Directed by Alexander Payne from a screenplay written by himself and collaborator Jim Taylor (I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY would you believe it), 2004's SIDEWAYS is a comedy about middle-age, depression and alcoholism. Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) is a divorced wine aficionado and unpublished writer of a terrible sounding semi-autobiographical novel who takes best friend and former television star Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) on a road trip through California wine country ahead of Jack's impending marriage. Though his friend focuses on one final fling with wine pourer Stephanie (Sandra Oh) before getting hitched more than he does sampling the best the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer, Miles finds something deeper in the vineyards with Maya (Virgina Madsen). Giamatti has a relatable everyman charm about him which allows you to empathise with and even forgive him no matter how badly he disgraces himself which includes stealing from his own mother while fellow Spider-Man villain Thomas Hayden Church somehow manages to find some depth in the vacuous Peter Pan Syndrome suffering Jack. Character actor M.C. Gainey's penis almost steals the movie but it's the thoughtful themes about maturity, aging, male friendships and the need for patience to nurture people in relationships which lingers on the palate.
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Sidey: Okay, so this is the start of a week where all the content is about booze.
Which you would've thought we might have covered some of that before. I don't think we have. And also this is a things that we watched two weeks ago for the stuff we were supposed to record last week, but couldn't cuz I was off, ill.
still back. We are back. Yeah. And we're gonna talk, first of all about the movie Sideways. Did you see this at the time? It was out,
Reegs: No. Couple of years later probably on on home rental.
Sidey: Same. you seen this
Cris: Oh, I've never watched it before.
Reegs: yeah, this is directed by Alexander Payne who did election.
I dunno whether you ever saw that one. And about Schmidt as well, the Jack Nicholson
Sidey: I haven't seen that one.
Reegs: And the descendants, which I quite liked in downsizing, was the recent Matt Damon one, which was pretty woeful, actually a neat idea that went horribly wrong.
But this has got Paul Gati and Thomas Hayden Church in it.
And you can really see the genesis of their you know, development of Spider-Man villains
Sidey: I know because this was the first time I think I'd seen either of them in
And then, yeah, pretty much next time I saw Thomas Hayden church. He was the Sandman. And PMA was Rhino. Yeah. Which is, didn't see that coming. Bizarre. Mm-hmm.
Reegs: So yeah, this is a sort of comedy drama about midlife crises and alcoholism. And as it would do, it starts with a hangover. I think he's like Paul Jim Mattis's, a sort of disheveled unpublished writer of a terrible sounding autobiographical novel that's like runs to 750 pages or something.
Sidey: Yeah. And we see where he lives. It's one of those apartment complexes that's probably.
Exclusively populated by single men.
Reegs: Yeah, divorced men. He
Sidey: It reminded me of Mill House's, dad's place in the Simpsons.
Reegs: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.
Sidey: And his place is a shithole, his car is terrible. He's he's obviously depressed or a anxiety issues and, but keen on, keen on the wine. Yeah. And quite scholarly I would say.
Cris: Yeah. Excellent knowledge on the wine.
Sidey: Yeah. He's definitely an enthusiast and he's supposed to be somewhere, there's a phone call and he is, I'm leaving now and then it just takes another couple of hours I think, to get ready before he eventually sets off and makes up some bullshit when he arrives at his friend's house that the traffic was terrible.
Yeah. And his friend is Jack, so it's Miles and Jack, and they're going off on.
Reegs: It's his Stoo, essentially. Yeah. Yeah.
Sidey: For them it's their ba it's a bachelor party over there. Yeah. But it's a tour of wine country. But while he is there, he's speaking to the in-laws and his fiance's father quizzes Mars about his book.
And it is not, it's not it's not fiction, is it? It's, I think clearly offends him because he's like, well, it's. It is fiction, but it, it borrows a bit and he just like poo-poos it. I don't like fiction. It's rubbish people that make stuff up, but it's just rubbish, you know?
Sidey: I prefer to learn something, you know?
Yeah. And yeah, he's clearly upset about that.
Reegs: Yeah. Jack is a sort of Once sort of successful TV star
Sidey: Troy McClure.
Reegs: Yeah, he's now doing kind of voiceover work. And yeah, they're both going on this stag, do Miles has arranged it, it's obstensibly about him going through the Napa Valley and going on wine tasting.
But Jack just wants to get laid. That's kind of the
Cris: before his wedding, which is Saturday. Yeah.
Reegs: fling before he gets married on Saturday, like you say. And soon after the trip begins miles is insists on stopping to see his mother. He gets a car, does need some flowers, writes it in the parking lot.
Sidey: it's his mom's birthday.
Reegs: It's his mom's birthday. Yeah. And they go in and she's like, oh, she's all dressed down, obviously, cuz she didn't expect people
Sidey: did a 90
Reegs: And when she sees Jack, she gets pretty flirty. Yeah. She dolls herself up and makes some dinner. But then Miles sneaks off to steal
Sidey: Yeah. Miles celebrates her birthday by stealing money out of her. She's got it rolled up in a, like the bottom of a, I dunno, it's like a. Bleach ball or something. Yeah. He just unscrews like a secret thing for hiding money and he knows where she keeps her stash. Yeah, and then it's awful. He goes downstairs and she says, do you need some money?
Oh, fuck you asshole. My misses were so pulled with him at that
Reegs: he's not a very sympathetic character. Let's see. Neither of them are in their own ways. Yeah. Anyway, they sneak out I think, without
Sidey: they go, they, she, no, she, she goes, she, they have this dinner and she says, oh, while, while they've been out waiting, she's gone and arranged for Mar's sister to come up for breakfast.
Reegs: That's right.
Sidey: And Jack's appalled because he wants to be out, you know, hearing it harder. That's the, that's the day of their stag dude gone. Yeah. And so, yeah, but it just, she gets drunk and is asleep on the couch and they just sneak out. It's fucking ruthless. It's so
Reegs: Yeah, it
Sidey: Really awful.
but there is the
Cris: when they just leave and the guy tries to cover her or something, he's like, no, no, don't do anything.
You'll wake her up. And they both just, oh, okay. We don't wanna do that. And they just kind of ask.
Sidey: it's a bit naughty. But they do, they go off and um, there's, there's a dinner to be had. Like it's a place that Miles seems to frequent quite a lot when he is in wine country
Reegs: the Hitching Post,
Sidey: The hitching post.
And he's quite smitten with a waitress that works there.
Reegs: Maya, it's Virginia Madson. Yeah. And
Sidey: he knows all the bar stuff. They're talking to him about his book and may quizzes him about it. And Jack sees that there's a bit of a connection between Miles and Maya and he wants to if he kind of wants his friend to be happy, he does, but it really is a means to like, Which she might have friends that we might be able to tap into.
And so he's just egging him on and, and just gives, constantly giving him these pep talks throughout the film of Don't fuck this up for me. Like, you know, you, you, if you wanna be fucking miserable, that's up to you, but don't fuck this up for me. Yeah. He's an asshole.
Reegs: Who, Jack? Yeah. Your sympathy waver throughout the movie, don't they? Yeah.
Sidey: So they, they have that dinner and then after the dinner she comes and joins them. And it does seem like there's a, there's a strong connection there
Reegs: with Maya. Yeah. Yeah. And when does Stephanie get involved?
Cris: day when they go to this other wine tasting,
When they go to a couple, I think they go first to, to one
Reegs: he's, they're at the wine tasting and he's giving his big flowery descriptions and jack's there and he's like, are you chewing gum?
Sidey: There's a bit where he's going on and on about the wine and how you do it, and you spin it around and you look at it and you do all this. And then he puts his finger on his ear just as he tastes.
I just love that. It's so good. He's quite pretentious about it. My old man's quite pretentious about wine, so that resonated. But yes, it's It's Stephanie who's working at one of the places, and she,
Sidey: outrageously flirty. Unbelievable. She gives herself a little spank as she walks off. Yeah.
And turns out that she's pals with Maya and Jack arranges for them all to get to dinner. Yeah. And it's game on.
Reegs: Yeah. Well it is Game on except miles gets really drunk and decides to call his ex-wife, which is a horrible move. Really. You know, and she, we learn.
Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's just horrible really, isn't it? He
Cris: a cringe moment when, when you kind of know what is gonna happen. Yeah. Oh yeah. Excuse me. I'm going, and then you thi see him on the phone and there's that awkward silence. And then, is this you, you know, she clearly knows who's just breathing in the phone, not saying anything.
Reegs: Drunkenly calling is obviously not the first time,
Sidey: like as excruciating as the phone calling swingers, you know, to the answer machine.
And afterwards he just slumps back down at the table. Yeah. Clearly upset and depressed and he's just, yeah.
Cris: And Jack clearly knows straight away the girls go to to the toilet and he's like, did you make the call? Did you call again when you're drunk? Yeah. Yeah.
Reegs: And he says, do you not re you know, cuz is this when he tells him that she's remarried and
Sidey: I think we find out that he cheated on her.
Reegs: her. Yeah,
he did cheat on her, but he, it's not as clear, obviously not as simple
Cris: in a field
Reegs: he said, he says Jack says, and you remember how small she made you feel.
So like, there's obviously. It was obviously a toxic relationship, and it, it went wrong, hit through his infidelity, but obviously his distant anyway. So they end up Miles, Stephanie Miles and Maya and Stephanie and Jack end up going back to Stephanie's place to get more booze.
Sidey: Yes, she's, they're also obviously cuz we're in wine country, they're all pretty much a fishing artist apart from Jack who's completely clueless. Yeah. And Miles is impressed with Stephanie's collection.
He's, she's got some whippy do bottle of bottle of wine that completely blows him away and Jack and hug off and you can hear them having sex while, while the two of them are trying to have this conversation. And it's a pretty thinly veiled metaphor about Pinot.
Reegs: Oh, it's great. This bit,
Sidey: it's really good.
Reegs: they monologue a bit at, at their love of wine. You know, he talks about pinot and how it's difficult to cultivate and you know. Yeah, it's great.
Sidey: And he's also got some great bottle, which becomes important later on in, at the end. She's, she says, any day you open, that's gonna be a a
Reegs: a good day.
Sidey: But they don't it, at one point you think, well, maybe they're gonna kiss or they're gonna do something, but he, he just doesn't do it.
Reegs: it. It doesn't quite happen. Even though she puts her hand on his, you know, it doesn't quite happen
Sidey: The signals were all there.
Reegs: she does offer to read this book. She, the day after yesterday.
You mean today? I love that. Look on his face. He's like,
Sidey: I've never thought
Reegs: Yeah. And he gives it to her and it's like this huge box, and then he gives her another one as well. It's amazing. So anyway Stephanie Jack's fallen in love with Stephanie, obviously,
Sidey: yeah, he, and he starts to make some noises about, I think I'm marrying the wrong woman, you know, it's Mar Mar appalled.
Yeah. But you know, like you've mentioned before, like they're, neither of them are there particularly sympathetic, so whilst he's, he's appalled, he's clearly had infidelity in his past and all the rest of it. Yeah. But, He's, you know, Jack is just stringing how long. It's pretty terrible. She's, she's obviously very into him and he's just wants to have
Reegs: Well, he's instantly ingratiated himself into her family as well. The kids that he's known for about 36 hours at this point is like already calling him dad or whatever, and he's putting her to bed and stuff. It's really silly, Miles gets sort of left by himself. He goes, I love this scene. He goes to buy a porn mag and he's like, oh, not that one. It is the most recent I've got out. Yeah, the next one. And he's reading his porn mag read.
Cris: It's also, he kind of tells you the time because there was no, you know, the red button or whatever it is on the telly or you don't pay the 25 Yeah.
Tens or cents sense or whatever to get the porno channel. He just got an old school magazine, you
Reegs: Kicking it. Old school star.
Sidey: Yeah. So he's, he's doing that. Yes. Whilst Jack is out Just getting more and more deep into this fake relationship that he's got going on.
Well, miles sort of accidentally lets it slip to, to Maya, doesn't he?
Cris: Yeah, they, well, we're, well, they're, we have to get Friday evening or Saturday before the rehearsal or something
Reegs: For the rehearsal.
Sidey: That's it. The rehearsal's the key word. And she's like rehearsal for what? You're like, oh no.
Reegs: And so she's obviously worked out Yeah. Pretty quickly what's going on?
And she takes it out on miles, obviously. And
Cris: but also we miss the main thing that he tells him the day after they apparently have sex because they go to her house. And that's the main thing that she, he is like, oh, I wanted to tell you last night. But what? You just wanted to fuck
Reegs: exactly. Yeah.
Cris: that, that's, they, they kind of do that. They have a nice evening, he goes to her flat, they don't show anything, but you can assume that they've, they've had sex and then the next day they go for a nice picnic. That's right. And she kind of, he lets his slip, she gets enraged and, and then he goes back, doesn't say a word.
Cris: And he just kind of keeps taking it like that. Meanwhile, Jack's future wife keeps calling and he's not replying. He doesn't really seem to care. Yeah. That she's calling. He just is in love with this woman and he's her child. So that, and that's where the next kind of,
Sidey: he's making plans. He's like, well, me and you could buy a winery, we could move up here.
The two of us. You know,
Reegs: He's just a complete fantasist at this point, isn't he? Obviously.
Sidey: And obviously Maya knowing, she tells Stephanie and she turns up. To the hotel or motel where they're staying. Yeah. And just beats the living shit outta Jack with a motorcycle helmet.
Reegs: Yeah. It's pretty
Sidey: Smashes his face up pretty good.
So they Jack and Miles, miles now with like a, a jack with like a sort of
Sidey: he's got a, like a bri like a splint I guess on his nose. Then the bridge of his nose to, to set his nose. He's obviously broken his nose and, and, and sort of plasters across his face holding it all in place. That's obviously gonna be there for the.
For the rehearsal and for the wedding. Exactly. And so they have to come up with some elaborate scheme to, to,
Sidey: Explain that away.
Reegs: Yeah. First they go to FRAs Canyon, don't they? The it's like some shit, some absolute shit. Or Miles is disgusted. He's just, he's talking about how it was made out of like rats pissing out of it and stuff and it
Sidey: if one person orders No, that's at the restaurant. If someone orders Merlo, he has that rant earlier.
Reegs: that's earlier on.
Sidey: Yeah. But this one, he's, it is just a shit winery. He's, and he's goes into full wine snob mode.
Reegs: Well, and also he's just got news from his agent that his book isn't gonna be published. They're like, it's a good book, but it's not founder, a home sort of thing.
So he is absolutely. So he, he asks for a pour and the guy just, and he just necks it and then another po and he wants like a proper measure and the guy refuses to serve him, so he drinks from the slot bucket. It's just
Sidey: horrendous. Yeah, it's absolutely appallingly grim.
Yeah. And he doesn't just drink it, you know, it's poured all over him. He's not like full meltdown mode. Yeah. So Jack has to wrestle him out of there. He says that's something bullshit about it. He just, just heard that his mother's died or something and they, they hightail out of there.
Cris: They go for dinner to this other place where this bigger lady, more voluptuous lady waitress working
a big fan. Yes. She
Cris: she's a big
Reegs: She knew. She knows him from some obscure soap that he did. Yeah. And yeah, he's just straight away, like back. Jack has learned absolutely nothing from being beaten up and is just back in the game again.
Sidey: This is class because he,
Reegs: he goes off and Miles goes back to his hotel room and then a few hours later Jack turns up naked at the door. I think that was he chased by an ostrich or something. He says
He said he went through the ostrich farm. Yeah.
Sidey: So yeah, he's naked, but he's also being naked. He's got no wallet. Yeah, he's left his wallet there
Reegs: and the wallet has got the rings in it.
Sidey: Yeah. So that's gotta be
Cris: which the rings are personalized and, and you know, it is not just some random wedding rings.
Sidey: yeah. They need that back.
So they're gonna have to go and they go back to the house.
Reegs: Well, J Jack decides it has he, they have to be got, right. This is his moment of crisis. He's gonna choose to go back and go get them. Except send miles. Send miles in is such a good plan. Yeah.
Sidey: And it turns out that this couple. So the lady, the, the waitress has a thing about bringing people back and having sex with them and then the telling the her partner that they have some sort of weird kinky makeup sex thing.
Yeah. Where he's go, they're just talking dirty
Reegs: I've heard rumors about people with this kind of
Sidey: Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, we'll have to elaborate on that.
Cris: Yeah, I dunno. He's just a truck driver and he, he, he just, yeah, they have really,
I dunno, rough sex.
Sidey: kinky sex.
Kinky And, and she
Reegs: talks about fucking other
Yeah. So while that's going on, the wallet is kind of behind them. Yeah, it's in the room where they're having sex.
Reegs: into the house on his hands and knees, doesn't he? Into the rim.
And then he sees it on the drawer and he is like, wow. The only way to get this is he just thinks that they're busy doing what they're doing. So he just grabs it and runs and then you just get the spectacular side of him running away. chased by this heavy trucker is Mc Ganey is the guy and he's a character actor that you've seen in like he's in Con
Cris: I know he is Econ,
Sidey: seen a lot of him in this.
Reegs: cock just flapping in the
Sidey: at one point he's right up against the car window.
His dick just like right at the window. It's amazing. But it's, when he is running after them, it's like, leather face almost. Yeah.
Sidey: And they've gotta, they've got like, get out of there.
Reegs: retrieved the wallet.
Yeah, retrieving the wallet. There's only one thing left to do. And that's the
Sidey: Fake a car crash.
Yeah. So they, this is funny as well, so they. Well, Jack doesn't tell him, he just, just. Drives the car. They just drive the car into a,
Reegs: yeah, he says it is your seatbelt on and then
Sidey: And then they get out and look at the car and it's not convincing enough. So it cuts to them with a breeze block, which he just puts on the accelerator and it just misses the tree altogether and just drives into a ditch.
It's great. And then, yeah, it's just them rocking up back at his house. So his house compared to where Miles lives couldn't be more different. It's
Cris: Was the in-law's
Reegs: His father-in-law's
Sidey: he's obviously marrying into money or I don't know, but
Cris: I dunno if they're related to the Kardashians or not, but they, they clearly knew what they were doing.
Sidey: And he's like, just make sure they clock the car before you drive away. And he kind of like waves and they points at his face. So we had a car crash or something. Probably there's a fucking lot of drink driving in this movie as well,
Reegs: A load of it.
Sidey: easily have had a crash. And then it is the day, the big day of the wedding.
Where his ex Mar's ex-wife turns up and it's Carol from Carol and Susan and friends.
Reegs: And in Breaking Bad was she as well?
Sidey: I think so,
Reegs: yeah. You know, the Gray Trace people or whatever they were. Yeah.
Sidey: And they have quite a civil kind of conversation actually.
Reegs: Yeah. And he meets the new fella and he seems all right as well.
Sidey: Yeah, they seem fine. Yeah. Yeah. And I guess with all the whole, the whole romance of the whole wedding day miles, Goes off and he, he has his amazing bottle of wine. Yeah. In a, like a KFC kind of thing.
Cris: Yeah. I think it's a 73 Chave Blanc. Is it? Yeah. Chave Blanc is definitely, because it means wise horse.
And it's a special vineyard in Burgundy. I did look it up when they were talking. I was, it's and one of the vineyards where they were, which is I think Jacob Murray or something that is a well known, like respected vineyard Iny.
Reegs: yeah. No, it's 61 A city, A 61 Shadow Chev
Cris: Shal Blanc. Yeah. Yeah.
Sidey: Which was at its peak as they were saying, like, you should drink it now.
And he's like, well, I've got nothing. No reason to. Well, he does drink it
Reegs: out of his styrofoam
Sidey: cup. Yeah. And then KFC and then gets back more drink driving. And the film kind of ends on this optimistically kind of vague ending of him going down to Myers's place and just.
Reegs: Well, he gets a voicemail from her, doesn't she? And she says she read the book and she describes parts of it that mean that she has actually bothered to sit down and read all 750 pages of this stuff.
Cris: She also makes out the fact that his sister is quite horrible or she was suicidal at one point or something like that.
her, in the voice notes. So I think clearly she read the book and, and she
Yeah. She didn't skim read it. She was, she, she was invested in it and he, he goes down and, and knocks on the door, rings the doorbell, and that's it. We don't do they, do they end up today? It doesn't
Reegs: matter. Who knows? But there's that sense that Miles is moving on with his
Sidey: Yeah. He needs to move away from Jackie. It's a terrible influence on him, I
Sidey: Yeah. So yeah, it's what do you think? Do you enjoy it?
Reegs: it. Yeah. I really like this. Yeah. Yeah. And it's funny and it is sort of human and yeah, it's good.
Sidey: Do you like wine? Does it help? Does it matter if you like wine to enjoy this film?
Reegs: I do. I do like wine actually. We've yeah, we do drink a bit of wine.
I don't know if it does help. I, maybe you would find it a little bit pretentious, but a lot of it is just funny. And a lot of it is just about the relationships between people and more, more so than the wine, I would say.
Cris: Yeah, I enjoyed it. I, I would say it was a little bit monotonous. You know when, when it kind of, it doesn't jump.
That's why I thought a scene at the end with the truck driver was amazing because he kind of
Sidey: kinda went
Cris: out of the, the, you know, it was quite a monotonous movie. There was no real anger there. He, you know,
Reegs: tried, well, it wasn't that kind of thing
Cris: They tried to play golf a couple of times. I wouldn't say anger, but it just the kind of go, spike it up a little bit.
That was the, the main thing. I did enjoy it. And I actually, because I, I like wine and obviously I, I work in hospitality for a long time, so, I did enjoy the, the knowledge and, and some things that they clearly made the research about the wine and, and stuff. I did find funny that whoever they would talk to in wine Valley or whatever is EZ Valley where they actually went.
Everyone seemed to know everything about wine.
Reegs: They did? Yeah.
Cris: Which, except for Jack, who didn't really give a shit, he would just neck glasses of wine. But, and I dunno, obviously I can't say anything because he is never been, But I don't think that's, if you go there, everyone actually really knows and everyone has a certain bottle or everyone's a
Reegs: Yeah. But he, he knew them because of his interest in wine.
Cris: It could be, but, but that was one of them that I thought it's, it's a bit funny, but it was, it is. It was a good movie. Yeah, it was. It was.
Sidey: Do you remember those two? Well, you probably wouldn't have been in, in the uk, but food and drink back in the day when he had those two was it Jill Gordon or something like that?
And Oz Clark. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And they were doing, they would do the, you know Yeah. Getting tobacco and, and he does that in the film, you know, he is going, yeah. Its all these, like,
Reegs: misses is really good at that. We went to like herd's and you can do wine tasty at the bottom and they've got these like individual little bottles and one's like fucking burnt toast and one's caramel and one's, and my misses was dead.
Good at like,
Reegs: what I know. Yeah. Pallet, sophisticated pallet. Whereas I'm, I do
Sidey: like, that's red.
Reegs: but I just chug it back and
Sidey: That's definitely white. Did you see anything about the stats of wine sales that ha that occurred after this film?
Reegs: They went up a trillion percent.
Sidey: much, yeah. He, he, in the film, he's really harsh about Merlo and Sales of Merlo.
Dropped 2% after his film came out whilst Pinot.
Reegs: I quite like
Sidey: Pinot, no sales increased 16% in Western United States off the back of this film,
Reegs: like Pinot Noir as well.
Sidey: I think it's quite amazing. That was good. I really enjoyed it. It's
Reegs: Milon, that's probably my favorite Red wine.
Sidey: I like an Italian red.
a Barolo or,
Reegs: Oh yeah. You might like a sir or
Sidey: that Yeah, Well, one of one of our powers play for one is is he a
Reegs: a sommelier?
Cris: Somme, yeah. Paul. Yeah. Yeah. He's he's a Somali. Yeah. He's very respected, especially. Bath, Bristol around the area in the uk.
He worked there 15 years I think, or something like
Reegs: Well, didn't
Sidey: doesn't look exactly how you would envisage or smell it look like tires everywhere and all that sort of stuff.
Reegs: right. I, I don't think I have any preconceived notions. But didn't Chris Gilbert, wasn't he buying wine and cheese and
Sidey: Yeah, he does throw all the supermarkets. Some guy that went to school with, and then another couple of lads got Love wine, the, the wholesalers over here. So yeah,
it's a lot of, lot of fucking people who drink around these parts.
But yeah, top film Strong recommend enjoyed Best with a nice Glass of Red.