movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Michel Gondry (who also wrote & directed Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind).

PLOT SUMMARY: A man’s dreams start to interfere with his waking decision-making process. The actual IMDB plot summary is kind of bad: “A man entranced by his dreams and imagination is lovestruck with a French woman and feels he can show her his world.” The only good part of that is “entranced by his dreams and imagination”. The whole “lovestruck…show her his world” part makes it sound like some annoying whiny chick flick, which, to some extent, is accurate. But I’ve never seen a chick flick as tripped out as this one.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Hallucinating liar finally gets laid.

QUIRKS: EXTREME quirkiness. Inclusion of odd concepts, like a “one-second time machine”, and Parallel Synchronized Randomness. The movie almost seems quirky for quirkiness’s sake. I am definitely reminded of Amelie; I guess that’s just how the French make films.

A lot of the movie is French with subtitles, but at least 50% of the dialog is in English, so it’s not quite so annoying as a completely foreign film. I did not count this as a “French-language film” in my movie watching stats :) The whole movie has an indie/quirky feel.

VISUALS: Insanely creative and interesting dreamworld visuals. Now, I thought Inception was as close to perfect as most movies can get — but I imagine a few people were let down by the dream worlds in Inception purposely being done in a mostly-realistic way (so as not to alert the dreamer that it’s a dream). I imagine a few people may have even been disappointed by the fact that the Inception dreams were not a constant barrage of trippy surrealism. This movie, while lacking a big budget, depicted dreams as a constant barrage of confusing, surreal, visually interesting effects. Something that Inception, to some extent, did not capitalize on as much as it could. In Inceptions defense, the realism of the dreams was a major plot point. This movie, however, is not held back by that plot point. Dreamworld is really neat and trippy. This movie gets a +1 (out of 10) score bonus for having such visual trippy surrealism depicted.

However, the non-dream parts are very bleak and dreary, and look very much like the 1980s instead of the 2000s. This is either a function of low budget, or the director’s vision; I’m hoping the latter.

SOUNDTRACK: Didn’t notice.

MORALS: Not even sure, really.

GOOD STUFF: Great visuals. Great quirky indie spirit. Even though the plot was mediocre and ill-defined, watching it unfold was still entertaining.

BAD STUFF: In the end, [[[[[SPOILERS]]]]] the story kind of boils down to “boy meets girl, boy doesn’t quite get it with girl for indeterminate reasons even though they obviously are a good match, boy gives up on girl for indeterminate reasons that aren’t really well-explained, boy magically gets back together with girl at last second before going to the airport, in a cliche and predictable fashion that still is not well-explained”. Not only is the whole sequence a bit cliche, but they never really explain why it didn’t immediately work out for them. Or why it ultimately did in the end. The story seemed to be a framework for quirkiness without having the motivations properly explained. Yes, we can see why they would get together. They were very alike. But why did it not immediately work out? Why did it then, later, suddenly and supposedly work out just fine (if that’s how one is to interpret the ending). Basically: Why didn’t they get together? And then, later, why *did* they get together? I get that his dreams were distracting him, but why were they suddenly not? The writer/director, who nailed it on Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, seems to have missed his mark here. [[[[[END SPOILERS]]]]]

A LOT of things were never really explained. Plot points like why he wouldn’t tell her where he lived just seemed to be red herrings, unnecessarily cluttering up the mental space of the movie. “OH LOOK I’M QUIRKY!”

That being said, we still liked this.

CONCLUSION: A cliche, not-well-explained love story made palatable by surreal dreamworld visuals, moments of comedy, and extreme quirkiness. The actual plot of the movie is the weakest part — so weak as to annoy even me. But the execution and trippiness of the movie end up saving it and making it palatable, even though it looks like it was made 20 years ago.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7.4/10. Without the visuals, I’d have ranked this more like 2.4/5 stars, 5/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.4/10 (same as what Clint rated it), Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars–a bit too high of a guess).

RECOMMENDATION: See it for a visual treat! The story — not quite as good. Don’t expect high-budget effects; this movie more or less looks like it came out of the 1980s or 1990s.

MOVIE QUOTE: Stephanie: Distraction is an obstruction for the construction.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A lot of people sure talked about this movie BEFORE seeing it… But nary a peep from people AFTER seeing it. Gigglepuss at least included it on her “15 movies” meme, but with no comments. So I have no clue what people thought about this. I liked it, but was a bit let down due to the hype.

Parthena comments: “I tried to watch this movie about a year ago and couldn’t. I watched the first 30 minutes and it was the most boring movie (at least, up to that point) that I’ve seen in my life. :\ Oh well….”

Music: Triptykon – The Prolonging

I tried to watch this movie about a year ago and couldn’t. I watched the first 30 minutes and it was the most boring movie (at least, up to that point) that I’ve seen in my life. :\ Oh well…