Thursday, March 24, 2016

Knight of Cups and Hello, My Name Is Doris

                        Hello, I Must Be Going
                                                   Reviews by Ken Burke      
Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews.  Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up.  Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
               Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
This is too poetic a cinematic experience to reduce to a prose summary so suffice to say that it involves Rick, a successful but emotionally-distraught screenwriter, whose material wealth and sensual successes with various women do little to bring him comfort or peace; frequent images of desert landscapes, LA city scenes, and the Pacific Ocean figure notably here.
What Happens: To attempt to transcribe in narrative terms what happens in this film will just end up sounding like I kept dozing off, then waking up every few minutes to scribble something down in unintelligible notes.  However, I promise you I was attentive the whole time so please just accept that this is one of the more elusive, poetic examples of cinematic art to grace mainstream theaters in quite some time so here’s how I propose to offer its "facts" to you, beginning with the understanding that there’s not a lot of dialogue in Knight … (even what’s there often trails off into silence so that you can’t get the full gist of a conversation but only the implications of what little is revealed to us) to help give us direction although there’s a good bit of voice-over, from an unknown narrator as well as the main character—Rick (Christian Bale)—along with the various women that are occasionally a key factor in his life, even as the whole thing is set into early context with the narrator’s statement:  “Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep. … The road to the East stretches out before him. Will he set forth?”  (We’re told that Rick’s father, Joseph [Brian Dennehy] used to read this story to him as a boy.)   So, whatever journey wayward-screenwriter-Rick is on here is presented by Malick within the metaphor of the deck of Tarot cards—even the title, seemingly referring to Rick, as this card represents romance, charm, imagination, a “knight in shining armor,” although if during a reading it comes up reversed then it implies conditions of unreality, jealousy, moodiness.  (These interpretations of the cards come from this source [useful in giving concise definitions for both configurations of the entire deck but also offers you an option to purchase online readings, books, etc., none of which I’m advocating nor realize any profit from], one of many choices that you could use in trying to get a better understanding of this mystical source which underlies the entire structure of Malick’s latest confounding of cinematic expectations.)

 Drawing from this same introductory source (with my encouragements to delve deeper into Tarot if you care to), I’ll note that each of the 1st 7 chapter names within this film are taken from the Tarot’s Major Arcana cards that illustrate the structure of human consciousness while the film’s title refers to 1 member of 1 of the 4 suits of Minor Arcanas, which are representative of different aspects of daily life, with the Cups related overall to water and more specifically to emotions, relationships, feelings, and creativity in people.  While I’ll have no intention here of trying to fully decipher what Malick’s up to in each chapter, for this section of the review I’ll simply note what he calls it, what the card is supposed to represent in both its upright and inverted positions as it would be dealt to you in a reading, and some of the more prominent activities happening on screen during that chapter.  Even before the 1st one, though, we see that Rick’s presented as a lost, wandering soul within a montage of images that at times show him cavorting with women while drunk at a big party yet lonely and reflective the next morning but he’s also part of a collection of views of the horizon of Earth from space, a father and child at the beach, black & white “portraits” of young women in various stages of applied face paint, a big earthquake hitting Rick’s trendy-beach-town-apartment but with minimal damage, sexual escapades, incongruous shots of freeways and desert vistas, all with occasional VOs about doing anything, being anything, starting over, “Where did I go wrong?”

 After this introductory collage we move on to the named sections, starting with The Moon (illusion, fear, anxiety, insecurity, subconscious; reversed: release of fear, unhappiness, confusion)—Nick having casual sex with Della (Imogen Poots), LA downtown at night, an aquarium, a movie studio’s backlot, a large harbor for small boats, more sex, a Tarot card reader.  The Hanged Man (suspension, restriction, letting go, sacrifice; reversed:  martyrdom, indecision, delay)—Rick with his brother Barry (Wes Bentley), Rick and Barry on the streets of LA, lots of homeless people, Barry trying to reawaken Rick (just as Della tried to do in the previous chapter), conflicts between the brothers and their father as the scenes shift from an elegant men’s club to Dad on a theatre stage then all of them in an alley.  The Hermit (soul-searching, introspection, being alone, inner guidance; reversed: isolation, loneliness, withdrawal)—Rick having sex with 2 women, underwater shots of a dog chasing toys in a pool, a huge lawn party where Rick interacts with Tonio (Antonio Banderas) while Ryan O’Neal is among the recognizable guests, a lavish mansion (someone on the soundtrack says “Nobody’s home”), an ice sculpture at the party, distorted wide-angle-shots, clothed party guests jump into the swimming pool.  Judgment (judgment, rebirth, inner calling, absolution; reversed: self-doubt, refusal of self-examination)—the movie studio backlot again, Rick strolling around with ex-wife Nancy (Cate Blanchett), flashbacks to their former troubled home life, her as a doctor treating severely-deformed-patients, him always eying attractive young women, Rick and Nancy on a beach, Rick's VO: “You give me peace.”

 The Tower (disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelation; reversed: avoidance of disaster, fear of change)—Rick at a sleek, modern office building then with his brother and Dad at a decrepit older building, the Tarot Sun card (fun, warmth, success, positivity, vitality; reversed: temporary depression, lack of success) floats in water, fashion shoots (as the locations keep changing), implications of more sex with model Helen (Frieda Pinto) plus VO: “There’s somewhere else we need to go to,” Rick being robbed in his home.  The High Priestess (intuition, higher powers, mystery, subconscious; reversed: hidden agendas, need to listen to inner voice)—strip club (although the women never go further naked than bikinis) where Rick meets Karen (Teresa Palmer), back to the beach (a frequent location in all of these chapters), Karen’s VO: “Your mind’s a theatre”, the Las Vegas Strip at night with an emphasis on Caesar’s Palace, some random wild party (Rio de Janeiro Carnival-like)Death (endings, beginnings, change, transformation; reversed: resistance to change, unable to move on)—Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) is a woman Rick wronged in the past, exquisite Japanese gardens surrounding a home with an older man, a city-model with lots of little racing cars then stacks of blue dishes in a museum display, the beach again, Rick jumps off a pier into the ocean, Elizabeth is married (but separated?) yet when her husband returns she’s pregnant but not sure who the father is (Rick’s VO: “Forget me!”), a burned-out-house in the desert, Barry fighting with Dad, the St. Louis Arch (VO: “How do I begin?”), desert, crowded beach.

 Freedom (this one doesn’t have a Tarot connection)—Isabel (Isabel Lucas) enters the story, windmills in the southern California desert, Rick and Isabel on a beach, Isabel swimming nude in a pool at night, desert sky, Rick’s apartment from the opening scenes (even as we’ve seen him in what seem to be many other homes in these other chapters) but now it's empty, a driver’s viewpoint of a car moving along a desert highway with Rick’s VO: “Begin!” although this is the end of our film.

So What? This could easily be the question of the year where this film’s concerned, as anyone's interpretive meaning will likely remain as elusive as trying to figure out some clarification of the strange surrealist paintings of Rene Magritte (this is a great site for this fabulous artist but distractingly-packed with ads), whose imagery also seems to be recognizable yet it turns fleetingly-illusory.  Clearly, Rick’s a troubled soul whose decadent lifestyle shows a wandering loss from whatever grounded past life he might have had, with an implication at the end that he’s now ready to leave all of these shallow distractions behind in quest of something more substantial (with enough evidence to allow arguments that the solidity he seeks is more likely to be found in some version of the harsh-but-haunting-desert rather than the immersive-grandeur of the ocean, despite how the desert is shown as impressive but empty while the beaches of his southern California lifestyle are the location of his consistent presence, no matter which woman he’s currently with).  Beyond that—and the sense that Rick’s lost life to this point is not that far removed from what T.S. Eliot was writing about in his 1925 epic poem The Hollow Men (for your further edification: a detailed explanation of it and a reading of the work by Eliot himself)—it seems rather foolish for me to attempt to translate into words what Malick has beautifully constructed with images and complex audio.  (Difficult as this may be to comprehend as a plot or an understanding of what's led to Rick's current ennui [a mental state of apathy and disengagement so well explored in the celebrated cinematic canon of Michelangelo Antonioni, especially in the masterpieces from L’Avventura {1960} through The Passenger {1975}, although some might argue that Zabriskie Point {1970} wouldn’t belong in such a groupingyet, that film’s Death Valley imagery and allusive content is the one most evocative of Knight of Cups {with the further irony that a Pink Floyd song written for Zabriskie …‘s soundtrack, rejected by Antonioni, later evolved into "Us And Them"—I'd say one of the greatest parts of the fabulous 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moona statement also with appropriate resonance to Knight of Cups}].)

Bottom Line Final Comments: As is frequently the case with some films that exist on the margins of traditional cinematic conception and execution (where the argument is whether they’re of the realm of the poetically-powerful or are just pitifully-pretentious) I’m at great odds with the critical establishment concerning Knight of Cups, even with all of its seeming randomness and jumping around from one event or location to another (those surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are light years away from my 4 stars, with the former offering only 44% positive reviews, the latter at a surprisingly “higher” average of 54%), but nevertheless I find myself in harmony with the somewhat-indecipherable-approach of Malick here (we [me and many other critics] weren’t in league with Malick’s previous film either, as I gave To the Wonder [2013] 4 stars while the Tomato Tossers offered only 46%, the Metacritics—surprisingly higher once again—rose only to 58% [I cited Antonioni in that review as well; read it for yourself if you like in our May 3, 2013 posting]).  Maybe I appreciate these “weird” constructions of Malick's because they remind me of multi-projector-multi-image-shows that I used to create in the 1970s-‘80s (a few of which even won awards at regional festivals) where the “narrative” was an abstracted interaction between my photographs and/or images taken from the mass media, put to soundtracks composed of popular songs; I don’t claim my long-forgotten-works (most no longer available although I do have video transcripts of a few of them on VHS but I’m not about to post them on YouTube where the reduced video quality would hardly be indicative of the original visual intentions) are of the same sophistication as what we get from Malick, but at least we’re kindred spirits enough so that I can feel an appreciation for what he’s offering, especially with imagery shot by 3-in-a-row-Oscar-winning-cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity [Alfonso Cuarón, 2013], Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance [Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014], The Revenant [Iñárritu, 2015]).

 Still, Malick's work is in a financially-dominated-medium—despite its long history of individualistic experimental and avant-garde-alternatives to standard commercial film expectations—where most audiences (and critics) require storyline coherence, very clear messages in the viewing experience, and imagery in support of those coherent thematics; increasingly, Malick refuses to offer such, for which I commend his courage with hopes that he continues to get funding even as his box-office-returns continue to sink into the abyss (Knight …‘s earned a whopping $335,558 after 3 weeks in release compared to Disney’s Zootopia [Byron Howard, Rich Moore] with 200.9 million domestic dollars in the same period, but that's from almost 4,000 movie theaters for the latter vs. a slightly-growing-68 screens for Malick’s singular vision).  The bottom line here is that if you’re open to cinema, music, writings, and visual arts of various kinds that evoke with impressions rather than clarify with explanations (not that there’s anything wrong with that; I enjoy much of what’s offered in more mainstream art and entertainment as well) then I think you’d find a worthwhile experience with Knight of Cups, although you might have better luck waiting for a video venue than hoping for “a theater near you,” in that this form of esoterica is a hard-sell in the plot-and-resolution-driven-media-mainstream.  Given how metaphorical Malick’s work is already, it may seem redundant to offer a Musical Metaphor for the experience of Knight of Cups but that’s my chosen review structure so I’ll just go with something as surreal musically as Malick is visually, Bob Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” (side 4 of the 1966 2-disc-album Blonde on Blonde) at watch?v=IW_qMLnbRJw, even though Malick’s protagonist is male while Dylan’s is female yet to me they share a sense of illusive fascination, which I hope you might want to wander around with for the song’s 11:19 duration.  If not, you can move right on to the odd, sad tale of Doris Miller.
                  Hello, My Name Is Doris (Michael Showalter)
Mostly a comedy about an aging woman who finds herself strongly attracted to the new young stud in her company (leading to daydreams about his mutual interest in her) so she attempts to connect with him via a fake Facebook account and a feigned interest in his favorite musicians; serious aspects also arise here, even as her romantic dreams are challenged.
What Happens: Doris Miller (Sally Field), somewhere in her sixties (which may have also been the last decade in which she had a date or felt much like her movie-namesake, Doris Day), has been working a big NYC firm for years doing data entry as a holdover from a previous corporate merger; she’s also been living since birth in the large family home on Staten Island with her hoarder mother, freshly dead as our story begins, as an agreement with her brother, Todd (Stephen Root), to take care of Mom so that he could pursue a career, although that led to Doris cancelling her engagement to a man she loved when in her 20s so as to stay at home when the fiancée needed to take a job in Arizona.  Shy and largely unnoticed by her co-workers (with her social life mostly consisting of time spent with good friend Roz [Tyne Daly], including attending a self-help-seminar where optimistic Willy Williams [Peter Gallagher] encourages her to think “I’m possible”), Doris suddenly becomes blindly-attracted to new (much younger, late 20s I'd say) art director John Freemont (Max Greenfield), to the point of having romantic (shirtless) fantasy daydreams about him which can leave her in awkward stances in the middle of their workspace as she imagines the 2 in a passionate embrace (the funniest scene of her hoped-for-lust comes when she deflates the large ball she sits on instead of a chair so he can reinflate it with his bicycle pump in a scene that probably contributed to this movie’s R-rating as it’s shot to imply him giving her oral sex—with corresponding satisfied facial expressions from her: “It was grand pumping with you.”).  To help push her hopes along she gets advice from Roz’s 13-year-old-granddaughter, Vivian (Isabella Acres), on how to set up a phony Facebook account as “Lilith Primrose” in order to leave him a Friend request, then search his site for info to help ingratiate herself, leading to the ruse that she’s also a fan of his favorite band, the fictional Baby Goya (Jack Antonoff) and the Nuclear Winters.

 She then goes to one of their concerts where, as intended, she runs into John, they have a good time together, Goya sees her wacky outfit from his on-stage-position then invites them backstage after the show where she’s treated as the hippest person on the planet even to the point of agreeing to pose for the band’s next CD cover, Fresh Vintage.  With the belief that John’s really into her, she’s shocked back to reality when she sees him kissing co-worker Brooklyn (Beth Behrs)—just named that, originally from Colorado—so she stalks them only to end up in their company as Brooklyn invites her to join the lesbian knitting group where she feels comfortable despite the gender-attraction-differences.  Doris comes unhinged, though, gets drunk, posts a heartbreak message on John’s FB wall as “Lilith,” which Brooklyn sees, decides John’s a liar about his interest in her, then angrily breaks up with him.  To console himself, John arranges a pep-me-up-Thanksgiving-dinner with a group of friends, including Doris, with the odd question to her about whether she’d be interested in dating someone younger.  She gets dolled up for the dinner, makes a private seductive pass at John (even admitting the fake Lilith post), then is shocked to find out his question was on behalf of his boorish late-50s uncle, that he has no romantic interest in her, and is angry about her role in the Brooklyn breakup.  She’s mortified, leaves the party, but the next day finally sets about cleaning out the clutter from the family home with the help of her therapist, Dr. Edwards (Elizabeth Reaser), Roz and Vivian, Todd and his wife, Cynthia (Wendi McLendon-Covey)—both of whom had been angrily trying to get Doris to empty the place, then sell it for their mutual benefit, which she tried to do once but stops in the middle of a powerfully-acted-breakdown.  

 By weekend’s end the house looks completely empty (what little we see of it), followed by Monday morning as Doris quits her job, gives most of her office belongings to co-workers (who’ve now come to admire her from being with her at John’s parties), then sets out to leave but not before one last talk with John, which ends with his finally-admitted-desire to have a relationship with her—except it’s just another daydream as she’s standing by the elevator, but as the door opens and the screen fades to black we hear him yell to her, “Doris, wait!”  (Or is that just an after-shock-fantasy?)

So What? There are a lot of effectively-funny moments in Hello, My Name Is Doris, especially with her fantasies of romance with John which are slammed back into reality, making it clear to her and us that her obsession with him is mostly all in her head (despite his genuine decency to her, along with accepting her sincerely as a friend—at least until she reveals both her romantic obsession with him and herself as the author of the infamous “Lilith Primrose” post that killed his Brooklyn relationship); however, it’s a critical question about whether we’re laughing with the situation of Doris pushing daydreams into unlikely reality (something that we’ve all surely done to our own later embarrassment; among my most recent example of this kind of fantasy-scenario is entertaining the notion that I might ever be voted into the San Francisco Film Critics Circle—as if those professional journalists would ever consider my off-the-wall-approach as something that belongs within their collective domain).  Instead, we might be cruelly laughing at Doris specifically for daring to think that this much younger hunk would be romantically-interested in someone just old enough to be his grandmother.  (Of course, that’s also part of the patriarchal attitude that still dominates our culture, where it’s supposed to be absurd to see a much-older-woman with a much-younger-man—whether in fiction or real life—while we might laugh a bit privately but publically tolerate the reverse case where an ongoing-string of aged politicians, actors, rock stars, businessmen, etc. pop up with considerably-younger-female-paramours, but even if the men get any criticism for “cradle-robbing” the women are just as chastised for “gold-digging.”)

 Personally, I don’t care much for either fictional or real-life-versions of any type of these age-based-mismatches as a general rule (although I’ll leave actual couplings of this sort to the individuals involved to work it out between themselves as best they can, which may be quite successfully in specific cases)—you can listen to The Eagles’ "Lyin' Eyes" (from their 1975 One of These Nights album) for my general opinion on female May-male December love-entanglementsbut as for … Doris, I really don’t see John actually rushing to that departing-elevator-ride to attempt to finally woo our wounded heroine.  However, maybe that’s just my own inter-generational-bias speaking (conditioned by a couple of almost-10-year-gap-past-relationships that clearly resulted in personal-developmental-incongruity-problems).  But, then, comedy’s often about ridiculing an “other” to boost our own sense of self-worth, so it’s no surprise that we’re encouraged to see Doris as making foolish choices here, although the filmmakers attempt to give us reason to believe that John could be interested in her as more than just an intimate friend (with no benefits—yet) after all.
However, there’s also some notably-significant-seriousness in … Doris about a woman who voluntarily sacrifices her own happiness for the sake of an aging parent in order to allow a sibling to pursue a better-personal-and-career-path for himself and his wife (although, with what I perceive as about a 40-year-gap between Doris breaking off her long-ago-engagement and her mother’s eventual death I do have to wonder what kind of physical and emotional shape Mom was in back then [I guess her father was already dead?  I’m not clear on that from my viewing of this movie.] when Doris chose to stay on Staten Island rather than follow her true love to Arizona), copying her mother into hoarder-dom in the process (as well as succumbing to the image of the “crazy cat lady,” although with just 1 feline companion despite having a huge house which could easily hold many more furry friends), where she can’t part with anything only because of attached memories or assumed future needs.  This can be an actual serious problem with anyone, especially the elderly who retain these objects from the past to give some meaning to their increasingly-empty-present.  (My father-in-law kept nonworking stoves and refrigerators in his garage, along with enormous piles of other objects that took several industrial-size-dumpsters to remove after his death; he was a wonderful man but he just couldn’t eliminate anything so his children finally had to do it later—although the garage sale did net about $1,000 so it wasn’t all useless, especially the trunkful of inert [We hope!] Japanese bombs from WW II [he was a Navy underwater demolition expert; though how he got all of those “souvenirs” back from the South Pacific I’ll never know].)

 Clearly, Doris has her memories frozen into the tangible form of these piles of junk, but does she have her memories or have they got her?  (I've borrowed this modified line from Patsy Cline’s "She's Got You" [on her 1962 Sentimentally Yours album] with the important refrain, “I really don’t know, but I know it won’t let me be.”)  At least Doris isn’t a complete personification of the spinster-stereotype but she does display some substantial problems that plague many of the oft-forgotten people hidden in the shadows of our society that Roy Orbison immortalized so long ago in “Only the Lonely” (a 1960 hit, on his 1961 Lonely and Blue album), also put into more recent context by The Motels with a somewhat similar song of the same title (on their 1982 All Four One album), a tribute to this movie for showing that Doris isn’t just a delusional old-maid-nutjob to be dismissed or ridiculed behind her back but instead is a woman frozen in time trying to restart her life, in suspended animation for decades while her brother and her workplace moved on without her, always assuming that she be there, quietly taking care of the duties that go unnoticed unless she’d suddenly stop doing them (just like you’d notice if I stopped sticking these marginally-related-songs into my reviews—but I won’t, as I enjoy listening to them, sitting here with a cat in my lap).

Bottom Line Final Comments: Sally Field does a fantastic job with a much-more-complex-role than the trailer for this movie would indicate.  Although it was premiered at the March 2015 music-and-film-fest SXSW in Austin, TX (winning the Audience Award for Headliner films), it’s just now gone into U.S. general release so her role could be considered when awards nominations come rolling around much later this year; I wouldn’t expect that to happen, though, both because of the very-early-2016-theater-life of this movie (with nominators’ memories frequently falling short of anything prior to October, although Diane Keaton did win Oscar’s Best Actress for Annie Hall [Woody Allen, 1977—recently named by the Writers Guild of America as the "funniest screenplay" ever], as did Frances McDormand [just saw her as Lady Macbeth in an excellent production of “The Scottish Play” at the Berkeley {CA} Reparatory Theatre] for Fargo [Joel Coen, 1996], with release dates of April 20 and March 8 of their respective years) and its likely-unmemorable-impact (although the Rotten Tomatoes critics were generous, with an 82% positive result; more details below if you like) among this year’s later releases (while the 2 films I just mentioned had the benefit of being nominated for several Oscars each, with Annie Hall also winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Fargo also getting the Original Screenplay Oscar, as well as both being named to the American Film Institute’s 1998 list of the 100 greatest of all time [… Hall at #31, Fargo #84], recognitions extremely doubtful for … Doris).

 While it’s uplifting that our protagonist suddenly decides to take charge of her life in a more self-sufficient-manner, that comes only after her worst humiliation (accompanied by an unlikely complete-transformation-over-the-weekend-total-housecleaning, says my informed-wife, Nina, who admits she’s inherited some of her father’s traits [but has made great-decluttering-strides so our home's more navigable for both of us]) with no indication along the way that her much-younger-sudden-friends (except for John) really appreciate her for who she is rather than assuming hipster insights that are mostly misinterpretations (as with Chauncey Gardiner in the much-more-impactful Being There [Hal Ashby, 1979], another notation rightfully credited to Nina before I thought of it).

 Ultimately, there are a lot of notable ideas in Hello, My Name Is Doris, but they’re competing with each other, undermined at times with the badly-distracting need to leave us with a comic tone that parallels Doris’ initial fantasies about John 
(it also frustrates me that Doris is willing to just leave Brooklyn with the mistaken impression of John being a liar having a clandestine affair with “Lilith” that keeps open her own fever-dreams about this guy, although maybe she’ll eventually track down her former co-worker [we have to assume Brooklyn also quit the company after her breakup with John because we clumsily never see her again] to come clean about her drunken abuse of a public posting on Facebook [a reality-based problem with all forms of interactive media over our 20th-21st-century decades, including the telephone years ago and email more recently, where non-reconsidered-decisions often leave messy repercussions difficult to mop up after the fact]).  When I put all of this together, I’m not as impressed with all of the actual presentation of possibilities in this movie as I am with its potential, but there are still a good number of reasons why it should attract a mostly-appreciative audience (although for me the result is more in line with the 62% average at Metacritic than the considerably-more-supportive-response at Rotten Tomatoes).  

 So, in bringing my comments on … Doris to closure I’ll address both the negative and positive aspects of it as I leave you with 2 Musical Metaphors, the first taken directly from the movie, the Platters’ version of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (originally written by Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harback for their 1933 musical, Roberta; you can find my choice for a performance of this song on the 1958 album Remember When?—Harback was very impressed with it although Kern’s widow detested it so much that she almost took legal action to prevent its distribution) at https://www., used in … Doris on the soundtrack to accompany our heroine’s drunken-despondency after she finds out about John and Brooklyn, acknowledging to herself “tears [she] cannot hide” because she now sees the truth: “When your heart’s on fire You must realize Smoke gets in your eyes,” providing self-deceptions you can’t recognize, which may have also clouded the filmmakers’ eyes a bit in terms of what they’ve constructed with their story.

 Nevertheless, in honor of the courage that Doris showed in having her “dreams that you dare to dream” in hopes that they “really do come true” I also offer you (and her) this beautiful rendition of “Over the Rainbow” by the beloved Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo‘ole (from his 1997 Facing Future album, which, in 2005, became Hawaii’s 1st certified platinum CD [selling at least 1 million copies]) at https://www., in he was such a respected figure in his homeland even though, with his massive body and long hair, he didn’t fit the “norm” of famous mainland pop singers; so even though his lyrics deviate a bit from Judy Garland’s seminal take on this song (from The Wizard of Oz [Victor Fleming, 1939; music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg]) they still convey the wistful-melancholy of someone watching “Bluebirds fly” where “the clouds are far behind,” yet “Why, oh, why can’t I" go to another form of paradise also?  IZ‘s spirit did fly away, though, in that he died at the very young age of 38 on June 26, 1997 (Nina and I just happened to be vacationing on Maui when I heard that news on the radio; since then I’ve listened to and become a great fan of his music); conversely, while we’ll never know exactly what’ll become of Doris’ emerging-transformation but we can hope that she’ll eventually find some aspect of “the dreams that you dream of Once in a lullaby,” with a life newly-opened to change.  (However, I never change much so I’m going to get in “tune” with this movie’s mood by returning to a beginning trope from this review—just like … Doris’ beginning daydream plot structures—to once again offer Patsy Cline’s “She Got You” but this time lip-synched by a woman at a high-school-reunion “lamenting” a lost love; I first saw this years ago and now find other versions of it also, so maybe in the future we’ll see Doris doing her rendition if John ends up with Brooklyn—or someone else—after all).
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Here’s more information about Knight of Cups: (4:25 interview with actor Christian Bale about this role in this current film of Malick’s [clip begins with about half of the same trailer from the link just above]; he notes that Malick's shooting process is more about inspired improvisation than following a polished script)

Here’s more information about Hello, My Name Is Doris (18:09 March 2015 press conference at last year's SXSW Festival [Austin, TX] for the world premier of this movie, with actors Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Steven Root; co-screenwriters Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter; and 4 producers whose names I never got [out of 13 total producers. executive producers, co-executive producers, co-producers, associate producers, and line producers, so I didn't track it down that way either—although the only ones who talk much here are Field, Terruso, and director Showalter])

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By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile.    Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.

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