Saturday, September 10, 2016

Short Film Spotlight: MOVIE MIND MACHINE

Welcome to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT. This week we look at a movie lover's fantasy...MOVIE MIND MACHINE.

Howdy fellow film freaks, Robert here. Do you remember the first time you saw your favorite movie? I mean your all-time favorite. The one that stands above all others. Do you remember what that experience was like? What if you could have that experience again? What if you could have that first-time experience with any movie you wanted?

In Movie Mind Machine, two guys get the opportunity to do just that. Ron, a hardcore movie fan who works at "Vidiots, the last great movie store", and Matt, a grad student studying neuroanatomy, invent a machine that lets them erase the memory of having watched a given movie from their heads. So they use it. A lot. They don't just use it to get that joy of watching movies they love again for the first time, but also to forget about having watched movies they hated (although that backfires.) The problem with the process is that they have to take stronger and stronger doses to get the same effect, and this abuse eventually bears consequences for the two.

The story of Movie Mind Machine is told documentary-style, interviewing Ron and Matt repeatedly as they sink deeper into the rabbit hole they've dug for themselves. They go from movie geeks living out every movie geek's dream to irredeemable addicts who remember nothing of life outside the garage where they spend their time watching endless movies. It's supposed to be a comedy, and it does have some funny moments, but it's hard for me to laugh at a story of two guys who lose everything else in their lives (jobs, relationships, etc) just so they can laugh at the "those aren't pillows" joke from Planes, Trains and Automobiles again. At the end of the movie, when the person interviewing them points out their addiction on camera, their rebuttal is made up entirely of movie quotes, showing how far gone the two have become.

I can relate to this story. Anyone who likes movies should be able to relate to this story, because anyone who likes movies has that one movie they wish they could watch again for the first time. But that's the thing: our favorite movies are our favorites because they get better every time we watch them. Each later viewing builds on the experience in some way. Movie fandom is a journey, and while the start of that journey can be memorable, what comes after can be just as meaningful. So yes, there are movies that I wish I could watch again for the first time, but I'm glad I can't, because they've only come to mean more to me the more time I spend with them.

As a conversation piece, Movie Mind Machine is a great short to watch with friends and talk about after. But as a comedy? Maybe it's because the idea of screwing with my brain for a transient goal scares me, but I think I'd have an easier time laughing at the final act of Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. An addiction taken that far isn't funny, and Movie Mind Machine's ending is all the sadder because these two don't even realize what they've done to themselves. The question of what if you could do something again for the first time is a fun one, but I'm glad it's impossible. That's a rut I wouldn't want to be stuck in.

Movie Mind Machine can be seen in its entirety below.

Robert's Score: 5/10

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