(Note: a little technical hiccup with the opening of the show. If you downloaded it early and don’t hear anything, I made a fix. Just re-download and you should have the fixed episode. Sorry about that!!)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things, the latest from writer/director Charlie Kaufman strikes similar notes to his past work and finds new ways for him to explore and dissect the narrative structure. This time around, Kaufman goes in for another literary adaptation, from the suspense-filled 2016 creep-fest novel from Canadian author, Lain Reid.
It’s been a while since Jim and Teal faced a movie challenge like I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and they immensely enjoyed having their minds worked over a bit by the playful demented storytelling of Kaufman. Clausterphobic is undoubtedly one way to describe the film. I don’t want to give away too much here. You’ll have to listen to the episode and find out what Jim and Teal think. But be warned! There are definite spoilers in this podcast. There was no way to give the movie a proper discussion without diving into the movie’s various puzzle pieces. This episode is spoiler-free pretty much up until the thirty-two-minute mark. After that, you are on your own.
But Jim and Teal felt people who’ve already seen I’m Thinking of Ending Things might be looking for a deeper dive into the movie and maybe searching for an answer or two. They hope this episode will clear your mind.
Death to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope
Is I’m Thinking of Ending Things another film in the all-too-cliche sub-genre of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which Charlie Kaufman is guilty of with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Or is this an examination of the genre, and Kaufman’s mea culpa about creating the idealized heroine for yet another white male, struggling with his inadequacies. Teal has some thoughts on this notion.
Why is Ted Cruz so Hung up on Cuties?
Have you heard about this controversy? Netflix won the distribution rights to a French film title, Mignonnes, or Cuties in English. The director is a French Senegalese woman named Maimouna Doucoure, and the film takes a brutally honest look at coming of age as a Senagalese refugee girl in France. While there are countless films about boys coming of age and the sexual awakenings and misunderstanding they go through as they cross over from tween to teen (The Good Boys from 2019 comes to mind,) no one ever finds that controversial. But take a group of eleven-year-old girls who desperately want to stack up against the older teenage dance-group rivals, and start to dress and act the part of them, and look-out! You’re headed onto a highway to the danger zone, and your traffic cop is Senator Ted Cruz.
At the time of taping, Jim was only half-way through Cuties, but he saw enough to comment on the controversial film and how overblown the hub-bub is. Jim thinks the only grown men who would watch this and be alarmed to the point of writing a letter to the justice department to have Netflix investigated are the same men who the letter writer is worried would get the wrong impression. Jim’s not casting any blame, but it does beg the question, should parents be worried about their eleven-year-old daughters in terms of a senator from Texas? We don’t have the answers on this show, but we can all speculate.
Enjoy the episode people!