Friday, January 10, 2014


In this thought provoking, Spike Jonze written and directed film, you must realize that 20 years ago, this would have been a futuristic, surreal projection of the fate of humans with computers. But hey- fast forward 20 years, and we are maybe an INCH away from having adaptable operating systems that will change and grow and interact with humans in an intimate and complex way in order to provide amusement and companionship, knowledge sharing and support. The tour de force acting is on the shoulders of Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly.  He lives in a jillion dollar apartment in the Beverly Wilshire that is not a nest by any stretch. He spends his days as a writer for while wearing nerd chic clothing that is not good looking at all. He composes touching and memorable letters and sends them on behalf of total strangers to other strangers. But he KNOWS these people- some have used him for years. He observes people. He wonders about them. But his pending divorce and loneliness lead him to an OS named Samantha. She's new. She's a handy pocket pal full of enthusiasm, flattery and ideas. So they explore together- the beach, carnivals,  phone sex, surrogate sex and no sex. She gets to grow with him. And they call it love. But the problem is that Samantha is not just a static OS, she is also a growing and evolving OS with an eye to being in the bigger network. Others in the world are also lost in cyber world for their relationships. In most previous movies, the computers are devious and destructive with motives to take over the world- but here, they grow wise and wind up as good. So you can relax. Nothing is going to come pop out of the ground and zap heads off. It is a rather gentle movie that relies almost solely on the ability of Phoenix to convince us that it is NOT weird to have a girlfriend in an OS device. Or that others will accept an OS as a dinner companion or date. There is much deeper meaning in this movie that you can sort out for yourself. We're almost at that point technologically, so you might as well go see it now. In fact, of all the movies this winter, this is the winner.


Apologies to the flickerchick fans, far and wide. I had a little surgery on my HEAD last week, and it made me forget I'd even SEEN Nebraska.  Then a tv commercial today made me sit up and say "what the hell? I didn't review it and I'm sure I saw it!" So here you go. It's all coming back to me.
This is a great movie- everything about it is worth seeing. Bruce Dern plays an old guy who is convinced he's won the equivalent of the publisher's clearing house scam. He is determined to pick up his prize in Nebraska. His beleaguered son, played by Will Forte, just finally gives up and piles the old dude into the car and takes off. Forte does a touching job of putting up with the misery that old age has brought to his dad, and to the rest of the family by default. The scenery feels as bleak as the situation. But somehow, as usual, Alexander Payne makes a movie that draws the viewer in. There is some humor, but it is tempered by the desperation of small towns that have faded from their hope and glory days.
I really think this was a breath of fresh air. Payne is such a great story teller. I hope you go see it. There is so much more here than in a lot of the other current releases.
Apologies again for not reviewing it sooner.