Monday, December 23, 2002

Last night I had this dream in which I saw the movie Adaptation again, and the ending was totally different than it was the first time I saw it. In the dream, that was the big gimmick...that the movie was different every time you saw it. In the dream, that was the most brilliant thing I'd ever heard of.

In reality, I have such very very mixed feelings about that movie that I haven't been able to review it. I feel so terribly lowbrow for thinking the ending was stupid. I know that it was self-consciously stupid. I know that it was a statement about the "inevitable" stupidity of trying to put a dramatic ending on a movie that is so un-dramatically structured. But I have seen enough movies with stupid endings, I don't really feel like talking about how brilliant this particular stupid ending was. I really don't see any reason, if Charlie Kaufman is so damn brilliant that he couldn't have come up with an un-stupid ending to his movie.

This paragraph is going to be a spoiler, so don't read on if you would like the stupid ending to come as a stupid surprise. I think that after his twin brother died, the movie should definitely have reverted back to Charlie's writing style. That would have been a lot more satisfying in that way that coming full circle is satisfying, and it would also have been funny and added another layer to the layers of reality that made up the movie.

It is interesting that Adaptation is all postmodern and self-conscious about the exact problem that Carolyn and I had with Dirty Pretty Things. Directors definitely seem to be struggling to get out of the traditional narrative arc, but they aren't finding ways to end their movies that are in keeping with their experimental beginnings. I have to give big props to The Good Girl (possibly the best movie I saw this year) for maintaining it's sense of disaffected distance all the way to the logical finale. On the other hand, the second best movie of the year, Secretary, had the ending problem. Which is why it is only the second best movie of the year. (Speaking of Gyllenhaals, can there be a new Academy Award category for coolest brother-sister act in Hollywood? To go with the other new category, best performance by a Gollum?)


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