grizzly man is about the life of timothy treadwell, amateur grizzly bear "expert" (the emphasis is on "amateur", and perhaps "enthusiast" would be a better word), who spent 13 summers in the alaskan wilderness with bears until one day he (along with his girlfriend) gets eaten. a lot of footage was shot by treadwell himself, whom we find out over the course of the movie that he's a former alcoholic and a failed actor. the footage was perhaps used for a self-made future documentary, but these videos become a diary for treadwell, who reveal a lot of inner demons on camera. right from the first scene i didn't like treadwell at all. he comes off as a self-centered granola-raised free-spiriting hippy slash wilderness dude, cooing softly to the bears in the background, telling them how much he loves them, calling them by special pet names, reminding the audience how dangerous an expedition he's on. i felt that my sense of annoyance would be vindicated since i knew eventually treadwell would be killed by a bear. as the movie progresses, we meet people who are on either side of the argument regarding whether or not what treadwell did was good or bad for the grizzlies. from a true naturalist point of view, what he did was wrong because he essentially acclimated these wild bears to the presence of humans to the point where the bears lost their natural fears of people which puts them and humans in danger. one pilot said it best when he said that timothy "got what he deserved." it wasn't enough to just study the bears; treadwell also had to interactive with them, often times thinking himself to be a bear as well, asserting his bear dominance when one of them got too close. the one thing about this movie that critics don't tell you is just how funny in a tragic way it is. it's not billed as a comedy, but the life of timothy treadwell, the man who thought he was a bear and went to go live with his "peers", is ripe with laughter. not just timothy himself, but the people who surround him, from the ex-girlfriend who used to work with him at the medieval manor (she was a beer wench), to the creepy lynchian coroner who autopsied the body parts after the bear attack. i'd recommend this movie first as a comedy and second as a lesson to anyone interested in nature, that animals live in a totally different world, and that often times people end up doing the wrong thing when they attribute human qualities to creatures who are by their very nature wild.
after the movie we disbanded and went our separate ways. returning home i heard a crashing sound behind me, like somebody's muffler fell off. i quickly look back and i see that the spare helmet has disappeared from the motorcycle and is bouncing alongside the bike, jumping onto the sidewalk, finally to a stop. i must not've tied it down very well! sheepishly i parked and went to retrieve the jettisoned helmet, looking around to see if anyone saw what happened. i made it home with one hand behind me holding the helmet in place. in my mail i received a wedding invitation to claudio and tami's nuptial celebration on the island of guam. unfortunately i don't have the money to attend the ceremony.
i wasn't home for very long before i went to coolidge corner in brookline on the other side of town to meet up with eliza and her roommate jaeda to see broken flowers. we got our ticket first before crossing the street to mr.sushi to get some japanese food. i had the maki combo, which eliza made some comment about the quantity (18 pieces); turns out she was right, it was more sushi than i could handle. jaeda ordered the caterpillar sushi which was pretty good, i'm now a big fan of any sushi that has eel (unagi). afterwards eliza waited in line and got seats for us while jaeda and i went next door to buy some contraband candy. i was surprised by how packed coolidge corner was as well; they screened broken flowers in their largest room and it was completely to capacity.
jim jarmusch makes movies not so much concerned about the story as he is focused on creating quirky characters and their special moments. that's the case in broken flowers, in which bill murray plays an aging bachelor who revisits a handful of old girlfriends in order to find a long lost son. each meeting seems like a vehicle to let an equally aging actress (age 40+) showcase her acting chops. granted, broken flowers has more of a plot than, say, mystery train (1989), night on earth (1991), or coffee and cigarettes (2003), but the essence of the film is still about the characters. the movie ends abruptly, which harkens to the spirit of independent cinema ("resolution? we don't need no stinkin' resolution!"). the film was interesting but i can't recommend it and i don't see how it's been getting the amount of critical acclaim that it has. i love bill murray to death but he seems to be playing the same character in all his movies now, emotionally dead aging man who discovers himself through the course of the film. does that deserve an oscar nod i ask you?
apparently it had rained while we were all inside the theatre. the three of us got some drinks next door at some cafe and spent some time analyzing the movie we just saw. afterwards we said our good byes and i found my bike. the helmet, locked to the side of the motorcycle, had a pool of rainwater inside. i put on the wet headgear and went home.