Category Archives: Film

Sideways Thinking

So I recently finally saw the movie Sideways that has been winning all the critical acclaim for the past year.  I enjoyed the movie, as it was a well done film, and if you’re a bit of a "wine geek" like myself, it was particularly entertaining.  Kind of in the same way that High Fidelity is for a music geek… like myself. 

The night before I watched Sideways, I saw Garden State, another excellent movie also distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.  Garden State got some critical attention, but no where near the attention that Sideways did, though I view them as almost identical in their concept: the main character learning something about himself through his relationship with others.

As a guy in his late 20’s, I found Sideways entertaining, but definitely not "speaking" to me, since it is about a guy trying to make his way through the middle of his life.  Garden State, on the other hand, featured Zach Braff as a guy in his mid-to-late 20’s trying to make heads or tails out of his life.  Since it was closer to my age, I found it a lot more relevant, and just generally more entertaining.  Though I thought both movies were equally excellently done.

So why all the attention heaped on Sideways?  Well, face it – most of the major movie reviewers are middle aged (Ebert & Roeper, Gene Shalit, and just about any "critic" that is on TV or radio or any newspaper except for local weeklies) and voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have always been "criticized" for being dominated by older members.  Of course the movie Sideways is going to appeal to them way more than a movie about some young punk coming to realize that his life isn’t as miserable as he thinks it is.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have a point here.  I pretty much just made it.  I guess the closest thing to a point that I can make is that you do need to take the viewpoint of the reviewer/critic into mind when following their advice.   Spin magazine does a decent job with their music reviews and I’ve always liked CMJ New Music‘s "RIYL" (recommended if you like) categories, though I wish someone would combine them… how good is it in relation to the stuff that I like?  Is it at the top of the form for that genre, even if it isn’t that good overall (let’s face it – some movies just aren’t going to be a Casablanca or Citizen Cane, no matter how hard they try, but when you go to see a movie like Die Hard or Terminator, you’re not looking for fucking high drama!)? 

Well… that’s it.  Feel free to discuss 🙂