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Film: Tideland

I didn't think I could be entertained by watching a little girl being traumatised for life in various ways for almost two hours.

Is it a weird movie?

Why, yes. Yes, it is. That is if you consider a movie weird if it contains a scene of a corpse being taxidermied to keep a deceised person around then placed at the dinner table with the still living part of the family. But it is weird in that way without being a gory horrow or torture movie.

Would Jean-Pierre Jeunet like this film?

I don't know Jean-Pierre Jeunet or what movies he likes. But Tideland reminded me of his movies' style very much. Camera work, colors, character weirdness, music and the naturalness of unusual events made me suspect that it may be intentionally a tribute to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's work. But that's a silly thought.

Is it a children's movie?

I never understood the criteria for which movies are considered children's movies and which are not. But this one might genuinly be impossible to classify as either. It seems to be a children's movie, telling the story of a child from her point of view, with imaginative play and all. But who would want to show such fucked up shit to a child? Well, actually, why not? Some other children's stories aren't any better. And some, like some of Grim's fairy tales, are more gory than this one.

Shouldn't you have started this with an explanation of what the movie is about?

No. But here are a few keywords: girl, heroin, child abuse, death, friendship, decomposition, mummification, family, adventure,

Why is Brendan Fletcher doing this weird autistic-like act?

I don't know but you can't say it's offensive because he's not actually portraying an autistic man but a man who has part of his brain removed. Still offensive but for different reasons? Well, okay. Anyway. I found his role quite nice and well acted.

So, is it a horrow movie or isn't it?

Does it have a romance component in the story?

In an unusual, awkward way, yes, kind of. Well, calling it a romance would legitimise it. It's definitely not the usual cliché romance component. So, no.

What is it that you like about it?

I don't know. I think like how different normalities of life circumstances are introduced without any inhibition or restraint in a somehow lighhearted seeming way.

And the consistancy in the changes throughout the story.

What is this movie a mix of?

I'd say Fear And Laughing In Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam) and The City Of The Lost Children (Jean-Pierre Jeunet).

Can you show us some paradigmatic screen captures?

OK. But not from the end bit. Here you go.

File Attachments (15 files)

Film: Have Dreams, Will Travel

I don't know what the more correct title of the movie is. Some call it Have Dreams Will Travel, some call it A West Texas Children's Story and I don't know where either title was originally used.

It's about the adventure that Cassie and Ben have after her parents die and his don't even notice that he leaves without saying anything. It's also about trauma processing, communication in relationships (parental, friendships and romantic). That's what I see in it at least.

Cassie: I think it's time for us to leave.
Ben: Leave?
Cassie: Look. Those two people who you live with. They're nice and everything, but-
Ben: My parents?
Cassie: Right. But from what I can tell, they don't really have anything to offer you and they certainly don't have a thing to offer me.
Ben: So, where're we goin'?
Cassie: Baltimore. I have an aunt and uncle there. I haven't seen them since I was five but from what I can remember they're both extremely hip.

The overly compressed sound (accoustically compressed, not in terms of saving storage) is so cinematic that it's conspicuous for a movie made in this century. But it fits the overly grainy film-look and does a good job at creating this big-life-story vibe that dominates the whole movie. Like many dramas this movie has a recurring melody, creating a melodramatic yet optimistic mood.

The characters are so well defined at first that it almost came as a positive surprise that they both have deeper personalities. But I soon got used to the movie not becoming as comedic as I first thought it might be.

There is something about some of the dialogues that make them refreshing and simultaneously irregular for child characters and very fitting for these particular child characters.

Cassie: See, a real plan is more than just some pipe dream.
Ben: Pipe dream?
Cassie: A pipe dream is an unrealistic fantasy that deludes oneself into thinking that it's an actual plan. It's a very popular expression. I'm surprised you've never heard of it before.
Ben: I didn't say I'd never heard it.
Cassie: Anyway, a real plan is an actual goal that you believe in enough to create a set of circumstances. Which leads you to, and into, a plan. Comprende?
Ben: Where do you come up with this stuff? I mean, what part of your brain works so hard it makes you think and talk like that?
Cassie: My father was a professor with a very wide vocabulary and lots of unique ideas. When he wasn't teaching his students, he taught me.
Ben: So what does your mom do?
Cassie: She never did anything.

The last line of that quote may have a different meaning that I thought when I watched the movie for the first time.

The fact that I was surprised by the dramatic loss of Cassie's facade later on may make me naive, but for me it just means that I got a non-obvious important change of the story route. And it's nice to get a story told with a non-obvious route. Whether that's because you're tired, three, stupid, naive or because of excellent writing doesn't really matter. Other viewers may have been able to deduct more about Cassie early on than I was, with her efforts to do things in grown-up ways. I didn't even know what Ben meant when he asked Cassie what she's hiding. That just created all the more potential to be sucked in by emotions to be discovered by my naive movie-drama graving brain.

Over time I think Ben proved that he is the more grown-up one in the relationship. Not by having a large vocabulary or a life plan, but by simply addressing the issue he sees.

In the end, Ben makes his parents choose (in a away) what's more important for them to have - their passionate hobbies or their son - and decides for them at the same time. The result is the most glorious mixing of (fake) sad cry tears with (fake) happy cry tears I've seen in a mov- anywhere really.

I sort of expected this movie to end without any closure. It seemed like one of these movies. But not only did it have a closure for Ben's parents and a happy ending for his part of the story. It even has a happier ending above and after that, depicting the best possible futures Cassie and Ben could have perceived to have together. An utopistic extra happy ending that I didn't see necessary. I keep saying that I'd like to see more movies without a happy ending. This one has two but also shows that a movie can still be as emotional and melodramatic as it is even with a double happy endling. Maybe they felt they needed to quickly tell how happy they both end up in the future so that no viewer with a similar life story or trauma kills themselves after watching the movie.

I think it's interesting that AnnaSophia Robb (Cassie) isn't seen more in movies as an adult now. She has this sort of model face that men find so beautiful and she can act, I think. Maybe she's working more as a model. Cayden Boyd too. He looks like a model for a shaver commercial now. But he only had some small TV show roles in recent years. I haven't seen him in any other role. Maybe he sucks at acting.

File Attachments (2 files)

This is where the film could have ended in my opinion. But what do I know?
This is where the film could have ended in my opinion. But what do I know?
"Who knows anything when it comes down to it? I don't. Actually, contrary to what I wrote above this scene is much more open than I first thought. They don't meet Ben's parents. Both parents go inside without seeing the children. To me that seems like they may have never met again, or not until years later maybe. But what do I know?
"Who knows anything when it comes down to it? I don't. Actually, contrary to what I wrote above this scene is much more open than I first thought. They don't meet Ben's parents. Both parents go inside without seeing the children. To me that seems like they may have never met again, or not until years later maybe. But what do I know?