Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005)
Oddball movie about oddballs and the love-fantasy they all pursue, from childhood to old age.  Lots of good moments, but the cartiledge holding the thing together is a little thread-bare, although the good parts are good enough to make you forget what you're seeing isn't very good...like good performance art should.  Ultimately, it's a movie that depends on the charity of the audience to give it the glow in memory that the actuality lacks.

Richard (John Hawkes) is a shoe salesman, recently separated, sharing custody of his two kids, who are growing up a little too fast.  Christine (Miranda July) is a multi-hyphenate: performance artist/writer-film-maker/fantasist/assisted living chauffeur.  She's trying to get a local art showcase to show her work while also juggling mooning over Richard and driving her "Eldercab."  Everything revolves around these two characters in a goldfish bowl environment so tightly wound it would make Iñárritu slap his forehead in disbelief—everyone knows everyone else, even if they don't know it.  And so much of the movie depends on code and secret messages that one suspects July is trying to create her own club-house with secret decoder rings.*

I'll avoid talking about the creepy aspects of the film, which involve underage kids and one pervy guy who talks (or writes and tapes to his window...without consequences, mind you) about what he'd like to do to two young women who hang out at the bus-stop in front of his house (which parallels an earlier incident in a chat-room), and when confronted with it, collapses beautifully in a puff of his own imagined machismo.  One becomes used to the 90° turn that July uses to cap her various stories and soon they no longer surprise.  You also can't imagine the stories going anywhere further than what she presents...everything just ends, another aspect of the limited life-in-a-nutshell world that she creates.  It kept reminding me that these are "characters" and not people.  Conceits, not lives.
Roger Ebert inexplicably called this the fifth best film of the decade.**  As they say in Adaptation.: "You are what you love, not what loves you."  Me and You and Everyone We Know didn't give me much love.  And Ebert must have had a good week that week.

* "Macaroni" and ))<>((: would that the messages actually be profound.

** Well, technically, not inexplicably, but what he found charming, I found a bit...annoying.  Different strokes.


6 comments:

FDT said...

Interesting review. I've been meaning to watch this film (I'm a John Hawkes fan) but I never seem to get around to it. I written a post about 5 Lamb blogs my readers should check out and I've included yours in the list (I hope you don't mind, but if you do let me know and I'll take it down immediately). Great stuff on here - I really enjoy the scene breakdowns you do.

FDT said...

Sorry - my blog is http://modestmovie.wordpress.com

Yojimbo_5 said...

Mind? Why would I mind? :D Thanks for the mention, and I hope I live up to your praise.

Check out Modest Movies, folks. It will be going up on the right bar shortly.

Yojimbo_5 said...

The article where we're mentioned (in good company) is here: http://modestmovie.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/5-lamb-blogs-you-should-be-reading/
And "a pox on me for a stupid lout" for getting the name wrong:
Modest Movie

I love the tag-line: "Opinions from the back of the theater." Heh.

John said...

Back and forth FOREVER!

Yojimbo_5 said...

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!