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This week:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Filthy says:
"It's Pretty Fucking Good.

Love means caring so deeply for someone that you always want to share your good fortune unless, you know, your good fortune is finding a whole case of expired cough syrup behind the Walgreen's. That's the sort of shit you keep to yourself. But being in love means sharing your good fortune that isn't too good, and isn't too fucking perverted to keep on the hush-hush. I love Mrs. Filthy and Mrs. Filthy loves me. When I had the good fortune to find an extra ten dollars in her wallet while she slept, I decided to share and show my special Lane Bryant Lady a nice evening. I took her to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at the discount Elvis Cinema in Littleton, and even bought her popcorn and a Coke.

And I think when she wakes up, she'll find a pleasant little surprise in the bedroom. No, not my "American Idol" erotic fan fiction, even better: a quarter in change from that ten bucks. Shit, I hope she doesn't find my fan fiction. At least not until I figure out how to kill off Paula Abdul before the big orgy.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a pretty fucking good movie, surely the best movie playing for three bucks. Even with Jim Carrey dragging it down with another mopey attempt at "serious acting". Sure, I know the flick is about two weeks from hitting DVD or pay-per-view, but it was sure as hell worth seeing.

It was even worth the theater's fuckup in showtime listings that left us sitting in the lobby for an hour watching the awful trailer for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and when the projectionist started The Prince and Me instead. You can't expect the best when you get the cheapest. Or so I tell any prospective employer when they interview me. I mean, shit, I'll take almost any job at almost any pay, but I can guarantee you I'm gonna give you what you pay for, and that's a guy whose happier pissing off the loading dock than carrying heavy boxes. I salute the staff and management of the Elvis Cinemas for having a similar attitude. Mr. Manager, expect to see my application on your desk whenever I get inspired to fill it out. It'll be the one with "Fuck Off" scribbled across many sections.

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey plays a square bachelor of indeterminate age who has decided to undergo an extreme procedure that will completely remove all memories of his free-spirited girlfriend of two years (Kate Winslet). He makes this decision after learning that she erased him first. After agreeing to the procedure, Carrey reconsiders. He can't back out, so as the doctor's assistants erase his brain, he unconsciously fights to salvage memories of Winslet. He tries to hide her in memories where she doesn't belong, like those from his childhood or a particularly cringe-worthy masturbation recollection.

Like the staff of the Elvis Cinema, the technicians charged with removing Carrey's memories (Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood) are half-assed and easily distracted. Ruffalo uses the time to screw girlfriend Kirsten Dunst and Wood uses it to take Carrey's box of relationship mementoes and use them to seduce a newly-single Winslet. When the memory cleansing goes horribly awry, nobody is adequately prepared to correct the errors.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is based on a simple concept, the idea that memories can be erased, but it works so well because screenwriter Charlie Kaufman doesn't beat us over the head with it, like he did with Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. In both of those, he had a good idea, but then he spent the entire movie belaboring each possible consequence until he exhausted me. In this movie, the idea of memory erasure is presented, but the characters exist beyond it. The story and characters, not just the idea, are what make the movie good.

Getting into this movie isn't easy. It isn't a straight narrative, but a constant mixture of the present and flashbacks that are either true or untrue, depending on how Carrey chooses to remember them. And as Winslet is slowly erased from his memory, huge gaps appear. It's very well done, but the shaky hand-held camera work and too-intentional lo-fi production values are a bit annoying.

But the movie left me wondering about a lot of things, illuminating some ideas I wouldn't have had otherwise. Like, even if a relationship turns sour, can't the memories still be good? I know that I still like thinking about how I stole a hundred bucks from Jasmine, even if she dumped me a week later. Do memories have integrity? When they're corrupted and wrong are they worthless? We all remember things differently, like I remember that I quit working at the Amoco gas station and then crapped my pants, but they may remember it as me crapping my pants at work and then being fired. Is the recollection of all my coworkers worthless because it's inaccurate? Apparently not to other potential employers. But which version of events is valuable to me? And how can you completely eliminate someone? Sure, you can collect all the mementos and burn them in a bonfire. You can blot them out of your mind. But, what about a certain temperature, or smell, or even a commonplace object that makes you think of someone? Whenever I see drywall at the Home Depot. I think of Flatface Marilyn. Man, she had a flat face. You could have nailed a painting to it.

The movie's weakest points are its ending, which feels unnecessary and drawn out, its subplots that conveniently and artificially provide the story's resolution, and the fact that Kirsten Dunst and Kate Winslet are both women with really great tits, yet they never take off their tops and rub them against each other. Come on, Hollywood, get your fucking act together. Who cares if it's inconsistent with the plot? Candy Bottoms was perfectly willing to disrupt the pace of The Maltese Hard-on to do it and I'd say it made that flick even better.

Something sort of cool, though, is the way some really neat and subtle effects are used within the illusion of lo-fi production. As Carrey's memories are stripped from his mind, he has to pull Winslet from the collapsing buildings and streets, and pull her into new ones. He may go from a crumbling beach house to his mother's kitchen, where he is once again a frightened four-year old, to looking at her underwear under the covers in his apartment.

Carrey is not a good actor, and all the money and fame in the world isn't going to make him one. I couldn't help thinking how much better the movie would be if it featured an actor capable of showing unhappiness and loss. Carrey just thinks acting mopey is the same as subtle. Personally, if I had all his fame and dough, I'd use it to get Winslet and Dunst to mash their naked bodies. To me, that's what wealth is for.

This is a damn good movie, though. Cinema worth stealing ten bucks to see. Four Fingers for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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Newcomer Liam Mayclem of KRON-San Francisco

Mean Girls is "Absolutely hilarious! Comic Brilliance!"

The Whole Ten Yards is "Genuinely Hilarious!"

Filthy's Reading
Jospeh Conrad - Lord Jim

Listening to
Young Heart Attack- Mouthful of Love


Pee Wee's Big Adventure