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Muffin MacGuffin

Agreed! Cannot believe this didn't even get nominated for best original screenplay or best director. I guess it wasn't as good as Benjamin Button.

Laura Deerfield

I admit to not having seen it yet, despite Eternal Sunshine being one of my all-time favorite films. And not because I shy from dense films that are meant to provoke and explore rather than answer questions... but because even fans of the film have described it as depressing. "Decay-obsessed, existential bummer." I'd rather watch Kieslowski's Red again.

Laura Deerfield

To clarify, I'd say it sounds like a movie that becomes a complex exploration that in the end alienates, instead of pushing past the darkness to find connection. If I'm wrong, then I'll reconsider. I'm tempted to watch it anyway, but I think it would simply frustrate me.


I made the wise decision to see it by myself, and while it's frustratingly out the window in terms of what we'd identify as a "movie" it is certainly an amazing example of exactly what art should be: challenging, moving, a bit confusing, even a bit frustrating, but definitely attempting to speak in some way.

It's certainly not a film you can discuss in scenes, but more like a picture. You've got to take it all in.

Michael Newton

They needed a poster with some floating heads, that would have brought in the crowds. Haven't seen it yet, but have wanted to since it's brief release. This should give me the push I needed, thanks.


I saw it, well atleast halfway through before I decided it felt pointless. I like Kaufman's love for realism in his films, but I feel his films are about his constant examination of his 'purpose and place in the world' and after awhile it can get quite tiresome.

The motif for the film was dark and the tone depressing. Now I don't know about anyone else, but there better be a really good reason for me to pay money to sit through a film like that. It should have a point and a very important one. Synechdoche, 45 minutes in, lacked that. I had to leave it.

I think he's talented, but he needs to work out his therapy sessions offscreen.

E.C. Henry

Great insightfull attempt showing Charlie Kaufman some love for his misunderstood movie, "Synedoche, New York." To my shame I haven't seen this film yet. Did see it Hollywood video the last time I was there but I went for "The Wresler" and second helping of "Slumdog Millionaire" (which I liked even more the 2nd time) instead.

What I think "Synedoche, New York" suffers from the most is a lack of promotion. This show needs to be promoted more and explained in trailers to wet people's appetites. Moreso, for a show as apparently difficult to explain as this show was (by the Seattle Times review and even all the ajectives you used Billy) it is clear to me that CHARLIE KAUFMAN needed to be involved in the trailers and promototional stuff. Let the artist choose how to best wet the appetite for a mass audience on his art. Would LOVE to hear Charilie speak on that subject...

IF I was involved in the trailer promo, I think you need to hit the audience with the high concept Charlie was playing with, then showoff the cast he's going to screw with in exloring that concept. Next show intro clips of the likes of Phllip Seymore Hofffman, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Williams, Hope Davis. Just seeing that combined star power alone gathered under the roof of one movie SHOULD have garnered a better box office then 3 million.

Charlie Kaufman's art is a study in high concept sown in, then played out. Fun brain candy that NEEDS a trailer, as opposed to say "Terminator: Salvaion" which you know going in what it's all about: bad robots fighting desperate post-apocapse people.

Don't you find that frustrating, Billy? The shows that really need good trailers, don't have them. And the ones that should have no trailer, like "Terminator: Salvation," have 'em up the gazzo.

Anyway, great post. Thanks for the reminder. Will rent "Synodoche, New York." The next time I'm at the Bonney Lake Hollywood video. I will support one of the best high concept writers working in America today!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


I wasn't interested in paying $12 New York City dollars to see this film, but I'm sure I'll rent it.

Lots of times, with Kaufman, I have to rewind.

Hence the renting.


I read the screenplay - every last word of the 150+ page thing. I found it an engrossing read and could follow it. (Kind of reminded me of David Foster Wallace's novel, "Broom of the System with its surreal elements.) My conclusion when I finished it was that it would either be a Heaven's Gate or a masterpiece. Glad to hear it's the latter. I definitely need to see how he realized that script.


Muffin: Right -- the eminently meaningless Button...

Laura: But there's an uplift (kinda)! Really there is. I mean, proceed at your own risk, of course, but I don't believe alienation is its ultimate destination.

Chris: Yup. And what's wrong with that?

Michael: Floating heads, yes -- perhaps with smiley faces?

JamminGirl: And that's what makes horse racing. Taste is taste!

Though I'll note that not getting through the whole of it leaves you critiquing the movie in the abstract, i.e. you're saying "it's not for me," as opposed to having an informed assessment of what it's actually about.

EC: "Fun brain candy needs a trailer" -- I love that. And it's true.

J: Rewind works well with this one.

Christina: Only cost $21 mil, so it can't be considered a "Gate." Nonetheless some people do excoriate the movie... I think if you liked the script, you'll really like what he did with it.

Simone White

I loved this film I loved this film I LOVED THIS FILM!
I saw it in the cinema in New York in January and came home to LA raving, looking for it here to take my man to see it, turns out it was gone or never even showed. We watched in on dvd, he fell asleep. I STILL LOVE THIS FILM! One thing I didn't see you mention was the acting, among others, Phillip Seymour Hoffman is absolutely amazing.

Simone White

and the cinematography!
I just read some of the comments here, it's so funny that people think it's depressing, I thought it was funny and uplifting and beautiful and sad. bittersweet. and what's this about promotion? the only promotion I needed was to be walking past the sunshine cinema on houston and see the name charlie kaufman. what we need is more theatres willing to play something other than blockbusters.
Too often I read a great review about some "indie" film, I search for showtimes in LA and all I get from moviefone or yahoo is "this film is not showing in your area", no explanation, when will it be here, did it already leave. ok fine, you can watch it on dvd, but you know it's not the same. watching synechdoche ny on the big screen was epic.


Simone: I wish I had seen it on the big screen! Yes, Hoffman is amazing, but then so is the entire cast. And I personally did find it uplifting, ultimately. In fact now you're making me want to watch it again...


Any movie that has an ending that is oddly uplifting is winner in my book and this has one of the best.


I thought that your blog was very informative,covering the topic well.
Sometimes it takes someone to make a thought provoking film, which are granted for some a bit hard going, but entertainment in any field should not always follow the pattern you expect, realism is good but can be heavy, but never disapointing, when it is done right!

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