Over, Under, Sideways, Down
I finally got around to renting the much-ballyhooed movie Sideways a few days back. I usually avoid almost everything coming out of Hollywood for many reasons (not the least of which is the plain fact that they hate me and everything I stand for) but mainly because most of the movies just plain stink.
Shockingly enough, this one actually lived up to the considerable hype and I found the tale of two approaching-middle-age dudes (Paul Giamatti as Miles, a depressed school teacher and his randy pal Jack played by Thomas Haden Church) who go to the wine country for some male bonding before Jack gets married to be funny, poignant and original.
But that apparently was not enough for the director of this movie, Alexander Payne. Entertaining his audience, hitting the right emotional notes about marriage/love/depression/getting older, creating beautiful shots of California wine country--all that was not enough for the guy.
He had to take gratuitous shots at Christianity and the President.
The shot at Bush (if you know the context, you'll forgive me for the construction of this sentence) came after Miles had to dash into a bedroom to retrieve Jack's wallet where a trashy couple was having bizarre sex with the President and Vice President on the TV in the background.
It was no accident that the camera lingered on the TV so we could all have a good laugh at the not-so-subtle trash by association point that was being made. You see, to Hollywood, Republicans are hicks who apparently keep very messy houses and have perverted sex.
The poke at Christianity comes in the deleted scenes. When the two guys get to the hotel, Jack takes a shower and Miles is bored. He looks around the room and then opens the drawer in the bedstand to find Gideon's bible. Taking it and rolling his eyes contemptuously, he throws the bible into the trash.
He threw the bible in the garbage. Subtle, no?
Here was a guy in his mid-forties, divorced, suffering from depression, working a dead-end job with silly, unrealistic dreams of being a "writer" who lived in a crappy one bedroom apartment and had no direction in life whatsoever who was saying "I don't need THAT!"
I wanted to say "Listen man, you're a total loser. Nothing has worked out for you doing things the secular humanist way. Perhaps the things you would read about in that book in the trash would help you get your life together."
Christianity is exactly what a putz like Miles needed to get his life back on track. But to director Payne, it was an opportunity to literally trash Christians in an extremely juvenile and hateful way.
Regardless of how much I liked the movie, when it was over I was asking myself why I keep signing up this abuse and keep giving money to people that hate me.