Blog Directory CineVerse: Surviving the Day After Yesterday

Surviving the Day After Yesterday

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Friendship often demands much of two people, as evidenced in Alexander Payne's "Sideways," an hilarious yet poignant exploration of middle class and mid-life ennui and the price paid for addictions. Chock full of messages, this is a picture that, like a fine wine, arguably improves over time and with repeat screenings. Our CineVerse group came away with the following observations:

  • The power of friendship.
  • Addictions and deceptions. Miles is addicted to alcohol, while Jack is addicted to sex. Jack lies about his impending wedding, and Miles lies about his book.
    • Payne seems to be critiquing the middle class here, as evidenced by suggesting Miles is an alcoholic masquerading as a wine connoisseur and that Jack’s fun-loving and impulsive nature is a front for his addiction to sex.
  • Regrets and remorse.
  • Life being like a glass of wine; you could drink it quickly or without regard for its taste, or you could try to savor it and appreciate its fine qualities and flavor. Miles appears to be among the latter, yet also uses wine as a crutch because he’s an alcoholic who needs it.
    • Movies and characters within them, like wine, can also be light or dark in different degrees; ponder how this film works as a comedy, romance, drama, road trip film, and semi-documentary.
  • An aversion toward and loathing of pretension and showiness. Consider how Miles despises wine snobs, the irony being that he’s one himself.
  • Self-loathing and our ability to sabotage our capacity for love. Amazingly, even someone as flawed as Miles is admired by a woman, and yet he can’t let her inside emotionally, at least until the end of the movie.
    • Recall his line, “I prefer the dark,” which could be a revelation that he’s got some dark edges to his personality and psyche that could be off-putting to others.
  • The unpredictable and quirky nature of ordinary everyday middle class people. Miles does and says things we wouldn’t expect (like steal from his mother, clip his toenails, etc.), as does Jack (risk his future marriage on meaningless dalliances); also, the fat woman and her husband suggest a hidden side to America’s heartland.
    • “(Director Alexander Payne) is aiming his lens at the midsection of America, at the intestines of a nation, at unrefined people, gangly, portly, bald and broad-backsided, paunched and frazzled, hair disheveled, emasculated behind the wheels of used cars, decade-plus old Saabs, tiny blue Ford Festivas, Subaru Outbacks, Winnebagos. Regret is perhaps Payne’s greatest theme. The continual human dramedy, the elegiac comedy, a country full of people with limited potential raised to think everyone is special, confined souls struggling to catch a glimpse of light from the slim window in the cells of our everydayness,” wrote Bright Lights Film Journal essayist Sean Hooks.
  • Election
  • About Schmidt
  • The Descendants
  • Nebraska
  • Road trips
  • “Journeys of self-discovery,” as suggested by critic Emmanuelle Levy
  • Seemingly mundane lives and existences that are transformed or redeemed in some way.
  • An off-screen female character who becomes the catalyst for one or more males taking a personal and literal journey, as also seen in The Descendants and About Schmidt.
  • An aversion to “contrivance and to sentimentality,” says Hooks.
  • Sex that is “awkward and unchoreographed, more likely to be debased and banal and utilitarian than transcendent,” Hooks adds.
  • This movie also seems to be making a statement, according to Hooks, about “the decrepitude of age, the commonplace nature of infidelity, the corruption of institutions, and the omnipresence of bureaucracy.”
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Motorcycle Diaries
  • The Darjeeling Limited
  • As Good As It Gets
  • The Brothers McMullen
  • Teenage road trip sex comedies like Road Trip and Spring Break

  © Blogger template Cumulus by 2008

Back to TOP