Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Walking On Eternal Sunshine 

I finally saw my first movie at the classic Moreland Theatre yesterday, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I'd wanted to see it when it first came out but couldn't, lucky for me Portland is full of second-run theaters. I was in LA when it opened, and was happy to see Charlie Kaufman's name on the marquis. I can't think of another time I've seen the writer get top billing, what a welcome sight.

I also want to see more conceptual posters like this one had. Even if I hadn't known Kaufman's rep for inventive writing that poster would have made me interested in checking out the film in the way *#@$! headshots of the actors never do. The approach that says "these actors are in this movie." It's also appropriate to not have Jim Carrey on the poster (at least the one I'm talking about) because he's so subdued in this film that he really seems like a normal guy rather than the rubber-faced fartsmith (I'd link you to the Onion article that uses that term, but now it costs money to see their archives) that America loves.

The movie uses a sci-fi premise (erasing painful memories) to make some points about memory, relationships and how the bad and good bits are irrevocably linked. I can't think of any other way you could have the unusual scene of a couple just beginning a relationship and having to listen to tapes of themselves saying what they hated about each other. Most films about ideas (not that there's that many) forget to entertain us, but like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Kaufman's stories always hold that goal. I think Human Nature could have worked too, but director Gondry played it farcical instead of straight, something he corrected here.

I hope this means more prominent roles for Mark Ruffalo, who plays the head techie. Ever since his convincing turn as the screw-up brother in You Can Count On Me, I pay attention to anything he's in. My only disappointment is one where you'd think I wouldn't be such a rube. The trailers had ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" playing, which I thought was a perfect selection. So I kept expecting to hear it just like everyone thought they were going to hear "Song Number 2" by Blur in Starship Troopers. I know damn well that movies are usually still being scored when trailers are made and that alternatives are used-- else every single Touchstone picture would have "Walking on Sunshine" on its soundtrack. But still. At least Katrina and The Waves are still making money off that. Maybe I'll devote a later post to why everyone should remember ELO.


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