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January 24, 2023 1:03 PM   Subscribe

In celebration of little indie film Everything Everywhere All At Once receiving 11 Oscar nominations, YouTube queer media analyst and commentator James Somerton takes his usual deep dive into the movie. The Queer Nihilism Of Joy (31m) is a journey through confusion and nihilism and into joy. Queer joy.
posted by hippybear (37 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
"Let's do a normal video essay for once, and talk about something that's just so, so good."

This is correct, and if you haven't seen this movie yet you should really do that. It is absolutely amazing, totally bonkers and totally committed its total bonkeredness while also being amazingly kind and humane in the process. It is unreasonably good.
posted by mhoye at 1:09 PM on January 24, 2023 [10 favorites]

posted by supermedusa at 1:10 PM on January 24, 2023

The main thing I got out of the movie was a sense that I maybe now have a better understanding of what living with ADHD must be like. I watched it to the end, but can't really say I enjoyed it, and can't imagine watching it again. It was exhausting.
posted by Chuffy at 1:18 PM on January 24, 2023 [7 favorites]

Isn't the movie called Everything Everywhere All At Once?

I watched it quite recently, really enjoyed it. The googley-eyed rock stole the show.
posted by allegedly at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

I have no idea why my fingers did that. I can't even blame autocorrect. Yes, the movie is Everything Everywhere All At Once.
posted by hippybear at 1:34 PM on January 24, 2023

I find this movie is a fantastic litmus test; it seems to jangle the neural pathways of neurotypical folks like no other media in recent memory. But for folks who live on the anxiety/adhd/depression axis, it seems to fit like a familiar glove. I absolutely adore this movie, its virtuosity, its heart, and its performances.

These nominations are well-deserved across the board, although I imagine I will be quite tired of self-congratulatory standing ovations for Yeoh (a woman who fought for decades to be recognized by Hollywood outside of genre) and Quan (who no one would put in front of a camera for years) by the end of award season.
posted by turbowombat at 1:37 PM on January 24, 2023 [11 favorites]

I'm going to suggest that if one doesn't have ADHD, speculating that an aesthetic experience must resemble it in some way is...misguided. Unfair to those dealing with ADHD, and unfair to the movie both.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:38 PM on January 24, 2023 [15 favorites]

I slipped into a dimension where I'm still a mod to fix the title.
posted by cortex at 1:43 PM on January 24, 2023 [29 favorites]

It is absolutely the case that EEAAO has sequences that are stylistically six sigmas off the mainstream, and it's not surprising at all that some folks would find them unpleasant/unwelcome/hard to handle, while others would feel them a breath of fresh air, thinking "yes! that's how I see things all the time!"

I would be in the latter group.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:43 PM on January 24, 2023

One amusing side story I read was that Quan was in need of a good lawyer to negotiate his contract for EEAAO - luckily, he just happened to be in a movie with one of the top lawyers in Hollywood back in the 80s:
QUAN: Jeff Cohen, who was in The Goonies with me — he was Chunk — is all grown now and he’s an entertainment lawyer. (Group bursts out in laughter.) When the producer of our movie was trying to make my deal, he said he never imagined that he’d have to talk to Chunk and Data for his movie.
[ADAM] SANDLER: Chunk get you a good deal, by the way?

QUAN: Jeff is an outstanding lawyer.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:21 PM on January 24, 2023 [42 favorites]

I'm going to suggest that if one doesn't have ADHD, speculating that an aesthetic experience must resemble it in some way is...misguided. Unfair to those dealing with ADHD, and unfair to the movie both.

Maybe, but it's an interpretation the director encourages:
So this movie is the reason why I got diagnosed. I got diagnosed, I went to therapy for a year and then went to a psychiatrist. And I'm now on meds, and it's such a beautiful, cathartic experience to realize why your life has been so hard.

This movie, obviously, when you look at it now, was made by someone with ADHD. And it's just funny how many people have come up to me after screenings and said, "This feels like you're in my brain."
posted by pwnguin at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2023 [20 favorites]

So glad there was a nomination for costume design. The Jobu Tupaki outfits (along with the make-up) were OVER THE TOP wonderful!
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:09 PM on January 24, 2023 [14 favorites]

I’m so glad Stephanie Hsu got nominated!! Her performance was STELLAR and the reports that she was being left out of award show marketing was saddening.

EEAAO meant so much to me on so many levels - as a queer Asian trying to navigate differing cultural expectations from my parents (intra Asian migration but I still stood out), while also knowing that my parents had dreams that they gave up so that I could exist (my mum was a fairly successful radio presenter in Bangladesh post independence and when I was a kid she used to go on and on about how if she hadn’t moved with my dad she’d be on the BBC by now - I had to tell her to cut it out because it was making me feel bad). I also tend to share Jobu’s nihilistic viewpoint of “nothing really matters”, so the optimistic nihilistic perspective shared in the movie was a lot to digest.

I’m still trying to make sense of WongKarWai!Raymond’s view of kindness and optimism as a means of survival - I haven’t watched the OP link yet but perhaps others can help unpack that a little? It’s a beautiful sentiment and something I feel I should adopt more if I can wrap my head around it.
posted by creatrixtiara at 3:30 PM on January 24, 2023 [13 favorites]

(Oh also I do have ADHD and CONSTANTLY think about what my life would have been in other universes or timelines so the movie was a pretty potent interpretation haha)
posted by creatrixtiara at 3:31 PM on January 24, 2023 [5 favorites]

I’m still trying to make sense of WongKarWai!Raymond’s view of kindness and optimism as a means of survival

Madonna would say "Nothing really matters. Love is all we need. Everything I give you all comes back to me." Not sure it's the correct message, but that's what runs through my head every time I see or hear that phrase.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on January 24, 2023 [3 favorites]

The main thing I got out of the movie was a sense that I maybe now have a better understanding of what living with ADHD must be like. I watched it to the end, but can't really say I enjoyed it, and can't imagine watching it again. It was exhausting.

Funny, that's exactly what my partner said; I'm a dyed-in-the-wool ADHD pup and watching the film was like letting my brain take a long, warm shower. One of the things that genuinely impressed me — above all the other stuff — is how deeply and unashamedly connected it is to its inspirations without being a references movie.

Like: The Family Guy phenomenon of "packing a fast-moving production with dense, endless references to other pop culture in a way that pings viewers' taste for nostalgia and/or juxtaposition" feels like it's everywhere, and it's disappointing because once it's done the pinging it has absolutely no interest in engaging with the material and jumps over to the next thing.

EEAAO feels like the opposite: It uses dense webs of pop culture references as a way to communicate about the things that most people primarily understand through the lens of pop culture and mass media. "Like Ratatouille" could've been a one-off joke or even a recurring gag but was shaped into a bunch of layers about how families try to reach each other through memories of shared media consumption, then leaned into the film, engaged with and incorporated *Pixar's* themes and emotional beats into its own.

And then did the same thing with five other films simultaneously.

So… yeah, I guess that is a very ADHD sort of film…
posted by verb at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2023 [17 favorites]

Fanfare thread where most mefites (my self included), 'gasmed over this film.
posted by lalochezia at 5:35 PM on January 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

One of the things I love best about EEAAO is how specifically and clearly rooted in not just Chinese diaspora but Cantonese-speaking Chinese diaspora it is — the stories it tells by using the actors it did and their different accents in Cantonese, the narratives that arise because of it and that are never acknowledged in a line or explained or referenced ina subtitle, but just exist there, a separate storyline for those of us who know Cantonese the language and Cantonese-speaking peoples. The references to how Michelle Yeoh came to fame in Hong Kong. The nods to Wong Kar Wai. The vertiginous moment when Gonggong not only speaks English, but English with an American accent, entirely missing all the little things that native Cantonese speakers (as opposed to Mandarin speakers) do even after decades of being fluent in English.

I just love it. As a queer Cantonese-speaking Chinese-American, a lot of American movies about family togetherness and the power of family require me to absent myself from the story. I can watch and enjoy them and even cry over them, but they never tell me a story that helps me imagine what it means to be both loved and seen by my Cantonese-speaking parents who emigrated from Hong Kong 50 years ago.

This does. I want to watch it again, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be filled up with emotion again like that.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:10 PM on January 24, 2023 [32 favorites]

You must embrace every universe, even the one with Hot Dog Fingers.
posted by emjaybee at 6:22 PM on January 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Just in case you missed the noms list, it's up for:
  • Best supporting actress: Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu
  • Best costume design
  • Best original score
  • Best original screenplay
  • Best supporting actor: Ke Huy Quan
  • Best original song: "This Is A Life"
  • Best film editing
  • Best actress: Michelle Yeoh
  • Best director
  • Best picture
posted by scruss at 7:00 PM on January 24, 2023 [7 favorites]

I feel like they need to invent a new category that's just "Best Best" and hand it to the people who made this. What a treasure.
posted by ZakDaddy at 7:14 PM on January 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

The main thing I got out of the movie was a sense that I maybe now have a better understanding of what living with ADHD must be like.

Chuffy, this comment made me laugh because as someone with ADHD, one thing I realized after finishing it was that I hadn't picked up my phone once during the entire runtime. Usually I hit points in a movie/show where I just kinda feel distracted and either really need to check my phone (but don't, if I'm in a theater setting, and it feels like an unscratched itch) or do check it if I'm watching by myself. Everything about the pacing/visuals/narrative of EEAAO fit so perfectly with how my brain works.
posted by augustimagination at 7:15 PM on January 24, 2023 [4 favorites]

I’m still trying to make sense of WongKarWai!Raymond’s view of kindness and optimism as a means of survival - I haven’t watched the OP link yet but perhaps others can help unpack that a little? It’s a beautiful sentiment and something I feel I should adopt more if I can wrap my head around it.

At the core, EEAAO is a kung-fu movie that denounces violence (but also glorifies it?). Traditional kung fu movies show people fighting to survive, kill Bill, save the village or whatever. Raymond's survival strategy stands in stark contrast to that; he is not simply conflict avoidant, but actively non-violent, kind and optimistic. Kind because you know, he's giving the IRS agent cookies, not a punch to the face. And optimistic because he believes the person on the other side of the desk can come to an agreement, rather than a worst case scenario.

Throughout the movie we see these principles in conflict with the normative kung-fu narrative, the alphaverse. At one point the alphaverse crew suggests telling their current cruel nemesis "I love you." It's taken as a joke, a highly improbable action that ends up unlocking a highly strange universe of hotdog fingers, but in a way foreshadows the brewing conflict, culminating in the alphaverse demanding she kill her own daughter "for the greater good."

In the finale, Evelyn rejects this demand and adopts Raymond's strategy of kindness and optimism (and also his silly googly eyes). She makes two opponents kiss and fall in love, sprays a widower with the perfume favored by his dead wife, she chiropractors a dude's pain away, some weird S&M thing to another opponent, she rescues Racocoonie from the animal shelter, and even tells the IRS agent (obliquely) about how she loved her ("even in a world where people have hot dogs for fingers").

It's not that complicated an idea but well, the last guy who summarized his philosophy as "love your neighbor as your self" literally got crucified.
posted by pwnguin at 7:22 PM on January 24, 2023 [10 favorites]

The character's name is literally Waymond.
posted by hippybear at 7:32 PM on January 24, 2023 [4 favorites]

Oh, and if you're looking for ways to put this into practice, maybe check out Nonviolent Communication and Never Split the Difference which both revolve around establishing empathy and trust with counterparties.
posted by pwnguin at 7:33 PM on January 24, 2023 [2 favorites]

I was delighted to see James Hong... and frankly pleasantly surprised that he is still alive. He's 93 years old! And according to IMDB, still working steadily.
posted by uberfunk at 7:56 PM on January 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

This video is really wonderful. Thanks for posting it, hippybear, so that I could absorb the last part, especially the bit starting at 26 minutes.
posted by minervous at 8:42 PM on January 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh, and thanks to the mod that corrected my "Everything There All At Once", which is a less all-encompassing title than the original. I'm mostly writing this to an above couple of comments have some context, but also to thank the thankless mod! You're not thankless!
posted by hippybear at 8:56 PM on January 24, 2023

(hippybear: autocorrect failed me and I didn't realise until 17 mins later 😭)
posted by creatrixtiara at 9:42 PM on January 24, 2023

I’m still trying to make sense of WongKarWai!Raymond’s view of kindness and optimism as a means of survival - I haven’t watched the OP link yet but perhaps others can help unpack that a little? It’s a beautiful sentiment and something I feel I should adopt more if I can wrap my head around it.

His name literally is Waymond, FYI. And - here's how I interpreted it:

Yeah, the world is crazy and confusing and nuts and no one knows what's going on. But one thing that we DO all seem to agree on is - I like it if someone is kind to me, and if I'm kind to another person, they like it too. So being kind to each other seems like it's a good thing to do regardless of whatever IS going on, and in many cases it helps un-fuck a larger situation as well. So why not do that?

I feel like they need to invent a new category that's just "Best Best" and hand it to the people who made this.

One of the most wonderful things I've been getting into for this awards season is just how delightful every person is with this film. When Michelle Yeoh won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, Jamie Lee Curtis' enthusiastic reaction went viral as an example of "women supporting other women"; but they've all been equally as excited for each other. And especially Ke Huy Quan - several other cast members have said how criminal it is that Hollywood basically gave him no work for 3 decades. And Ke could be so bitter about that in interviews - he has talked about how bummed out he felt when he stepped away from acting at first - but he has also been so grateful and overjoyed to be getting a welcome back now.

And they're even nice to people who AREN'T in their cast. Brendan Fraser's also enjoying a huge renaissance right now, and he'd worked with both Ke Huy Kwan and Michelle Yeoh before and has loved catching up with them on various awards shows, all "can you believe we're here right now". At the Critics' Choice awards, Brendan Fraser walked in right when the EEAAO team was gathering for a group photo - and Ke abandoned the photo to run over and give him a hug of congratulations, soon joined by Michelle Yeoh. And then the whole team said "what the hell, get in our photo!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on January 25, 2023 [4 favorites]

I love it when good things happen to nice people.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:38 AM on January 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

I’m still trying to make sense of WongKarWai!Raymond’s view of kindness and optimism as a means of survival - I haven’t watched the OP link yet but perhaps others can help unpack that a little? It’s a beautiful sentiment and something I feel I should adopt more if I can wrap my head around it.
I teared up every time I saw that scene, and I watched that movie in theaters way more times than I will ever admit (partly because I lost count). It also resonated with a personal philosophy I adopted in my late teens and still more-or-less stick with today, so I'll take a stab at this.

The whole "everything in the universe is random chaos" thing is true on some level, but it's not enough to tell the whole story. On a dork-ass level, mathematics and physics demonstrate that there is order: the abstraction of mathematics is a universal language, in that its principles operate consistently no matter how you define its abstractions. Physics is stranger and weirder, especially when you get to the quantum level, but "we don't understand how deep this order runs" is not the same as "there is no order," just as complexity theory and chaos theory don't conclude that nothing is understandable—just that rigid, iron certainty will only get you so far.

So even from the reductive standpoint of "we're all just particles," on some level those particles have meaning and purpose, even if it's not a human meaning or purpose in the way that we usually think of it.

A lot of contemporary nihilistic thought tries to pull a similar switcheroo with biological function: we humans are "just animals," doing the things our genetic code tells us to do. Or it leaps up a level and goes sociological: we're so formed by our environment that our actions fundamentally reflect some higher-order pattern that we just happen to be stuck in. Nature and nurture both become ways of justifying: our existence is senseless, our belief that we've found something that matters to us is delusion, and therefore we should either despair or worship raw, naked power, which is the only "true" thing that exists, devoid of empathy or ethics or morality or hope.

Evelyn and Jobu Tupaki both espouse some version of both these thoughts. For Evelyn, becoming all-powerful is the same as succumbing to despair: she can do anything, and therefore nothing else matters. No bond can hold her down, no force can limit her—and that includes love and family. The first time she experiences this, it feels liberating to her: the same timeline that gives her martial arts expertise is the one where she never got tied to Waymond, and therefore became rich, famous, and beloved. She tells her husband to his face that she saw a vision of life without him, and it was beautiful—and you can see Waymond's heart crumple in real time.

People who have been hurt have a tendency to obsess over power. Cycles of trauma and abuse occur, in part, because people who have suffered at other people's hands come to understand relationships with others in terms of power: happiness is being the one stepping on others, not the one being stepped on. Whatever love or trust they once had for other people is reinterpreted as weakness; when others love and trust them and are hurt by them, their response isn't empathetic, it's resentment. People I hurt deserve to be hurt, because they are weak. Why can't they be strong, like me? Clearly they never learned the lesson I learned, when I let myself be vulnerable by trusting and loving others. What I'm doing to them now just teaches them how the world works.

But that's not how consciousness works. That's not how people work. Yes, people can choose to act on animal instinct or lean into social hierarchies and justify either one as "natural order"—but that's bullshit. We all have a choice, at every second of every day, no matter how difficult it is to pull ourselves out of our own heads or the bullshit we're mired in. Making that choice intentional is hard, it takes practice, and nobody ever succeeds at it 100% of the time... but the question isn't "Can we all be perfectly kind and caring all the time non-stop?" It's: "When we do make that effort, does it matter?" Does our kindness affect others? Does our hope for a better world help make the world a better place? And the answer is that, obviously, yes it does.

Watching the movie a second time, something that I noticed is that Waymond is nowhere near as stupid or incompetent as Evelyn thinks he is. He's pretty masterful in his diplomatic handling of customers, even the racist ones; he's doing his best to talk the IRS into overlooking Evelyn's tax evasions; he's communicating with his daughter and step-father in a way that Evelyn can't. But the film codes him as a certain kind of stereotypical "un-masculine Asian man," leaning into his animated voice and constant laughter as if these are signs of weakness—and all the while, without calling attention to himself, he's a source of strength. He's strong enough that he can laugh off the casual bigotry he encounters, strong enough that he looks for ways to try and make Evelyn smile even as she demeans and degrades him. And on some level, he's strong enough to love Evelyn, to see her pain and stress and insecurity for what it is, and to forgive her for how she acts, no matter how selfishly or cruelly she treats him. None of that matters, because he sees her and knows her and loves her—even before she knows how to do the same back.

That alt-universe Waymond says, in his sexy handsome masculine way, the same thing that husband Waymond is saying at the same time. Yeah, husband Waymond's saying it while crying and borderline incoherent (and saying it in English, which isn't his native language), but it's the same sentiment: no matter the circumstances, kindness is always an option. And abandoning hope isn't actually the same as realistically assessing how bad a situation is, because hope isn't saying "this is good, actually"—it's looking for the best possible next step, no matter how relatively banal or tiny "best possible" happens to be.

That gorgeous montage of Evelyn touching Waymond's hand and looking at him cements that: he's not an idiot, prancing about and slapping eyes on things to annoy her. He knows that this isn't either of their dream lives. But he's looking to make it as joyous and loving a life as it can be. Which is why, in the middle of the literal apocalypse, he can tell Evelyn that it's not too late, while his alt-universe counterpart can just say, mournfully, that he'd give up all his success if it meant getting to do laundry and taxes with the woman he loves.

The Daniels described their view as "hopeful nihilism" in an interview, but I'm honestly not sure that it's nihilism. Acknowledging some amount of arbitrariness in the universe, or removing humans from the center of it, isn't inherently nihilistic. If anything, I find the kind of blithe Christian salvation-porn that claims to be anti-nihilist to be far bleaker than any kind of despair. If you literally can't find meaning in the universe without thinking that you'll go to heaven when you die, or that the entire human race is just waiting for Jesus to come back so our entire species can end, then you're dealing with a worldview that cheerily, happily rests on an unimaginably dark foundation. (But that's not inherent to Christianity as a whole, because you can also take the story of the crucifixion to argue basically what Daniels argue here: that, even when you're being tortured to death by a humanity that scorns you, you can choose to respond with love, compassion, and forgiveness—and that your choice to respond to that in such an un-natural way essentially becomes a radical act, humanity distilled to its strangest possible incarnation, which itself becomes the only possible foundation for anything heavenly or divine.)

Waymond basically acts as a salvation figure: not a super-Christ-y one (though he does literally die for Alpha Evelyn's sins), but someone who, in all four of his incarnations, continuously fights, not just for Evelyn, but for the belief that Evelyn is a good woman who is worth loving. And the thing that I'm only piecing together as I write this is: when Evelyn scorns him and is cruel to him, what she's really doing is trying to get him to admit that she's loathsome and unlovable. That she doesn't deserve to be loved. That she deserves the end of the world, because the only things she could ever deserve are either hell or nothingness.

In other words, she's trying to do the same thing to Waymond that Jobu Tupaki is trying to do to her. The difference is that her daughter, Joy, is living an existence that's entirely bound to hers: Joy's hell is pretty much defined by her mother's rejection of her. And her suicidal angst comes from this sense that the universe is cold and uncaring... but it's not the universe's fault, is it? It's Evelyn's. It's just easier for Joy/Jobu to say that the universe is fundamentally shitty than it is for her to get her mother to see how hurtful she's being. Because Evelyn gets to choose whether or not to love her daughter for who she is—and if she's determined to make the wrong choice over and over, nothing in the universe can change her mind.

So Evelyn attempts the same gambit with Waymond. She tries to give him every possible reason to abandon her: she assaults an innocent woman, she trashes her laundromat, she tries to kill him, she tells him that it's too late. And none of it works, because Waymond, too, has a say in this. And Waymond, without fail, chooses to tell Evelyn that there's hope, there's meaning. Which, to him, there always is—because there's always Evelyn, the woman who he loves.

You can interpret this with whichever philosophy or theology you'd like—you can justify this way of thinking using Buddhism or Judaism or Christianity or Hinduism or Taoism, all of which have their own ways of stating what turns out to be a pretty spiritually universal belief—but it's not an inherently philosophical or spiritual sentiment. It's pretty simple, when you boil it down: yes, nature is cruel and uncaring; yes, individuals and societies are ignorant and apathetic and hurtful and deeply flawed; but at the end of the day, we affect one another, which is a terrible responsibility but also an astonishing power. We can choose to be a part of each other's lives. We can choose to understand that what we do is not who we are—and that whatever life we happen to have found ourselves in is not the sum total of who we could be. (And not just who we could have been, because we are not fatalistically locked into our own destinies, no matter how much we fall prey to inertia and habit and circumstance along the way.)

That whole multiple-universe everything's-true-at-once sentiment leads to such an interesting trap: if every single thing is possible, then you can choose that no single thing means anything. Or you can choose that it falls on you to decide which, out of all of those infinite versions of you, would be best—but in a weird, roundabout way, the more seriously you contemplate that question, the more you wind up concluding that all of the things which would lead to the Very Best You involve qualities that are largely within your grasp. Not easily within your grasp, but very definitely there. And there's no real reason not to work towards them—towards kindness and hope and mercy and grace and love—apart from the narrative which all of us tell ourselves all the time, which is that it's hard, there's no point, we're just not like that, and besides, what good would it do to be good?

To pitch the same idea politically, if reactionary politics are defined by a belief that things are best exactly as they already are and that we shouldn't (or "can't") disrupt the extant order, then despair is inherently reactionary, and hope is inherently radical; the belief that our actions are meaningful, and that we might act in ways that make the world better, is the distillation of both political radicalism and love. It's so easy to dismiss love as bullshit or delusion or far-from-adequate, just as it's easy to dismiss socialism or anarchism as juvenile political theories that don't take the complexities of the world into account, but so much of what passes for "sophistication" or "expertise" is really just a masquerade for a cynical, reactionary weariness that ultimately says that institutions are perfect just the way they are, and that there's no point in trying to be better.

The personal and the political are one and the same; in this case, "the political" might as well extend to whether or not you think that anything in the universe means anything at all. Because, just as happens with Evelyn and Joy, a whole lot of people formulate theories about "human nature" or "the universe" when they're really just talking about themselves.

And sure, it's corny to flat-out say that kindness and hope and love are the traits which define humanity, the things which make humans human. Most simple, distilled ideas come off as corny, especially because it's possible to say simple things without truly embracing them or meaning them, and therefore you get people who profess love but are absolutely monstrous. Which is why there's something beautiful about finding sophisticated, compelling ways of articulating the same old ideas—and for me, EEAAO articulates it beautifully in both Evelyn and Waymond. Evelyn, because she truly is a flawed and hurtful person who nonetheless finds her way towards loving the life she despises; Waymond, because he is forever capable of looking at Evelyn and seeing somebody worth loving, no matter how monstrous she seemingly becomes. (And then Evelyn repeating that act of love towards Jobu/Joy, taking someone whose literal grandfather thinks should be murdered for the sake of the universe, and choosing instead to love her—even though, by the end, her daughter is still more-or-less a foreign creature to her.)

That was a lot more longwinded than I meant it to be, I'm so sorry.

tl;dr I like this movie and it makes me happy weep
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 8:41 AM on January 25, 2023 [36 favorites]

THCBT - something that Waymond's philosophy reminded me of, strangely, was something that Cameron Crowe said about Lloyd Dobler's character in Say Anything. He said that John Cusack was having trouble wrapping his head around the character's positivity early on, and they discussed that - and Crowe suggested that Lloyd was choosing positivity as a radical act. It wasn't a blinkered Pollyanna kind of thing - it was a deliberate choice, a determined declaration to the Universe or Fate or whatever that "okay, yeah, you may be trying to knock me down and turn me bitter, but I'm choosing not to be that way, dammit, I am choosing to see the good and be a force for good and be positive and you cannot stop me from that." Apparently that's what made Cusack finally "get" Lloyd, and I see something very similar in Waymond.

....In other news - I've just gone down a bit of a rabbit hole and have two bits of trivia:

1. Did you know Randy Newman was the voice behind "Raccoccoonie", and even wrote him a song?

2. The Daniels have shared a couple of deleted scenes, and this is the one they said they were most reluctant to cut - Spaghetti Baby Noodle Boy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on January 25, 2023 [8 favorites]

THCBT - no apology necessary. Immediately flagged as fantastic. Thank you for that amazing essay.
posted by ZakDaddy at 12:14 PM on January 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

EEAAO in theaters again for this weekend!

yes, my tickets are already purchased. why do you ask?
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:45 AM on January 27, 2023

EEAAO was officially named the highest-rated film of 2022 on Letterboxd, so they asked The Daniels to film themselves reading some of the user reviews. They looked at both the raves - and the pans.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on January 27, 2023

If you're still reading at this point, you might be interested in these two lengthy videos. Dolby Institute interviews The Daniels and people involved with the sound mixing and musical score about the process. They talk about a lot more than just sound, and there's a lot of insight into the movie and how they approached the process and how it was made. Daniels and the Sound of Everything Everywhere All at Once [1h14m] and Daniels and the Music of Everything Everywhere All at Once Part 2 [1h2m]
posted by hippybear at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2023

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