Synecdoche, New York -Send me the bill

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I had a  problem with Being John Malkovich. I loved its originality and its “fun-ness”, but I didn’t engage with the movie ultimately. I watched it a second time to make sure and yup, second time around I found it even more lacking. It was as hollow as the inside of John Malkovich’s head -the movie’s John Malkovich I mean of course.

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I haven’t seen Human Nature yet, despite the DVD being on my shelf for quite some time. Soon.

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Adaptation seemed a little too aware of itself. I enjoyed it a lot, but it felt a bit forced at times -as though the driving thought was “how can we take this a step further?” rather than “what is real for this world?”

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I’ll have to watch Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind again, because I only saw it once and I think that was spoilt for me slightly by wearing (not great) headphones so as not to disturb the sleeping family upstairs. I liked the movie’s sadness and regret and its “struggle to do better”/ to rectify a lost relationship before it’s too late, etc., but again (with the cheap headphones proviso as a gimme) I felt like I was an outsider looking through a window at someone else.

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That’s not something I can say about Synecdoche New York, the first Charlie Kaufman film made by Charlie Kaufman.

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It’s not about me or anyone I know. It’s not even about the main character (“Caden Cotard”). It’s about living. Or at least, about living a life trying to know oneself.

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It sounds a bit high-falutin’ I know -and I know some people don’t/ won’t/ don’t want to get it and that’s fine by me. I’m not saying everyone has to get it by any means, but I’d like to state for the record that it’s a lovely lovely film and I should have made it my business to see it when it played for a wet week in a distant creaky cinema some vague time ago in my not-so-distant past.

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It’s quite hard to say any more about the movie because I think it’s the kind of movie that you feel rather than understand. In some ways understanding it and analysing it kind of defeats the purpose. It’d be like feeling sad, then afterwards looking for a reason to be sad. In a way, if you found that reason it wouldn’t measure up to the feeling you had before you found it.

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It’s also the kind of movie that those who love it prefer not to say so, because

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a) it’s personal -and “nobody else will feel this way about it anyway” -and “it sounds a bit lovey and artsy fartsy when I try to describe it” -and “I don’t know how to describe what I think about it anyway because I don’t even undestand it” -and “I just don’t want to” (not in an apathetic way, but in a selfish way -“this is my movie and I’m not sharing it with you”).

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and

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b)  it’s the kind of movie you get spat at for recommending to others when they rent it out and demand you pay them their money back for the rental and two hours spent viewing, not to mention the emotional trauma of sitting through something so off the wall.

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and

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c) friends will hate you and will be steadfastly convinced you hate the movie and that you feel “superior” and you only say you love it because it’s an independent movie that’s not a Hollywood blockbuster. And they thought it was a piece of shit.

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And who needs that self-alienation? Friends should hate you for what you do, not for an ephemeral ‘other’ …best save up those “reasons I give my friends to hate me” for something that is actually me.

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So, Synecdoche New York is a great film. But I’m not recommending you see it unless you’re ready to see it. It’s not a hard movie to watch. It’s not artsy fartsy. It’s not humorless. It’s just ununderstandable. In a good way. In a way that is fun to think about. And to feel.

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In fact, I think you should see it. You owe it to yourself. Pay for it too. Send me the bill.

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I won’t pay the bill of course, but I’ll frame it and say “I did a good deed” whenever I look at your bill on my wall. And a little part of me will think of you too when I look at that bill. In fact you could say, your bill will make you famous for a lifetime to at least one other individual.

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Go on. Buy Synecdoche New York on DVD or Blu Ray or whatever today. And send me the bill.

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….And one last piece of advice: DO NOT WATCH IT IN PIECES.
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Wait until you have two full hours to spare without distraction (as best you can guess), put it on, then watch it to the end. You might feel like switching off, if only for a cup of tea, but I urge you to stay sitting and stay watching. It’ll be worth it. Don’t stop Don’t pause. Like all the best things, this movie builds. You can’t possibly appreciate that construction by stopping and starting.

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Synecdoche New York -best film in yeeeeaars.

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