Sideways Revisited

CW Sideways 2.jpg
The tone and intensity of my blog about “Sideways” caught people off guard. Generally I am not strident or extreme in my observations about movies and this time I was harsh. (ie. “This is an overwhelmingly cynical film with comedy written over the tragedy and little serious acknowledgement that we are witnessing tragedy. As the Roman Empire sank deeper in depravity, vomitoriums were placed in halls of the stadiums so the nauseous crowd could disgorge before returning for more. Today audiences need no such accommodations, for the vomit IS the entertainment, and is splattered onto the screen, receiving accolades from morally numbed critics who call the vomit art, and theatergoers who eat it because they like it. “)

I want to clarify. If I was looking for a vomitorium-like-film I could find dozens that qualify ahead of Sideways. As a matter of fact were this film not so universally embraced by critics complete with words like “comedic masterpiece” I would not be reacting to it at all, for it is in the scope of filmic history, not a noteworthy film.

Comedic: Stealing one-thousand dollars from your mother? Getting laid the week of your wedding? Deceiving a single mother and endearing yourself to her young child? Faking a car accident to cover up your infidelity? Crawling into the squalor of a to-be-pitied waitress and her tow truck driver while he performs “rough-sex” to make her prove her love after she has betrayed him in a meaningless fling one hour earlier? Miles serving as best man, smiling at his unrepentant friend while he pledges his faithfulness in a wedding launching a marraige we have every reason to believe is doomed? I am disturbed that critics, including Christian critics, miss the “all is meaningless” cynicism in all these scenes and instead find humor.

Masterpiece” A storyline in which there is little arc, development or resolution? Grainy cinematography? Formulaic road trip banter?

My reaction to “Sideways” is not so much a concern that this film is so bad, but is a reaction to critics who seem universally to think it is so funny and good. And my desire is that critics who perform this important task as followers of Jesus take their work farther and deeper; to not be so eager to gain “acceptability” in comparison to their secular counterparts, but to measure their work by a higher standard. God is infinitely creative and the author of the good, the true and the beautiful.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in January 20, 2005 by | No Comments »

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