Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Yeah, that gets its own sentence, its own paragraph. What a fantastic film. Charlie Kaufman simply has a knack for writing unusual but wonderful screenplays and in Eternal Sunshine, just as in Adaptation, his writing is complimented with fantastic acting.

This film defies those who would insist on pigeon-holing it into either a plot-driven or a character-driven piece. It’s both and it’s neither; it’s really about something that is written so well between the lines that it is the lines. I sound like I’m trying to be profound, but I’m not. It is profound and I’m simply having trouble processing everything.

Kaufman floats the idea of a true love, but he contradicts that idea with a persistent lust of a kind that manifests itself almost identically. Even as I’m writing, other contrasts and comparisons are coming to mind. The entire movie is about points of view, perspectives and human nature.

Gaudry does a fantastic job of capturing things so etherreal as the mind and memory, and does an even better job of showing us what it might look like to have one’s memories erased. I was also impressed with the overlapping sets that are frequently utilized and the use of light as a sort of character in itself.

I expect Oscar nods for Kaufman, Carey, Winslet and possibly Michel Gondry and I look forward to Kaufman’s next screenplay.


Perfectly good 3-day weekend totally wasted

That about sums up my weekend, but I’ll go ahead and hit the highlights: Friday, I did nothing but watch a couple movies. Saturday, I went to Outback Steakhouse for the first time in over six months and then watched Dodge Ball: A True Underdog story. Sunday, more sitting around and watching movies. Today, more of the same along with some grocery shopping and a good workout. Also, I’m pretty close to finishing Mario Kart: Double Dash as I’ve only got Star and Special Cups left for Gold at the 150cc level.

I need to start scrounging around eBay and lookin’ for a life.


Rough week, great weekend

This was a tough week, mostly because I seemed to be constantly doing something. The worst day was Thursday, when I had my acting lesson. It was a great lesson and I learned a lot, but I was totally exhausted and the lesson lasted about two hours. Also, the scene we were working on was about 7 minutes of intense emotion–specifically, my character was angry and distraught–and that’s just a lot of work.

The good news is I’ve had a great weekend so far. I’m playing in a basketball league that begins next week and we had our first team practice today. There are seven guys on our team and I’d only played with two of them before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Turns out we have a well-rounded, solid team and I expect we’ll be very competitive in our league. This evening, a buddy and I grilled some burgers and watched Master and Commander at my place. It was relaxing and we had a good time just chillin’ and chattin’.

Tomorrow evening, some people are comin’ down to my place so we can all cheer for Detroit in the NBA Finals together. This is a “must win” for both teams, but L.A. seems to have a lot more on the line right now. Of course, based on my previous comments, if Detroit loses either of the next two games, I think they’re going to lose the championship, so maybe this game is just as big for them. Regardless, I hope they stomp the Lakers again… The Lakers are good at winning, but horrible at losing and I take great pleasure in watching them tank a game.


Need to rest up

As usual, I played basketball on Saturday morning. I played pretty well–I had several good plays on offense, some good passes, nice shots, some good defensive plays and such–but I also played “flat”. It’s hard to describe, but I basically just felt like I never really got out of second gear. I could do everything I wanted and everything I did do felt slow and forced. As I thought about it, I realized I may be pushing my body too hard with conditioning, weight lifting and playing basketball. I think I just haven’t given my body enough time to recover lately. So, this week, I’m going to seriously limit how hard I work out. Mostly, I’ll cut the shootarounds from my pre-workout routine and I won’t do any specific cardio. I’ll just go in, warm up on the bike for ten minutes or so and then hit the weights. It’s not exactly taking a week off, but it’s definitely toning things down a bit. I’ll try that and see how I feel next Saturday. I’m guessing I’ll feel looser and more energetic.

Watched 4 movies this week

I only saw one in the theatre and the other three were on DVD:


I had been careful not to get my hopes up because I’m not a big fan of epic war films and I’d also heard some mediocre reviews. Turns out the reviews were a reflection of the movie itself and I was better off not having gotten my hopes up. It was a good movie, but that’s about it. I certainly didn’t feel that the producers were justified in spending hundreds of millions on dollars producing it. Mostly, I just felt it was pretty lackluster in most aspects. Two scenes that stood out were Achilles’ fight with Hector and the Trojan king’s conversation with Achilles in his tent. These scenes were well written, shot and directed, but the rest of the movie felt pretty ho hum.

Chasing Liberty

Yeah, got this one by accident. Apparently, Netflix mistook Lawrence of Arabia for a 2003 chick flick. I figured I had it, so why not give it a shot. I got about half through and just couldn’t take it any more. I thought the acting was fine–a little over the top, but I got the sense that the actors were directed that way–but the writing just wasn’t holding my attention. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but this movie was asking way too much of me in that department.

Seven Samurai

This here was quite an experience. An old Japanese film, black and white, subtitles and three and a half hours of character development with the occasional battle scene to change things up a bit. Yes, it was a good movie. Yes, there were some great ideas and pieces of philosophy. Yes, I thought it was well written, directed, shot and acted. No, my American attention span would not ever allow me to try and watch it again. As it was, I had to watch it in four separate sittings, each one spent mostly watching the timer on my DVD player count closer to “03:28:00”, when I knew it would end. This was a good movie and I could see why it’s critically acclaimed, but it just ain’t for the regular person wanting to see a good movie. It should definitely be watched more as an intellectual pursuit than as entertainment.

Stuck on You

Another one I just couldn’t quite finish. I thought the premise was kind of funny, but it just didn’t play out very well on screen. I could see this story being written well by somebody like John Irving who has a knack for writing strange characters in strange situations, but this movie just didn’t get my attention. I tried and tried to finish watching it, but I didn’t even make it an hour into the movie before I had to call it quits. The jokes got old after the fifth telling and the gags were worn out just a few minutes into the movie. Thumbs down.


Coming right along…

The song/progression I mentioned in my last post is coming along nicely. I’ve finished writing it, but I’m having trouble physically playing it because there are a lot of strange chord formations and transitions. Basically, I’m just having to get used to it and use repetition to burn it into my brain and hands. It’s probably the most intense chord progression I’ve used because it involves more than ten chords and moves over seven or eight frets. Many of those chords are changed in transition as well (one note will drop a step or something), so there’s a lot of movement throughout the individual chords.

Anyway, it’s fun to play and my hands are slowly working up the calluses they need to get through it. I played some Taylors at Guitar Center today and they made me think of hanging up the Takamine and dropping some change on a Taylor, but I thought better of it. Eventually that’ll happen, just not yet.

Short day tomorrow

I only have to work about five hours tomorrow, so I’ll be splitting around 1 o’clock. Hopefully, I’ll use my afternoon wisely, but I have a hunch I’ll end up sitting on the couch, watching movies. Netflix made its first goof and sent me Chasing Liberty instead of Lawrence of Arabia. How that happened, I have no idea, but I figure I’ll give Mandy Moore a chance and see if it’s not a decent movie. I will also hopefully finish Seven Samurai this weekend… I’ve been working on it for about six weeks now. It’s a decent film, just old and it has subtitles. It would never make it in American cinema today because the plot is developed far too slowly. I think it could seriously be condensed down from just about three and a half hours to two hours without much trouble. But then, the art and philosophy would be lost. Of course, it’s probably lost on me anyway.

I’m out.


Crazy week in Texas

Monday was my last night house-/dog-sitting for a friend. Although I didn’t mind helping him out while he was vacationing, it was really nice to get home where I could sleep in my own bed. I didn’t realize how much I like my apartment until I was displaced from it for a week. I really have made a home here and I’m very comfortable in the environment that I’ve created. It’s cozy and it’s home.

My first movie premier

Tuesday evening, I attended the premier for a local indie film. I have to say it was pretty bad and I was really surprised at the attention that such a low-budget, low-quality film received. I think a lot of it was pure hype by promoters and moneymakers, but in the end, it just wasn’t a good movie. I would give details but it’d be easier to say this: the only redeeming part of the film was the lead actress, but even her performance wasn’t enough to save this movie. It was so bad that, at the end, they were giving away prizes–copies of the DVD, T-shirts, movie posters–but when they called the winning ticket numbers, no one claimed the prizes. There were three or four unclaimed prizes before an older woman and a child claimed some stuff. It was sad and funny at the same time.

Another great session for the acting

Tonight, I was given a cold-read–it was a scene from a local Dallas indie–and I had a reading partner. It was a great experience because I was able to learn a lot about myself, my natural ability, the ability that I’ve gained through my work so far and my ability to interact–listen and react–with another actor. All in all, I was very pleased with my work tonight, but I definitely see much room for improvement. While I’m learning more and more about breaking down a scene and making it into a workable, believable piece, I’m still having some trouble digging into the scene to find the proper motivations for myself and my character. This will come with time, I know, but at least I’m aware of my shortcomings and that’ll give me something to work on.

I just e-mailed my instructor a copy of (what I guess one would call) a treatment that I wrote back in the Summer of ’02. He’s going to look over it and we’ll decide whether there’s anything worth turning into a short film. If there is, we’ll probably start working on it and eventually lay it down on tape. I’m half expecting him to hate it and pan it, but I’m half expecting he’ll find something worth working with. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Busy tomorrow, too

Tomorrow night, I’m going to a friend’s belated birthday party (he and his wife are actually sharing a party and it’s closer to her birthday than his), so I’ll probably be good and exhausted by tomorrow night. I’m not really sure who’s going to be there, but at least I’ll know the happy birthday couple and maybe a few other kids. It should be fun.


Love Actually

A fantastic film. Of course, I coulda’ gone without all the naked people, but that was the only part of the film that I didn’t love. The writing was superb, the acting was fantastic and the story was fun to watch. I guess this would be considered a “chick flick”, but it’s excellent regardless. I feel that it transcends strict genre and represents a creative, well told story about love of different kinds and by and for people in different stages of life. Often, a romantic comedy (which is the single genre that this film most resembles) different types and aspects of love are explored, but all forms are generally portrayed in a shallow way until the payoff when the couple falls in love and lives happily ever after. This film covers platonic love, unrequited love, characters choosing a greater love in lieu of a less personal, less necessary love, and even love that simply must not be expressed due to circumstances and poor timing.

A great, great movie.

Mondays are always so rough…

…because by Sunday night I’m used to being up late, getting up late and sleeping a lot. I don’t need bunches of sleep, but I tend to take advantage of extra sleep time if it comes my way. That kinda’ time comes my way once a week in the form of the weekend and it only takes me those two days to become totally used to the luxuries of sleeping however long I want and napping at any time of the day. Of course, it won’t be long until I’m thrust back into sleepy reality as my alarm clock drags me out of bed and throws me in the shower at 7 tomorrow. I should be getting ready for bed, only I’m not tired. It’s going to be a long, short night.


Gainesville trip: Day 4

I spent most of the morning sleeping and watching TV. Then, I went to lunch with a couple friends at the Chicken Kitchen and went over to see their new place where they will be living this fall. It’s a pretty nice place, but it reminded me that, for some reason, architecture here in Gainesville is really strange. There was one place in the living room where the previous owners had cut a hole in the carpet in the middle of the floor, so they could run a phone wire up to an end table or something. I guess they were pretty certain they’d never move that end table.

Frisbee golf

Then, we went and played a round of frisbee golf at the old course. My best score there when I was playing a few times a week was 3 over par. I shot a 13 yesterday. Most of that was just general rustiness–I hadn’t played in about 9 months or so–and some bad luck–if there was a tree, even if I made a good throw, I found it. Anyway, it was fun and we all had a good time.

Newberry Backyard BBQ

This place has some of the best baby back ribs I’ve ever had and I’d been looking forward to going there since I started planning this vacation. Of course, they didn’t disappoint and I had a great time with about 7 of my friends. I hope I can make a trip out there every time I visit Gainesville.

Kill Bill Vol. 2

Even better than the first. I don’t want to do an all-out review or analysis, but I’ll say that I’m seriously impressed with Trenton ability to mix various genres of film from different eras into a seamless, solid movie. Also, Uma was spectacular and I was very surprised by her performance. I could see that she took direction very well and that she was a great fit for the role. I can’t wait to see the DVD with special features and “making of…” kinda’ stuff.

Funnier ’cause we were tired

As we were all startin’ to go to bed about 4 am, I was walking through the kitchen when the phone started ringing. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was one of the other guys in the house calling in on his cell phone. I decided not to answer, but my roommate did and this is what he heard at the other end of the line: “Hey. What’re you doin’?” Then, the same guy called about five other people around the city and did the same thing. That delayed our getting to sleep by about an hour because we were just laughing too hard to realize we were tired.


Gainesville trip: Day 3

Yesterday’s support appointment went well and I’m not officially on three peoples’ MDPs (I think that’s right and I think it’s “Ministry Development Plan”; it’s a TLA–Three Letter Acronym). I’m excited to be giving to Crusade beginning in July and I think it’s awesome that I can help out three staff people.

Basketball… again

I played some more basketball yesterday and I’m really feelin’ it today. I think I ran seven games in two days. That’s not outrageous except I haven’t played that much basketball in that little time since some time last year. I’m pretty sore, but it’s good to be in good enough shape that I can at least run the games. I hope to play at least once more before the week’s out.

Gators Dockside

Last night was all-you-can-eat (AYCE) wings at Dockside, so about six of us went over there to try and break ’em. Between us, we probably ate over 200 wings, but I can’t say that I contributed too much. I think I only had 20 or so because I’m just not used to eating that much grub in one sitting. At least it wasn’t AYCE pasta or pizza or something; I’m pretty sure I’d feel awful today. It was only wings and they were grilled, not breaded or fried, so I’m good to go for some more eatin’ today.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Man, what a strange movie. Of course, if I felt any differently after watching a QT creation, I’d have to check my senses. The guy just knows how to create interesting, strange violent stuff. It’s bizarre how he maintains an irony of violence without believable gore. I mean, there’re people gettin’ limbs lopped off and whatnot, but it looks so fake it’s hardly even so disturbing as odd. I’m not talking about being desensitized, I’m talking about recognizing what parts of the film QT wants the view to feel are real.

Anyway, I think we’re going to see Vol. 2 some time this week, so I wanted to make sure I’d seen the first part, first. Now, I’m off to lunch with some friends, so I’ll have to pause for a bit.



When I first moved here, I picked the DVD up at Target for about 10 bucks. Tonight, I finally got around to watching it and I was vividly reminded of Mel Brooks’ unique style and ability. Of course, seeing John Candy and Rick Moranis was a blast from the past and I always enjoy a good spoof, especially if it’s of a cult film like Star Wars. All in all, I think this was 10 bucks well spent and I’ll have to try to remember to screen it the next time a bunch of my friends and I are sitting around with nothing to do.

The Voyage has come to and end

…but The Silver Chair has only just begun. I’m beginning the 6th book in the Chronicles of Narnia series and I expect I’ll be done with the series in about two weeks. I’ve said too many times how much I’m enjoying the stories, but this one was particularly well written. The last few chapters were unique in many ways and C.S. Lewis’ creativity and storytelling ability really stood out to me down the stretch.

Laptop on hold

I finally sat down and worked out a dollar-by-dollar budget for myself and, long story short, “laptop” ain’t anywhere to be found. I might re-evaluate here in a month or so, but the laptop is on hold indefinitely. I’m really bummed because it’s something I could really use and I was looking forward to having the freedom to write almost anywhere (on a computer), but facts are facts and the fact is there ain’t room for a laptop right now. Patience is a virtue.