#18: Being John Malkovich — dir. Spike Jonze
I cannot express how much I loved this movie when I first saw it. Life changing. Charlie Kaufman is a god among men. Pretty much when he cannonballed on the scene, he changed the way I thought about films. I aspire to be Charlie Kaufman and Kevin Smith as I grow as an author.
Just the audacity of this film though. A failed puppeteer finds a doorway that leads into John Malkovich’s head for 15 minutes. That is what the film is about. And then it just blows every philosophical stream of that outwards. How does love work? What is the philosophical morals of controlling another human? What happens if the man goes through the portal into his own head? Celebrity culture — all of it. Jonze and Kaufman are more potent a combo to me than Kaufman and Gondry. Spike Jonze is the more punky fun dreamer than Gondry’s fun whimsical dreamer. It’s why I would have rather seen Spike Jonze do something like Be Kind Rewind.
While I love me a great action sequence, I’m a sucker for a film that makes you ponder. That has a little shoegaze to it — the emo kind of loneliness. Just a little, though. Kaufman’s script could have been dreary as fuck. But Jonze never lets that happen. He makes fun of that. He makes fun WITH that.