That's how I felt about the movie. I real want to share it with the people I know who love movies.
It's somewhat ironic that I've spent much of my past few posts "defending"/"extolling the virtues of" special effects and digital work, but then a film that comes along and makes me reevaluate my whole top ten comes along and, low and behold, it has nary a special effect in it. Except maybe that magical effect that two actors in front of a camera can yeild when the the right moment comes along.
The best comedies are riotously funny. Sideways is no exception. There were dozens of moments in the film where we were all laughing so hard it hurt. Thomas Hayden Church creates one of the most memorable characters of the year. His nomination was well deserved.
But the best comedies also have their serious moments. Again, Sideways is no exception. There are some of the most heart wrenchingly human moments in any film this year in Sideways. Paul Giamatti's Miles Raymond is such a remarkable character. I can see the criticism's that some people have levelled against a lot of film critics and cinéastes for loving a movie with a character who is so obviously one of us, but at the same time it is because Miles is one of us that his character carries so much weight. He is us struggling authors and artists who feel that we're never going to suceed. He is us who is so nervous around the opposite sex. He is the us that knows far too much about movies, books and wine. The fact that we know him is what allows the comedy to work so well. And it is the comedy that gives the dramatic moments their weight.
It is a crime that Paul Giamatti was ignored by the Academy. Expect me to make a big deal about this come awards night.