Tuesday, June 28, 2011
i went to see Beginners the other night. that is the new movie by mike mills. i enjoyed it. i don't know if "enjoy" is the right word. i think that word should mean a happy smiling thing. and i was smiling, but it wasn't the same sort of smile that you get from, say, watching Airplane for the 25th time. so maybe not "enjoy" but "experienced and was provoked to thought and reflection" and here's one reason why: this thing hit way too close to home for me. at least portions of the ewen mcgregor character.
-his pet can communicate telepathically (at least that's how i interpreted it)
-he has a sick and aging relative he's trying to take care of (replace the gay part with just being a lot more vulnerable and open when the shit hits the fan and we're getting there)
-he is a graphic designer/illustrator type and his clients just want him to do his "thing" and not what he really wants to do which is more of an honest artistic vision. i mean, in this film, he does album art for a band and they don't really like it. that is the story of my life. (sometimes. most of the time it's not like that, but when it is that's all i think about and all i can remember)(me: i don't want to draw a seakat for your son's birthday cake! (ok, i probably would do that)) as the film went on and certain events occurred, my inner dialogue kept repeating, "come on!" and "get out of my brain."
the whole movie wasn't like that and that's not even what the movie was about theme-wise, but these little coincidences were the doorway for my own personal and truly subjective experience of the film. which was one of loss and birth and disappointment and hope and all those things that make life what it is. i think there is a lot to be said about making the seemingly insignificant things in life magical, but there's also something important about talking about the big deals in life that seem totally unmagical and brutally normal. like handling your relative's mail and bills or seeing someone you love in pain.
another thing i really appreciated about this movie was mr. mills ability to bring his 2-d visual art into the process. i was a little familiar with his "fireworks" drawings and his overall visual output and they translated pretty seamlessly into the movie. even the autobiographical elements i've read just a little bit about specifically popped up in there. that must have been hard to do. to throw in all the specifics, i mean. the movie is all specifics about mr. mills' life. to the wording! it made me think a lot about bringing ideas together and making it all just one big thing: drawings, photos, music, writing. just put it all in there.
and the last thing i'll go on about is how easy it would have been to make parts of this movie really cute and corny. i get the squirms when things get too precious, like when people sing a song together with a ukelele and look into each others eyes and then look away and look back and they are dressed as muppets and then they go skinnydipping and act like shy 10 year olds. that stuff makes me feel uncomfortable. the parts that were funny were funny and totally normal! i feel like we are like big dumb kids in so many ways and i don't need it shoved in my face. Beginners did not do that. i appreciate it! but again, that's just my own deal. you might see things differently. you might think this movie was sad and mopey but it's not. it's really a glad and appreciative movie. appreciative. right? i was into it! let us go and appreciate!
update: found this.
Buddy Bertrand's Blues by Beginners Soundtrack