Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:48 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Release Date: 2004
Kiddie Movie: A little too involved for them.
Date Movie: Sure, it’s romantic.
Gratuitous Sex: A little.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Quite a few, but not gutbusters.
Memorable Scene: Joel and Clementine trying to hide the memory of her somewhere else in Joel’s memories.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Michael Gondry

Part of me really appreciated the clever story and great acting in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but as I was leaving most of me was saying “What the hell was that?” Let’s start with the story.

As the movie begins, we are introduced to Joel (Jim Carrey). He wakes up, finds his car is damaged, and begins his trek to work only to decide on a whim to go to Long Island. In a diner Joel sees Clementine (Kate Winslet), and makes the comment that he falls in love with any woman who will give him time of day. Low and behold, we see Clementine and Joel on the train back to the city where they hit it off. Then the opening credits roll, and we next find Joel, ready to give Clementine a Valentine’s Day/Make-up gift (they got in a big fight). At the bookstore Clementine doesn’t seem to know who Joel is, seems to already have a boyfriend, and Joel is really confused, until he finds out that Clementine had all memory of him erased. Not to be outdone, Joel decides to visit the same clinic and have Clementine erased from his memory as well. And then the fun begins.

So he meets Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkenson), his receptionist, Mary (Kirsten Dunst), and the Doc’s technicians, Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood). Joel gets set for the procedure by bringing every memento of him and Clementine, to trigger memory responses, which our good technicians will erase when Joel is drugged to sleep. So at first Joel is alright with these memories being erased, after all, they are the crappy memories at the end of the relationship. But slowly he gets to memories of Clementine when things are good and he no longer wants to forget her, but remember the good times. The problem is that Joel’s asleep, that and the fact that we’ve got two of the most unethical technicians and a stoned receptionist not paying attention to Joel’s fighting the procedure.

This is where the fun comes, with Joel and Clementine trying to find a place to hide Clementine’s memory in an old memory not scheduled to be erased. We get a trip to one of Joel’s most embarrassing moments (it’s pretty funny), Joel as a little kid in a giant kitchen, until eventually the Doc has to be called in to finally get rid of Clementine once and for all.

Alright, the story sounds a little complicated, and it is, but if you follow along, I think you’ll have fun with this movie. The only problem I had was that from the trailers, well, it really depicted this as more of a comedy than this movie is. It’s actually more of a romantic drama, with some comedic spots put in. Don’t think Jim Carrey as funny man, think of Jim Carrey as drama man, kinda more like he was in “The Truman Show” rather than “Bruce Almighty.” And he’s great at it, playing the loser-ish Joel, then the guy in a crappy relationship, then the guy in love, then the guy trying desperately not to lose the memory of the love of his life. Kate Winslet is great too. She plays Clementine with a whimsical look most of the time, until the end of their relationship when her talking too much is the problem, mostly because she’s not really asking how they can get their relationship back to its blissful period. You hate her, but then you really like her, and then everything comes together at the ending.

So, is the movie good? Well, I’m classifying “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” as an artsy romantic drama with some comedic elements to lighten the mood. Visually impressive with a creative story, Charlie Kaufman writes an entertaining look at if we really want bad memories erased. This is also the first movie that comes close to showing a person inside a dream, sometimes able to control the actions in the dream, then losing control, then controlling it again. It’s a weird experience when you’re dreaming, then realizing you’re in a dream and can control what’s going on (sometimes I’m able to do that), and the filmmakers have really brought this to light. And if they’re looking for any more wacky stories in a dream state, I can give them tons, like the butterman incident or the magic stones that turn into a staircase at the bowling alley. I’m sorry, I digress, back to the movie.

Anyway, if you like a more artsy movie, “Eternal Sunshine…” is as good as any. If you’re looking for an all-out comedy, keep looking and stay away. So I guess, in the end, even saying “What the hell was that?”, that I did like this movie. The acting was great, you get to see Kirsten Dunst in panties and an almost see-through top, and the story is kinda wacky. It’s just not the story I expected from the trailers. 4 stars out of 5 for this one, but remember, this isn’t an all-out laugh fest.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Deep Impact

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:55 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Deep Impact
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Tea Leoni, Robert Duvall, Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures & DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: 1998
Kiddie Movie: Some drama stuff might bore them, and millions of people get killed, although not graphically.
Date Movie: She might get weepy and hold your hand.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Some, when the astronauts are on the asteroid.
Laughs: For me, at the stupid people still living on the east coast.
Memorable Scene: It was pretty cool seeing New York City getting wiped out.
Memorable Quote: Jenny (Tea) is having a drink with her dad and new step-mom, after figuring out Earth is on its way out, and the step-mom says “Life goes on.” Jenny replies, “Life goes on… We’ll see.”
Directed By: Mimi Leder

How’s this for a fancy reviewer line for “Deep Impact”: “Deep Impact” is one of the most predictable, emotional, roller-coaster rides I have seen on the big screen since “Titanic.” Alright, maybe it isn’t the greatest line, but “Deep Impact” was predictable, hell, it was about Earth being hit by an asteroid (and we know that happens from the trailers), and it was emotional (I did find myself anxious for the astronauts trying to blow the big space rock up, and welling up a little as people were saying goodbye). But I guess comparing it too “Titanic” is a little much – as predictable and somewhat emotional, it wasn’t that good, mostly maybe, for me, because of the stupidity of everyone one Earth who died (except the, well, people who had to).

Well, you know what the movie is about – a big asteroid is heading for Earth – what are we to do? In the case of this group of Earthlings, we don’t seem to do much. In any case, let’s start at the beginning. Tea Leoni stars as Jenny Lerner, an up-and-coming newsperson who is trying to make her way up the newsperson ladder. She stumbles on a seeming sex-scandal story in Washington D.C. (oh, like this is topical anymore?). In any case, she’s ready to blow the story open, but in a secret meeting with President Beck (Morgan Freeman), he convinces her to hold off for a couple of days. Get this – she does. Well, the story comes out that it isn’t a sex scandal, but an asteroid is heading for Earth.

Alright, I can buy it so far, and at this point there’s about a year left before the asteroid hits, and the government has a plan – send a spaceship with some astronauts to land on the asteroid and blow it up before it hits. Sounds good to me, and it’s ten months till our astronauts make it there, but our newsgirl Jenny asks something like “What if that doesn’t work.” “Don’t worry,” says the Prez, “It will.” Guess what, it doesn’t.

Alright, plan number two, lets shove a bunch of people in a cave for a couple of years. So, with that, we have the impending end of life as we know it, and our story has turned from an adventure film of blowing up an asteroid, to people planning their end. You get your typical “I’m not leaving you, I’d rather die with you than live without you” scenes, you’ve got some scenes of looting and stuff, and you’ve got people being airlifted to the big cave. Then we get some heroes, a big tidal wave, cities being wiped out, and people surviving. In the end, a nice film, but what was wrong?

I’ll pose what was wrong by asking a few questions. One, you’ve got about a year until a big asteroid is going to wipe out most of life on Earth for about two years – what do you do? We sort of used to ask this question back in college, but instead of a year, you had about 20 minutes because Russia was launching some nukes. Our solutions back then – drink heavily, head for the roof, and catch one mean old suntan, or head to the girls residence hall and say “Hey baby, the world is going to end in 20 minutes. How about you and I end it with a bang!” Some guys actually tried the latter, without the imminent threat of nuclear war, and usually ended up being slapped. But, what if you had a year? Would you trust your survival on the hopes the government could get something right on the first try? I doubt it. Me, I’d be digging a cave of my own, and stocking up on the essentials, things like beer, “Twinkies,” matches, and toilet paper.

Alright, I’ve got a head start on everyone else on my asteroid shelter, but problem number two – why was anyone still living on a coast, other than some ambitious surfer dudes and dudettes, when there were two months from the time of knowing the astronauts screwed up, and the time the asteroid would hit the earth. Hmm, Earth is a whole bunch more water than land, and if the asteroid hits that water it will create one gnarly wave most likely to reach into, like Ohio on the east coast, and maybe like Utah on the west – I’m staying in New York City and hoping the asteroid hits the Pacific. Come on, move your butt to someplace nice and cozy, someplace like the midwest. As sad as it sort of was, all those people being washed away to sea on the east coast, I say too bad – you should have moved.

“Alright, Dude, that can’t be everything bad with the movie, you said it wasn’t that good.” True, there were a bunch more flaws in human nature in “Deep Impact,” but I guess the end problem in the movie, short of a few good performances, and a couple of cool scenes, was that the movie lacked the consistency in both from beginning to end. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is pretty entertaining, but in these days of standards being pushed to another level, pretty entertaining becomes just another movie, even if millions of people died (I will say it again – they were stupid).

So, I did like “Deep Impact,” even with the stupid people, but in the end there were too many scenes of not great acting, too many scenes of total predictability, and too many scenes, well, maybe too many intertwined story lines – you had the astronauts, the newsgirl, the kid who found the comet and his chick, families in turmoil, and oh yea, a big ol’ asteroid. It was just too much.

I’ll give “Deep Impact” 3 out of 5 stars. It was good, not great, and it might even bring a tear to your eye.

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!