Sunday, February 7, 2010

My favorite 20 films of the 2000s: Sideways

These are my 20 personal favorite films of the 2000s and they are not being ranked according to any criteria, other than I love them. So here they are, in alphabetical order:

Sideways (2004) Paul Giamatti has always been one of my favorite character actors. By the time this film came out he had been almost 40 films, yet you could never really name any of them. His parts were usually smaller, supporting roles in which he excelled, but here he carries the movie on his shoulders. As a failing writer, Miles wants to take his buddy Jack (in a great role by Thomas Hayden Church (from Wings!)) on a scenic trip of the Napa valley wine country before Jack’s upcoming marriage. For Miles this trip represents a chance to get out of his life and explore some fine wines while pondering life with his friend. For Jack, this trip is his chance to get laid one more time before taking the plunge.

As a bit-part actor who may or may not have a better than average life, Jack is struggling like Miles with who he is, but in very different ways. It is Giamatti’s great performance as a neurotic guy who just can’t figure things out that makes this film so special. When the two guys meet up with two women (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh) as the saying goes – hilarity ensues. In the best remembered scene of the film Miles, upon learning that his book will not be published, completely freaks out and pours the entire bucket of wine-spit from a tasting over his head declaring his rage and inadequacy all in one motion. It is one of the best scenes ever.

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