Monday, February 13, 2017

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 11

5 more movies, as the second weekend wraps up. We're down to the home stretch left.

First up was the documentary CHEER UP, from Finland. It's about the world of competitive cheerleading, seen through the worst team in Finland, the Ice Queens. Ever since SPELLBOUND, I've had a particular affinity for documentaries about eccentric competitions. Everything from Air Guitar to pizza dough tossing to Rock, Paper, Scissors to memory sports. So this should be right up my alley, and competitive cheerleading is relatively mainstream. And I enjoyed it, I just thought it could've been better. Using a 'fly-on-the-wall' technique, we see the Ice Queens come in dead last at the local competition. So their coach travels to the world championships in Plano, Texas to learn some tips and pick up some inspiration. Armed with a new attitude and a tougher philosophy, she returns and works her team harder than ever before. There's some resistance, some girls kind of drop out for a bit, but come back when they decide it's important. And the new, reenergized team is ready to come out strong in their next competition. Some of the best parts are the slow motion close-ups of the girls working on their routine. In slow motion, it looks less fun and more like the serious athletic feats it really is. But I said it could be better, and what I mean is that I think the fly-on-the-wall approach becomes limiting. It's good enough to make me curious about the sport (is it particularly popular in Finland? Why do all the teams have English names?) and about the characters (we see some of their home life, but never once do I get a sense of why they want to be competitive cheerleaders.) There's nothing wrong with a fly-on-the-wall, but this called for some more traditional interviews to set up the story better.

And then I saw another documentary that used an observational approach, although at least the characters in MYRTLE BEACH addressed the camera. But that mattered little, since I found them pretty insufferable and the movie alternately exploitative and boring. I gladly dozed through a good chunk of it. So instead, I'll tell you a story about my positive experience at the screening. Most people there (in the full-to-capacity 50-seat Little Roxie) were actually there to see the short (which I'll get to shortly) including the woman who sat next to me. She was hard of hearing, and had with her a hearing assistance dog--a very friendly and adorable pug. And he came over and sniffed me and let me pet him (I checked that it was okay first) and then climbed right up into my lap. So for about the first 20 minutes of the film, I got to pet an adorable lap dog, until he got bored, climbed down, and explored as far as his leash would let him. That was by far the best part of the film.

And then after the feature was the short, LADY BOUNTIFUL. A late (i.e., after the guides went to press) addition to the festival, this is a 20 minute film-poem about Joan Von Briesen. She's 85 years old, an artist and ultimate recycler, scrounging the trash of San Francisco to find things to use in her work. She even in the movie finds a fake breast, which turns useful as she has cancer and is about to undergo a mastectomy. She claimed she was in fact wearing it at the Q&A, I took her word for it and didn't check (sorry, my sense of decorum is more powerful than my journalistic zeal!) A lovely movie about a lovely woman. I feel bad for the people who walked out of MYRTLE BEACH and missed this. But I also feel bad for the people who watched all of MYRTLE BEACH.

MYRTLE BEACH and LADY BOUNTIFUL play again on Tuesday, Feb 14th at 7:15.

Next up, another movie with a fly-on-the-wall approach, but this time a narrative film (although it took me a little time to realize it,) LUPE UNDER THE SUN. Lupe (Daniel Muratalla) is a Mexican immigrant, working in peach farms in the U.S. He travelled there to make money to send back to his family, but now he hasn't seen his family in several years. He's old, has health problems, drinks a bit too much (lots of Coors Lite) and is full of regret for all the life he has missed away from his wife and kids. Moreover, he's having an affair with another immigrant, and she's filling his heads with ideas that his family has forgotten him and his kids hate him. Fears that unfortunately are founded, as he discovers when he calls them after wiring them some money. It's a slow, contemplative, melancholy film. One that shows the life of oft-overlooked people, and doesn't allow a lot of happiness in.

LUPE UNDER THE SUN plays again on Thursday, Feb 16th at 7:15.

Next up was technically the closing night film, but Indiefest always repeats their weekend shows over the next week. LITTLE BOXES is a subtle dramedy about the strange "nice" racism that exists in small, liberal towns where gosh darn it, if a black guy ever moved in, we'd be totally nice and welcoming about it. I've come to realize that I grew up in one of those towns, so this was particularly interesting. Interracial couple Gina (Melanie Lynskey, who also had a small role in the opening night film FOLK HERO AND FUNNY GUY) and Mack (Nelsan Ellis), and their sixth grader Clark (Armani Jackson) are moving out of their Brooklyn life so that Gina can start her new career as a college art professor in Rome...WA. Rome, WA does not actually exist, and as an old Bellinghamster, I was interested in what part of the state it was supposed to be in. Given that Wenatchee is referenced as a nearby town and it's on the way to Seattle, this puts it in the Eastern foothills of the Cascades, not quite to the dusty might-as-well-be-Idaho shitty part of the state (I kid because I love.) In any case, it didn't really look like the Washington I remember, and for good reason--it was shot in  Harrison, NY and Newburgh, NY. Anyway, they get there an people are friendly. Kind of going out of their way to be friendly. And not hiding very well that it's unusual for a black guy--and especially a mixed race family--to live there. Clark quickly falls in with two white girls who are excited because the town "totally needed a black kid." But to be popular, Clark abandons his kinda nerdy, book-loving true self and tries to fit in and learn the misogynistic rap music that the white kids like, thinking it's cool because it's black. Weird, weird dynamics. The parents are dealing with their own shit, too. Gina is nervous about work and fitting in. Mack is a writer who has been struggling to come up with a second novel and is making some money writing an article about food vlogs, complicated by the fact that the movers are late so all their stuff is on a truck somewhere between New York and their new home. Oh yeah, and their house has mold. As a metaphor for the ugly rot just below the pleasing surface--and the fact that only Mack can smell it--it's a strong metaphor, if a little on-the-nose. All in all, this is a great movie about attitudes that are a little hard to discuss (paradoxically, maybe harder to discuss as overt expressions of racism become easier?) And it's particularly remarkable that so much of the story is carried by the child actors, who are pretty terrific.


LITTLE BOXES plays again on Thursday, Feb 16th at 7:15. It also has distribution through Netflix, so keep an eye out for it.

And finally, I ended the night with a clever, low budget, local superhero...ish movie, SUPERPOWERLESS. Bob (Josiah Polhemus) used to be a superhero. He was Captain Truth, the savior of San Francisco, along with his sidekick Liberty Boy (our own local filmmaking hero, H.P. Mendoza.) But in his 40s, his powers started to disappear, to the point where he doesn't really have any anymore. Punches hurt him now. He can't run that fast. And flying...well, flying was never a matter of running and jumping, it was about falling and then...deciding not to fall. So the only way to test if he still can do it, is to take a chance that might kill him.

But he doesn't have a bad life, exactly. He's got his respectable if not fancy home in the city. He's got a beautiful and loving girlfriend Mimi (Amy Prosser) and he has his friends--most notably a homeless ex-psychiatrist Dr. George Holst (Pepe Serna) who helps him talk through his issues. Their backstory sounds pretty intriguing...I would see a prequel/spinoff just about that. Anyway, Mimi and the good doctor convince Bob to write his memoirs--if not for publishing, at least to work through the process and deal with his mid-life crisis. So he does. And he gets an editor. And when they meet he finds that "Daniel" is actually "Daniell" a pretty young woman who becomes really interested when she finds out he's Captain Truth. So of course that sets off a little wishful thinking about her. It's a very clever concept, that capitalizes on the popularity of superhero flicks but doesn't feature a single scene of super powers. Rather, it's a heartfelt drama about reaching middle age and realizing what you once had is gone, and what you dreamt of may never happen, but learning to appreciate the good things you do have.

SUPERPOWERLESS plays again on Wednesday, Feb 15th at 6:30 at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Total Running Time: 428
My Total Minutes: 418,831


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 10

The big second weekend kicked off with a 5-show Saturday, starting with some shorts, #Love&Death
HE AND SHE: In a single shot, this German film shows a man driving a car full of his stuff to move in with his girlfriend. Then he gets a call and she breaks up with him. Then he gets some booze and cigarettes at a gas station convenience store. And then he meets a nice older lady who gives him a hilarious new perspective.
BONE GUITAR: A super-short animation of the ghost in an old guitar who gives it new life.
DEAR DEATH: Stewball the horse is haunted by the fear of death. So he writes Death a letter. And Death replies.
DOLL: You have to be pretty. Just like those dolls. The doll-obsessed personal trainer has a creepy back story, and an even creepier hobby.
THE GOAT ON THE ROOF: An animated retelling of a long life, with a long love (over 50 years married.)
MOLASSES AND LEMON: An experimental examination of love...and how painful it is.
PENNY FROM HEAVEN: From the UK, the spirit of a woman who killed herself must save 1,000 souls in order to get her wings and be a real angel. This is the story of number 999, and the particularly poignant beginning of number 1,000.
TEMPORARY: A man who performs in-home pet euthanasia sees it as his calling. But he has an ethical dilemma when he's asked to perform a very special procedure.
TEN YEARS: A couple is celebrating their 10th anniversary in Las Vegas. That night, they have a very sobering conversation about their relationship, spurred by how she noticed him looking at other girls. He claims he's happy being married to her, but can that ever be 100% true?
THANK YOU MR. IMADA: A legendary director, and his powerful technique for coaxing great performances out of struggling actors. Very funny.
#Love&Death plays again Tuesday, Feb 14 at 7:15

And then I saw SALTWATER, part of the festival's tribute to the recently departed local filmmaking legend Lise Swenson. Jenny is getting married. And she wants to get married in her grandmother's (and mother's) wedding dress. But her mother insists she doesn't have it. It must still be with her eccentric aunt, who has hoarded most of the family heirlooms. She lives down by the Salton Sea, an ecological disaster (mainly due to lack of outflow) in southern California. While there, she learns of the vibrant artistic community living amidst the ecological decay, a state that mirrors her own dysfunctional family. She fights with her aunt, who is pretty particular about how she lives her life. She fights with her mom, who is stubborn in opposite ways. Both she and her fiancee cheat on each other...kinda. He takes a friend to a lecture on "orgasmic touching" and practises what they learned, then she retaliates by letting a local artist paint a scene on her nude body. And as her aunt falls ill, her brief visit is extended, and the Salton Sea becomes more and more a reflection of her own tears (saltwater) but also a source of artistic freedom and inspiration. Eventually she will have to decide where she goes next in life. Beautifully done.

Then the next show started with a short, VIDEOCLUB. Nacho (Vigalonda, of TIMECRIMES, one of my favorite films, and my favorite blog post) is in a new video store. And this store has everything. Rare movies. Impossible to find movies. Never released movies (like Jerry Lewis' infamous THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED.) Even future movies, like E.T. RETURNS. This video store is like heaven!

And that was the lead-in for the Argentinian film, 2001: WHILE KUBRICK WAS IN SPACE. With riots on the street and frequent break-ins, 2001 was the worst financial crisis in the history of Argentina. And a trio of young people try to escape by...watching movies, hanging out, going on a road-trip in a stolen pink car to go to the national Paper Airplane competition for a chance to compete in the world championships in Europe.... Nothing goes as planned, and the shitty reality of 2001 (including a brief mention of the World Trade Center) plays out just as shitty as it really was, in stark contrast to the space-age marvel that Kubrick imagined. Oh, and the best part is when their car gets suck in the mud overnight and they're rescued the next day by a farmer who is the spiting image of Stanley Kubrick himself.

2001: WHILE KUBRICK WAS IN SPACE and VIDEOCLUB plays again Sunday, Feb 12 at 9:15 at the Alamo Drafthouse

Next up was EMPTY SPACE, a story of an overweight man who leaves Chicago to escape the bullying he faces daily and live in the aptly-named town of Protection, Illinois. His grandmother had a cabin there, and he moves in, gets a job washing dishes at a local diner, and tries to find some solace in his solitude. While there he meets a charming blind girl named Lily, and they develop a friendship that soon becomes something more, if he can get over his shame and body issues. He also befriends a kind of bratty little girl who steals food, crashes at his place, and basically avoids her alcoholic father. Each in their own way give him a chance to be a hero, if he doesn't completely blow it. A nice, tender story with characters you care about and real emotion. Very well done.

EMPTY SPACE plays again Monday, Feb 13 at 7:15

And then finally, I ended the night with HERE ALONE, a psychological drama with post-apocalyptic zombie genre trappings. Ann is living in the woods, foraging to survive. She's a survivalist, but we learn through flashbacks that she wasn't always like that. Her husband taught her a lot when they fled the virus outbreak with their newborn daughter. But given that neither the husband nor the baby are around, we know pretty quickly that those flashbacks are going to become pretty bleak before they catch up to the present. In the meantime, we see a lot about the logistics of survival, from foraging for food to some pretty disgusting ways to hide from zombies (e.g., using animal feces to mask your scent.) After a mostly unsuccessful foraging raid for canned goods, she runs across two more survivors, Chris and Olivia. Chris is hurt (but not infected) so Ann helps Liv bring him back to her camp and nurse him back to health. Like in so many zombie movies, mistrust is natural. But I liked that they moved passed it and worked together--at least for a time. Turns out Chris was married to Liv's mom (I assume he's not Liv's father, though, since she never calls him "dad"--I might have missed that explanation.) And now...maybe he's falling for Ann. In any case, they're heading north where it seems like the outbreak has been kept at bay. But Ann has made her little camp for herself here, and is opposed to moving. So it becomes a three-part human drama about relationships, dealing with past trauma, and how to move forward in the future. There just happens to be zombies, but other than that it's not much of a genre movie. Except for one twist at the end that is pure genre, and I'm still processing how I feel about that. Overall, a great little film.

HERE ALONE plays again Tuesday, Feb 14 at 9:30

Total Running Time: 441 minutes
My Total Minutes: 418,404

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 9

Two movies--kinda--on Friday.

First up was STRAWMAN, an experimental drama from rural China. Xiatian has a tough life. His parents are gone. His little brother is bullied at school. His sister works as a maid at a hotel where she's sexually harassed by her boss. And he turns to petty crime to make a living. It's beautifully shot, and as a window into a part of China that isn't often seen, it's pretty interesting. His struggles are easy to sympathize with, even if his actions aren't always sensible. And there's not a lot of chances for even little victories in his life. It's kind of pessimistic, which I suppose given his situation makes it pretty realistic.

And then I raced over to the Brava Theater to see as much of THE BIG LEBOWSKI as I could. The Big Lebowski party has been a staple of Indiefest almost as long as I have been going. Lately they've been "shadow-casting" the movie (playing the movie while actors act it out on stage.) And I always have to check it out because my friend Ira is the best damn Walter Sobchak ever. I got there pretty early in the film--right when the Dude is meeting with the Big Lebowski the first time. And I don't have to recap the film, I assume everyone who wants to see it has. And the shadow-casting was excellent (although I've heard rumors of behind-the-scenes drama, on stage it seemed to work pretty well.) Plus I always like a party where there are plenty of White Russians and/or oat sodas (beer.)

Total Running Time: 162 minutes (figuring I missed about 30 minutes of BIG LEBOWSKI, between arriving late and hanging out at the bar a couple of times.)

My Total Minutes: 417,963

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 8

Two more movies last Thursday.

First up, the high school comedy TIM TIMMERMAN, HOPE OF AMERICA. Tim Timmerman is a young politician. Senior class President, he has some slick people skills, but doesn't really apply himself. He's basically coasting by on his charisma and taking advantage of everyone. And he's really only doing this to pad out his resume and get into Yale--even though with his grades he doesn't have much of a chance. When he's given an opportunity to collaborate with the senior class President of a rival school, he blows her off, until he realizes her father is a senator who could help his career. But in the course of taking advantage of her (not that way, you perv) he actually starts falling for her. He's not such a bad guy, it's just his natural people skills have made life pretty easy for him, until someone finally challenges him. This is the kind of movie that could have been really trite and unappealing, but the performances were great, the script has a few unexpected turns, and Tim is, in the end, a likable enough guy that you root for him (especially because his main rivals are much, much worse.)

And then the documentary FINDING JOSEPH I. I hadn't known anything about the band BAD BRAINS or their lead singer HR before. A hardcore punk rocker, then a reggae singer and a preacher of peace an love. And an eccentric. And a little unhinged. And, as it turns out, pretty definitely schizophrenic. Using archival footage and interviews with friends, colleagues, and HR himself, we get an intimate view of his gifts and his curse. His amazing performances and his unpredictable behavior. His successes and his struggles--including many years homeless. You feel for the guy, and for the people who suffered his erratic behavior. And (spoiler alert!) you can cheer when he finally is diagnosed, gets medication, and sticks to it.

Total Running Time: 184 minutes
My Total Minutes: 417,801

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 7

Two more on Wednesday, starting with the low-budget sci-fi TWENTY TWENTY-FOUR. In the near future (the year 2024, to be precise--and this was made before the recent Presidential election, so that's a total coincidence) the threat of global nuclear war is so great that the government has built a series of underground bunkers to house scientists who will save the species and eventually repopulate the Earth. But this is really an excuse to make a sci-fi film with just one character in an isolated location. One scientist, Roy (Andrew Kinsler) maintains a bunker with the help of a computer screen and the occasional holographic message from up top. As the isolation sets in, he starts to question his reality--has the nuclear war already broken out? Is there no war, and it's all safe? Is he actually the subject of an experiment on isolation? Or is he one in a long line of caretakers of the facility? Or many other interpretations. And it became clear in the Q&A that the director, Richard Mundy, doesn't know which one is true either. Which explains why I found it vaguely unsatisfying. See, I can look at it and realize it's a clever approach to minimal-budget filmmaking. The actor is great, the sets are great, and I have no problem with ambiguity. I like ambiguity (or do I? Maybe I'm lying right now) but when the whole point of the film is ambiguity, what's the point of trying to decide which one is right? That "what's the point?" feeling kind of infects the film. Like it doesn't feel like it was made to explore ideas and feelings of isolation and insanity, it feels like it was made to make something cool for cheap--one actor, one setting. But the skill is definitely there, and it was a very well made film. I'm eager to see Mundy make a film that starts with a point.

And then AMERICANA explored some similar aspects of ambiguity, but with different results (and, as was revealed in the Q&A, a director who knew what the truth of his story was.) Avery Wells (David Call) is an alcoholic. He's hiding up in a mountain cabin away from the world, drinking himself to death. Until he is called back to San Francisco to edit a film. Yeah, he used to be an editor, and his sister Kate (Kelli Garner) is the star of the film within the film (also called AMERICANA) and the producer wants to give him a break. There's some back story with them--years ago they were driving and hit and killed a kid. That might have been what pushed him over the alcoholic edge (or alcohol might have been involved in the accident.) In any case, he gets a creepy phone call from the dead kid's relative, threatening him. And shortly after the film is completed, he makes good on his threat--by murdering Kate. Which is horrible and tragic...and really helps ticket sales of the film. So there's a conspiracy theory that maybe this wasn't just a simple misguided revenge murder. Maybe the producer colluded with him... Avery digs and digs, trying to edit the pieces of information he has into a story that makes sense, all while succumbing to alcoholic urges far too often and alienating everyone who is trying to help him. An excellent little drama showing a snapshot into a character's life with all the foggy ambiguity (literally foggy, this is San Francisco) that comes with it, but one that knows what its underlying reality is.

Total Running Time: 169 minutes
My Total Minutes: 417,617

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 6

Two more shows on Tuesday, starting with the shorts program #LOL. Hooray for funny shorts!
SWIPED: A funny little animated piece about addiction to our smart phones and tablets. Note: this was definitely not written on my phone.
FANNY PACK: An Indian father, a rebellious daughter, and a misunderstanding in the airport.
THE INSPECTOR AND THE UMBRELLA: A slapstick cartoon about an inspector whose day is ruined by an uncooperative umbrella.
THE LAST LAUGH: More of a drama about comedy, but with some classic jokes, as old comedians prepare for another show and reminisce about their long careers.
THE MASSAGE: A wife gives her husband a shoulder massage, and notices a new mole on his neck. Hypochondriac humor.
SERVAL AND CHAUMIER, MASTER OF SHADOWS: Rival magicians--one a former apprentice of the other--duel in a French village, until a new form of magic replaces them both.
SHY GUYS: The difficulties of peeing in a public restroom. Normally...talking does not help. This was the funniest one in the program.
SOIREE: You know that feeling when there's a circle of friends talking and you're trying to wedge your way into the circle? Pretty funny if you take it to the extreme.
WIFEY REDUX: From Ireland, even if your marriage has grown stale, a father will do anything to make sure his daughter is happy. Wait, that sounded kind of creepy. It's not...too much.

And then we ended the night with the feature ZEN DOG. Okay, I have to start by saying I didn't know anything about Alan Watts prior to this film. And judging by the response, you kind of have to be a fan to really dig this film. At least, you have to be somewhat familiar with his work on lucid dreaming. Without that, for me this became one of those 'beautifully shot lullabies' that had pleasing visuals and kind of put me to sleep. Which...in a way made this film a kind of lucid dream for myself. The plot, as I could follow, was about Mud (yes, our hero is literally named Mud) and his boring day job running a failing VR company. So his cousin turns him on to lucid dreaming, and he ends up going on a bizarre cross-country trip in his dreams--and in a psychedelic VW. Well made, and pretty cool, but I don't think I was the target audience. The target audience thought it was a brilliant masterpiece.

Total Running Time: 189 minutes
My Total Minutes: 417,448

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 5

Monday kicked off a full week of 2-a-days at Indiefest, and I started with my first visit this year to the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission for THE MIRACLE OF TEKIR. A friend of mine has noted that Indiefest so far this year has had a notable number of "beautiful lullabies"--films that are beautifully shot, gorgeous to look at, but slow, contemplative, and tend to put you to sleep. THE MIRACLE OF TEKIR could almost have been one of those, but I stayed awake the whole way through. It starts by recalling an old legend about the mud on the Danube delta and it's magical healing powers. In modern days, Mara lives in a small fishing village on the delta, and collects mud from a special spot. She's also pregnant although she's not married. And she claims she has not slept with any man. But the village doesn't believe her, so they banish her, and she goes to work for a spa hotel called Tekir. There she meets a rich, eccentric woman named Lili who is at the spa specifically trying to cure her infertility. Their relationship is the main driver of the movie, filled with humor, wonder, and feminine energy (this passes the Bechdel test by miles) and makes the whole movie very enjoyable. And there's a side story of the local priest who starts to believe Mara--in a different movie that would be the main story, but I enjoyed that the story stayed with the women and mostly left the men out of it.

And then I ended the night with GRAND UNIFIED THEORY. Okay, this is my personal hang-up, but I find movies that try to use physics principles as metaphors for life really...problematic. I could trace this back to my college days, where one night I found a TV program that was a collaboration between the Physics and English departments at some college (I've never found this program since.) They were trying to simultaneously explain quantum physics and Shakespeare, using the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as an analogy to Hamlet's indecisiveness and vice-versa. It did not work. At best it was just silly and forced. But this has influenced my view of physics metaphors ever since.

Okay, so to the actual movie at hand. Dr. Albert James (Scott Bellis) is a famous astrophysicist and popular lecturer. He has an offer at a prestigious University, it just means moving his family from the Pacific Northwest (I forget if the exact city was established in the movie, but it was made Vancouver locals) to New York. But his family is in the middle of a little meltdown. Make that, big meltdown. Involving infidelity, jealousy, vandalism, drugs, and more. The acting is great, and the situations get pretty darn hilarious.

The story is intercut with scenes from his farewell lecture, expounding on physics principles and tying them to the human condition. And I really wanted to like that more. The idea seems good on paper, and I really wanted to like it more. But there were parts that just bugged me. Starting with the fact that he has more charisma than any physics lecture I've ever seen. It's more like a TED talk than a physics lecture. But that's beside the point, I understand that for a film it needs to be interesting. But when you make a physics metaphor, I can't help but use my own knowledge to question whether that metaphor makes sense. And I'll give you an example of a part where that broke down for me. In one part he's talking about how quantum particles stay connected over long distances. I don't think he used the term "quantum entanglement" but I took it that's what he was talking about. And as a metaphor for how we're all connected to each other and the universe, it's not bad. But he's talking about particles called quarks. And this isn't in the movie (unless I missed it) but quarks are sub-sub-atomic particles that make up the protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus. And they have some very weird properties. Most forces (e.g., electro-magnetism or gravity,) the further away two particles are the weaker the force becomes. That's why we aren't much affected by the gravity of distant galaxies, or why medium sized magnets don't push or pull on each other from across the room. But quarks are different--the force that binds them together in a proton (for example) gets stronger the further apart you pull them. And it gets stronger pretty quickly, to the point that it's really impossible to separate quarks. So rather than a metaphor for how we're all connected, even across great distances, quarks make a better metaphor for how you're inseparable from those closest to you--which might make a good metaphor for love? Except...if you do try to separate quarks, the force between them gets so strong that it rips quark/anti-quark pairs out of the quantum vacuum and the original quarks end up bonding with them. So it's becomes a metaphor for...something like serial relationship addiction and the fear of being alone. And while that's part of some human conditions, it's not a very positive part, and not one worth celebrating in a movie.

But here's the important thing--none of that stuff about quarks is in the movie. It's just in my head, and invades the movie that I'm trying to watch. Which is why these efforts to make sense of the human condition through fundamental physics principles just don't work for me, no matter how much I want them to.

Total Running Time: 193 minutes
My Total Minutes: 417,259