Sideways: Wikis


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Theatrical Poster
Directed by Alexander Payne
Produced by Michael London
Written by Novel:
Rex Pickett
Alexander Payne
Jim Taylor
Starring Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen
Sandra Oh
Music by Rolfe Kent
Cinematography Phedon Papamichael Jr.
Editing by Kevin Tent
Distributed by Fox Searchlight
Release date(s) October 22, 2004
Running time 123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16,000,000
Gross revenue $109,502,303

Sideways is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne and directed by Payne. Adapted from Rex Pickett's 2004 novel, Sideways follows two forty-something men, portrayed by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, who take a week-long road trip to the wine country of Santa Barbara. Payne and Taylor won multiple awards for their screenplay. Giamatti and Church, as well as actresses Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, playing local women who become romantically involved with the men, all received accolades for their performances.



Miles Raymond (Giamatti) is a single divorcé, unpublished writer, and wine-aficionado living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and college roommate, Jack Lopate (Church), on a week-long road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Miles wants to drink wine, eat fine food, play golf, enjoy the scenery, and send Jack off in style. However, Jack is more interested in "sowing his wild oats" and having one last sexual fling. Along the way, Miles stops to see his mother for her birthday, and also to steal some cash that she keeps hidden. During dinner it becomes clear that Miles still has strong feelings for his ex-wife, Victoria.

Soon after their arrival in wine country, they encounter Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress at Miles' favorite restaurant, and her friend Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a winery employee. Jack quickly arranges a double date. Neither man tells the women about Jack's imminent marriage. Jack embarks on a whirlwind affair with Stephanie while Miles hesitantly tries to connect with Maya. After some fumbling and awkward moments, Miles and Maya sleep together, and he gives her a copy of his unpublished manuscript.

The following day, Miles accidentally lets slip to Maya the fact that Jack is soon to be married. She tells Stephanie, who attacks Jack, breaking his nose. Miles also receives the crushing news that his novel has been rejected yet again, and his agent advises him that it is probably futile to keep resubmitting it. He hopes that the altercation with Stephanie has quieted Jack's hormonally charged mindset, but Jack meets Cammi, a waitress who recognizes him from his acting work, and he goes home with her.

Miles is awakened in the middle of the night by Jack, who has returned to the motel panicked and naked. He breathlessly tells Miles that Cammi's husband caught him in flagrante delicto and he had to run, leaving behind his clothes and a wallet containing irreplaceable, custom-made wedding bands. If he returns home without the rings, he says, his fiancee will dump him, and that will destroy him. He tearfully begs Miles to retrieve the bands. Miles reluctantly agrees to help, sneaking into Cammi's house while she and her husband are having sex. He retrieves the wallet, but is chased down the street by Cammi's naked husband, narrowly escaping. As a cover story to explain his broken nose, Jack runs Miles' car into a tree (and eventually into a ditch). Jack's fiancee and her wealthy family believe the tale and offer him support and sympathy.

At the wedding, Miles encounters his ex-wife, Victoria, who has remained friendly with Jack. She introduces Miles to her new husband and tells him that she is pregnant. Miles, finally forced to face the fact that Victoria will never return to him, skips the reception to go home and get his prized bottle, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc. He had purchased the wine so that he and Victoria could drink it together on the 10th anniversary of their wedding; instead, he drinks it alone, unceremoniously, from a foam cup at a fast-food restaurant.

About a month later Miles arrives home to find that Maya has left a message on his answering machine. She thanks him for a letter he wrote to her and says that she needed some time to think about what happened. She also says that she enjoyed his book and thinks that he is an excellent writer, although she expresses some confusion regarding the novel's ending. The message also reveals some details that might help explain Miles's bleak perspective of the world. She invites him to see her if ever returns to the wine country. The film ends with Miles traveling back to Santa Ynez Valley and knocking on Maya's door.


The Hitching Post II Restaurant in Buellton - where Miles and Jack first encounter Maya.


Time Out London said the film was "intelligent, funny and moving,"[1] and the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert, giving the film four stars, said, "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."[2] The review aggregator Metacritic gives Sideways a Metascore of 94%, signifying "universal [critical] acclaim." The movie also holds a rare 97% rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 201 positive reviews out of 208.[3]

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. Haden Church and Madsen were nominated for Oscars. Giamatti has since been headlined as "The World's Best Character Actor" by Time Magazine.[4] Giamatti was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his performance in 2005's Cinderella Man. Sandra Oh, who has since broken up with the film's director, Alexander Payne, has gone on to star in Grey's Anatomy for which she won a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award. Church went on to play a prominent role in the blockbuster Spider-Man 3.

The film bears a resemblance to a little seen sleeper hit that came out in the early 70s called Your Three Minutes Are Up starring Beau Bridges and Ron Leibman about two long time bachelor friends that embark on a road trip before one of them (Bridges) gets married.

Sideways ranks 494th on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.[5]

Impact on wine industry

Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot Noir, while denigrating Merlot.[6][7] 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.[7] A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets.[7][8] Sales of Merlot dropped after the film's release[9][10][11] possibly due to Miles' disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film.[9][12] However, sales of Merlot in the United States remain more than double those of Pinot Noir, the country's second most popular wine.[13]

Awards and nominations


The original soundtrack album of the film features 15 jazz instrumentals composed and produced by Rolfe Kent. The album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Score".


Fox International Productions and Fuji TV released a Japanese-language remake of the film in October 2009.[14] It is directed by Cellin Gluck and stars Katsuhisa Namase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kyōka Suzuki and Rinko Kikuchi.

The remake shifts the setting of the film to Napa Valley. Although listed as an executive producer, Alexander Payne is not involved with the remake but gave it his blessing.[15] Paul Giamatti criticized aspects of the remake, and turned down a cameo in the film.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Time Out London
  2. ^ Chicago Sun Times by Roger Ebert.
  3. ^ Sideways Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^,9171,1066935,00.html
  5. ^
  6. ^ Reynolds, Julia (2006-08-13). "Going Ape For Grape: Annual event celebrates all things wine". Monterey County Herald. 
  7. ^ a b c Harlow, John (2006-03-06). "Oscar winner knocks sales of merlot wine sideways". The Sunday Times. 
  8. ^ Simon, Joanna (2006-06-04). "Sauce". Food & Drink (The Sunday Times): pp. 47. 
  9. ^ a b 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. 
  10. ^ Asimov, Eric (2006-12-13). "Panned on Screen, Merlot Shrugs And Moves On". Dining & Wine (New York Times): pp. F10. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  11. ^ Murphy, Patsey (2005-08-13). "California dream". Irish Times. 
  12. ^ Stimmell, Gordon (2007-03-17). "More to merlot, you know". Arts (Toronto Star): pp. H07. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ 'Sideways' gets Japanese remake
  15. ^ ‘Sideways’ Returns, Uncorked for Japan
  16. ^ Paul Giamatti Kinda Trashes Japanese Remake of 'Sideways'

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sideways is a 2004 movie starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. It follows the characters Miles and Jack as they spend Jack's last weekend as a bachelor wine tasting.

Written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. Directed by Alexander Payne.
In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.



  • I am not drinking fucking Merlot!
  • It tastes like the back of a fucking L.A. school bus. Now they probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine bullshit.
  • [Describing his passion for Pinot Noir] It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."
  • I feel like a thumbprint on the skyscraper of life.


  • [Describing her passion for wine] I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.


  • You don't understand my plight.
  • Consult your doctor before using this product. Side effects may include oily discharge, hives, loss of appetite, low blood pressure. If you have diabetes or a history of kidney trouble, you're dead, asshole!

External links

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





  1. With a side to the front.
  2. Towards one side.
  3. Askance; sidelong.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


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