So I -heart- Huckabees was on tv last night and, if you didn’t know it before, I absolutely adore that movie. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you!
Firstly, and this probably has no relevance to anyone other than myself, Lily Tomlin reminds me eerily of one of my highschool teachers, who I loved. It’s the overdone mascara, the facial expressions, and the incisive interpretation of behaviour and events (she plays half of a pair of existential detectives, along with Dustin Hoffman).
Next up, there is the sheer quote-ability of this movie. I mean it. This movie is quote-tastic gold, and if you’re someone who relies on semi-obscure movie quotes in conversation as much as I do, you need this movie in your repetoire. Examples of fantastic quotage?
“Don’t call it ‘the ball thing’; call it ‘pure being'” (in ze Frensch accente)
“You can’t deal with my infinite nature, can you?”
“You don’t plant no tree in a parking lot!”
“The universe is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
“…and your girlfriend, who’s dressing like an Amish bag-lady…”
I’m telling you. Gold.
It occurs to me that if you’ve never seen this movie, you might be hoping for some insight regarding the plot, characters, and other normally-reviewed devices. I should probably get on that. So. The movie’s “plot” is about a tree-hugger named Albert who keeps running into a tall black guy, and hires the existential detectives to find the meaning behind this coincidence. All this is happening while he’s trying to save a marsh. Albert runs an environmental group, that gets taken over by Jude Law’s character (Brad), a typically sales-y, faux-sincere VP of PR or something for a department store (Huckabees). Brad also hires the detectives in a coup to oust Albert. Etc.
Now. That may be what the story starts with, but it’s not what the movie’s actually about. The movie is a mess of characters wandering around trying to answer eon-old philosophy for themselves (“How am I not myself? How am I not myself. How am I not myself? How…”) and meeting each other in ridiculous coincidences as they question their previously unexamined lives.
It’s a feel-good movie with nothing very racy and nothing very deep or earth-shattering to it, but it is fantastic because all of the characters are asking the same questions and they’re all finding the same answer (which never happens in real life) but it’s okay because we get to watch the ride as they go about it different ways.
It’s clearly not a movie I’m going to be able to explain coherently. Just go watch it. 8 out of 9.