At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ill Communication

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005)--As someone who has gotten together with women and broken up with them, rejected them and been rejected by them, taken students to task and been taken to task by them, all in writing, I can appreciate July's point about the discomfort and difficulty of face-to-face communication in modern individualized society. She plays a struggling artist and chauffeur for the elderly who flubs important tete-a-tetes with a potential love interest and with the director of the local museum, but wins them over through more indirect means of expression. Meanwhile, a shoe salesman fails to seduce teenage girls with his pick-up lines, but later piques their interest with salacious fantasies written out and taped to his window; a seven-year old picks up a woman in an internet chat room; and a divorcée wears a T-shirt with self-affirming messages in backwards script, so she can feel good about herself while brushing her teeth.

I hope this doesn't sound too drearily sociological; the movie not only thoughtful but funny, the sort of combination of offbeat humor and melancholy that Lost in Translation and The Royal Tennenbaums reached for but missed. Think Ghost World. Something about the clothing, the decor, and the DayGlo color schemes exudes 80's retro, a throwback which had to happen eventually. Expect feathered hair and Swatches to reappear anytime now.