Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie Driveby: Up in the Air, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Most people have heard of these movies, or so it seems to me. Certainly the number of people urging me to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind seem legion. So I'll keep it brief.
  • Up in the Air: George Clooney plays a corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham who flies 325,000 miles a year. His isolated life becomes challenged by proposed business changes, a young woman he is training, and a romantic interest he encounters. I was stunned by how good this movie is. Not only does it suddenly change course when you think you are comfortably ensconced in a predictable plot, but George Clooney shows that he really can act superbly when he is cast in something that requires it. He communicated more in several moments of silence than many other actors could with pages of dialogue. My grade: A+.

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Emotionally withdrawn Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and unhinged free spirit Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) are inexplicably drawn to each other, despite their very different personalities. When the relationship goes downhill, they each individually visit a doctor who has found the technology allowing them to erase each other from their memories. This beautifully illustrates why we need the bad with the good and how we can't just cover up (or erase) the memories we don't like. Director Michael Gondry did as many special effects as possible on set, as is his wont, and that is quite impressive. I was distinctly upset by a spot in the middle of the movie where Joel is trying to keep his memories and the technical assistants are frolicking around his unconscious body. It put me in mind of Being John Malkovich, another famous movie by Charlie Kaufman, who wrote this one, which was not a favorable memory for me. Also ... let's face it ... Jim Carrey was much too old to date Kate Winslet. Period. However, they pulled it off ok. My grade: B.


  1. Best line in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind": After Jim Carrey's character asks if the memory-erasing procedure will cause any brain damage, the doctor replies, "Well, technically, it IS brain damage."

  2. BTW, today's quotes are truly hilarious! I LOVE "The Tick"!