Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

Sideways is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love it. Intensely. Every time it's on TV I have to flip it on for just a few scenes, at least, and every time I'm sucked in. It's an example of a movie where everything works, there are no dull spots or clunking lines. All the performances are strong, the film is beautifully shot, the story is strong and sad and true. It's a minor masterpiece, in that while it doesn't reinvent the wheel or have anything splashy about it, it inhabits what it is PERFECTLY and if you asked me to improve on it I don't know how I could.

A lot of people see films like Sideways as slow and self-indulgent, full of prissy upper-class whining. But it's not. It's about true existential crisis. I identify so strongly with Miles, trapped in a gray little world on the cusp of so much more. Sad about his gray little life. I sympathize with his addictions, admire his peculiar morality, and find myself smiling at his obstinacies. When he throws a tantrum over the Merlot it's not about Merlot, it's about social phobias and elitism and the need to have SOME sort of control over your life.

People who don't like Sideways aren't necessarily shallow, but they lack a certain something. A sad romantic view of the world that I find endlessly appealing and often quite true. They are frequently optimists or hedonists. It's one of those movies where you know something about a person based on their thoughts on it.

I feel like I spend a lot of time whining and complaining about movies and how they could be better and how they irritate me, and Sideways is why. Because when a movie is's fucking art. It's transcendent. It's wonderful and touching and something that I can treasure for the rest of my life. And every lazy Batman Begins script insults that. And degrades it. When you don't reach for the brass ring you waste a rare opportunity (And directing a full-blown big-budget feature is a rare opportunity indeed) and that matters to me.

I love movies. Intensely. I just have the kind of love that wants them to be the best they can be, not the kind that accepts them for what they are, especially when they're lazy.
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