Directed By: Spike Jonze
Written By: Charlie Kaufman, Susan Orlean
This is an interesting movie, interesting in a peculiar way. In that peculiar way it may be one of the most interesting films I have ever seen. The story is so unique, so different and original, being very well made doesn’t hurt either. The way the story changes when Donald joins his brother writing his script is very clever. Apparently this film has fooled many by its format because while it appears to be nonfictional at times it isn’t, just a really wild idea that works like magic. Donald Kaufman does not exist, nevertheless he was still nominated for an Academy Award along with his brother Charlie. This is a movie that was so good that even a fictional character from the story got nominated for an oscar. Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and the “Kaufmans” were all nominated for this film but only Cooper won. I don’t know why Spike Jonze was shunned, but I don’t think his lack of a nomination really matters, he made a great film. Nicolas Cage is fantastic in this movie. He may make a lot of stupid movies, but for every other dumb movie he makes he makes one worth remembering. Meryl Streep is a great actress and she makes an incredible transition throughout the film. I have never really cared for Chris Cooper, but he is a great actor. Of all the roles he has played this is the one I actually like.
At a glance this looks like a movie that you would never want to watch. It’s about a guy writing a screenplay based on a book about flowers. In hindsight I don’t really know what it was that got me to watch this movie for the first time. It is a surprising movie, and whatever the reason I’m glad I did. It’s a smart and clever movie, I immediately fell in love with it and remember thinking Charlie Kaufman was a mad genius. I credit Kaufman and not Jonze because while I like Jonze I will always associate him mainly with that damn Fatboy Slim video “Praise You.” That video was the annoying song of the month that MTV chose to wear out 1998, and I just thought those people dancing in the mall were so weird. I don’t know if I still consider Kaufman a genius but he was thinking at genius level when he wrote this screenplay, and I hope that sometime in the future he can again show us something this exciting. This movie is more than worth your time and if you give it a chance you will see what I mean.
This is one of my favorite films on the movie rack. I am a huge fan of weird and twisted movies that are way outside of the norm. I feel like I can relate to the people in this world that find themselves weird and insociable. On most occasions, I feel myself forcing through conversations with people just because I am am an awkward person. Charlie Kauffman in this film (who is played by the great Nicholas Cage, not taking into account his latest run-ins with the law) is a crazy, mad scientist screenplay writer and we get to hear his inner monologue the entirety of the film. Through this I feel like we understand the agony he feels over writing this screenplay. He even thinks to himself, “Why did I choose to write a movie about flowers?” He eventually learns that he must add in some character change, some drama.
Meryl Streep is another person that is fantastic in this movie. Recently, I have begun to really take an interest in her. I haven’t ever had anything against her per-say, but recently she has impressed me with her roles. In this one she is the character change. We see her in the beginning as this straight-laced New York writer and she spends her nights over wine with her friends poking fun at the redneck that cultivates flowers. She eventually becomes entangled in the story and search for the Ghost Orchid and through this she changes and becomes someone different.
If you can let your mind go while you watch this and let it take you on ride of the story you will love it. It isn’t for everyone, but it has my vote.
NEXT MOVIE: Airheads (1994)