I Heart Huckabees
Is it possible for someone to comprehend the true nature of the
universe? Are people connected to others, or is life meaningless
and depressing? These are the questions that “I Heart Huckabees”
tries to answer.
Albert, played by Jason Schwartzman, is trying to figure out if
the coincidences in his life have any meaning, or if they are just
that — coincidences. To figure this out he hires Bernard and
Vivian, played by Dustin Hoffman and Lilly Tomlin, to spy on him
and figure out if the coincidences in his life have meaning or
Bernard and Vivian are existential detectives, and are some of
the worst spies ever. Instead of being sneaky and hiding from
Albert they simply watch him, and will even wave and say hi while
“spying” on him. Vivian is amusing while she works because she
concentrates completely on the task at hand, and is at the same
time completely oblivious to her surroundings.
The cast of “I Heart Huckabees” is impressive: Mark Wahlberg,
Naomi Watts, Jude Law, Isabelle Huppert, Dustin Hoffman, Lilly
Tomlin and Jason Schwartzman all play major roles in the film.
There are separate but interconnected plots involving each
character, but no character steals the show from another. Jason is
the main character, and the story begins with him, but the movie is
not really about him. It is about the lives of all the individual
Each character brings an important point to the story and makes
leaps in discovering him or herself. The complexities of the story
make it interesting to watch, while still not confusing at all.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (1999) is a good example of the
interconnected plots, and is one of the few movies that compares to
“I Heart Huckabees.”
“I Heart Huckabees” is a movie that requires a bit of thinking,
but for those who like this type of movie, it will be rewarding.
The characters are simply a wonder to watch, and are great examples
of slightly quirky, but normal people working through issues of
self-identity and self-worth.
Three and one half out of four
The scariest horror movies out today are remakes of Japanese
movies. “The Ring” (2002) was a remake of “Ringu,” a movie with the
same plot. Now comes “The Grudge,” a remake of a Japanese film
called “Ju-On: The Grudge.” Takashi Shimizu directs the movie,
which comes off as more of a scary mystery than a horror movie.
Karen, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a student living in
Japan with her boyfriend Doug, played by Jason Behr. Karen is
working in a volunteer program that helps with the handicapped.
When one of the women working there doesn’t show up for work Karen
is asked by her boss to substitute for the day.
Karen spends the day helping an American woman in her house, but
finds many strange things about the house. She even finds a very
creepy boy who makes cat sounds in the house.
The police get involved when strange occurrences happen at the
house. Detective Nakagawa, played by Ryo Ishibashi, explains a lot
of the history involved in the movie. The audience gets to hear
that the family living in the house was killed three years ago, and
that nobody has lived there since then.
During the movie there are a few jumps in time that help explain
the history of the house, which is nice to have, and is not always
present in horror movies. “The Grudge” has a much more involved
plot, and more mystery, than a stereotypical horror movie.
Many of Gellar’s lines seem unnatural, despite her convincing
performance. The script is too formal in many cases, which
interrupts the flow of the story.
While the Grudge isn’t the scariest movie out there, it makes up
for it by having a complex story and quite a few jumpy moments. It
is refreshing to see a horror movie focus on the history of the
story, and not simply let the audience assume.
Three out of four