All hyperbole aside, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the best films of the year. Oh, who am I kidding? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry with a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, is one of the best films of the past five--make that 10--years. Sure, some of you may have avoided it simply because it starred Jim Carrey, but you were making a mistake. And now that it has arrived on home video this week, there's no reason to not watch it right now.
For Joel Barish (Carrey), his relationship with Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) is everything. But as the love affair grows stagnant, Clementine chooses a drastic way of opting out--she pays a visit to the Lacuna Institute, where she has her memories of Joel erased. Devastated by her actions, Joel decides to undergo the same procedure, in which computer technicians target key areas of his brain and erase all memories of his life with Clementine. But as Joel begins to undergo the procedure, he starts to have second thoughts. And with each moment that is removed from his brain--the bad along with the good--Joel himself is destroyed bit by bit.
Playing with notions of identity as it relates to memory, and memory as it relates to identity, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a transcendent film. The story drifts between the subconscious world of Joel's memories and an equally bizarre reality where Lacuna technicians prance around his apartment in their underwear, getting stoned as a computer systematically erases pieces of a man. The film captures the uncertain clarity of memories, the ever-shifting tide of recollections that define who we are, bringing thoughts and images to life in cinematic moments that can only be described as genius.
The newly released DVD includes deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, and an audio commentary track with Gondry and Kaufman.
R.I.P. Russ Meyer, March 21, 1922-Sept. 18, 2004
Nobody made sexploitation films like Russ Meyer, the maverick director who turned filming naked women into an art form. Meyer started out with nudie movies like 1950's The French Peep Show and evolved into making complex tales of sex and depravity in Smalltown, U.S.A., in films like Supervixens (1975) and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979). Best remembered for his cult classics Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) and 1970's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (written by film critic Roger Ebert), Meyer is known for his love of the fleshy female form, which he would expose on film given the slightest provocation. Far from the hardcore pornography it is often labeled as, Meyer's films are genius examples of cinematic style and technique, featuring a wonderful mix of photography, editing, sound effects, and undulating buxotic babes baring their boobs.