Sunday, November 28, 2004
Last night, Kipperkipp and I saw the movie "I Heart Huckabees." I know I'm a little late getting to this film - it's been out since October 1 - but at least I caught it before it came out on DVD, but when it does come out on disk, I am definitely going to buy a copy.
So, if you haven't already, you really have to go and see this movie. Right now. Seriously. Go ahead and bookmark this page if you want to come back here later, but go on over to movies.yahoo.com or whatever source you use for film listings, find out when and where the very next showing is, and then see the film immediately. You really owe it to yourself. It's the best movie I've seen since "Fight Club."
There is a LOT going on in this film, far more than I will attempt to capture or describe here. Besides, I don't want to give too much away, so you can experience the pleasures of discovery your own self. But, I will say that this film manages to both simultaneously reflect and lampoon my own spiritual search, but without heavy-handed or obvious symbolism.
If nothing else, it is worth the price of admission just for Dustin Hoffman's first scene. In an office full of surrealist and abstract props and clues, from Rene Magritte's bowler hat to a chalkboard full of abstract-expressionist rectangles, Hoffamn explains the nature of reality and the illusion of a separate ego-self in a brilliant send up of some of the Buddha's discourses. But where the Buddha used a handkerchief, Hoffman makes it (literally) warm and fuzzy by using a blanket, and refers to the teaching as "the whole blanket thing." May not sound funny here, but it really is on screen. He then gets the protagonist to engage in a practice reminiscent of zazen by zipping him into a body bag and allowing him to slice through (literally, with clever special effects) successive layers of delusion. Much later, the characters achieve a state on non-thinking ("no mind") by hitting each other repeatedly in the face with a punching ball, an act reminiscent of a slap-stick version of the kyosaku.
The dialogue and action proceeds along rapidly, and the viewer is barely allowed the time to let one idea sink in before the movie proceeds to another great scene, then another, then another. I'm really looking forward to the DVD version so that I can slow the whole thing down a little and try to digest it in spoon-size servings.
The movie's a lot of fun, very funny and very entertaining, and in spite of all the Zen references, not at all heavy-handed or preachy. You really owe it to yourself to go and see "Huckabees."