Well then... thanks to some help from people far smarter than me, Blogography appears to be up-and-running again. Here's hoping it stays that way for a little while.
Yesterday I was handed a movie meme and, since I had nothing better to blog about, I decided to fill it out. But after a few questions I realized it was just a variation on a half-dozen movie memes I had already done before, so I decided to toss it out and write about unclogging my shower drain instead.
But then, just as I was getting ready to take a photo of the bottle of Liquid Plumr that had saved my day, I noticed one of the movie questions was different. It asked: "Name three characters from the movies you can personally relate to and why." Interesting! That's pretty much an entry all by itself, so I'll blog about my shower drain another day.
And now, three people from the movies I personally relate to and why...
"Mark" from Love Actually (played by Andrew Licoln).
Love Actually is one of those films you either fall in love with immediately... or you despise because it is so contrived, manipulative, and filled with one-dimensional characters. On first viewing, I was firmly in the latter camp. I was disappointed that Richard Curtis would slap together a bunch of short bits from stories we've seen a hundred times before (including his own Notting Hill) and call it a film. The result is a patchwork of fantastic actors doing their best to add depth to characters that are so ill-defined that it's almost impossible to care about them.
But then it grows on you. You see it at the rental store and remember it had some funny bits so you watch it again. And again during the holidays because it's a Christmas film. And again because it happens to be on HBO. And soon you're watching it for no reason at all, when suddenly it dawns on you... the characters don't have to be three-dimensional, because the characters are you. Or your family & friends. Or people you know. You don't need the details of their lives to become invested in them, because you already know them.
This revelation dawned on me as I came upon the scene where Juliet has just discovered that her new husband's best friend is secretly in love with her. Mark is all at once overcome with the heartache, longing, shame, and the crushing disappointment of being in love with somebody he can never have...
Yeah. Definitely been there, done that, and can totally relate. Watching Andrew Licoln's brilliant, wordless interpretation of his character's agony is eerie, because it's as if he reached into my own experience and is expressing it on screen for everybody to see. Unfortunately, the director didn't allow his performance to stand on its own, and felt the need to blast music (Dido's lovely Here With Me) over the top... trying once again to manipulate the viewer unnecessarily... but it's still a scene that strikes me at my core every time I see it.
"Bob and Charlotte" from Lost in Translation (played by Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson).
There are very few moments in Sophia Coppola's masterwork Lost in Translation which don't resonate with me. She managed to capture with almost supernatural accuracy exactly what it's like to be a foreigner in Japan... Being surrounded by millions of people yet feeling completely alone... The bizarre yet captivating world of Tokyo at night... Seeing your fellow foreigners over and over again because you're all stuck in the same loop... Not being able to sleep... Trying your best to fit into a culture which you will never, ever be able to fit into... The language barrier facing you at every turn... Feeling like an alien because you're so tall and freaky-looking compared to everybody else... It's all here. When I first saw Lost in Translation, I related so closely to Bob and Charlotte that I felt as if the film was speaking just to me. Like it was made just for me. Numerous subsequent viewings haven't changed my mind...
Scene after scene I find myself mentally going "that was me!" and the memories of my trips to Japan come flooding back. It's not often that a film so totally enters my psyche and consumes me, but this would definitely be one of them. Many people I know didn't care for this movie at all, and something in the back of my head is always wondering if the only reason I love it so much is because I relate to it so well.
And now, because I feel it's a public service to mention it, the Lost In Translation soundtrack is sublime, and available on iTunes. Each track is an atmospheric piece of magic that haunts you long after the last track has played. Of course, the song that everybody wants from the movie, Fuck the Pain Away by Peaches, is not on the soundtrack, but is also available on iTunes if you're looking for it.
"Joe" from Idiocracy (played by Luke Wilson).
Yeah, like a movie about a guy trapped in a world filled with morons is really that much of a stretch from my life of being trapped in a world filled with morons (present company excepted, of course). While not up to the impossibly high standards set by Mike Judge with his first film, Office Space, the not-so-implausible future depicted in Idiocracy is still brilliantly realized...
Everything run by dumbass politicians... Corporations taking over the country... Starbucks expanding into the sex trade... Tell me that this is anything but an accurate portrayal of the world of tomorrow! So yeah, seriously I can totally relate.
Brawndo. It's Got Electrolytes. It's What Plants Crave!