Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A&M's Top 50 Movies of The Decade (part 6)
Earlier today: #10-2
Last Friday: #40-31
Last Thursday: Intro and #50-41
Without further ado, the best movie of the decade is:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
As I’ve mentioned a few times during these posts, Romadramedies (romance + comedy + drama) are by far and away my favorite type of movie, and Eternal Sunshine is the best representative of the genre. Funny, achingly sad, philosophical, sweet, horrifying, the amount of emotions that this film entails, and the amount of places this screenplay takes you inside your own head are too numerous too name. Now, I fully admit that this movie is weird, maybe it tries a little too hard at times, maybe the director gets a little too clever with some of the visuals, but when you break this down and realize that everything that happens visually is a metaphor for what is happening emotionally, well, it just fucking works. Add in career-defining performances from Winslet and Carrey and no film this decade had a more complete package.
I’ve spent way too much time ruminating on and deconstructing the central metaphor in a somewhat futile attempt to figure out what each of the visual elements mean and how this ties back to the overall theme. There’s way too much going on here to go through, so let’s talk about the big, big takeaways:
1) We need our pain. I can’t remember who it was, but I once heard someone say that we “are the sum of our experiences.” This isn’t just the happy stuff either; it’s the whole package, the mundane, the embarrassing, the hurtful, the proud, the sad, the sexy, the salacious. If we take one thing off that list, we change forever.
2) By far the most painful moment of a breakup is the revelation that the other person has completely moved on even though you still hurt. The fights, the lies, the accusations, all of that fucking sucks. But it’s knowing that you still need them and they don’t need you that hurts more than anything.
3) To quote my favorite director who left his wife for one of his Asian stepchildren, “the heart wants what it wants.” Love is not only emotional and physical, it’s physiological, biological and a shit fucking ton of other words that end in ogical.
4) How we see our past changes based on our current perspective. If you’ve ever kept a journal or a diary inevitably you’ve had that moment where you’ve looked back at something you’ve written and said to yourself, “what the fuck was I thinking? Who the shit is this person?” Memories are the same way. When we look back at a certain event or time, we are doing so as the person we are now, the person we were then has grown, changed, had new experiences. After a certain amount of time passes, you can’t objectively look back at a failed relationship as a singular event frozen in time because too much has happened and the memory has evolved.
And those are just the hors d’oeuvres. There is so much more going on above and below the surface that I could spend months and another 10,000 words breaking this film down. Intelligent, interesting, perfect, every time I throw this in it feels fresh, I notice something new I hadn’t seen before, giving me something else to chew on. And that, along with a host of other reasons, is why Eternal Sunshine is A&M’s top movie of the decade.
Thanks for following along, everyone. Happy Holidays.