'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,
'Ff'lo
fflo

Sideways, revisited

Sideways is at the $2.50 theater; saw it tonight with lovelikeyeast. It bore a repeat quite well, I must say. Among other things I was able to notice how many segments or episodes it has---it kept surprising me with stuff I'd forgotten. I also enjoyed thinking about, and briefly pow-wowing with LLY about, that moment we all know (one of which occurs in the film) in which the tension of possible/pending/opportunity-for sex is peaking, and how we handle that moment. (Unlike our protagonist, if I panic, I tend to blurt out something verbally about the panic itself.) (Which, you might be surprised to hear, doesn't necessarily quash the, uh, "potentiality" of the moment.)

What struck me most this time, though---so much so that I feel embarrassed for not having grasped it the first time---is what seems to be the movie's strongest "message," to me, tonight anyway.

So, our protagonist is a schlub of depression and bogged-down self-pity, of course. And the film pokes some fun at him for it, and even his asshole buddy has something to offer, in that the jerk's right about Miles' needing to get up and go out and get into something---even if Jack's shallow version of getting laid isn't quite right for our guy. But in the end, even our schlub sees that he's better off than the laughably childish morally bankrupt deceptive one. It's almost as if he goes along with cleaning up the muck (going back for the wallet, and tolerating wrecking the car WORSE, after the first "surprise!" time) because he glimpsed, while Jack is sputtering crying on the bed, that it could be worse: he could be that guy. And he's not. That guy's lack of the wholeness of integrity (a word born again for me after O. talk) leaves Miles (and us), after enough exposure to it, in simple head-shaking incredulity at its completeness, its astounding extent. Miles takes pity on Jack at the same time he is to be henceforth psychologically distant from him forever, stuck as he is with the knowledge that he himself may be pathetic, but Jack is infinitely moreso.

(Or should I call him "Jack-off"?) {wink, squirrelykat!}

In the end the film seems to suggest that the kind of real connection Miles wants to make---wants to have & to have had---may sometimes lead to maudlin wallowing (occasionally in the form of "drinking and dialing," among other ugly possibilities), but at the same time it's what makes him genuine. What makes him allow compassion into his moral universe. And thus what makes him better off than the shallow a-hole playboy dickhead idiot juvenile buddy.

One way of looking at the movie, I guess I'm saying, is as a morality play on the ways these two flawed guys choose to live. Somehow I missed that the first time.

The "pinot" speech felt too transparent again this time, too, but I forgive it the aesthetic strobe light effect---cuz I'm choosing to think that the movie, like the character, is trying to talk about feelings in that masculinely unadept way that's part of the characterization of Miles at that point. Not that the speech in unadept. It's really pretty sweet---too sweet. The unadeptness is the having to think it or say it about grapes. The necessity of metaphor for the easily wounded.

Of course metaphor is kind of a more interesting way to talk about emotions, in a way. Gives it a concreteness lacking in the broad philosophical strokes.

Too tired to say this stuff better now. Just this: funny how different the film seems to me a few months later. There are ways in which that difference seems to speak to my recent experience. (Perhaps any of ya'll readers still with me should be glad I'm too zonked to get into that more overtly tonight.)
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