Movie Review: Me and You and Everyone We Know

MeYouThumbby Brad Nelson
This is a movie that is not quite as good as the dozen or so scenes in it that show an originality of thought I haven’t seen in a while. This movie is, I think, about making connections. And although this need is so great that it may drive us to do some kooky and even perverse things, the human-to-human connection remains ultimately good and wholesome. And it is, I dare say, a holy thing. It’s something that rises above even the crud we throw at it trying to achieve those connections.

The acting in this movie is sufficient, but by no means particularly memorable. You’ll surely enjoy seeing Deadwood’s “the Jew” in a central role. But the way the writer and director have staged several scenes in this movie is eminently memorable. There’s some good original work here. And there’s an overall tone to this movie that is refreshingly non-sledgehammerish. It’s subtle, but not boring.

[pullquote]People are quirky. Life is quirky. This movie is honest in its portrayal of that aspect.[/pullquote] I have a wide toleration for movies, and no doubt movies like this that involve a bit of scatology are almost daring people to be shocked and turned off. And movies such as this skate very close to the line of self-consciously and self-indulgently quirky for quirky’s sake. After about 15 minutes, I thought this movie was going to drop off the deep end. But it didn’t.

People are quirky. Life is quirky. This movie is honest in its portrayal of that aspect. I don’t see it trying too hard to be hip, shocking, or controversial, which for me is a big turn-off. The story could have been better. The acting and actors perhaps just slightly more engaging. But this movie is worth watching if only to see real skill in staging original scenes that are charming but never in-your-face novel.

Watching this movie, I was, and still am to a great extent, unsure what it’s about. Much of it is like turning a video camera on yourself, watching it, and then wondering what it’s about. There’s a broad quality to this film rather than a few specific themes being touched on. I felt the writer and direct had figuratively used a very wide angle lens rather than trying to put things into sharp and pat focus. This movie could easily be watched a second time just to try to figure out what it is you’re watching and why the filmmakers want to show you what they’re showing you.

Again, as a whole, I think this movie wasn’t quite as engaging as some of its parts. But I have to move this over the 3 threshold and give it at least 3.3 hamburger wrappers out of 5. And maybe a…

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YouAndMePoster

‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’ is a poetic and penetrating observation of how people struggle to connect with one another in an isolating and contemporary world. Christine Jesperson is a lonely artist and “Eldercab” driver who uses her fantastical artistic visions to draw her aspirations and objects of desire closer to her. Richard Swersey, a newly single shoe salesman and father of two boys, is prepared for amazing things to happen. But when he meets the captivating Christine, he panics. Life is not so oblique for Richard’s six-year-old Robby, who is having a risqué Internet romance with a stranger, and his fourteen-year-old brother Peter who becomes the guinea pig for neighborhood girls — practicing for their future of romance and marriage. More »

…As a description of a movie, I suppose that sounds maddening. An example: A young woman walks into a department store, and in the shoe department, she sees a young man who fascinates her. His hand is bandaged. She approaches him and essentially offers the gift of herself. He is not interested; he’s going through a divorce and is afraid of losing his children. She asks him how he hurt his hand. “I was trying to save my life,” he says. We’ve already seen how it happened: He covered his hand with lighter fluid and set it on fire to delight his two sons. He didn’t think lighter fluid really burns you when you do that. He was wrong. He was thinking of rubbing alcohol.

Now imagine these two characters, named Christine (Miranda July) and Richard (John Hawkes) as they walk down the street. She suggests that the block they are walking down is their lives. And so now they are halfway down the street and halfway through their lives, and before long they will be at the end. It is impossible to suggest how poetic this scene is; when it’s over, you think, that was a perfect scene, and no other scene can ever be like it. More »

Available for streaming on Netflix. Available on widescreen DVD ($14.94 new, $0.30 used) or Amazon Instant Video ($2.99).

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.

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