Author Topic: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  (Read 651 times)

shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« on: July 27, 2020, 07:42:06 PM »
What does CaB think of this film? Looked at the wikipedia entry for it: apparently it is eligible for 'one of the greatest films of all time' status.

I saw it when it came out and haven't watched it since. However the main reason I ask is that for years I've had a weird para-viewing relationship to it, where if I'm feeling a bit wistful I listen to the gorgeous Jon Brion soundtrack, and that Beck song which I think is practically the best thing he's ever recorded, sometimes accompanied by YT fan videos comprised of clips from the film. I might watch it again tonight.

Dreamy genre-bending emotional sci-fi romcom masterpiece OR Lost In Translation-style 'actually not much substance now you look at it' bit of twee clever-clever 00s garbage?

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 07:50:58 PM »
I too only watched it the once, when it came out on DVD. At the time I was a little bit suspicious of the hype around Kaufman (I hadn't seen Adaptation at the time), but this really won me over. I'm not keen on the Back track though, mostly because I really like the original (and am not particularly bothered about Beck on the whole).

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 07:51:57 PM »
I've only seen it the once (as I rarely rewatch films) but I loved it to pieces, I get why it's one of those divisive films though and expect a good few people to hate it was a passion here.

Non Stop Dancer

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Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 07:54:25 PM »
Really liked it and watched it a fair few times, but not for about 14 years.

Nice bit of insight, there.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 07:54:47 PM »
I'm another who has only watched it the once, but I liked it - probably due to at the time (15 years ago) being in a place where I'd have quite liked to erase a few relationships from my memory. It was a pleasant surprise to see Carrey playing against type, but I was mildly irritated by Winslet's character enough to the degree it put me off watching it again.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 08:19:24 PM »
I love both Kaufman and Gondry, so yes, this ticked the boxes for me.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2020, 08:31:55 PM »
I loved it when it came out, saw it in the cinema when I must've been 13 or 14, and for a couple of years thereafter on DVD. A more recent rewatch was less encouraging, but that may be down to increased (over-)familiarity with Kaufman and a growing ennui for Gondry's "quirkiness", which infected a good deal of poor-quality films and music videos in the succeeding decade. Still, it's not a worthless film by any means, and I've got to give it credit for ambition (even if Kaufman has done better, both before and since). Kate Winslet is absolutely lovely in it, and it's one of the relatively few "Wow Jim Carrey's doing something serious" roles that actually pay off.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 08:42:14 PM »
Of Jim Carrey's straighter films I was more into Man on the Moon and The Truman Show when this came out. I probably wasn't old enough for it though, having not been in much of a relationship then. I think it would get to me more now. I've just seen that these are almost the opposite of what Noodle Lizard has said.

Didn't know until this thread that the Beck song was a cover but it's one of my favourites of his too. It's similar to the songs from Sea Change. I wish he had done some more in that way or not lost the tapes he recorded afterwards. I remember being disappointed with Morning Phase in the end after that was promoted as a late companion in 2014 but might go back to it. I don't know how closely related Morning Phase was to the lost tapes from that period.

Quote
Pitchfork: As far as your songwriting, Sea Change really sticks out to me as being different and more straightforward than anything else, and you haven't really returned to that style since.

B: There are a couple of reasons why I didn't go right back to that. It was a scary record to put out in that it didn't have any of the other stylistic aspects or tropes or devices that had set my other records apart. It was so straight ahead and all about the songwriting; I wanted to have something that could've made sense in any decade.

When Sea Change was coming out, I felt like those songs were sketches for something that were a little bit more evolved in that direction. I mean, there are songs on Sea Change that I wrote when I was 19. So, after finishing that record, I'd written about 35 more songs in that vein, and had solo demos of them all on these tapes in a suitcase. Around that time, I was doing a solo tour and the suitcase got left backstage in D.C. I was never able to retrieve those songs, which I thought were so much better than Sea Change. Anyone could have those songs; somebody has them. [laughs] I don't want to name any names, but I thought I recognized a few of those songs over the years!

But I was so disheartened by that, and felt bereft of these two years of songwriting that I had done. Those were songs I worked particularly hard on, and I felt like I really had something with them. I could remember the music to about three or four of them, and a couple lines here or there, but most of them were just on those tapes. They were fairly complex songs, and much more involved, technically, on the guitar, than anything I'd done. So, for a year after that, I didn't write any songs. And then I went in with the Dust Brothers to finish what turned out to be Guero, which we'd started in the 90s, and a third or half of those songs had already existed. It took me a while to get back to that [songwriting] territory.
https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/8026-beck-15-years/

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 09:08:22 PM »
Love the film, every time I watch it I forget Mark Ruffalo is in it and am pleasantly surprised and say “Oh, I forgot Mark Ruffalo was in this!”


https://youtu.be/-1tlyGcAHbU

https://youtu.be/tGr7XTB5Ddc

I also like Jay Electronica’s work sampling the soundtrack

shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 09:15:36 PM »
^ This is one of the things I remember being impressed by actually; the whole Mark Ruffalo/Kirsten Dunst secondary tier characters that people forget about. There's already a bunch of complicated stuff going on with the Carrey/Winslet main event, but Kaufman still manages to fit in a strong subplot with a considerable emotional payoff.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 09:22:06 PM »
it's decent and very of its time and i am surprised Gondry hasn't gone on to be what C Nolan became but maybe it is better this way

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2020, 01:54:44 AM »
I mean, it's a romance movie for dudes who aren't the ideal man and alt women, and it hit fairly close to home with me. It's a good illustration of the clase between people who are fairly arty and creative vs those who are structured and a bit repressed. Add in a bit of the manic pixie dream girl trope for good measure, and a nice side plot of the old dude and Elijah Wood being creepy too.

icehaven

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Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2020, 11:28:08 AM »
On paper I should have loved it as I like Jim Carrey, had enjoyed a lot of Gondry's other stuff and I'm a sucker for anything set in reality but with a slightly surreal/fantastical premise like being able to have memories wiped, but I just couldn't get on board with it and it left me strangely depressed. I certainly don't need every film I watch to be 'feelgood' or anything, far from it, but I found there was a sad futility to it that I'd usually have appreciated but it just made me feel, well, sad and futile. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood that day, it's been many years since I saw it so I could give it a rewatch, see if time and different vapours change my mind.

May partly have been too because Carrey was everything he usually isn't so it was almost like watching someone who looks just like him trying to deflect attention from the resemblance by behaving as differently as possible. Not that I think he should just stick to clowning by any means, I prefer the happy medium stuff like Truman Show or Cable Guy, but this just felt a bit like seeing your funny, charismatic friend suddenly and inexplicably all downbeat and introverted, as if something horrible has happened to them. I get that that's just my own selfish notion though because Carrey films usually cheer me up and this did the opposite, I really should give it another shot.

Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2020, 12:53:22 PM »
Might be due a rewatch of this, haven't seen it since it first came out but I remember liking it. I think a lot of Jim Carrey fans were disappointed that it wasn't his usual schtick. I recall a co-worker coming in fuming that he'd wasted two hours of his life/$10 on it expecting some rubber-faced madcap laughs and instead getting some "depressing bullshit".

ZoyzaSorris

  • Brimming with innards
Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2020, 01:04:00 PM »
I thought it was definitely good but not an ideal cosy valentines-day-in watch which was my viewing context.

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2020, 03:46:23 PM »
Coincidentally watched it a few weeks ago for the first time since it came out.  I enjoyed it a lot when I first saw it (as a 25 year old) and was fully expecting the 41 year old me to absolutely hate it (especially as I've not particularly enjoyed anything Gondry has done since [entirely possible that he hasn't either given that he's pretty much gone back to shorts and music videos exclusively], likewise Charlie Kaufman - I think Synecdoche [which I know is a CaB fave] is the most annoyingly pretentious mainstream film I've ever seen), but I think it actually holds up really well and it hit as much of an emotional chord with me as it did when I was younger, albeit in a different way as a now-older man.  Carrey is absolutely superb in it - as good as Truman Show and Man On the Moon are, they still have a large element of Carrey showmanship in his performance (for obvious required reasons), whereas Spotless Mind just needs him to be a real normal person.  It's a REALLY good ensemble cast too - I don't think there are any mis-steps at all there - and the way in which the film regularly skews how the viewer sees them morally is still well done.  It also doesn't outstay its welcome - a tight hour and three quarters that doesn't muck about either end of the story.

I don't know if I'd give it "modern masterpiece" (it's still too recent for that in my opinion), but I think it's one that will definitely live up to further repeated viewings.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 05:15:26 PM by Shit Good Nose »

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