think “different”…

garden_state.jpg Every once in a while, I like to catch a movie that isn’t the same ol’ same ol’. Something that’s a bit different from an action flick or comedy. Recently, I’ve come across a couple of movies that fit that description. The first, Garden State, is about an out of work actor who is forced to return home after ten years for his mom’s funeral. While there, he has to face his past, deal with his dysfunctional family, and meets someone in the course of a few days. After spending the majority of his life on medication and being “numb” to everything, he learns how to feel again and that life isn’t so bad after all. This movie starred Zach Braff, who also wrote and directed it. It’s more of a drama with comedic bits than a comedy with dramatic bits.

The movie is apparently popular at Blockbuster’s online dvd service, because I had to go through two copies before I got one that I could watch entirely.

It seems like a typical ‘coming of age’ flick, but just as you start to think that, something happens that throws you completely off. All of the characters have their quirks, and I think it’s the quirkiness that keeps you watching. I really liked Natalie Portman’s character; it’s good to see her in something other than another Star Wars flick.

eternal_sunshine.jpg Like Garden State, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is another very unusual film. In this one, Jim Carrey plays a man who wants to erase all memory of his ex-girlfriend after learning she has recently erased him. Fortunately, in this movie, there’s a doctor who can do just that. While undergoing the procedure, he watches the memories of his relationship playing back in his mind as they are being erased. About halfway through, he changes his mind and doesn’t to lose the memories. The problem is that he is unconscious, so his subconscious begins a journey to try to bury the memory of his girlfriend anywhere in his head where it might be safe.

The movie suggests that love is a bond that we simply can’t get rid of, even if we had the technology to do so. It also suggests that just because you may know the right things to say or do the right things, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can get that person to fall for you.

One of the most interesting aspects of the movie to me was how they visually took a very abstract concept and made it work. How do you visually represent memories fading? Well, have you ever had a dream that was really intense that it ‘felt’ real? You remember it vividly when you wake up, but as you go through the day details about the dream start to slip away. By then end of the day, you’ve forgotten almost all of it. Kinda like that. They used a lot of different things to ‘simulate’ that they were a) in a memory and b) what state the memory was in. As the visual fades, so do the images and even sounds.

The movie is a great film to watch. Some people may not ‘get’ it, and that may have to do with the way the story unfolds. I will say it is not a movie you can pick up halfway through – you need to see it from beginning to end. Ok, I really only wanted to see this because Kate Winslet was in it, and I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be such an amazing movie.

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