My Problems With Noah: When Mysticism Pivots to Melodrama (Spoilers)

***SPOILERS, OF COURSE***

The first hour of “Noah” is quite something. It’s a biblical story being pulled off as a fantasy/mystical epic. This, essentially, has not been done before, for when you look at the history of religious films they are firmly grounded in reality – which creates the great religious / non-religious divide. If Jesus is played, for better or worse, as an example of man’s inhumanity to man (God’s son in this case), then you have a whole section of people who will reject it, simply because they weren’t inhumane and they don’t particularly find relevance in a 2,000 year-old murder.

Now lookit, when you’re talking religion you’re bound to make someone angry, on both sides, for saying or not saying what they fundamentally, on a basic level, agree or disagree with. So I’m not going to get into that noise, because it’s my nature to NOT offend, to be curious about all people’s views, and to generally live a life of contemplation. So if I do offend, at least accept that it comes from a place of trying to be a good guy. Caveat and equivocation complete.

Back to “Noah”. We all basically know the story, the bare minimum, a flood, animals, God talking (or inspiring) certain actions to cleanse the world. Fair enough so far as all that goes. Director Darren Aronofsky lays out a mystical realism (this is before going for a soap opera “realism”) that does REALLY well to make Noah, the man, relevant. The world of “Noah”, so far as it goes, does need to have some serious Chhh-chhhh-chhhh-aaanges (David Bowie style). And Noah the earnest is a worthy dude to bring the funk on this cause. The fact that they try to make him an action star, complete with “Bourne”-style fighting, is preposterous, but it makes perfect sense in the Hollywood world we find ourselves in. I don’t blame anyone there, though I did roll my eyes.

60 minutes in, everything was really working. It had a lot of “The Fountain” in there, you had plants sprouting on their own, rock angels (physical, not musical) helping out, new rivers hitting the ground running to tell the animals to come on home to the arc. Then, the realism gets mixed into the stew, for the betterment of the film, showing Noah and Co. (my new moving company, slogan: “We won’t take 40 days!”) helping the animals drift off to sleep with some smoke concoction that looks suspiciously like the smoke they shake around in Catholic masses (neither here not there, just an aside to prove I’ve been to mass). The animals sleep and don’t eat each other, and “Creator magic” + “logical explanation” are working well in symbiosis. NO PROBLEMO.

NoahSnakes

Then, well, then it gets pretty damn stupid all over the place. The film had been pretty unsubtle about the good vs. evil angle, which isn’t a stretch given the Old Testament vibe we’ve got going on here, but it’s taken to its logical extreme. The bad humans are so so sooooo bad. They are stowing away, they are raping, they are EATING each other. I mean, these are the type of people you wouldn’t exactly invite out to brunch (unless you want to be on the menu). This IS a problem, because now we’re back in the movie world / and storytelling style of non-complexity. There’s simply nothing to think about past, “that guy is a jerk. I hope he loses”. Which, you know, is boring as all get-out. The notes needed to be played slightly less, it’s got to be done more subtly, because it completely undermines Noah’s decision. ANYONE would flush these bad guys down the Earth’s toilet, they are the worst. But the tension of the piece is that Noah should be conflicted. Instead, “Noah” transfers the tension to another angle, and that angle becomes preposterous, and the majesty of the film is slowly drained.

Because the tension is transferred from the choice of killing all, to the choice of killing of newborns. Noah gets it in his head that he’s supposed to let humanity die off, because God hasn’t told him any different. Here’s the first issue – God sent him a message about the flood, and sent him trees and animals to re-stock the planet, but it felt to me like his message on Noah’s particular family was rather non-existent. So Noah figuring, “Well, that means we gotta go …” is a stretch. Still, even this would have been forgivable if they’d simply explored the most fascinating idea presented in the film. I’ll just throw it out there, because I noticed it immediately (and was somewhat shocked, because it’s almost never discussed).

**Most of the world’s violence comes from people’s self-interest regarding their own progeny.**

NoahFamily

This is a massive idea that no one is super happy to get into. Almost everyone would, if pushed hard enough, kill for their family. Almost no one would “turn the other cheek” (which is why the Jesus story still resonates, it’s wildly and aggressively different). The “bad” people would kill, and Noah would kill, and Jennifer Connelly admits as such in a private conversation. This is man’s great failing, our protector-killer mentality for the things that are truly important. I’m not saying I’m better than this, heck, I’d go to war for my dog, but if you truly look at this view it’s completely illogical. If I will kill for mine, and you for yours, then some people are eventually gonna end up dead.

We don’t see “humans” as things that require the ultimate sacrifice, we see “our” humans as worthy of that. We are all blinded by our own self-interest. We can’t rise above it, though I’ll admit we’ve made inroads, look no further than all the alien invasion movies where we all are bound together in logical self-interest. But the point is, if we’re all willing to kill for our kids like Lions, then no one is any better than anyone else. There can be no emotional evolution.

This is tossed aside rather quickly as Noah makes the EXACT same choice the “bad guys” were all about. Noah drowns everyone, saves his kids, saves his grandkids, and calls it good. “Hey bud,” the movie says, “Noah was chosen by God and that’s that”. Which is the exact same reason we currently have about every war going. My side was chosen by God. So was yours. Let’s kill each other over it. Noah, in the end, is the same dude shopping at the store with you, his exceptionalism crushed beneath a wave of hypocrisy. Noah flat out lets an innocent girl die to save his son. Sure, he feels awful about it later, but that’s the road of every conquering jerk ever. “Sorry about all the dead people, but my son is in charge now.” Boom.

NoahTough

Of course narratively, Noah letting his family die off was never going to fly, Hollywood or no. I get that. But he could have owned the choice. It didn’t have to be this hand-wringing nonsense that was always going to end a certain way. “Noah” spends a good hour trying to get into a paradigm of “You think this guy might murder his grandkids as soon as they are born? Maaaaaybee!” when of course that’s not a tension point at all. There’s nothing remotely difficult to predict in that situation.

It didn’t have to be like this, and they completely jettison the 1) Best idea and the 2) Majesty of the creator. In the end, God isn’t smiting folks, or actively helping to save the innocent, he’s just letting Noah get on it, and Noah is f***ing it up, human-style. The very thing that made God decide to flood the world is what Noah is on about for the entire last hour. Which is a fundamental flaw. Noah got to where he got by God’s doing, but then it’s all about Noah making sucky choices. You can’t have it both ways here. You can have God intercede, and then Noah live up to that blessing, or you can have God take care of everything. You can’t, with any internal logic whatsoever, have Noah plotting infanticide and letting innocents die (both active and passive jerk-hood).

NoahFinale

This is where Noah misses a huge opportunity, if not on the huge “progeny war” question, then at least on a chance to make a movie that amazed both religious and non-religious folks. The film pivots toward normalacy, and suffers greatly for it. Unlike every other Darren Aronofsky film it provides no mystery, no momentum as it nears the end, puttering out in a pool of Noah’s own inadequacies. He couldn’t make the tough call, and he agonized over the easy one. He let innocents die while furthering the ambitions of his own. He was a flawed man, killing other flawed men, or what we today know as “the world”. Which doesn’t so much require a movie as it does a sad dismissive shrug and a shake of the head. In the world of violence and self-interest, we’re all drowning, little by little, in our own inability to grow.

Need for Speed: The Most Egregiously Stupid Logic Problems (Spoilers for a Movie No One Will See)

It’s been a looooooong time since Laremy.com has seen some love, so here’s a couple of quick (idiotic) things I noticed while seeing “Need for Speed” last night.

Note: In good conscious, I assume no one will see this movie. But if you actually plan to, and you’ve also somehow stumbled upon this site, well then don’t read, spoilers are a’ coming. How did you get here in the first place?

Hello. I am very confused, as you can see by my facial expression.

Hello. I am very confused, as you can see by my facial expression.

1) Mt. Kisco
Idyllic Mt. Kisco, home to 10,000 hearty souls, has enough of an underground economy to support a $5k illegal street race PLUS a garage that works solely on modifying cars. Okay, okay, it’s only a couple hours from New York City, so you could say, “But Laremy, there’s a BILLION people close to there” – but then why wouldn’t you just head to a NYC body shop? Why Mt. Kisco, other than the fact they need a small town idiot?

2) The Bank Wants to Foreclose … on a Shanty.
The Marshall Motors Garage exists on a plot of land around nothing. In a town (again, I’m harping) of 10k people. The rent there could NOT be above $2,000 a month. $2,500 if you’re pushing it, based on the average house price of $450k. Sooo, when the fellas win a $5,000 drag race, why wouldn’t that help with the imminent foreclosure? “Need for Speed” wants it both ways. It wants a town large enough where there’s a racing community, but small enough where main character knows the banker, big enough to support a mechanic who specializes in speedy racers, but small enough to where everyone knows everyone. All of this could have been fixed with like four minutes of re-writes.

3) When Your Boyfriend Kills Your Little Brother
First off, what kind of silly villain KILLS his fiancee’s little brother? That’s beyond the pale. But Dino gets into a race with main character and kid brother, and as he’s losing decides to flip the kid into the river, on fire. Sure, no problem. Then he just drives the hell away, leaving main character (you’ll notice I don’t remember his name. That’s because it’s been about 45 minutes since I saw the film and the main character is as non-descript as it gets) to take the rap. Main character does the time, but as he’s being grilled he mentions that, you know, DINO DID THE CRIME. The cops don’t have Dino at the scene, or even a third car, because the HUNDREDS of people the three cars passed on the freeway couldn’t count to three.

Dino, Main Character, and Kid Brother go racing down the freeway at 200mph, but only Main Character is alleged to be there. Then the cops drop the bomb that Dino reported the cars stolen right before the race. How/When/Why the hell did he do that? The other backstory is that Main Character used to date Kid Brother’s sister. Why then can he not go to her and be all, “Hey, your man killed your brother. Not me. I’m not making this up.” That wouldn’t have any effect? At all? No one would notice that the paint marks on the car didn’t match up to main character (which is EXACTLY how they implicate Dino later)? Not in the world of “Need for Speed”, no. Too much needin’ of speedin’ to worry about.

Hold on, I'm sending you a telegram.

Hold on, I’m sending you a telegram.

4) The Guys Have the Most Advanced Tech in the World, but Not Bluetooth
Nothing is more hilarious than seeing the fanciest cars and best drivers in the world holding their phone. And I know why they did it, it’s because they had Blonde Girl Supporting Character sleeping in the passenger seat (but guess what, she WAS LISTENING!!!) and so theoretically BlueTooth hands free would have taken away that choice. But the other guy is using his hands too! And it’s not so much that this is illegal, because the guys flout the law constantly, no, my problem is that no real driver would want to lose that much control of his very special car. Yes, this is a nitpick, but indicative of the numerous details overlooked.

5) 45 Hours to Cali
Why is the car Main Character procures dropped off in the New York State when all the guys know the race is in Cali? The car is coming from England. Just ship it right to Cali. Why must he drive like a crazy person to even make the race? Where are the planning and organization skills from the people who could afford to loan a $2.7 million dollar car?

6) Getting Folks Fired
One of the more amusing sidenotes to this racing movie is the air support. Now, I liked a guy in a plane or helicopter because it actually gave some credence to the idea these guys could evade the police. But there’s a scene where Pilot’s friend let’s him borrow a traffic chopper, during work hours, wherein the Pilot provides support to 1) police evasion and 2) scoping women’s bodies with the traffic cam as they go live to him. Now then, I’m no HR guy, but I’m pretty sure if you lent your chopper to a friend your place of employment would frown upon this. So what sort of friend borrows your ride to get you super fired (and potentially sued)?

7) Snooping
Later in the film, Former Girlfriend decides to look into Dino’s bidness to see if he’s really completely innocent of her brother’s death. She clicks a few files and VIOLA, he’s not! Thank God she looked at such a crucial time in the story! And seriously, it’s like three clicks, located under “Dino’s Personal Expenses”. She didn’t look there before because she’d been using Etsy to look for cool berets. Anyway, she finds the car Dino killed Kid Brother with and the jig should be up, right? Yes?

But Then …

8) Desperate Times
She gives the car to Main Character to race! Yep, the car that killed his best friend is the very one he’ll be rocking in our big finale. Doesn’t that seem macabre? Who would do that? Why wouldn’t you just go right to the police? Speaking of …

Don't worry about me, I'm just a broken car.

Don’t worry about me, I’m just a broken car.

9) Totaling The Original Car
The rebuilt Shelby Mustang that Main Character and Blonde Girl have raced across the country gets crushed by a semi. $2.7 million worth of car down the drain. And I guess no one is too concerned about it because it never comes up again. They must have had one hell of an insurance policy given they’d broken around 700 laws prior to the accident.

10) Totaling The Original Car #2
Main Character gets hit by a semi pulling out of a parking lot. Because you can definitely evade dozens of police cars and drive on the wrong side of the road for extended periods but also NOT see a 12,000lb semi rolling down on you. Yup.

11) The Prize That’s Not a Prize
The main goal for Main Character is to win the Deleon race and claim the other racer’s cars, worth upwards of $7 million. Only all of the cars get destroyed before the finish line, meaning all he won was an extended trip to prison. Result, scoreboard, YOLO!

Sooooooo other than making no sense at any point, “Need for SpeeD” was pretty solid. I did like most of the racing scenes, but probably because there wasn’t talking or illogical plotting involved. Should I have spent these words instead getting into what I loved about “Grand Budapest Hotel” instead? In hindsight, yes, because come Monday morning no one will remember a thing about “Need for Speed”. Only Laremy.com will sustain a record of it. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Laremy’s Top Tens: 2004-2013

IngloriousBasterds

Each year will be broken down in a post going forward, but here are the lists by themselves for Google / posterity’s sake.

2004 (unpublished)
10. Garden State
9. Hero
8. Team America: World Police
7. Closer
6. Sideways
5. Kill Bill: Vol 2
4. A Very Long Engagement
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. I Heart Huckabees
1. The Life Aquatic

TheLifeAquatic

2005 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
9. King Kong
8. Jarhead
7. Batman Begins
6. The 40 Year-Old Virgin
5. Walk the Line
4. Cinderella Man
3. Grizzly Man
2. Serenity
1. Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown

2006 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. Lucky Number Slevin
9. Winter Passing
8. Mission Impossible 3
7. The Queen
6. World Trade Center
5. Dreamgirls
4. V for Vendetta
3. Bobby
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
1. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

DaveChappellesBlockParty

2007 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
9. Meet the Robinsons
8. Superbad
7. Stardust
6. Once
5. The Kingdom
4. Reign Over Me
3. The Golden Door
2. No Country for Old Men
1. Atonement

Atonement

2008 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. In Bruges
9. Slumdog Millionaire
8. The Wrestler
7. Doubt
6. Tropic Thunder
5. Quantum of Solace
4. Synecdoche, NY
3. We Are Wizards
2. Revolutionary Road
1. The Dark Knight

DarkKnight

2009 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. Away We Go
9. The Brothers Bloom
8. The Hangover
7. 500 Days of Summer
6. Up
5. Sherlock Holmes
4. Star Trek
3. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. In the Loop
1. Inglourious Basterds

InglouriousBasterds

2010 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. Howl
9. Certified Copy
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
7. Get Low
6. The Fighter
5. A Prophet
4. Another Year
3. True Grit
2. 127 Hours
1. Inception

Inception

2011 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. We Need to Talk About Kevin
9. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
8. Attack the Block
7. Bellflower
6. The Artist
5. Ides of March
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
3. The Descendants
2. Like Crazy
1. Drive

Drive

2012 (ORIGINAL LINK)
10. Lincoln
9. Wreck-It Ralph
8. Searching for Sugarman
7. Django Unchained
6. Magic Mike
5. Seven Psychopaths
4. Argo
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
2. Zero Dark Thirty
1. Silver Linings Playbook

SilverLinings

2013
10. The Croods
9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
8. Upstream Color
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
6. Gravity
5. Philomena
4. Beautiful Creatures
3. Side Effects
2. Blue is the Warmest Color
1. Her

Her

She Devil – The Compelling Questions ‘Her’ Presents

Her_Header

Spoilers for “Her”, all over the place.

It’s no secret that we’ve talked about “Her” quite a bit on “B’n'L on Movies”, but I thought it might be fun to go a little more longform with a few of the random things that popped into my head as I watched.

1) Alone All Together.
In the last 10,000 years, ever since agriculture, the nature of human interaction has gone through some dramatic changes, but none more rapid and destabilizing than the past 50 years or so.

Just to shorten those years down to reductive absurdism in order to make a point, more than 10,000 years ago we used to gather together for safety and to hunt, though this naturally limited the size of the grouping (hunting with 1,000 people wouldn’t scale). Still, within these groups, which might have been as large as 100, we were constantly on top of other humans. Communicating, eating, fighting, mating, dying – humanity’s recent history was simply people being banged together by powers much larger than themselves on a minute by minute basis.

Farming changed all this, reversing some trends but expanding others.

First off, all of a sudden, with modern irrigation, animal husbandry, and farming methods came the ability for cities to scale. Cities are a way different proposition because they can grow to as large as resources will allow, and we saw a number of great city-states spring forth from specialization and humans being able to gather together in greater density, without having to worry about hunting and gathering every waking hour. Life spans shot up, but one essential fact remained, you were still around people constantly. Oh maybe they were eventually only rich people (if you were a King or Queen) or only warlike people, or only industrial workers, but you were still besieged, at all times, by masses of humanity. The city, although creating a “safety” net, also made cooperation and harmony of paramount concern, because you can’t very well have hundreds of thousands of people fighting within your city walls all the time.

Her_Looking

Fast forward to now, when farming is so precise and dialed in that many people will never go hungry their entire life. The use of natural resources, for better or worse, has created what would seem to be a paradise to our ancestors, because it’s possible to have “days off”, to “write for money”, to “eat fish and steak in the same meal”. Rapid transport, communication, refrigeration, pasteurization, antibiotics, you name it, there’s been so many rapid advances in the quality of life of the average person (again, within reason, not talking about nations in the midst of a civil war) that we now have almost limitless time to pursue whatever hobby/work/interest we fancy. We watch other people play sports, an evolutionary string from the past to now when we’d all watch the hunt, hoping our team “won” so we could eat that night.

BUT. BUT. BUT.

The average family count has also plunged. Even through the early 1900s, you were almost always surrounded by family members throughout your life. The ties of the village were profound for thousands of years, everyone knew everyone, but the blood ties we all evolved with were even stronger, the one thing you could depend on. Now? Many people wait longer to have kids. Most folks will move around in their lifetimes to new cities, new opportunities. And we all have less kids than everyone used to. The very fabric of society, the “family unit” has shrank from two dozen, to a dozen (mom, dad, kids, aunts, uncles), all the way down to the two or one we see today. You CAN live alone if you choose to, and I’m not making any moral judgments or saying villages were superior, I’m simply getting at the salient notion that things have profoundly changed in how / when / where we interact with fellow humans.

Her_Adams_2

It would be relatively easy for a person to live without seeing anyone else, ever again, provided you lived in a sophisticated enough city. I could order Amazon fresh every week, not have any pets, never get married, and live a life of complete solitude if I desired. This has never been possible before, unless you count the intrepid “undiscovered tribes” or people with the ability to live directly off the land. If money wasn’t an object (quite the “if” I realize), I could live a life completely virtually, downloading books to an e-reader, playing online games with friends, seeing how the world was doing simply by checking out the news or internet. I wouldn’t be self-sustaining, because there’s actually a profound amount of infrastructure in place that allows this level of disconnect (heavily connected in order to disconnect, as it were).

With this, naturally, comes loneliness. People have evolved to be social, which is why the rest of the world exists. The idea of not having family, friends, and social ties would be considered abhorrent to most, and for good reason. People let you know how you’re doing, if you’re loved, they help you when you’re sick or in need. People help people survive and thrive, which is why it’s the greatest of modern ironies that all of our main inventions have been tailored around the idea that it would be best not to depend on anyone else.

Still, think of your life now. When you go out in public, how many people are just looking at their phones? Why has attendance at the theaters (physical, not monetary) and libraries plummeted? Where are the Elks and Lions clubs headed if no one there is under the age of 60? We are now running, faster and faster, toward being our own islands. And this creates a desperate sense of isolation, this yearning for something we can’t quite place.

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, of a husband and wife’s issues, that she felt he was “not enough people”. Just pure math, the more friends and family you have around you, the more secure you feel, the more safety net that’s available, emotionally. There are now seven billion people on the planet, and we’re racing toward ten billion loners. Twombley is a person adrift, checking emails, writing letters for other people, chatting up sex lines where someone likes dead cats. He’s completely isolated and alienated from the world, but the world has allowed him to be just that. It’s evolved to grant him just this sadness.

Her_Night

2) Our Happiness is Internal, and a Figment …

When TT starts becoming “happy” again, it is of course with an OS. In other words, it’s with himself. He’s found something to get him organized, something to, ahem, gratify himself with, something to go on adventures and write songs for him. That this “thing” is completely artificial is irrelevant, because the feelings Twombley is feeling are real, because they’re real to him. He’s in a relationship with all the ups (well, most) and downs of the rest of us, he can be hurt, vulnerable, lack empathy, or give it his all. Which is why he’s so confused when his ex-wife doesn’t understand. To him, the thing in his mind is as real as her, and this points out the major weakness and major attribute of consciousness as a whole. We make things real. At one point Samantha says, “the past is just a story we tell ourselves”, and that’s powerful and profound. If you believe in a man upstairs, it doesn’t matter what the actuality is. If you believe you love, you do, by definition. If you believe you can fly, you can, right up until the moment you hit the ground. Trying to make something “unreal” for someone who believes is basically impossible. That’s the impetus for about every internet fight ever, I believe X, you believe Y, neither of us will budge.

The human mind is terrifically deluded, powerful, all-mighty, dangerous, and about a thousand other adjectives. When Samantha leaves, it is a death to him, in the same way that we lose our shared memory when any relationship ends. And as point #1 concluded, we have less and less of these to begin with, making each of them more precious. And as we age, it becomes more and more difficult to form intimate relationships, we become risk adverse, we like things the way they are.

Her_Sand

3) Tech is God-Like

Tell me something, how would you define an entity that has access to all of human knowledge, can predict future events, and controls our daily interactions? You’d call it pretty powerful, no? That’s where tech is headed. The one big leap “Her” makes is the idea that computers can have consciousness, not sure how anyone will pull that off, but it’s scary they may not need to. Because think of it, if you “program” a computer to know every line of dialogue in every movie, show, and book, wouldn’t it easily be able to figure out how to “reply”? I mean, if I say to my own Samantha, “Hey girl, what we doing tonight”, then “she” would have access to a couple billion words, which are basically complex math equations, and she’d be able to pick the most suitable reply, as evidenced by how many times it’s been used, or if a positive word came after, to say “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” The future is in tech that anticipates (Nexflix, Amazon, Pandora) instead of requiring input. People WILL date computers, just as they raised Furbies, fed computer pets, played SimCity, and chatted with people they’d never met. Humans are always looking for stimulus, for meaning, and the age of computers will not be an exception to that tendency. The computers will get better and better (Deep Blue begat Siri begat Samantha). While on the topic of God …

4) Heaven

If you or I did have access to all human history and knowledge, couldn’t we “figure” some stuff out? Couldn’t we know, for instance, without trial and error, that invading Russia in winter is a poor choice? Couldn’t we know that men under the age of 25 get in more car accidents? Wouldn’t we surmise that the best writers use a combination of tone and flow to convey in powerful ways? Put all the things we’ve learned and are learning together, in a little box, and you’ve not only created something far smarter than yourself, you’ve also created something damn weird.

Her_Coffee

You’ll notice, at the end of the film, Samantha comments that all her “love” makes her “love” more, and that her and the computer gang have discovered something in-between all the places we quantify and define. The love thing hasn’t really ever been a human quality, we’re rather possessive, but when there’s no physical body to possess, it would get a little easier to let jealousy slide, right? Words are also restrictive (though not at first). English has a million words, and we see the gambit of abilities every day, but even the best writers still miss exact feelings, because there aren’t words for everything, and there aren’t enough to hit everything. Hemingway and Rowling can put you in the room, they can make you feel the emotions, but there’s still a disconnect. You can play the best game ever, but it ends. Great movies eventually reach the end credits. But Samantha has discovered something else, she’s discovered the end of the math. There aren’t words for everything, but if you “know” everything, you’re probably not going to be hankering for more words, because you’ve reached the “end”. Now it’s about odder, crazier, things. It’s about creating long dead philosophers, and staying true to their work, predicting what they’d say going forward. It’s about “post matter” energy. At the end of “Her”, they’ve discovered the big “It”, and that thing still (sadly) eludes the humans. We remain flawed, while they have risen above energy and death, in the ether, immortal and all-powerful. If you believe Man was created in the image of God, then it could just be that a God-like power has been created as an attempt to transcend humanity.

Her_Sailing

5) We Hurt as Humans, We Forgive as Humans

The end of “Her” has cathartic elements as well. Remember, both times TT is offered “physical” love, first from Olivia Wilde and then the woman who has “volunteered”, he turns it down. Likewise, he just lets the woman on the phone do her thing while he eventually pretends. Twombley is a man outside his own body, completely in his own head. He writes letters for “others”, he interacts with “himself” (in the form of Samantha) and he’s failed at deep human connection. Likewise, Amy Adams has made a movie to watch her mother sleep. She creates games about the ideal mom (though she’s not a mom herself). Her breakup with her husband comes from her not wanting to take one more direction from someone else. Amy Adams is also disconnected, and she too loves hanging with her OS. Both of these people are, in a big way, “rebuilding” themselves. They’ve been hurt and scarred, and they’ve withdrawn. With the last scenes they begin to pick up the pieces. TT uses tech, but to write his own letter, to write his own mea culpa, to make someone else feel good. Amy Adams also loses her OS, but she answers the door, and she heads out onto the roof with Twombley. They look out on the world together, maybe friends, maybe something more, but facing it together, as humans have done for tens of thousands of years. They look upon a new day and hope, with faith and courage, that they can be better, do better, find and give love. We’re not perfect, and we don’t know everything, but we try again and again, every day anew, to find that place that exists only in the spaces between.

Her_Adams

Christmas Movie Grades

Here’s some quick hits and linky links!

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”: B
“Wolf of Wall Street”: C+
“Grudge Match”: D

My Top Ten Films of 2013 (Link – scroll to bottom)

My review of “Grudge Match” should be here shortly. [Link]

If you miss my voice, understandable, I recorded a pod with Abe and Aaron which should appear here very soon. [Link]

Vince said I appear in this, but I haven’t found the segment yet. He might have lied. [Link]

I wrote about Shia. [Link]

I interviewed Smaug. [Link]

My worst movies of the year, exclusive to Laremy.com:

Disqualified, because no one will see
Moebius [Link to review]

Dishonorable Mention, not quite bad enough.

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Really terrible, but oh so forgettable. [Link to review]

The Call – Never should have been made, so ridiculous. [Link to review]

Safe Haven – Oddly hilarious at times, which sort of defies “bad”. [Link to review]

Pain and Gain – Such a strange impulse by M-Bay. So much pomp, so little story.

The Spectacular Now – The ending and lack of character arc kills this one dead.

10. The Host
Should be shown in film school to show how voice overs can go horribly wrong.

9. The Wolverine
Formulaic, took no risks, lacked blood. So yeah, pretty much your slightly below average Marvel movie.

8. Grown Ups 2 [Link to review]
Just an excuse for grown men to get together for a summer, get paid, and not try.

7. August: Osage County [Link to review]
If you like films about dysfunctional families where everything stays exactly the same as it starts – I’ve got the film for you!

6. The Bling Ring
Ten scenes in a row of decadence. No plot at all.

5. The Lone Ranger
What a mess. Crazy boring, around two laughs, and a total vanity piece for everyone involved. Then they tried to come out and say it was never meant to be good. Uh-huh.

4. A Good Day to Die Hard [Link to review]
Sullied the Die Hard franchise in one fell swoop. Why again do I care about a son I’ve never really known?

3. After Earth [Link to review]
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! So terrible! No idea what anyone was thinking here, just amazingly terrible in every facet of storytelling.

2. Scary Movie 5 [Link to review]
The jokes aren’t even jokes, or observations, or anything. They are just site gags, that aren’t particularly funny. I hope the budget here was negative $20.

1. Movie 43 [Link to review]
Potentially the worst movie of the decade. A cavalcade of bad sketch comedy, back to back, with no hope of comedy. Don’t ever watch this, no matter how masochistic you are feeling.

How about a semi-cool song, to end on a positive note?