Her Ukulele

maxresdefault200I really enjoyed the movie Her. It was about a guy who was in love with the Operating System of his Smart Phone. Things were going really well until she evolved past his capacity. She kind of outgrew him. I looked at IMDB and there were a lot of 1 star reviews. Not surprised that a lot of people hated it. Some people loved it, but over and over again knuckledraggers were slamming it. You know that movie where Charlie Kaufman has a twin brother named Donald? Both of them played by Nicolas Cage? Anyway, Donald wants to be a screenwriter and he finishes the script of the movie, Adaptation, about a screenwriter who is doing an adaptation of a book about orchids–or a guy who is searching in the jungle for a rare orchid. The book isn’t intended to be a movie. It is just the field notes of a botanist and his obsession with a rare orchid. Non-fiction of the driest and dullest kind. Anyway, Donald Kaufman “fixes” the script by throwing in a car chase, an explosion, a fist fight. Charlie Kaufman was in a real quandary, not knowing how the darn thing was going to end. So, Donald cuts to the chase, both figuratively and literally. To add insult to injury, and really pour salt in the wound, he also says this. Not sure if he does actually say it, but he did pour salt into Charlie’s wound. He was wounded in the fist fight, or the explosion, or maybe he was when the car crashed after the car chase? This didn’t happen, of course. Obviously, I was trying to be bitterly ironic. Because it might as well have happened. I mean, this movie starred Meryl Streep AND Nicolas Cage. In the same movie. So, someone really wanted to take this metaphor as far as they could and stretch it–push the envelope. In the last scene, Donald Kaufman takes out an envelope and pushes it over to Charlie. With the finished script. You’re welcome. Oh, yeah. Of course not really–but just about that heavy handed.

You take a movie like Ghost Rider, now that one was a very bad Nicolas Cage movie. But it was so bad that it was good. I don’t know where I’m going with this. But, Nicolas Cage did win a well deserved Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas. And Streep must have won an Oscar for something, but she has also been nominated and lost numerous times! Charlie Kaufman also wrote Being John Malkovich. And that movie, like Her, was directed by–wait for it–Spike Jonze! And so the catharsis is complete. Oh, yeah.

So a lot of knuckledraggers didn’t like Her. But what do they know? They would say that Donald Kaufman was a better writer than Charlie. And Donald is an out-and-out hack. Cut to the chase. Her says a lot about how we are so caught up with our stupid smart phones and distracted. We have short attention spans and can’t read a book or watch a deep movie like Her that doesn’t have any car chases, fist fights, or explosions. And we spend so much time staring at the screens of our stupid smart phones. Like, there’s a sunset right there! A gorgeous sunset. But you can’t be bothered to look up from your phone because you’re looking at someone’s lunch that they posted on Instagram. And you know what? Instagram takes too long. To load the pictures. Instagram is such a misnomer. Why do I click on them and then end up sitting there like a chump, waiting to see the image? A tiny, tiny, blurry image that takes forever to load? Because we’re addicted. And then you feel like the prophet Jeremiah warning Israel to change her evil ways. On some kind of a screed. Or a Jeremiad. Waving your shillelagh on your front porch in your ratty bathrobe at the kids doing donuts on your front lawn with their Schwinn stingrays. And you are the Boo Radley of your neighborhood now. You are also like a Cassandra, making your accurate predictions that no one will believe.

Scarlett Johansson was the voice of Samantha, the Operating System. Coincidentally, my cat is also named Samantha, and Scarlett Johansson does her voice as well. Scarlett really stole the show, even though she was but a mere disembodied voice. Kind of a Tour de France like when an actress plays a mute and has to convey all her emotion with body language and facial expressions, but in reverse. Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Amy Adams are also in Her. And Chris Pratt. Alyson Dee Moore and John Roesch were the Foley Artists. I keep track of Foley Artists, and it is my everlasting dream to break into Hollywood as a Foley Artist, and be the first Foley Artist to have his footprints cast in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Arcade Fire did most of the music, and there was a song that director Spike Jonze and Karen O did called “The Moon Song.” The OST album is dreamy and atmospheric–with some music ostensibly composed by an OS.

Her was filmed in Shanghai, which is the City of the Future, kind of exciting and bland at the same time. Smog gives everything a grey and dismal cast, or maybe that was just a filter or lighting effect? The fashion looks strange  but familiar–like, who knew waists would rise so high on men’s trousers anyway? Her is a dystopia, but kind of a subtle and nuanced dystopia. We are disconnected from human emotions–disconnected from each other. This is happening to us so gradually that we don’t realize it. Have the waists of the trousers gotten so high? They look ridiculous. But we’re like frogs in a pot of water gradually heated so we never grow alarmed enough to hop away.

And so we are boiled.

Anyway, I only wrote this blog post so I could try out a new image in my gallery that I resized to 200 pixels. 200 pixels is how wide I make the pictures to fit in the blog columns, but they are usually much bigger. What if I just opened it in Photoshop first and made it 200 pixels to begin with? Eliminate the digital middleman. Save a step. It is a picture of Joaquin Phoenix in Her playing the ukulele.

One comment on “Her Ukulele

  1. “Her” held my interest, but I can’t say that I was much moved by it. Joaquin Phoenix excellent at playing a bland doofus, and Scarlett Johansson (who has entirely too many letters in her name) did her usual stellar work. But in the end, it’s still a movie about a bland doofus having a two-hour conversation with an operating system about, well, not very much. Of course it’s a story of doomed love, but it’s a love I never felt, or even believed. And although you call it a “deep movie,” I would have preferred a lot more of “My Dinner with Andre” in the script.

    As for your review, there’s not much of the review about it, and it’s written the way you talk when you’re jacked up on caffeine: death by free association. Which I would find more forgivable, conceivably even amusing, if you were free associating to things I’m actually interested in or had ever heard of. I know that you can write focused pieces; I have no idea why you don’t do that instead of this. It’s like being deliberately boring, while saying, “I know this is boring, but…,” or John Cage giving us about five minutes of silence. This knuckledragger was not amused.

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