Rented and watched it this afternoon. Less than its hype, less than the sum of its parts, but it had some interesting bits. What I liked:
- "You are what you love, not what loves you." (Spike! Wahhh.)
- Meryl Streep's face. Meryl Streep.
- Chris Cooper.
- Laroche's sad backstory.
- Brian Cox. The screenwriting teacher's rants. The bit about voice overs. Snerk. ("...and God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends! God help you! That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.")
- Charlie's apartment.
- Charlie's morose inner narration and writerly angst.
- Charlie's masturbation fantasies.
- The Being John Malkovich footage.
- The ghost orchid.
The whole meta, self-reflexive concept was well executed. The joke of the multiple personality disorder for instance: Charlie sneers at this movie cliche from his brother's screenplay, but ultimately Charlie, the real Charlie, has written a fictional twin for himself into the movie. He's carrying on a dialogue with himself. The moment when he decides to insert himself into his script the movie folds into itself--the shots of him talking into hs tape recorder, saying, "Shot: Charlie is talking into his tape recorder..." are amusing. But...I don't know. It just didn't hold me. My interest was intellectual, and Cage didn't quite sell Charlie. Things that should have been amusing weren't so amusing when I was watching, because Cage was so grim. His effortful weight gain and bad hair and actorly self-consciousness were distracting. I mean, when I look at some of the quotes from IMDb, they're fucking hysterical, but they sort of drone by when the movie's playing. Like:
To begin... To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. So I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana nut. That's a good muffin.Ah well. Despite McKee's predictions I don't entirely feel that two hours of my life have been wasted. But now I really crave some fluffy Hollywood entertainment. Like cotton candy. Also some cotton candy--why does no one sell that outside of amusement parks? You should be able to get it on street corners, like crack. Cotton candy rocks. I love how it feels in my mouth. Maybe it wouldn't be special if you could get it all the time...but at least you could have a shot at eating some more than once every few years.
Maybe a banana nut. That's a good muffin.