Monday, December 7, 2015

Sideways (2004)

Revisiting this film for the first time in a decade, I found myself thinking a lot about "Film Twitter" and cinephilia in general. If you've spent any amount of time on any form of social media, you are certain to be intimately familiar with guys like Miles. A frustrated artist who is awkward around women, angry about everything and obsessed with minutiae that most people don't give a damn about? Doesn't that sound familiar? A lesser filmmaker would have sanded off the edges and made him simply, "misunderstood". But Alexander Payne insists on leaving in all of the rough edges. Miles does some really cowardly and reprehensible things here. This is not an apologia for angry middle-aged white men. But it also doesn't out and out demonize him either. We also get to see some redeeming aspects of his character as well. At some points we even root for him. He is neither hero nor villain. Simply put, he is human. And that is why Alexander Payne is so great.

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