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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   wacky movie about a portal
Friday, May 26 2000
In the evening, I went down to the Blockbuster on the corner of Ohio and Bundy to get the movie American Beauty, but since it wasn't available, I picked up Being John Malkovich instead. Evan (of Evan & Corynna) had raved about it over lunch the other day.
For Kim and me, one of the persistent sources of conflict in our relationship concerns the preparation of food. Kim doesn't like the fact that I never spontaneously do any cooking. She wouldn't mind going out to more restaurants, but I have trouble justifying the time and money necessary to eat out every night. The middle road, of course, is to order take away food. But the sort of food we end up ordering isn't necessarily cheap. Tonight, for example, Kim ordered from a nearby Indian place and the bill came to $30. We found all kinds of ways to squabble about this particular meal, particularly when Kim felt the need to call the gentlemanly BMW-driving delivery guy back to fetch us something he'd forgotten.
When I saw Being John Malkovich, I had another of those experiences where I feel I'm watching the best movie I've ever seen. There are only a few movies that have done this to me: Bad Taste, Natural Born Killers, and (perhaps) The Hidden. A quick (and only vaguely helpful) way to sum up Being John Malkovich would be to call it a "thinking man's The Matrix." But it's so much more than that. In telling the hilarious tale of a mysterious portal to a celebrity's brain, it intelligently (though by no means thoroughly) explores what it means to be a particular person. It draws on elements from such movies as The Fly, Edward Scissor Hands and the Truman Show, but it does so with such a such a preponderance of excellent acting and a cleverly realistic mix of styles (horror, comedy, tragedy, drama and various flavors of romance) that it comes off as a movie jewell as rare as any white Tyrone. One characteristics of Being John Malkovich that I found particularly refreshing was the fact that participants in dialogues never actually seemed to be paying attention to each other, but simply advancing their own selfish agendas. Another outstanding thing about the movie was the Simpsonesque oddness and completely arbitrary randomness of some of the scenes, particularly when various people are trying out the portal for the first time and ending up, say, as John Malkovich when he's mail-ordering towels and preparing a meal of leftover Chinese food.
Then, for further analysis, there's always the parallel between say, documenting my life for hundreds of internet voyeurs and someone unwittingly having their brain serve as a destination at the end a portal across arbitrary space.

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