Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDB.

This was a fucked up movie. It just kept going derper (few will get that reference, but this is what we’re going with)!

Charlie Kaufman likes to make some fucked up movies! From Nicolas Cage losing his shit in Adaptation, to John Malkovich exclaiming, “I have seen a world that no man should see!”, to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind‘s bittersweet romance–There are some freakin’ awesome Charlie Kaufman movies.

This is the worst of the 4. But it’s still really good, and now that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead, it’s time to give this one a go.

It started to lose us a few times, but then it would ultimately snap us back and just… wow… Some of what is going on in this movie is absolutely amazing, and could only be done by Charlie Kaufman.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to motivate my interest in the characters. The plot seemed thin. The message seemed thin.

Being John Malkovich said a lot about the idea–both the erotic and vanilla aspects–of living in someone else’s skin, and had relationship drama (and psychological animal trauma) to drive a story. Adaptation definitely had a strong plot and an obvious resolution as well. Even Eternal Sunshine “resolved” by indicating that [highlight for spoilers] they had become aware of the cycle, yet were going to continue it anyway, because their love was a journey and not a destination.

This movie? It basically seemed to boil down to “don’t waste your life”.

What is built up in this Kaufman film is built up as well as any other. It’s just harder for me to take something good out this. You waste your life and then you die. Hoffman did this in the movie, and then again in real life.

So, there were amazing things, but this is the least important Kaufman flick for me. Perhaps it’s because he directed it himself? Maybe that made it not as good?

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Radha’s thoughts: This is one of my all time favorite movies. Hoffman’s performance is incredible and the last fifteen minutes alone make me cry like a baby for hours every time.

Claire: Seriously though… I kinda just got tired of the premise. They kept going deeper and deeper, but to what end? Don’t waste your life? I get it. Don’t waste your life!  Was there something deeper to it? I get if it was just a feeling that can’t be expressed, then I can understand. I hope there wasn’t some super-obvious symbolism I missed or something, because I do that a lot…

Radha: One way to get me is existentialism, every time. There’s no super-obvious symbolism in the movie, and the theme isn’t (or at least I wouldn’t characterize it as) “don’t waste your life” at all…I’d say if anything, it’s a meditation on the line between reality and art, and how blurry it can be. It’s definitely a portrait of the hopes and fears of mankind stuffed into one dude who’s neurotic about everything

Claire: One key word you used – “Meditation”. That could be it right there. I hate meditation, generally. Like, doing it, the concept, etc. Let’s not discuss that, it’d be an annoying tangent. But anyway, that may be it. I hate meditation. I want there to be a “point”. What is a “point”? Well, I know it when I see it…

Radha: Yeah, if you need a clearly defined point and not just an emotional study and character portrait, or a meditation on the nature of things…it’s no surprise that Synechdoche left you wanting. On the other hand, it’s exactly the kind of thing I love.

Claire’s Mom:  I love Kaufman–in my estimation, he’s the most original screenwriter of his time or any time. This film didn’t resonate with me as much as his others, but the fault could be my own–I just wasn’t able to process all the layers. I suspect this film is something that needs to be watched many times and, so far, I’ve only watched it once. Maybe I’ll get back to you after another viewing.

Radha: I’ve seen it at least 4 times and can attest to that.

Claire: I finally learned how to pronounce this.

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Written & directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Adaptation, 1 ep of Moral Orel).

Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games 2, The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister, Along Came Polly) as Caden Cotard.

Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Bad Grandpa, Percy Jackson 1, Where The Wild Things Are, The 40-Year Old Virgin, S1m0ne) as Adele Lack.

Tom Noonan (Last Action Hero, Robo-Cop 2) as Sammy Barnathan.

Josh Pais (Michael & Michael Have Issues, Adventureland, Scream 3, Rafael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Ophthalmologist.

Daniel London (Minority Report, 2 eps of The Sopranos) as Tom.

Michelle Williams (Oz The Great And Powerful, Shutter Island, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Claire Keen.

Stephen Adly Guirgis (Palidromes) as Davis.

Samantha Morton (John Carter, Minority Report) as Hazel.

Hope Davis (American Splendor, Home Alone, Flatliners) as Madeleine Gravis, the therapist.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jill in Weeds, Palindromes, eXistenZ, The Hudsucker Proxy, Short Cuts, 2 eps of Spawn, 1 ep of Mission Hill) as Maria.

Jerry Adler (The Sopranos, 10 eps of Mad About You, 1 ep of Quantum Leap) as Caden’s Father.

Lynn Cohen (The Hunger Games 2, Sex And The City) as Caden’s Mother.

Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, Dan In Real Life, The Birdcage) Ellen Bascomb / Millicent Weems.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Re-watched. Upgraded 9/10 to 10/10 (5/5 stars of course). Charlie Kaufman writes amazing movies.

“A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.”

Sounds like a romantic comedy, right? Definitely not. It’s a dramatic romance. It’s the 69th highest rating on IMDB, and it deserves it.

Any couple having problems or fighting with each other could actually get some therapeutic value from watching this, too! It teaches us something about ourselves, via watching the characters go through their travails.

As a bonus, you get to see Frodo as a total creeper, and Kirsten Dunst jumping around in her underwear and swooning over an older man.

Another amazing cerebral movie that we just had to watch again!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Adaptation (2002)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 10/10.
(She tried to say 8/10, then saw that she previously rated it 10/10, but felt that she liked it better this time, so she embarassedly changed her 8/10 back to 10/10. Not sure how I feel about that rating process.).

Re-watched because Clint got too drunk when we watched it back in ~2003, remembering nothing but “green lines”.

Plus it’s Charlie Kauffman (Being John Malkovitch, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), who is possibly the most amazing writer in Hollywood.

And NIC CAGE!! Playing… Charlie Kauffman, who is writing the movie that we are watching, which is about adapting a book-within-the-movie into a movie-within-the-movie.

Yes: 4 levels here.

Our reality, our reality’s characters in the movie, the movie-within-the-movie, and the book that is based on.

And all 4 levels are tied to each other by causality.

They said a movie about flowers (rare orchids) couldn’t be interesting. They were wrong.

WITNESS THE SNORTING OF GREEN LINES.
See Nic Cage as IDENTICAL TWINS.

Good, good stuff. Very cerebral.  This movie is a brain-buzz.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268126/