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I ♥ Huckabees (2004)

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opus   

Just got back from a morning screening, and it's a lot of fun - at times, perhaps a little goofy for its themes to carry a whole lot of weight, but still a very enjoyable film. Right now, however, I'm still reeling from the performances. The entire cast is superb (this is probably the goofiest that Hoffman has been in a long time and Tomlin has her moments), but Mark Wahlberg is absolutely amazing. Hopefully, this will be the role that starts getting him a lot more notice.

I can't wait to see what others on here think of the film...

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Can't wait to see this one. The trailer looks rather Wes Andersonian in its tone-- the presence of Jason Schwartzman certainly adds to that-- which is always a good thing in my book.

And Mark Wahlberg? Amazing? That's, um, generally not the adjective I use to describe him. Very curious indeed...

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opus   

There's a definite Wes Anderson feel to it, but the script is very Kaufman-esque. And yeah, I can't believe I called Wahlberg's performance "amazing" either, but it really is.

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Bethany   

I somehow didn't realize that Isabelle Huppert is in this movie until I saw the trailer recently. I've never seen her in an American movie, so it should be interesting.

We'll see if this film ever hits theatres in Lincoln. dry.gif

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opus   

Todd just posted his review on Twitch...

We'll see if this film ever hits theatres in Lincoln.

Come on Ross Theatre... don't fail us now!

Edited by opus

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Bethany wrote:

: I somehow didn't realize that Isabelle Huppert is in this movie until I saw the

: trailer recently. I've never seen her in an American movie . . .

First film I ever saw her in was The Bedroom Window (1987), a Hitchcockian thriller in which she shares a nude bed scene with -- shiver -- Steve Guttenberg. (Like, we see his butt and everything!) (Oh, interesting, I just looked up that film's IMDB page, and apparently it was directed by Curtis Hanson, who went on to direct L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile and Wonder Boys. And before this, he had directed Losin' It, the film in which Tom Cruise, still boasting his baby fat, wanders around all night looking for sex but not getting any -- kind of like Eyes Wide Shut, but 16 years earlier -- before he finally hooks up with Shelley Long, I think.)

The next film I saw her in was Hal Hartley's Amateur (1994). I think the first non-American film I saw her in was The School of Flesh (1998).

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Bethany   
Bethany wrote:

: I somehow didn't realize that Isabelle Huppert is in this movie until I saw the

: trailer recently. I've never seen her in an American movie . . .

First film I ever saw her in was The Bedroom Window (1987), a Hitchcockian thriller in which she shares a nude bed scene with -- shiver -- Steve Guttenberg. (Like, we see his butt and everything!) (Oh, interesting, I just looked up that film's IMDB page, and apparently it was directed by Curtis Hanson, who went on to direct L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile and Wonder Boys. And before this, he had directed Losin' It, the film in which Tom Cruise, still boasting his baby fat, wanders around all night looking for sex but not getting any -- kind of like Eyes Wide Shut, but 16 years earlier -- before he finally hooks up with Shelley Long, I think.)

The next film I saw her in was Hal Hartley's Amateur (1994). I think the first non-American film I saw her in was The School of Flesh (1998).

I've only seen her in 8 Femmes, Entre Nous (which imdb is calling Coup de foudre) , La Ceremonie, and La Pianiste.

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The trailer looks rather Wes Andersonian in its tone-- the presence of Jason Schwartzman certainly adds to that-- which is always a good thing in my book.

It's much more Paul Thomas Anderson-meets-Charlie Kaufman... and ultimately less substantial than either one of them. I can't think of a film that more succinctly defines the contemporary existentialism, the spirituality-without-consequences, that dominates popular culture. In this film, the greatest evil is hypocrisy, and who are the film's prime examples of hypocrites? A conservative Christian family, of course, who respond sharply that "curiosity" is evil. Then it affirms those who don't adhere strictly to ANY kind of conviction except a wishy-washy "we're all connected" kind of belief. Anybody behaving nihilistically isn't wrong to do so... they're just at a "learning stage" in their development, so who are we to judge them?

This movie will encourage people to feel good about themselves in whatever situation they're in. But it won't have much to say to those who have been severely hurt by wrongdoing, except "sympathize with your enemy and everything will be fine." Is that Russell's perspective on Islamic Extremism? "They're just like us--we have our own times of irrational anger, so we shouldn't get in the way of theirs." I wonder what Russell would say about something like the emergency situation in Africa. "Oh, well, they're just like us, so what are they worried about? We're happy, aren't we?"

I laughed and had a good time with the performances--everything opus said is true, Wahlberg's performance is the standout here, although I was also more impressed by Jude Law than I usually am--but the conclusion left me feeling rather hollow.

B-

P.S. The more I think about it, this film is just "Flirting with Disaster" all over again, only a lot less funny. The main character, instead of looking for his true family, is looking for meaning. Instead of taking a tour of families that might be his, bonding, and then being disappointed by them, he takes a tour of philosophies, reaps their benefits, gets disappointed by them, and moves on. And the moral is, "We're all one happy family, really, when you think about it." Or, "All of these perspectives are true... you just have to have them in combination instead of separately."

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twitch   

It's very buddhist, I thought. Schwartzman and Jude Law are an obvious yin-yang setup as are the Hoffman/Tomlin combo with Huppert. It seems light because there's very little in the way of actual plot - I haven't seen a film as purely idea driven as this in AGES - but I'm pretty sure there's a good amount there to unpack. I need to see it again ...

The Kaufman influence is DEFINTELY there, as are the good Andersons (Wes and p.t.) along with a bit of Jonez, Gondry and I'd even say some Woody Allen.

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Alvy   

I saw the trailer, and it looks like a lot of fun, although admittedly trailers are hardly a consistently reliable indicator.

Wahlberg sounds just like Elliot Gould. And Jude Law must be one of the few Englishmen who can do a really convincing American accent. (Gives me an idea for a thread, actually.)

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opus   

So... how does he really feel? blink.gif

The Royal Tenenbaums and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the same sentence/category as Hudson Hawk and House of 1000 Corpses?!? Talk about your blanket statements.

His statements are entertaining, amusing even, but he's so vehement in decrying these "new hack" movies that I find it hard to take his arguments seriously.

Edited by opus

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His statements are entertaining, amusing even, but he's so vehement in decrying these "new hack" movies that I find it hard to take his arguments seriously.

Me too, but I'm trying to figure out why he'd single out Payne as a standout. Odd choice, although I very much have liked Payne's work and am looking forward to his upcoming film. That said, the two Andersons are clearly great filmmakers, and Kaufman/Jonze are difficult to dismiss, even if you don't like certain of their films.

It's always amusing to watch the "old guard" critics wrestle with the newer directors. Reed's dismissal is predictable, but in some cases, I can see his point.

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Visigoth   

So opus. . . how does the humor measure up to the existential humor of "Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead" ? ? ?

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opus   

So opus. . .  how does the humor measure up to the existential humor of "Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead" ? ? ?

Alas, I can't say. I've never seen Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. Sorry.

Edited by opus

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Since they didn't use the photo, I'll have to add it to my Web site tonight, so you can see the larger version of it.

Also, they haven't yet posted a SPECIFIC link to the full transcript of the interview that's up at my Web site. And there's no clue at Looking Closer how to get to it yet, so CLICK HERE and you'll get to it.

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SDG   

Great review Jeffrey, and great interview. Love the moment where you consider answering his question about the pejorative portrayal of Christians, then turn it back on him and get him to say "You're right." Great on-your-feet thinking.

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Anders   

Wow, that was quite the interview. Wonderful, engaging stuff Jeffrey.

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Diane   

Agreed. Fabulous interview, Jeffrey.

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