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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

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The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
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Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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April 25, 2024
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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Sideways’ deserves direct path to Oscars

“Sideways” is not going to be a blockbuster. Paul Giamatti, the film’s star, is not going to be the latest Hollywood maven. This is unfortunate because both deserve all the recognition and fame they could desire. Unfortunately, films like “National Treasure” and “Christmas with the Kranks” top the box office, while real talent goes unnoticed.
You see, films like “Sideways,” a subtle, introspective gem about two college buddies simultaneously searching for a good time and inner peace, will get their just desserts when awards time comes. It’s then that the public will take notice of these smaller character-driven films, shouting the glory of a flick whose name that, up until Oscar night, they had never heard.
It will be a crime if “Sideways” walks away from the Oscars without at least one golden statue. With his latest film, director Alexander Payne has constructed yet another emotionally epic masterpiece. His previous films “About Schmidt” and “Election” both took some of Hollywood’s best talent and gave them career-defining roles as troubled characters searching for meaning in life. While the action is sparse and there is nary a computer-generated special effect to be seen, “Sideways” deals with the eternal struggles that plague all of humanity, leaving audiences gasping for air by the time the credits roll.
Giamatti stars as Miles Raymond, a guy who is not having a good day – or year. Stuck in a dull job as a middle-school English teacher, Miles is a recent divorcee and a failed novelist. With his best friend Jack (Church), who is a week away from getting married, Miles decides to show Jack a good time the best way he knows. The two friends embark on a week long expedition through California’s wine country. Miles, frustrated with his life’s troubles, loses himself in the seemingly trivial knowledge associated with winery – hiding behind symbolism for his own troubles. Jack, growing frightened at the prospect of tying himself down to one woman, decides that this vacation is just the thing the both of them need: wine and women.
The characters are not perfect. In fact, Miles and Jack are often downright despicable. After visiting his mother’s house to wish her a happy birthday, Miles sneaks up to her room and proceeds to steal cash from her underwear drawer. Jack has a relationship with a single mother he meets during his week long trip and considers breaking off his marriage. In order to cover up his infidelities, he fakes a car wreck. Actions such as these do not lend themselves to paint a rosy picture of admirable characters, yet audiences can’t help but sympathize with the characters.
Miles and Jack are both in places in their lives where things aren’t as clear as they used to be. As they tour the wineries of California, the two consider their past mistakes and analyze their current relationships. Audiences shouldn’t expect a feel-good comedy, but at the same time, they will receive a faded sense of optimism that reflects life’s own insecurities.
“Sideways” is a complex, emotional ride. Featuring subtle humor and outstanding performances, the film is an interesting view to say the least. Audiences join Miles as he wallows through some of life’s low points. The portrayal of a man drowning in his sorrows is not easy to watch, and Giamatti’s performance of Miles is often tragic. But as Miles comes through the film’s events a different person, so shall audiences as they walk out the theater and into the bright lights of their own realities.

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