Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yarmulkes really do make great head warmers!

Today I watched Mary and Max, an Australian claymation film written and directed by the guy who created Harvie Krumpet and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman of Titanic fame, the chick whose little boy saw Bruce Willis' ghost and the wimpy incarnation of The Incredible Hulk, and for quite obvious reasons I felt a pretty deep connection with it, though for some reason I wasn't consciously aware of this possible connection until I actually started watching it, even though I kinda knew for a while what it was about. Max Horowitz is a big fat 44 year old Jewish guy who lives in 1976 New York, and can't really connect with the people around him. His dad has left his mom and him when he was just a little kid, and growing up as a weird little orthodox Jewish boy in a kibbutz hasn't been that easy. As an adult he has almighty gawd to thank for his atheism, but he keeps wearing his little black yarmulke anyway, if only to keep the little top of his bald head warm. His Asperger syndrome means that he can't really share his life with other people, and so he lives by himself with a bunch of sad little pets, eating delicious chocolate without having to interact with other filthy humans, except for his asshole of a psychiatrist and the gigantic slobs at his overeaters support group. It's not much of a life, but he's fairly content with it, in his own pathetic little way. One day he receives a letter from Mary, an 8 year old Australian girl who has found his name in a phonebook and has a very important question for him. Mary is a plump, dorky little girl with a rather unattractive birthmark on her forehead who gets very little attention from the people in her life. Her mom is a total boozer, her dad enjoys stuffing cotton wool up birds' butts and the kids at school obviously make fun of her constantly, as school children often do to people who badly deserve it. In her letter she tells Max all about her life, and asks to know where Americans babies come from, as everybody knows that Australian babies are usually found at the bottom of beer glasses. Max quickly sets to type up his reply, and the two stranger begin to form some sort of twisted yet sweet penpalship that somehow manages to last for years and years, despite all the obvious hurdles and pitfalls such a relationship between such a damaged person and such a young one can put them through. For example, whenever Mary's letters bring up the subject of romance or sexuality, an area of life Max has very little practical knowledge of, he experiences these really bad anxiety attacks that at their worst cause him to get institutionalized at a mental hospital, a scenario the likes of which are actually much more common than one may like to think. Now, everybody knows why I find it so easy to identify with a story about a fat, antisocial Jewish dude who forms a friendship with a young girl halfway across the world whom he takes way too seriously than he probably should, and by everybody I do mean about three and a half people I've never met, so I won't go into any of that. Suffice it to say, despite the fact that when Max is introduced in this movie he's about 50% older than I am today I could completely relate to what he was going through on a very personal level. The animation and production design in Mary and Max are pretty awesome too, with Max's world being completely desaturated except for some reds here and there, and Mary's world being all muddy brown. All the characters are beautifully designed, looking both sad and hilarious at the same time, and the way they move is absolutely flawless. I wasn't too impressed when I first saw Harvie Krumpet, but now I guess I should give it another try. Mary and Max is one of the most beautiful and realistic stopmotion films I've seen in a while, and the animation isn't too bad either.

Nice boobage, Kat Dennings!

And yesterday I watched Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, because Michael Cera is absolutely hilarious and Kat Dennings is so hot and the two of them look so cute together, but the movie was so sweet and romantic that it left me completely depressed. It totally reminded me of what it was like to be young and and hip and in love, and of the way I often confuse fantasy for memory. Also, I keep forgetting how old Michael Cera is, and then I always get so surprised again at how young he is. He's sort of the only reason why I ever enjoyed Arrested Development, and I'm totally looking forward to seeing him as Scott Pilgrim later this year!

And this is my new T-700 action figure!

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