The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

THE CURIOUS GEOGRAPHY OF SIDEWAYS

As a UCSB student from the SF Bay Area, I grew very, very familiar with the stretch of Highway 101 that links those two locales, as well as the stretch beyond to the south. Thus, I have one minor quibble with Sideways, which I finally saw last night.

When Miles and Jack make their initial departure from LA, we see them driving north on 101. We see them driving on the freeway, between the ocean and some prominent hills, with a small island visible just off the coast. This island can be seen five miles west of Ventura, a few miles before you hit La Conchita, where there was a recent mudslide.

What's wrong with this?

The boys then arrive at Miles' mom's house... in OXNARD. Oxnard, of course, is to the southeast of Ventura, which they had already passed. Oops! There goes the Oscar!

Other than that, no major missteps that I could find.

--The emotional beachside conversation the guys have ("I think that was Bukowski") seems to occur at Gaviota State Beach, 15 miles west of UCSB (the bridge for the Union Pacific line is a dead giveaway)

--I can't really vouch for the exact locations of wineries, but the travelling between Solvang and Buellton seems to check out accurately.

--No, I've never stayed at the Windmill Inn, but I've taken the main Buellton exit a number of times to fill up, as the nearby Arco isn't that expensive. Also, there was a County Supervisor debate at Andersen's Pea Soup there back in early '04.

And as a final, amusing touch,

--Last weekend, I stayed at the big tacky Holiday Inn off Sunset Blvd that's featured in the opening sequence of the movie.

Great film, by the way.

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