2004 Top 10 - #8

December 23, 2004
A thought by James Berardinelli

#8: Sideways : Sideways represents the most mature film to-date from director Alexander Payne, whose impressive resume already includes Election and About Schmidt. By turns poignant and hilarious, Sideways follows the misadventures of two mismatched buddies as they embark on a Bachelor's Party trip through California's wine country. It's a tough thing to effectively mix drama and comedy, yet Payne makes it seem effortless. He is also blessed with an amazing cast: Paul Giamatti (in a performance that should earn him an Oscar nomination), Thomas Hayden Church, Virginia Madsen, and Payne's wife, Sandra Oh. Sideways was one of the best films I saw at 2004's Toronto International Film Festival, and I was no less impressed and entertained when I subsequently saw it twice around the time of its opening. It's currently playing in theaters in many markets, so, if you haven't seen it, rush out and give yourself a treat.