Thursday, November 13, 2008

Synecdoche, New York and Quid Pro Quo

Synecdoche, New York imdb

Charlie Kaufman's latest work. Hmm, I guess I was thinking about this driving home how

a) this was a movie that very well would require multiple times seeing it to really understand well

b) there's a ton of elements to the story and perspective. And especially it being quite "introspective".

c) I've never seen anything quite like what Kaufman did with this movie in anything. I'm not certain any story has been told on-screen or even in writing, to what was explored here.

d) Charlie Kaufman should do something involving Metaphysics.

e) It would help to have watched Kaufman's movie "Adaptation" before or after seeing this just to grasp exactly where he's coming from.

f) I totally can see why this movie was not released for many years. I guess going back to 2005. It's to put it simply, a mindfuck, and one that many will either totally hate it, or totally love it. The IFP's will probably go to bat for it (although in recent years even they have let me down embarrassingly), but the Multiplex's I easily could see not touching this movie with a ten foot pole.

Enough about all that. This is one moving yet confusing movie. Over 2 hours in length. Phillip Seymour-Hoffman is his usual talented self playing the lead character, a man whose married and has an artist wife (played by Catherine Keener, who makes miniature-sized paintings) and 4 year old daughter. He is a stage director. His wife seems to lack passion for him and ends up going off to Germany with her daughter. Caden (PSH) believes he's dying. He also has clear advances from 2 younger women, 1 played by Michelle Williams, whose a lead in his current play. The other, whose job is to take tickets at the box-office, played by Samantha Morton.

When his wife goes away with his daughter, he then receives $500,000 Grant to make a new play. At that point he ends up mixing more with both of those younger women, namely Samantha Morton's character Hazel. That doesn't work out. She ends up moving into a house that is always on fire for some reason. He does hook up, gets married, and has another daughter with Michelle Williams's character Claire. Eventually it doesn't work through the process of making this huge production for a play of what is in effect his life, in this abandoned lot in a borough of NYC.

Confusion: He goes to Germany, which seems like not too long after, and they make note that his formerly 4 y/o daughter is now 11. Between that time they do flash a sequence of him at Claire's mom's funeral and then Caden and her getting married and having a daughter. But the way it looked, it very easily could have been imagination/dream sequence/fantasy.

Before you know it, 17 years have gone by. I would assume most of the same large ensemble of people working on his play are still doing it.

This is where it gets REALLY WEIRD. He then ends up casting people to play people who were playing him. Sort of like the chaos theory, a tv-inside-a-tv-inside-a-tv-inside-a-tv. He has a guy play him, and then a guy playing the guy playing him, lol.

Ya see perhaps why this was not released in 2005?..mind you, Kaufman not only WROTE this..but also for the 1st time DIRECTED IT.

So, not meaning to spoil..but I guess within the whole epic story, Caden ends up outliving all these women, including his daughter who somehow dies of ink-poisoning from her tattoo, or something, in Germany. His daughter Olive in effect grew up and was a German girl who became a young woman who ended up ultimately being tied to his ex-wife's best friend Maria played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.

But character after character dies, and while Caden does in fact age and takes a lot of meds. His medical problems seem to not be a focus as he gets older (which they are at the beginning of the film, being that he thinks he's having a mid-life crisis, and dying very lonely).

The play is still being written, rehearsed some 20+ years later. One possible idea is making the play is Caden's LIFELINE. As long as he is continuing to write, cast, and rehearse it, he is still around. But the people in his life are not ultimately of the same fate. The play is a metaphor for his life.

Getting past a few issues I have with using human waste (green poop? among others) and the way he derailed/faded-out both his 1st wife Adele (Catherine Keener) and their daughter's role in the story, this is as unique and memorable movie I've seen this year, this decade, or even ever. Like I wrote above, it definitely is one of those things if you are open-minded enough and have an imagination for, that will take your brain into a place I don't think you've gone before. Likely only someone like Charlie Kaufman could do that.


I am a fan of Nick Stahl. Namely movies like MAN WITHOUT A FACE, BULLY, and IN THE BEDROOM. And earlier this year, I thought he was quite good in SLEEPWALKING as well. In this, he plays a paraplegic who discovers an unknown population of wheelchair-admirers among other things. He also meets a woman, played by Vera Farmiga, who actually tips him off of this originally; but she claims to be different. She wants to get close to him, but also wants to share her desire to be like him.

The metaphors and characters were somewhat interesting, but the plot didn't go too far. I'm not sure if they found love, or just who they were. He ends up being able to walk and she ends up going through the charade of acting as if she was paralyzed as well.

The fetish and desire to connect via a handicap is not too known or typical as a basis for a love story; but I didn't entirely grow to connect to either of them even with their seemingly miraculous change in their physical lower-half's status.


Jeremy Messersmith - The Silver City

This is just a brief, early review. It's climbed to #43 on my list

This has been quite the good year for music from my home state of Minnesota. Cloud Cult put out perhaps a *breakthrough* record in "Feel Good Ghosts"..Jenny Dalton you could say the same about somewhat compared to her last LP. And then this guy, Jeremy Messersmith also made a really polished sophomore effort. Fans of Sufjan Stevens who are yearning for something new..perhaps another *state concept album*..well for MINNESOTA, a state Sufjan has yet to do, this record is very much of the caliber of those albums like ILLINOIS and MICHIGAN. Some nice Beatles-ish moments among other elements. I like every piece on it, and it definitely fills more when heard all at once.


Just out of shear laziness/lack-of-time I probably will end up posting many reviews (copy/pasting) from my rym account or forum posts. If I were being paid for this, I'd find the time (somehow!), but of course I'm not so it very well may be the best I can do. I will mention though, I think when the final "List" is written up in here, and there will be one again..and it will be finished of course unlike last year's draining-of-steam and time. I plan to at least write up stuff about the top 10 (esp #1 of course..hehe!) and I was thinking today, maybe the best thing to do with the others is to just link the myspace's, give artwork, and do "Twitter" length reviews (140-200 characters max). Maybe a few key tracks, etc. Probably will expedite the process and allow the mass of 50+ reviews to come out. Honestly, it very well may be closer to 75 or more again.

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