I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern Has Studied THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP!!

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

What a collision. Vern and Michel Gondry. Can’t wait to see how this goes:

Hey fellas,

I saw THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP which is the new Michel Gondry picture that comes out in September. It was the closing movie at the Seattle International Film Festival here. Michel Gondry was there to briefly introduce the movie, but didn’t do a question and answer session. Which is good because the first question probaly would’ve been, “what was that all about?”

Here’s the “where I’m coming from” paragraph, I’ll keep it brief. If you’re not into Michel Gondry then throw a grain of salt on this one, because I like every movie the guy has made. Yes, including HUMAN NATURE. I was the guy in the theater who was embarrassed because he couldn’t stop laughing and nobody else could start. To this day I think people didn’t give it a fair shake because they only had BEING JOHN MALKOVICH to compare it to. I honestly believe there will soon be a mass re-evaluation around the world where people decide they like HUMAN NATURE after all, now that they like Michel Gondry. If this does indeed happen then everybody has to buy me a Pepsi or something.

The Science of SleepDAVE CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY is probaly my favorite movie so far this year so it’s impressive that Gondry has another one already done. And sure enough, it’s a good one.

SCIENCE OF SLEEP is sort of a surreal romantic comedy about Stphane (Gael Garca Bernal), a Gondry type who falls for his neighbor and tries to start a relationship with her. They have alot in common because they’re both very creative and goofy, but it’s awkward because he’s more of a weirdo than she is. Although he passes as a normal adult human with a boring job, he has some Pee Wee Herman in him. He keeps bringing her inventions such as a time machine that can go only one second into the future or past, or glasses that make reality 3-D, even though it already is. The movie depicts these devices as if they actually work so it’s sort of up to the audience whether to take it literally or not.

But also the movie is about dreams. According to his mom, Stphane doesn’t know how to tell the difference between dreams and reality. We see alot of the dreams and they’re based on old amateur super-8 shorts, so the world is made out of cardboard and intentionally fake looking stop motion animation. But these things also appear in his “real” life sometimes, so his mom must be right. In his dreams he has his own TV show, on a set made out of cardboard and foam, and he does a cooking demonstration to explain how dreams are made. This is not something I’ve seen in a movie before, although there’s a couple out there I haven’t seen yet. They definitely didn’t do it in any of the Nightmare On Elm Streets.

A buddy of mine was frustrated because he wasn’t sure what was supposed to be real and what was supposed to be fantasy, but I don’t think you can really look at the movie that literally. It doesn’t really matter. The point is when he and his girl turn on the sink they both see animated cellophane coming out instead of real water. And he can call her on the phone from a dream and describe it to her. So they’re on the same wavelength.

If you can’t accept that (and I know some of you can’t, because I saw the talkback about the upcoming Gondry movie where Jack Black’s magnetized brain erases all the videos and he has to star in a remake of RUSH HOUR) then I urge you to sit this one out. It’s not worth the stress. On the other hand, my buddy really liked the movie, despite it sometimes infuriating him.

As you can probaly guess by this description, SCIENCE OF SLEEP is the first movie Gondry has written on his own. When you see it you will realize yeah, when you subtract Charlie Kaufman from the Gondry movies, this is what you get. It reminds me more of his music videos than his other movies. It’s even weirder than the Kaufman movies, but more whimsical. If you thought AMELIE was too whimsical, this one will make you cough up blood. But somehow it wasn’t too cute for me. It works. Be sure to wear two belts if you don’t want your pants charmed off. I don’t know if your socks are necessarily gonna be knocked off on this particular one, but the pants are certainly in danger. I guess to be safe you should watch for the socks also. It’s definitely a movie like you haven’t seen before.

The tone is more upbeat than the Kaufman movies, and it doesn’t depict humanity as being as ugly as Kaufman seems to see it as. But there is definitely some anger and hurt at times. I guess Gondry did make up the concept for ETERNAL SUNSHINE after all so he’s not all, uh, sunshine.

The movie is alot more about gimmicks and clever ideas than his other ones are. I mentioned AMELIE and it’s really not the same kind of movie, but it does give you the same idea that he must’ve written down ideas in a journal for years before he put them all into this script. It’s obviously a very personal film to Gondry and also a showcase of his talents and obsessions. If you enjoy his work you’re probaly gonna love it, but I don’t think as many people will have a personal attachment to it as they did to ETERNAL SUNSHINE. That had pretty universally relatable business about break ups, this one is a little more geared toward people who see the world like Gondry does.

I should probaly warn, if you are a scientist and you are hoping that this will contain information about the latest sleep studies, you will probaly be disappointed. Other than that it’s real solid though, I’m glad I was able to see it.

thanks,

Vern

Can’t. Wait. Thanks, Vern.

“Moriarty” out.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/23639

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • June 19, 2006, 5:14 a.m. CST

    So sue me…

    by thelivingdoll

    But I think Amelie bloodfuckingmurders Eternal Sunshine.

  • June 19, 2006, 5:17 a.m. CST

    Hey!

    by DerLanghaarige

    My boss still has my DVD’s of Eternal Sunshine and The Work of Gondry! I gave them to him when he complained about Human Nature and what a retard the director is. That was more than a year ago…

  • June 19, 2006, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

    by Mr Brownstone

    I really dug Human Nature too. Oddly enough I didn’t really connect with Eternal Sunshine… but I was in a very fucked mood the day I saw it. It seemed more like a Spike Jonze film than Gondry. But I’ll give it a second look some day.

  • June 19, 2006, 5:24 a.m. CST

    I could do with this

    by seppukudkurosawa

    It looks like it’ll be a break from the polarized: “Are you with us or with the Gestapo?” flicks. Wait shit, I said the word “flick”, Vern doesn’t like that. Scratch that and replace it with “picture”. Phew, he almost had me there, but I sure foiled him Anyway where was I? Yeah, I could do with a new dose of Kauffman’s Ketamine-fuelled madness. You’d think that with society falling into a dumpheap of monochromatic over-simplicity, people would be a little more up for movies like this, rather than having to deal with even more shitty docu-preaching. I guess we’ll see. I’ll be in the audience at least. Merci Gracias for the review Vern.

  • June 19, 2006, 5:29 a.m. CST

    I just realised Kauffman had nothing to do with this

    by seppukudkurosawa

    But that ain’t to say there was no Ketamine involved.

  • June 19, 2006, 5:55 a.m. CST

    Hmmm

    by DonnieDorko

    So it

  • June 19, 2006, 6:05 a.m. CST

    complete this sentence for me, vern:

    by newc0253

    “if you liked eternal sunshine of the spotless mind …” there, buddy, i just wrote your review for you and it was a hell of a lot shorter than what you just wrote.

  • June 19, 2006, 6:19 a.m. CST

    I love Gondry but what about Chris Cunnigham..?

    by workshed

    When will we see a feature-length from the only bloke to make Gondry seem a little plain. ‘Rubber Johnny’ showed us why CC is, hands down, the hottest editor on the planet and, visually, the true successor to Kubrick (a feeling Kubrick had himself). Someone give the bloke a decent budget to do what the hell he wants.

  • June 19, 2006, 7:55 a.m. CST

    what about a new Mark Romanek (sp?) movie?

    by tripp5

    that guy is awesome

  • June 19, 2006, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Work Shed: Re: Cunningham

    by FatPaul

    I don’t think that the important part is so much giving Cunningham a decent budget to do what he wants as it is giving him a decent script to work with. Remember: They gave Jonas

  • June 19, 2006, 9:44 a.m. CST

    “he has some Pee Wee Herman in him”

    by brycemonkey

    So it’s a gay interest flick? I mean movie. ;-) Just messing with you Vern, I’m surprised that an Outlaw such as yourself digs romantic whimsy… Life is strange. Thanks for the review, I’ll check it out. Peace.

  • June 19, 2006, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Cunningham

    by mondriandroid

    Wasn’t there some time around the turn of the century when Cunningham was tinkering with the idea of making a Neuromancer film? The “All is Full of Love” video sure got me nice and hungry for a full-length Cunningham cyberpunk pic…

  • June 19, 2006, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Where are the insulting jokes, to the fans?

    by Billyeveryteen

    This review was well written, and insightful. What is wrong with you?

  • June 19, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Hey Billyeveryteen-

    by BayouWilly

    I think you have one of the coolest User Id’s on here. That’s pretty much it.

  • June 19, 2006, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Billy

    by Vern

    When I emailed it in it said “p.s. All adults who read comic strips are pedophiles” at the end but Moriarty must’ve missed it when he did the cut and paste.

  • June 19, 2006, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Vern – you da man!

    by LilOgre

    Questions though: 1.) When is Harry going to give a black TB bar? Or do you want to stay with the masses 2.) Review HOLLOW MAN 2 PLEASE!

  • June 19, 2006, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Lil Ogre: Wait, you want Vern to review HM2 again?

    by FatPaul

    Why? I thought the review he already did was pretty good. http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=23006

  • June 19, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST

    FatPaul – thanks for the link!

    by LilOgre

    i must have missed it the first time around – or intentionally overlooked it. in that case, how about a dr. doolittle 3 review vern?

  • June 19, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    im just imagining this guy with 6 billion pepsi’s

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    its a pretty funny image. he looks quiet confused in his giant pile of pepsi’s. i think, if that happened, i would help him drink or pour out the pepsi so that we could recycle the cans. just thinking about the look on the supermarket checkout girl’s face when we come to collect our 3 hundred million dollars for our recycling efforts. yea…and about the movie, i swear to god, when i was in 8th grade, i came up with exactly this concept. i even wrote a treatment for the film. this happens a lot actually, i think up a movie, and then hollywood makes it. or i think up a movie, and later discover it was made 20 years before i was born.

  • June 19, 2006, 1:50 p.m. CST

    im just imagining this guy with 6 billion pepsi’s

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    its a pretty funny image. he looks quiet confused in his giant pile of pepsi’s. i think, if that happened, i would help him drink or pour out the pepsi so that we could recycle the cans. just thinking about the look on the supermarket checkout girl’s face when we come to collect our 3 hundred million dollars for our recycling efforts. yea…and about the movie, i swear to god, when i was in 8th grade, i came up with exactly this concept. i even wrote a treatment for the film. this happens a lot actually, i think up a movie, and then hollywood makes it. or i think up a movie, and later discover it was made 20 years before i was born.

  • June 20, 2006, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Human Nature was awesome! I loved that movie!

    by Proman1984

    I can’t believe it’s not more famous. A true underappreciated classic that happens to be too clever for some people.

  • June 20, 2006, 2:22 p.m. CST

    I’m a little sad…

    by Childe Roland

    …because this movie was apparently pretty good. When that happens, Vern tends to write a “real” review, largely devoid of his trademarked humor and wit. Who the happy fuck told Vern he could go see a good movie? Stop fucking with the funny, assignment editor.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, June 19th, 2006 at 5:11 am and is filed under AICN, Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews, Romance, SIFF. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Vern Has Studied THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP!!”

  1. One of the many movies I got on DVD for a while but haven’t checked out yet. And I’m a huge Gondry Fanboy! I think I will finally check it out this week.

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