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Comedy, Drama, Romance




16 million USD

United States

Sideways movie poster

Release date
September 13, 2004 (2004-09-13) (Toronto)October 22, 2004 (2004-10-22) (US)

Based on
Sideways by Rex Pickett

Rex Pickett (novel), Alexander Payne (screenplay), Jim Taylor (screenplay)

Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay

(Miles), (Jack), (Maya), (Stephanie), (Miles's Mother), (Victoria)

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In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.

Sideways official trailer

Sideways is a 2004 American independent black comedy drama film directed by Alexander Payne and written by Jim Taylor and Payne. A film adaptation of Rex Pickett's novel of the same name, Sideways follows two men in their forties, Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti), a depressed teacher and unsuccessful writer and Jack Cole (Thomas Haden Church), a past-his-prime actor, who take a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara County wine country to celebrate Jack's upcoming wedding. Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen also star.


Sideways movie scenes

Payne and Taylor won multiple awards for their screenplay. The principal actors and actresses received accolades for their performances. Sideways won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated for four other awards including Best Picture. The film premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2004 and was released in the United States on October 22, 2004.

Sideways movie scenes

Sideways 10th anniversary edition 2004 blu ray review and unboxing


Sideways movie scenes

Miles Raymond is an aspiring, unsuccessful writer, a wine aficionado and a divorced, depressed, borderline alcoholic middle-aged English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and former college roommate, Jack Cole, on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Though he is still recognized on occasion, Jack's acting career appears to have peaked years ago, when he had a role in a popular TV soap. He now does commercial voice-overs and plans to enter his future father-in-law's successful real estate business. Miles wants to spend the week relaxing, golfing, enjoying good food and wine; however, much to Miles' consternation, Jack is on the prowl and wants one last sexual fling before settling into domestic life.

Sideways movie scenes

In the wine country, the pair visit Miles' favorite restaurant, The Hitching Post II, and encounter Maya, an attractive, intelligent waitress with whom Miles is casually acquainted. Jack senses that Maya is interested in Miles, who believes she is married. Jack lies to Maya that Miles' manuscript has been accepted for publication, even though it is only being considered. At a tasting in a local winery, Jack and Miles meet an attractive wine pourer named Stephanie, who is also acquainted with Maya. Jack is immediately attracted to Stephanie and arranges a double date, having discovered Maya is no longer married ("sans rock", as he describes it).

Sideways movie scenes

During the date, Miles gets drunk and telephones Vicki, his ex-wife, after learning from Jack that she has remarried. They go to Stephanie's home, where she and Jack immediately adjourn to her bedroom for sex. Miles and Maya connect through their mutual interest in wine. Maya says she is finishing a master's degree in horticulture so she can leave serving. They leave separately, but not before Miles gives her a copy of his manuscript.

Sideways movie scenes

Jack's affair with Stephanie continues, to the point where he believes he's falling in love; he bonds with her daughter and suggests to Miles that they move here for him to be closer to Stephanie, calling off his wedding. After spending a day together, Miles and Maya return to her apartment and have sex. The next morning, Miles lets it slip that Jack is to be married. Disgusted with the dishonesty, Maya dumps Miles and tells Stephanie, who, furious and devastated that she's been used, breaks Jack's nose using her motorcycle helmet.

On finding out his manuscript has been rejected again, Miles drinks heavily. When a server cuts him off, he ends up drinking from the spit bucket, creating a scene. That night, Jack hooks up with another waitress named Cammi, who recognizes him from his acting career. Hours later, Jack shows up at the motel  – naked and confessing that Cammi's husband came home while she and Jack were having sex. Jack was forced to flee without his clothes and wallet (which contains a pair of irreplaceable wedding rings). He convinces Miles to sneak into the house, where he discovers Cammi and her husband having sex. Miles grabs the wallet and runs, barely escaping Cammi's irate husband, who pursues him in the nude. To explain the broken nose to his fiancee, Jack runs Miles' Saab 900 convertible into a tree, giving the appearance they had been in an accident. The pair return to the fiancee's home, where he is welcomed with open arms. Miles drives away in his battered car.

Following the wedding ceremony, Miles runs into his ex-wife Vicki and meets her new husband. Learning that she is also pregnant, Miles's depression hits rock bottom. Alone, he drinks his prized wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, from a disposable coffee cup at a fast-food restaurant. Time passes as Miles returns to the routine of teaching school, until one day he receives a voice-mail from Maya, who says she enjoyed his manuscript and invites him to visit. Miles is seen driving back to wine country and knocking on Maya's door.


  • Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymond
  • Thomas Haden Church as Jack Cole
  • Virginia Madsen as Maya Randall
  • Sandra Oh as Stephanie
  • Marylouise Burke as Phyllis Raymond
  • Jessica Hecht as Victoria
  • Stephanie Faracy as Stephanie's mother
  • Missy Doty as Cammi
  • M.C. Gainey as Cammi's husband
  • Alysia Reiner as Christine Erganian
  • Shake Tukhmanyan as Mrs. Erganian
  • Shaun Duke as Mike Erganian
  • Phil Reeves as Vacationing Dr. Walt Hendricks
  • Impact on wine industry

    The film drew attention and increase in tourism to the Santa Ynez Valley wine-growing region of California's Central Coast. Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot Noir while denigrating Merlot. Following the film's U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. Other reports also claimed anecdotally that sales of Merlot dropped after the film's release.

    A 2009 study by Sonoma State University found that Sideways slowed the growth in Merlot sales volume and caused its price to fall, but the film's main effect on the wine industry was a rise in the sales volume and price of Pinot Noir and in overall wine consumption.

    A 2014 study by Vineyard Financial Associates estimated that Sideways cost Merlot farmers over $400M in lost revenue in the decade after its release.


    The original soundtrack album features 15 jazz instrumentals composed and produced by Rolfe Kent and was orchestrated and arranged for the band by Tony Blondal. The album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Score", and the music so popular there was demand for a national tour. Eventually a few cities were chosen to perform in as the composer was too busy to commit to more.

    1. "Asphalt Groovin'" – 4:00
    2. "Constantine Snaps His Fingers" – 3:03
    3. "Drive!" – 3:56
    4. "Picnic" – 2:15
    5. "Lonely Day" – 1:40
    6. "Wine Safari" – 2:13
    7. "Miles' Theme" – 2:59
    8. "Los Olivos" – 2:43
    9. "Chasing the Golfers" – 3:03
    10. "Walk to Hitching Post" – 2:32
    11. "Abandoning the Wedding" – 3:25
    12. "Slipping Away As Mum Sleeps" – 1:00
    13. "Bowling Tango" – 0:49
    14. "I'm Not Drinking Any #@%!$ Merlot!" – 1:13
    15. "Miles And Maya" – 2:26


    Time Out described the film as "intelligent, funny and moving", and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars, saying: "what happens during the seven days adds up to the best human comedy of the year – comedy, because it is funny, and human, because it is surprisingly moving." The review aggregator Metacritic gives Sideways a Metascore of 94%, signifying "universal acclaim". The movie also holds a 96% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with 215 positive reviews out of 223.

    A surprise hit, Sideways became popular in Hollywood, the US, and internationally. Santa Ynez Valley, where much of the film is set, experienced increased tourism. The film was nominated for dozens of awards, winning many, and was dubbed "the best reviewed movie of 2004."

    With the exception of Giamatti, who had already starred in critically acclaimed films such as American Splendor, the film was a career breakthrough for the stars. Church and Madsen were each nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe Award, and Academy Award for their performances, winning the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and Independent Spirit Award for their respective categories. Giamatti has since been headlined as "The World's Best Character Actor" by Time magazine. Sandra Oh—who later broke up with the film's director, Alexander Payne—went on to star in the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, for which she won two Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Golden Globe Award.

    Sideways was ranked 494th on Empire's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America also ranked its script as the 90th greatest ever written.


    Fox International Productions and Fuji TV released a Japanese-language remake of the film in October 2009, often referred to in English as Saidoweizu (the anglicization of its Japanese title). The film is directed by Cellin Gluck and stars Katsuhisa Namase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Kyōka Suzuki, and Rinko Kikuchi, and has a soundtrack composed and performed by Hawaiian-born ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.

    The remake shifts the setting of the film to Napa Valley. Although listed as an executive producer, Payne was not involved with the remake, although he gave it his blessing. Giamatti declined an invitation to appear in an unspecified cameo appearance in the film.

    Possible sequel

    Pickett wrote a sequel to his novel, Vertical, in 2011, following Miles and Jack on a road trip to Oregon with Miles's mother. However, Payne has declined to consider a sequel to the film. Fox Searchlight owns the rights to the characters, but Payne's lack of interest makes the film a non-starter for Fox.


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