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  • Sideways To The Left

       January 19, 2005

    I went to see the movie Sideways last night mostly for Thomas Haden Church. I liked him as Lowell in Wings, and I absolutely loved him as Ned in Ned & Stacey. I thought the movie was just excellent. All of the actors were tremendous and the script created characters that felt more like fully realized people to me. I can imagine these characters inhabiting the real life beauty of California's wine country.

    However, I do have one major beef with the film. Alexander Payne (who also made the wonderful satire Election), couldn't resist taking a shot at President Bush. During a particularly obscene sex scene, Payne's cameras pan to a television. Who should be on it but President Bush and Donald Rumsfield. Payne is obviously making two statements here:

    1. President Bush and Secretary Rumsfield are just as obscene and dirty as this sex.

    2. See everyone, I'm a liberal too. Can I be part of the cool crowd now?

    This scene had nothing to do with the plot or characters in the movie and everything to do with Payne wanting to make a "me too" statement to the rest of the Hollywood liberals. Obviously, Payne has every right to make political statements, but, as an audience member, it's just plain annoying to have the fillmaker's politics suddenly plopped down in the middle of a character-driven film.

    Too many folks in Hollywood can't leave well enough alone. I'm getting ready to make the over/under on dumb political statements that'll be uttered at the Oscars. Any suggestions?

    Posted by at January 19, 2005 08:12 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at January 19, 2005 08:41 PM

    i havent seen the movie, but perhaps the message wasn't "this guys are just as obscene" but was instead "this particularly obscene stuff goes on all the time, even though though the real world continues on (and perhaps likes to pretend that it doesn't?)

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at January 19, 2005 08:53 PM

    No, I don't think that was it. The two people in the sex scene were purposely portrayed as gross and disgusting. It wasn't that what they were doing was so illicit, it was that the two of them were gross. I think you'll have to see the movie to get what I mean. And actually, the movie *is* really good and I think you'd like it.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at January 19, 2005 08:59 PM

    yeah, i understand that i'd have to see it.

    i thought it was pretty pretentious of me to even have an opinion as to the symbolism without even seeing the movie myself, but i just couldnt resist. ;-)

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Drew at January 20, 2005 08:43 AM

    I must have missed that, as I was busy shielding my eyes from that nasty couple's "nekkidness."

    Great movie... but could have done without that two or three minutes.




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