Saturday, March 20, 2004

Eternal Sunshine

I'm not talking about the gorgeous weather we're having here in the Northeast. (Yes, today is the first day of Spring!) I'm of course speaking of the fabulous Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which opened yesterday to near-unanimous critical praise. [Watch the trailer here]

So oh god. It was amazing. I admit I was doubtful at first: it stars the unbearable Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura), it's written by the incomprehensible Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation), it's directed by the unknown French music video auteur Michel Gondry, and also, it's a sci-fi romantic comedy. As if! But it all works, swimmingly, mostly because everyone involved is playing totally against type: Jim Carrey stays reserved and a bit morose; Elijah Wood erases all memories of a certain size-challenged homoerotic do-gooder with his turn as a creepy slimeball stalker; Mrs. Jake Gyllenhaal Kirsten Dunst gets drugged-out and a bit sinister, hopefully ending her days of being typecast as a blonde ingenue (Virgin Suicides (not)withstanding); Kate Winslet outshines everyone by ditching the prissy bodice roles for the Boho crackpot role of a lifetime (plus an American accent that's better than mine); hell, even Charlie Kaufman fights his urge to just jerk off onto a piece of paper and call it a screenplay, penning his first script that's actually enjoyable (while still being as challenging as the abortion that was Adaptation [shudder]). And then of course there's randy little alt.hunk Mark Ruffalo, a quite well-endowed talented actor who spends most of the film, uh, flopping around in nothing but his tighty-whities and the absolutely hippest eyeglasses ever. Mmmm....

Oh oh oh, and all my blockmates out there (i.e., 3 of my 6 readers) should especially see it because not only does Jim Carrey's character visit the Manhasset LIRR station, but also because one of the major sequences involves walking across the frozen ice of the Charles River, a horribly dangerous and foolhardy endeavo(u)r neither I nor anyone else I know would ever attempt. Yeah. (To those who've seen Eternal Sunshine: is it a coincidence that the train to Montauk is having schedule delays over the film's opening weekend?)

Still not convinced? Let the scrappy Weekly Dig's Jamie Hook 'splain: "Most of the film takes place within the realms of Jim Carrey's mind, which is being gradually erased over the course of one night....It could've been maddening: an intellectual wank in which we are all caught in the spunk, so to speak. And yet, Sunshine traces the thread of an eternal heart throughout, choosing to ground its mental and visual schizophrenia in a good, old fashioned, sentimental love story. It's a bold choice—love stories are hardly 'cool'—yet in so choosing, both filmmakers have inarguably turned in their best work yet."

If, after watching the film, you decide you want a few memories wiped clean but can't seem to find a local branch of Lacuna Inc. (the movie places the company around Grand St. and Mercer, if that helps), I suggest you shoot a few Mind Eraser cocktails. Those in the Greater Boston area can also head to Six Flags New England for a few spins on the Mind Eraser roller coaster.


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