May 16th, 2005

Sgt. Redbeard

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This weekend's DVD offering. I had resisted seeing this picture because of the title. I'm not exactly sure what a spotless mind is, but it sounded like it might have something to do with using Pine Sol to perform a lobotoby. And the concept that a vacant mind is a mind filled with sunshine did not appeal at all.

And then I found it was starring Kate Winslet. Saw her in Titanic, and expected her career to go down with that ship. She tried very hard to only be in roles which required no acting skill, but the along came Finding Neverland (see my review here and suddenly there was hope.

I'd always liked Jim Carrey, though he's too often way over the top. And I was curious to see Elijah Wood without hair on his feet.

The movie starts with Carrey's character (Joel) impulsively grabbing the train to Montauk, instead of the one going to Manhattan. He sees a woman (Winslet) on the beach. She keeps popping up and is on the train he takes back home. Her name is Clementine. She pushes herself on him, and the next thing we know she's grabbing her toothbrush and going over to his place.

Next we see Joel in tears, he drives to friends, one of whom shows him a note from some company telling them Clementine has had her memories of Joel erased, and to never mention her to him again.

At this point I have a very strong feeling of deja vu, coupled with "boy did I miss the boat". About 15 years ago I wrote a sci fi story Erasing Maxine which had the same idea. It was rejected by all the magazines I sent it to. In my story, which was based on something which actually happened to me, a long-time friend named Maxine and I had gone to Vegas on a 2-for-1 deal, Maxine had totally freaked out on me there, and I left in the middle of the night, took the next plane home, and had to take the bus and walk a mile to get to my apartment (she had driven us to the airport). That's when I went to have all my memories of her erased. Which is when I hear her in the next room, having me erased.

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, when Joel confirms Clementine has actually done this, he has them erase his memories of her as well.

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Elijah wood plays a wimpy young assistant technician at the memory clinic, who falls for Clementine when they erase her, and he tries to use Joel's lines to win her heart. He is horribly mis-directed. The role needed someone who appeared crafty and ruthless, not someone who came across as a doormat. His Frodo character would have been a good fit here, I don't know why the director pushed him into the wimp mold.

Another mis-direct was the head techie, Frank, played by Mark Ruffalo. In real life Mark is a handsome guy, and having Dunst as his girlfriend would have made sense. But instead they geek him up, hit him with the Ugly Stick, and make that relationship unbelievable.

I have to say the movie takes my rejected story idea and fleshes it out into something which works well. There is some silliness involving the Incredible Shrinking Joel, and the chase-through-the-brain-map sequence was too long for my taste, but all in all it's a pretty good movie.

They kept Carrey from going over the top, actually made him a socially inept shy person, and somewhere Winslet has learned to act. Maybe. Throughout the movie I couldn't shake the feeling I was watching Madonna play that role. Madonna as she was in Desperately Seeking Susan only with the acting talent she aquired by the time Evita came along. Bottom line is Kate done good.
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Nutrition Class Week II

Another mostly wasted session. Heavy on the psychology and the need for support. I have nothing in common with these people. They all have families, all but one are women, none are diabetic.

The fattest woman in the class says she has to hide the sweets from her diabetic husband by keeping them in her car. Her kids don't like that because the chocolate melts. She doesn't get it that she should be hiding the sweets from herself.

Another woman, who could not be more than 15 lbs overweight, says her husband has ice cream three times a day, and doesn't gain weight. She says the fact that the ice cream is in the house is why she eats it. He won't eat the low-fat, low-calorie type. I suggested she buy her own, and they have his and her ice cream. "You don't wear his clothes," I said, "you don't have to eat his ice cream". She got the point, but it sounds like she'll just put his ice cream in the outdoor freezer.

The assignment for this week was to keep a 2-day diary of what we ate, when, with whom, and what mood we were in when we ate it. I didn't do it, because I'm on a food plan, I know that I'm eating correctly, I almost always eat alone, and mood has nothihg to do with food for me. I eat when it's time to eat, not because I'm having a "bad hair day" (or in my case a "no hair day"). If I'm angry about something or depressed or bored, I'll take it out on my piano.

I do have to set aside time to exercise, but we didn't cover that today.

She did say two things which make me wonder. First is she thinks butter is better than margerine in a diet food plan. The second is that aspartame is a chemical, so it's not as good for you as raw sugar (she used molases as an example). I'll have to do some research, but both of these statements sound very wrong to me.

And I guess she broke my heart by telling us not only does she have a boyfriend, he has a wine cellar with more than 800 bottles. Who can compete with that? Imagine what Spin The Bottle would be like at his place...
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