First, a personal aside, in honor of the two most surreal moviegoing experiences of my life.
I can remember rushing out of a press screening of Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain to call my best friend Dave, who was helping me to run a movie blog at the time. Standing on the side of 53rd Street in Manhattan, I raved to him about this tale of human arrogance, as a man in three different time periods tries to cheat death for both himself and his queen. The rousing final montage, in which our hero realizes that the only way to attain eternal love is to embrace death and the mystery of the great beyond, left me with goosebumps. But it apparently left most of the other critics who saw it that day with a confused headache. If only I could have explained it all to them.
Similarly, I remember showing up to see Steven Soderbergh’s version of Solaris opening weekend, walking into a barren and deserted theater. At one point in time there had been much hype about the James Cameron-produced George Clooney vehicle, but upon its released, it was difficult to tell who was yawning the hardest: The studio execs, the critics or the audiences.
No one much cared about this brutal examination of love, and the ambiguity involved when an astronaut falls in love with a virtual replica of his dead wife. I was riveted by Soderbergh’s minimalistic and tightened variation…I might have been the only one. It’s also worth nothing that Solaris has one of the best soundtracks that I’ve ever heard…electronic pulses in the dead of space.
There’s no accounting for taste, but these are the two movies that I think deserved far better fates.
Next: #1 Primer
More at Techland: The Best of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show