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sideways-movie-poster-r-rated-black-comedy-drama-2004The best comedies are not always light, and Sideways shows why. This is more than just an amazing comedy, it’s a dark drama that is deep as a mineshaft with one thin ray of light shining down.

While there is a lot of drinking in this movie, I can’t put it under my list of drinking comedies. When the drinking is more about alcoholism than anything else, it’s not the same sort of light, easygoing college romp people are expecting when they hear it is a drinking comedy.

Want to think while you laugh? Try the black (or at least very dark) comedy-drama Sideways. This tale stars Paul Giamatti as Miles Raymond, and his friend Jack Cole, played by Thomas Haden Church. The two are taking a tour of wine country in Santa Barbara, for one last vacation before Cole gets married.

Sideways R rated comedy
One of these appreciates the finer things in life, one appreciates the baser.

The two friends seem to be polar opposites, and as the film progresses it explores themes of hopelessness, despair, depression and loyalty. Sound like a painful comedy? It is. But the characters deal with the pain the same way we do- with laughter. That’s not to say that the funny scenes are all one liners or jokes, with a lot of the humour stemming from the sheer ridiculousness of the situation and how the tragic characters deal with it. Miles is a depressed middle school teacher and a failed writer, whereas Cole is an actor who loves loose women and the thrill of the chase.

Giamatti plays the role of Miles Raymond perfectly, and you can feel his sadness seeping through in every word and action of a weary soul in a weary world. I would recommend this movie to anyone who has dealt with depression or who is starting to become overwhelmed by life. Sometimes, you can find a silver lining, and all of the sadness makes each moment of joy so poignantly pure.

Want to know the answer to “What comedy should I watch tonight?” Don’t watch Sideways if you are looking for some light laughs. The best way to watch this movie is by yourself, with a glass (or bottle) of your favourite wine, so that you can be alone with your thoughts, inhibited with your laughter, and yes, allow yourself to cry if it comes to that. Or hell, watch it with a friend who you respect.

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