David Heuser

Short Takes

These are movies for which I've come up with fully developed metaphors, and then, as time went by, forgot many of the details of the film. Consequently, I need to see these films again to really to do a proper treatment. As this is a hobby, I don't want it to get too much like work. So, I may get around to fleshing some of these out, I may not. In the meantime, here is the essence of the movie, as I found it, without the supporting documentation. For now, I'll leave that part to you.

  • Ruby Sparks (2012). Ruby is a metaphor for Calvin’s relationship with the fame his first book gave him, a success that is quite like the perfect girlfriend you thought you always wanted. In the movie she is the written word come to life, after all, so it’s not a stretch to see her as representing a book and the fame it brought. The stages of their relationship are the stages Calvin went through (and is still going through) when he became famous for his first book: flirty and exciting at first, eventually turning into a burden he has to literally carry around. Because this fame was thrust on him suddenly, or maybe just because of his personality, he feels undeserving of the fame and unable to live up to other people’s expectations of him. The last thing he has Ruby say, yelling it several times, before he sets her free, is “You’re a genius, you’re a genius, you’re a genius!” This is what his fame keeps screaming at him, and it is keeping him from moving on. Until he gives it up – until he sets “her” free. Only by disregarding the reception his first book had and the way it makes people relate to him, is he able to write his second book.

  • Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011). Jeff is sent on his journey of discovery because he has to fix a shutter slat. It's absence produces a hole, like the hole in Jeff's life that his father's death has caused. Jeff spends the movie fixing things and filling holes. Obviously he helps fix his brother's life and so on, but he also fills smaller "holes", like the one in the basketball game. And of course the movie ends with him fixing the shutter.

  • Amelie (2001). This wonderful, life afirming movie admits we all have flaws; deep, long-held faults which have their roots in our childhood. But, with a little effort - and perhaps little push from someone - we can overcome those flaws and find love and happiness. The movie also shows us how we can provide that little push for someone else. (It's also a celebration of how to enjoy the little joys of life, and how they can become big ones.)

  • 12 Monkeys is about being human vs. being an animal, or, to put it another way, what it means to be human. Bruce Willis' character transforms from animal to human state during the course of the film.

  • 2001. No one really needs me to do this one, so I won't. I see it as a film about man the tool maker (whether it is a found bone or a computer named HAL) evolving to something else, the next stage, if you will.

  • Big Night. The two brothers represent America and Italy.

  • The Fisher King. All about forgiveness, as Jeff Bridges gives away early in the film when he looks in the mirror and (practicing his TV character's catch phrase) says to himself "Forgive me."

  • Time Bandits, Brazil, and Baron Munchausen. Director Terry Gillium's trilogy about imagination and its consequences for childhood, middle age, and old age. And the series comes full circle: the little girl in Munchausen is a stand in for the little boy in Time Bandits

  • The Way We Were. Redford is mainstream America, Steisand is left-wing politics.

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