Monday, September 05, 2005

Me and You and Everyone We Know


In short, this is the best movie I've seen this year. It won't get any Oscar recognition because it's a very small film, but it's as good or better than anything out there. This movie is a poem, a work of art, a love song to humanity, and an absolute joy. Hyperbole? I don't think so.

First, let me get this out of the way, because if you look into it at all, you'll come across this bull from the MPAA. It's R-rated for "disturbing sexual content involving children". Whatever. The worst thing in the film is the description of an invented sexual act. Admittedly, it is both invented and described by a seven-year-old. But ... it's exactly the kind of thing a kid that age would say if he was trying to be perverted and had no actual knowledge of sex. I've been seven, I know this, and I was not disturbed in the slightest. The moment is delightfully hysterical (to me, at least, but I'm rather perverse myself), and

))<>((

will live in my memory long after I forget the characters names. I am not ashamed of this at all.

There's no one in the film you've ever heard of. The director, writer, and star is a performance artist named Miranda July. Her character is a budding artist herself and spends the length of the film trying to achieve two goals - 1)to get her digital video art into a museum, and 2)to strike up a relationship with the shoe salesman. She might seem a bit weird, but then so does everyone else in the movie. They share a common emotional language, and if the film has a message it's that this is true for all of us in our relationships with other people. Each one of us travels to the beat of our own drum and we spend our lives looking for people dancing to that same beat.

Gosh, this is a wonderful movie. I can't even describe it properly. Let me just tell you about one of the scenes. Christine (the artist) catches up to Richard (the shoe salesman) as he's walking to his car. They exchange information on where they are each parked, and it turns out that after a couple of blocks they'll have to walk in opposite directions. Richard mentions that a certain business up ahead is the halfway mark to the turnoff point. Christine says that's kind of like the point in a relationship when you realize it's not going to work out. That if that couple of blocks is their relationship, the "Ice House" is that moment when you can see the end. Richard interjects "But we're not even there yet", adding that they're not even at the point where they'd be sick of each other. They talk about how long this "relationship" is - 18 months, 20 years, the rest of their lives. As they approach the street where they must part company, they get quiet, almost like an old couple who are comfortable in each other's company and peacefully awaiting the end. They stand at the turnoff point for a few moments and sadly part ways.

I probably didn't describe it well, but I've never seen a scene like that before. It was completely and totally unique. The movie is chock full of those unique scenes, and they don't seem weird or anything because they're an extension of these wonderfully eccentric characters.

This movie comes out on DVD/video October 11, and I would highly, highly recommend checking it out. It will bless your life.

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