Totally What’s Happening
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The Stuff From Before
There’s no point talking about the allure of Paris. Walk around, and you keep stumbling into stuff like a pigeon alighting gracefully on a statue of Voltaire, or an old man smoking and playing the accordion outside a cafe. Within about twenty minutes you’re like, “All right, I get it, Paris. Quit showing off!” As you’re thinking this, a girl with the face of an angel reaches out on her windowsill to water a single rose that grows in an empty wine bottle.
—Steve Hely & Vali Chandrasekaran/The Ridiculous Race
What kind of a world would it be, if nobility was only…only forks and affectation?
—Kara Coryell/Rose and Silver, Straw and Gold: Fairy Tales Retold/The Princess and The Pea
Years ago one of my friends said he wanted to talk to me after I saw this movie so that we could discuss what the hell the movie was about. I’m pretty sure I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I would never ever know. I don’t think I would’ve known when he asked me, and I sure as fuck don’t know now.
I mean I can kind of tell you the story, dude has change in life, dude begins to have an obsession, dude loses mind, dude loses reality, and then as the movie ends we all of us lose our sense of hope that there will be some kind of resolution.
This film seems to maybe be about the 23 enigma. But sometimes the movie also seems to maybe be about how expectation and reality and memory and destiny can all become the same thing if you stare at something long enough. Parts of the movie are freaking gorgeous. When we spend time with Jim Carrey as he reads the book “The Number 23” and we see several scenes from the book sparkle and explode with color and imagination, the movie is fascinating. I kept thinking to myself that the actual book would make an amazing graphic novel.
But we don’t get to live in the super color rich vision of the book. We watch the movie and live in the dull, drab, painfully muted world that is just desperate to get us back to the book with a mystery that is the least mysterious mystery to even think about. As the movie bounces back and forth between the reality we are first introduced to in the film, and the reality that comes from the book, there are moments where it doesn’t matter what comes next in the story, what matters is just the perception of what comes next in the story.
With the concept of the 23 enigma there is that idea that if you go looking for proof you will find proof, even if it is absolutely not proof in any way shape or form. When you want to find the number 23 as it relates to disasters and mysteries, you will find the number 23 because your mind will slide over all the numbers that don’t add up.
I guess in some way this might be what they were trying to do with this picture. As the main character becomes more and more invested in the idea that the novel he is reading is about him and his life, the more and more invested we become as an audience that there are correlations and that his madness may have a purpose. That may have been the point, but it comes off as more of an afterthought to what we actually do see on the screen. Not everything means something and very little of the everything we do watch comes off as more than just a weird kind of coincidence. But if I could get a graphic novel version of the book that is inside the story, I think that would probably be pretty sweet.
Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for it means anything.
—Neil Gaiman/The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
No one mocked him in his bedchamber, but he would not live his life in bed.
—George R. R. Martin/Game of Thrones
“You do realize, that if you actually dated her, saw her on a regular basis, lived with her, that she would find some fault with you, right? That she would find some things about you that drove her crazy. That she’d make demands of you that you wouldn’t like. That she’d get angry at you?”
“I’m not ten, Go, I know how relationships work.”
She shrugged again: Do you?
—Gillian Flynn/Gone Girl