Better to Go Forward
Maven and The Blonde
we first heard about Sideways, it was your typical,
small, limited release type of flick that was certain to
fall off the map quickly. Six weeks later, film critics
are adoringly still talking about Sideways. Now that the
Golden Globes have made Sideways a winner and a
contender for all the other award shows, it has caught
our interest as well.
Sideways tells the story
of a whiny enophile who can't get over being dumped by
his wife (two years later) and is desperately trying to
get his first novel published while teaching the eighth
grade. A depressed Miles, played by Paul Giamatti
(American Splendor and Private Parts), has more
insecurities than any forty-something who hasn't
discovered Prozac could ever normally have. His old
college roommate and best friend is Jack, portrayed by
Thomas Hayden Church (“Wings” and 3000 Miles to
Graceland), a washed up actor who is restless and
determined to have a fling, even though he’s seven days
away from getting married.
The two ole-buddies
embark on a weeklong journey through the wine country of
the Santa Ynez Valley. Their plans start innocently
enough. They visit vineyards, wine tastings, and enjoy
beautiful, sunny days out on the golf course. Their
mission was simply a last jaunt for Jack before he
settles down into marital bliss. Obviously they meet
other wine tasters and naturally the ever DESPERATE Jack
gets way too involved with a young woman and single mom
Stephanie, played by Sandra Oh (Under the Tuscan Sun and
The Princess Diaries), who has NO idea that Jack is
about to be married.
Meanwhile, the always
depressing Miles meets up with a waitress he knows,
Maya, portrayed by Virginia Madsen (The Haunting and The
Prophecy). Maya, wouldn't ya know it, just happens to be
a good friend of Sandra's, who by the way is also
divorced and is quite uneasy about this new friendship
with Miles. She is shy and concerned about getting
involved with Miles since he is so unhappy and
despondent and nothing about Miles is ever
This melancholy comedy tries to answer
the question of how to stop moving sideways in life
(don't we all at times)! Go see and find out if
you get any answers to this ironic question.
Blonde: Sideways was like Two for the Road meets
Scarecrow meets…ya know what, moviegoers? It was not
worthy enough of a movie to even compare! I must
begin by stating you can't always believe what the
Golden Globe Awards say. Although this was a MILDLY
amusing and interesting story (and I do mean mildly), it
was FAR from an award-winning film. I cannot believe
this film won under ANY category as the best ANYTHING!
Now a film about why Prince Harry (his mother, the
beautiful Diana is rolling over in her grave over this)
dressed up as a Nazi German officer to go to a party
would make for a much better story. I can't even say it
was a great guy flick for that matter!
Maven: So that's what all the hubbub was about? Maybe
it's because there aren't that many movies out there
that expect the viewer to have some intelligence. In
Good Company was similar, although it dealt more with
corporate business. Sideways took us into the wine
tasting world of California. I so wanted a taste of some
of the wines Miles and Jack were drinking.
Blonde: You wanted the wine because the movie was so
dull! It would have helped us pass the time. Maven, as I
am totally trying to avoid this movie review, were you
invited to Donald's wedding? I am quite disturbed about
not getting my invite. I know it MUST have been a
Maven: I was wondering why you weren't there! I just
thought you were protesting the fact that he didn't
Blonde: OUCH, OUCH, OUCH! YOU WERE THERE WITHOUT
Maven: Would it help you if I told you that I missed
Blonde: NO! It would help me if you said you didn't
Maven: Okay then, I didn't go?
Blonde: ANYWAY….This movie was depressing, annoying and
portrayed the absolute worst in men. I do hope this
wasn't an accurate look into the world of the average
guy. The best part for me was the scene where the
waitress served a plate of huge barbeque beef ribs that
looked so amazing and the scene where the man was
running stark naked in the street. Other than that, I
would rather have gotten in my workout! I must admit
that it was SLIGHTLY clever how they used metaphors to
compare wine to life, I SUPPOSE?
Maven: Oh that reminds me, the Donald did serve the best
wine in the world.
Blonde: SO YOU DID GO!
Maven: AAHH, I heard about the wine!
Blonde: Yada, yada yada!
Maven: The co-writer and director, Alexander Payne, took
his time revealing his characters. I didn't care much
for his past films, About Schmidt and Election, but this
film in my opinion was more amusing. Sideways made wine
tasting both a sublime ritual and a slightly ridiculous
Blonde: The whole movie was a ridiculous display of
movie film! Moving right along, I didn't particularly
like either of the two main characters. I think however,
if forced to choose one…I would pick the cad Jack, as he
was AT LEAST more fun to watch.
Maven: Oh come on, you just picked him because they
showed his naked tush!
Blonde: Hey, whatever! I kept waiting for some definite
and amazing thing to happen in the story to warrant a
Golden Globe, but it just never came. All I know is that
there were only 16 people in the theater and six of them
walked out. I ONLY WISH I WERE ONE OF THEM... Speaking
of walking out, did you watch any of the inaugural
ceremonies on television?
Maven: That has nothing to do with walking out of a
theater! However, if I could, I would walk out on this
whole administration. How could they even think of
spending $40 million for an inauguration weekend just
three weeks after the tsunami disaster? I am so ashamed!
Blonde: WOW! THAT IS SO POLITICAL OF YOU! I AM SO
PROUD OF YOU! YOU NEVER GO THERE! COOL! NOW
SPEAKING ABOUT KERRY AND THE ELECTION…
Maven: OH NO! Now there, we're NOT going. At least
for four more years! By the way, did you ever get
in touch with Brad Pitt or Julia?
The Blonde: We keep
missing each other…
Maven: Talk about yada, yada yada! I agree with Blonde
that this film isn't award material. It's educational,
if you consider learning about some wines that are worth
the effort. All of the actors gave good performances.
Sideways was a funny intense film, without much action.
I rate it a C+ for creating a buzz with ease.
Blonde: Oh Maven, you are so easy!
Maven: Have you been talking to Trump?
Blonde: I KNEW YOU WENT! Sorry folks. As much as I hoped
to agree with the Golden Globes and the Hollywood
Foreign Press before viewing this film, I don't see the
worthiness of ANY major awards here. If you like a film
that's slow moving and depressing about lies, deceit,
denial, betrayal, unfaithfulness and a lot of WINE, then
this is the film for you. I rate it a D for
disappointing. I recommend if you must see it, in spite
of my 'BIG Don't Go” warning, that you skip the snacks
and sneak in the theater a bottle of wine and some brie
cheese to pass the long 2 hours. Ya know Maven, Kerry
wouldn't have spent 40 million dollars!
P.S.: For a delightful movie going evening, go
see Beyond the Sea, the Bobby Darin movie. It was fun to
watch with great acting, music and dance. Kevin Spacey
will surprise you! Not only did he write, produce and
direct this film, but he did all the singing himself.
Kevin is quite a good dancer as well.
again: The Aviator, which is about the life story of
Howard Hughes, is a good bet as well. Although it
doesn't give you the closure that you may need or tell
the whole story about this unusual man, it was a
wonderfully interesting story with some brilliant acting
by Leonardo De Caprio.
Miami International Film
Festival Presents the
REEL Education Seminar
From Script to Screen: Film, TV
& New Media,
Miami International Film Festival (MIFF) has
a mission: to bring the best of world cinema to South
Florida, and to play a leading role in maintaining and
further enriching its film culture. Film enthusiasts
will learn about the creative process by attending the
2005 MIFF REEL Education Seminar Series, offering
panels, workshops and seminars with key film and
television writers, producers, directors, entertainment
industry experts and professionals.
featured during the weeklong REEL Education Seminar
Series will include “The Digital Age” on Monday,
February 7, led by Laurence Gartel, the internationally
recognized father of the digital art movement, leads a
discussion on the future of digital technology, new
media and HD TV. “A Woman’s POV” on Tuesday, February 8,
led by award-winning director of photography Judy Irola,
alongside female filmmakers Marilu Mallet, Susan Kaplan
and Maria Victoria Menis. In “Through a Brazilian Lens,”
also on February 8, producer David Mayer and directors
Helena Solberg and Kiko Goifman discuss their work and
cinematographer, Ricardo della Rosa shares his
experience on the making of the internationally
acclaimed Brazilian film “Olga.”
February 9, Peter Broderick, founder and former
president of Next Wave Film, gives an intensive
presentation on state-of-the-art distribution techniques
“Maximizing Distribution and Revenue.” “A Sound Story: A
Workshop With Tod Maitland” takes place Thursday,
February 10. Maitland has worked on “Born on the Fourth
of July,” “JFK” and “Seabiscuit” and will provide tips
for creating a noteworthy soundtrack. “The Magic of
Editing: A Workshop With Tina Hirsch,” will divulge the
secrets of putting it all together on Friday, February
11. Hirsch is recognized for “The West Wing,” “Stealing
Sinatra,” “The Driver” and “Gremlins.”
Friday, February 11 there is an intensive day dedicated
to documentary, “Doc_Day: Get the Facts and Meet the
Players” when international TV executives, including
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co-production opportunities. On Saturday, February 12
two panels with leading industry insiders discuss
“Independent Film Finance” and “Producing in South
One of the highlights of the series is
“Jean Rouch: A Celebration of Life and Film,” a
retrospective and symposium presented in collaboration
with the University of Miami’s School of Communication
and the Cultural Service of the French Consulate
General. Anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch
(1917-2004) was a pioneer of the cinéma vérité style of
filmmaking. On February 5 and 6, at the University of
Miami’s Bill Cosford Cinema, the retrospective unites
leading scholars and some of Rouch’s friends and close
associates for a colloquium, panel discussions and
screenings of Rouch’s finest films. More of Rouch’s
works are shown throughout the festival at the
Wolfsonian on Miami Beach.
insight into the industry from television network
executives, Academy Award nominees, film producers,
distributors, financiers and independent
filmmakers. Who should attend? Students, educators,
audiovisual professionals and the general public. For
more information on MIFF and the REEL Education Seminar
Series, including program updates and ticket
information, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com. Times and
dates for the REEL Education Seminar Series are subject
to change; please check the final program on the Web
site. For ticket information, call 305-405-MIFF; general
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