Charlie Kaufman and Ian Reid help me “think of ending things”

“I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to the algorithm.” Kingston author Ian Reid said upon reviewing the successful adaptation of his work, the latest head trip from Academy Award Winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman is my brother’s favourite screenwriter though I always preferred Kaufman’s twin brother Donald. Most of his tales never venture outside his mind. It is he who invites us in. Here Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons are his subjects. i’m thinking of ending things is reference heavy. Thankfully not entirely pop cultural like overwrought modern day films. The film contains many literary references that offer insight into the dream-like structure that is for 7/8ths a good dream. I felt as though I spent a short time with Kaufman though my experience of watching his film was broken up over a long awkward period.

I was enjoying the film until halfway through my mom called me for dinner. This wasn’t exactly dinner, nor was it a snack. Nonetheless since I wasn’t the primary watcher like my brother was so the film continued without me and I my found myself biting into a special kind of potato recipe that was much too hot for my liking. The starch made me feel nauseous, or it might have been I had little besides coffee that day. Come to think of it I hardly remember eating anything at all.

I went to brush my teeth like you do when you want to get a bad taste out of your mouth. I guess all bad tastes you want out of your mouth but some tastes are rewarding and you can enjoy. This is not one of those times. I grab a floss stick. I need some air. I start to get a sensation of highness. I wasn’t sure if it was the movie, the meal or the fact that I haven’t eaten anything but I decide to take a walk around the neighbourhood.

I walk down the street and around the block peeking into the backyard of a neighbour digging a trench around his yard. Perhaps it was a deck to go with his new pool but I wasn’t sure. My dad says its a pool house. I continue onto Manitou and down Wedgewood as a kid yells at me from a mini-van. His mother from the passenger side, pretty- late-thirties smiles at me. The husband has his eyes on the road. I wondered if the wife was happy with her marriage. They pull into their house further down the street and get out just as I walk by. The kid and husband rush in while the wife waits in the car, legs out, door swung open. Why? What is she waiting for? Did she know I was walking by? Was she just taking in the view of a beautiful night? I know I was. It was beautiful. And it was only around dusk.

Turning the corner I head towards the park on top of the water treatment plant offering a perfect view at a perfect time on a perfect night. I would’ve taken a great selfie to commemorate the timing of the moment had I not left my phone at home for the purposes of proving myself I am not some tech husk millennial. I missed a good photo. A great photo. This always happens because I am usually the photographer. I am a wannabe director you see. Last week at a cottage I took a bunch of good photos but no good ones were taken of me. One good previous photo of me standing beside a lake was too dark to see my face. Figures. I rarely, truly see myself on camera until now. In the film I see a version of myself. A dancer named Ryan Steele who looks like me visible during the musical dream sequence climax. My first thought was that he was ugly, but charming. I tagged him on my Instagram page. If I were well dressed and successful I could be that. Handsome, talented, athletic, happy with myself, but I decided to play tag at recess instead of Soccer. No who am I kidding? I never was.

I turn around after gazing upon the great lake and see a bench covered in bird crap. It’s dedicated to a man whose name is the only thing I know about him. What’s that worth, I suppose? In dollars and in legacy? Is it worth people knowing your name if they don’t know what for? Boy its a nice night out. I’m glad I didn’t wear a jacket. It’s going to get cold soon. Warm climate and waterfront. I’d like to move to California. The girls sure are pretty there. Man I wish I had a girl. I need to finish my screenplay first and get famous so I can get a girl. Granted I know I am not entitled to one. Everybody knows that. Times have changed. Or maybe they haven’t and we are just being naive about the times. Naive towards progress.  Had you told me upon turning 27 that I wouldn’t have had a girlfriend by now I don’t think I would have made it. Still I’m not lonely. Maybe that’s the problem. Always alone but never lonely. Its not like I haven’t been with a girl before. How’d that happen I suppose. Luck, opportunity, timing and some preparation. That and I’m pleasantly bearable sometimes even charming. I just have to contain my inner monologue from ruling my life. Maybe if I wasn’t so picky I would have been with more than one woman almost on fluke. Then again I’m glad I’m picky, I have standards. And no regrets. Not everyone can say that. Better me not make someone else miserable for the sake of status which is what everyone does. It helps me enjoy the important things. I’m mostly happy. Like this film I suppose. I’m enjoying it. Before it inevitably turns.

I walk home. Same way I came. The other road is occupied by someone else. I don’t want to have to walk behind someone the whole way I had to do that last week and it feels so creepy. Also I don’t wanna have to walk slow on purpose just to not catch up. I will go home the way I came. I consider taking a variation but then see the wife is out hosing her house down. Her husband watching from the inside. Will she notice if I walk by? Will her husband? Nah, I can’t be so vain. Everyone is so new in this neighbourhood and I’ve been here almost 27 years. What’s that get me? That’s the length of absence of the monster in It. If you told me apart from college I’d spend 27 years in the same neighbourhood I don’t think I’d have made it.

I get in the house just as its dark. No time for a photo now. I suppose I can quit flossing now but it never feels like I’m done anyway. I’m not sure if my brother is finished with the film or not. Is he annoyed I didn’t keep watching? That I answered the call for my meal and went. There was no other course. My mom would have just kept calling, lovingly but annoyingly. There was no other way. I will finish the film in my room. The picture is not as good, it’s half the size and a quarter of the surround but it will do. Shame. It will probably change the film experience. I probably won’t love it now. But no. I can’t be superstitious. I don’t even really like this film either. Actually that’s a lie. I am really enjoying it. I hope it doesn’t change.

Darn. It did. Oh well, I never like these movies anyway. I just get tired and pretend to. Is this one of those times? Maybe I’ll review it, along with Mulan and The Boys. I haven’t seen something good in a while. It’s a lot of negative writing, and it took me a long time to write my Tenet review which no one read. Maybe if I change the quality of my process? Doesn’t matter. I won’t publish it anyway.

The narrative in the film is starting to get off track. I knew this was going to happen. Retreat into your mind Charlie Kaufman its not like its your job to entertain us. It’s not enough you have well drawn characters, with interesting conflicts and a valued female perspective. Geniuses always have to take all the pieces and cram ’em down the chute don’t they. They would be lowering themselves to us otherwise. It doesn’t strike me as conventional to logically conclude a well drawn story. Convention is leaning on it and doing it poorly. This isn’t that. How am I going to say I enjoy this film without lying to people?

Hey there’s me! Well not me. I don’t remember being in this film and I don’t have any diagnosed mental problems and you can clearly see its not me but unclearly it is me. And he’s dancing with a pretty girl like I used to do before I left college. I like dancing, even though I’m not good at it. Not good at it at all. No rhythm William they’d call me if they saw. Maybe if I dated that one girl in college that liked swing dancing in my group project. I wasn’t attracted to her though. She was too pushy, bullying even,but maybe that’s what I needed, my work was never good for her and she was right. Why is it always we never worry about the ones we’re not attracted to not liking us. It seems obvious I suppose. But I wish I could afford the ability not to care when somebody I like and am attracted to is around me. My inner monologue always gets in the way. It’s even getting in the way of this review right now. Anyways she would have been a bad fit. I miss dancing. Dancing with girls, even ones like her. I’m like Holden Caulfield I suppose. Hated that book though. Read it around the same time and setting as the character and couldn’t relate. I didn’t get why he complained so much. I could never run away from home. Didn’t have the guts to. I was terrified what my Mom would say or do. And now I’m watching a film about a guy taking a girl home to his parents voluntarily. His idea. Even if it turns out to be a figment of his imagination. Still we can all try to enjoy the joy dancing brings.

Now this guy who is not me is dancing well with a pretty girl. Makes sense he’s a professional. Not me. Never me, but could I improve? No I couldn’t. But dancing is charming on people. Things that don’t make you think about how ugly someone is are charming I suppose. And this is clearly the end. The man is talking now. Jesse Plemons. Bye bye female character. I thought it was about her. I was wrong. It’s the current year, the year of the female narrative. Again. Until we get it right. Charlie couldn’t be bothered to learn how to adapt. He even had the right curly hair on her. The right tools. All he needed to do was transplant his lines to her character. Oh well. I guess Jesse Plemons is speaking. Write what you know. He’s with Kirsten Dunst now. Not bad. Why are all women attracted to misogyny on some level. Not that Plemons is misogynist, by no means. But there’s something distasteful about going beyond taking female power away from someone and eliminating their existence. Still it is a function of a critique. Of how hard and important it is to get a girl. I could do that. Be a misogynist. I should willingly tap my misogyny into my writing maybe somebody will find that attractive. Somebody personally or someone with talent who can put me in the right direction. No, I can’t. It’s too uncomfortable. I will just let it lazily seep in accidentally. Oh well, the movie is over as it disables the standard narrative. Well done Charlie. I guess I liked it. The aesthetic was nice. I was with the characters. It had themes to it. Lots to discuss. Still not worth writing about. My viewership on the website might be going downhill anyway. It’ll be hard to write for. Doubt I’ll do it. Doubt I’ll publish.

A popular girl on TikTok saw it. This is the great thing about the internet. Let me comment. She responded right away. Amazing. Amazing technology. A stranger a thousand miles away can hear what I say in an instant and I can see her. She’s sort of cute. Way too young to be attractive to me though. Bummer. Maybe I can use her fame to collaborate and build my own blogging career? It wouldn’t look good though. Geeze why does TikTok recommend only teenage girls on my feed? I don’t like them at all. Maybe because I have the emotional maturity and relationship experience of them it puts me on the same level. If you ask me I wouldn’t be surprised if every guy on earth had never been in a relationship before or had sex. We just lie. Relationships are things that happen to other people. Guys just don’t take part. We have to lie. We wouldn’t be liked otherwise. We’d be boring. They think they’d like us. Want to even, but they wouldn’t. Women don’t know what they want. The only thing they know is what they do not want. They are very good at that. Better than men. But guys are the opposite. Still I have to move on and write my way out with that screenplay. This town and internet are taking over me.

I find it weird my mom cannot remember the name of the same title this book this is based on of a film she hasn’t seen, yet can recite the major plot points of a novella beat for beat from memory. Sort of like me and movies. I thought Reid told Kaufman to do his own thing? I thought the ending was different. I expected it to be inaccessible. I wonder if I could ask Reid. Go knock on his door and ask him. He’s in my town. How would he respond? He’s probably the anti-social type. A writer no-less. Grew up on a farm. Still It’d be rude to bother him, I’m sure all wannabe writers do. Or will they now that a movie version of his book has come out? I wonder if he’s prepared. I wonder how many writers considered doing it and didn’t out of courtesy. Very Canadian of them. Still I’m the kind of guy who isn’t polite if it means getting my way. I just have to find which way that is and go with it.


State your point in the comments below...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s