A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker. The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life. Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids. At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn't allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man. And Charlie's twin ... Written by
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Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would ...
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A brilliant, original film, hilariously funny almost all the way through, which is why the end seems disjointed and a bit out of sync with the rest of the film...until you consider McKee's advice to Kaufman, the success of Donald's cliched script, and the pressure on Charlie Kaufman (in the film) to finish the script. So it suddenly becomes a thriller, there's drama added to a genuinely moving story and characters, and it seems to rush towards its ending unprepared. But that's the whole postmodern element of the film - is it deliberately bad and pat (like the Player - a much lesser film that doesn't stand up after repeated viewing)?
Anyway, Cage is fantastic in this - really if the Oscars were about acting, he should have got it for articulating two characters brilliantly. After the mess of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, it's some achievement.
A must see - but you need to engage your brain for this!
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