OK, let me start with two things first:
1) I love, lurve, heart, worship, lust for Kate Winslet.
2) "A subtle Jim Carrey" is no longer an oxymoron. I hate it when critics in March call something "best movie of the year," or "performance of the year," but there is no way in or out of Hell that Carrey does not get an Oscar nomination.
I'm talking about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which I just saw tonight. Uncle Grambo? I am here to discuss with you, except it seems like we would probably just agree and say, "And what about ... Wasn't that amazing? And the way he did that? And this? And, so fucking fantastic." And so-on and so-forth. (We must agree on the Dunst hotness in the bed-jumping. There's a screenshot for you to post.)
Ben, staring at the wall: "That movie..."
Jay, pacing: "F**king amazing. f**king AMAZING!!"
Ben: "If I had had anything to do with the making of that movie, I would be so f**king proud of myself."
Me: "I haven't felt this way since American Beauty."
For me, it was Moulin Rouge. That was the last time the credits started rolling on a film that left me sitting there, mouth gaping, stunned into silence, unable to even articulate how excited I was by what I just experienced.
As we left the theatre, and my girlfriend (who loved it too) asked me what I thought, and all I could say was, "I worship that movie." She's used to me talking ... and talking ... and not stopping. Maybe raving, Usually harping on any number of things -- careless writing, annoying soundtrack, bad choice of shots ... whatever. But this one ... it took me a while. It took me until she actually asked, "What things did you like about it? And suddenly, I started revisiting every scene, discussing every shot, thinking about every second of this magnificent example of what the joining together of two brilliant, creative, imaginative minds can create.
Yes, I'm a bit enthusiastic about this movie. A bit "over-the-moon," as some might say. What was so great about it? I don't really want to say too much because the less you know going in, the more exciting it will be as it unfolds. I encourage everyone (and the means you too Ms. Completist) to stay away from reading any reviews before seeing the film, not because they may raise or lower expectations, but just because knowing less is most definitely more.
All I will say is that Charlie Kaufman is now officially without peer in the screenwriting community. The idea may be outlandish, but not necessarily difficult to dream-up. Certainly it shares elements of Philip K. Dick's short story "I Can Remember It For You Wholesale," which in turn inspired the movie Total Recall, but it's where he goes from that starting point, how it's executed in the script, how every narrative line completes itself and seemingly innocuous elements come back to reveal their importance.
So much credit has to go to Michel Gondry though. I will now eagerly await every Gondry film because this guy has a vision and imagination that easily surpasses most filmmakers working today. Every moment of this film is so carefully constructed, and every shot has so many elements. I raved in an earlier post about Big Fish being Tim Burton's version of a memory play in the mode of Federico Fellini and his 8 1/2. This film deals with memory as well, but in a much different way; in a way that advances what Fellini accomplished in blurring the lines between memory, reality and fantasy ... in a way Burton could only dream of. And I'm not trying to knock Big Fish, one of my favorite films from last year. But this is simply how much I love Gondry's work here.
The fact is, I don't feel I can say much more about the magic that Gondry and Kaufman have produced on screen without giving away any element of the movie, so maybe I'll post a more thorough review in a week or two after I pay to see it again and my lone reader has had the chance to do so as well. I encourage everyone (especially those of you who have connected with someone else in a nearly unimaginable way only to find that said person also has the ability to drive you completely mad) to go see this movie when it opens on Friday. And bring friends. And see it again ... and again. It is this kind of artistry that should be rewarded in cinema by allowing it to become commercial. It is this kind of film which deals with so many elements of the human condition -- our wants, needs and psyche -- that should be praised and seen by all. In an era when people are confusing Mel Gibson with God and a Janet Jackson performance has become known as "nipplegate" while sending shockwaves through the broadcasting industry, I just wish that we could spend more time focusing on a film which proves that movies don't have to be simply popular entertainment or difficult, obscure, arsty or experimental examples of cinematic art. The best films are those that manage to be both. Eternal Subshine ... is just such a film.
In case you can't tell, this one's staying with me for a while. In fact, can I pre-order the DVD today?