These Movie Re-tellings are M15+ | You could get offended, there will be spoilers throughout and I may not fact check
Reviewed: October 2020 - Nexflix
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
I chose this movie to practice on. I really didn't like the movie, and I wanted to know whether I could write a Movie Re-telling that was still entertaining. If it fails, well then I'll just have to try harder next time! If you make it all the way to the end, let me know how I went - I can only get better, right?!!
You know how you watch something because a friend/relative recommends it and you get 10mins in and you think - what the fuck is this crap? I mean it's just awful! There are a few movies that fall into that category for me; #1 hubby and I walked out of the theatre during 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' and we simply couldn't get past the first 20mins of '2001: A Space Odyssey'. With the explosion of material coming out of the streaming services, the number of stinkers being produced has jumped exponentially.
And here we are at 'i'm thinking of ending things'.
So, I message #1 son.
'i'm thinking of ending things' revolves around two main characters:
Jake played by Jesse Plemons - those of you who watched Breaking Bad will remember Jesse from there.
Jakes girlfriend played by Jessie Buckley - I'm not even going to bother trying to figure out her name, it's either Lucy or Louisa or Lucia or Aimes, I mean who the hell knows.
With supporting roles from:
Toni Collette as Jakes mother - Aussie superstar… enough said.
David Thewlis as Jakes father - settle down all you Harry Potter tragics!!
Some janitor dude keeps popping up.
Starts with Lucy waiting on the sidewalk for her boyfriend Jake to pick her up. They are travelling to Jake's family farm so that Lucy can meet his parents for the first time. She seems excited.
Looking down at her through his curtains, we see a middle-aged man, who we will come to know as the janitor. Creepy springs to mind.
Now, our main characters are travelling to a farm in the middle of nowhere… in the middle of a blizzard. But it is AOK because Jake has snow-chains. I'm feeling super confident.
It is an interminably long car ride - and for the most part, without music. I mean who goes on a car trip in complete silence? And all the girlfriend can think of is death. Will it be the death of their six-week relationship, which she is thinking of ending even as she's going to meet his parents? And weirdly, whenever she starts to think 'i'm thinking of ending things', Jake seems to know what she's thinking. Or is one of them suicidal? Jesus Christ, this is one depressing car ride.
Lucy narrating: "I'm thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks, it lingers, it dominates. There's not much I can do about it, trust me. It doesn't go away. It's there whether I like it or not. It's there when I wake up. It's always there. Always."
I message #1 son because this motherfucking car ride has finally ended. It took 22 minutes. With no music. And the most depressing chit-chat known to man. Could it get worse?
Now most people when they reach their destination, in the middle of a blizzard, go directly inside. I mean, they're cold, the people inside are waiting for them. Not Jake. He chucks a 180° and heads out to the barn to stretch his legs and pat the sheep. Yep.
And look there are lambs, how cute! Wait, no they're dead. Frozen solid and discarded just outside the barn door. Yep.
And then it got worse… much, much worse.
Jake tells us about the pigs. I mean, it's one of those stories you really shouldn't tell anyone outside your immediate family. Like the time #2 son - 3yo - rode his trike down the stairs, splitting his eyebrow open. No need to tell the hospital he'd done the exact same thing 10mins beforehand.
Lucy never had to know about the pigs… they were no longer there. All that was left was a rather noticeable stain on the ground, that you really wouldn't ask about - you're in a bloody barn! But Jake insisted on telling the story. Dude. Why?? Just shut your mouth!
So there were two pigs who had been a little bit neglected for a few days, no big deal. But, when the dad finally noticed that they weren't moving around that much, and took a look, he found that their entire underbellies were being eaten away by maggots. Yep.
"Life can be brutal… on a farm" Ya think Jake?!!!
Did I mention just how much I am enjoying this movie so far.
Our couple finally make it inside where we meet the parents!! I'm getting a real 'Deliverance' vibe.
A massive feast has been served up, even though Jake has said numerous times his mum is unwell and will probably not be able to cook much. And guess what they're having…
And yeah, the movie keeps cutting away to our pervy janitor - seems to work at a highschool, and he is forever watching teenagers as they practice their musicals/plays/dances.
The girlfriend - now called Louisa for some bizzarro - gets grilled. We learn that she is a painter - she shows Jakes parents some of her paintings - and then weirdly, she is now studying Quantum Physics. Wait, in the car wasn't she studying medicine or something? Remember I said I may notfact-check? This is one of those times. There's no way in hell I'm going back and re-watching that 20min car-ride to check. Not happening people. You'll just have to take my word for it - or watch the bloody movie like I had to!!
I'm going to note here that not one bite of food is consumed. Not a single morsel. Not. One.
An important part of the movie is how these two met. We learn that they met at a trivia night. Jake was too shy so it was Lucy who approached him. Great story.
We cut to the janitor's version of gogglebox. Completely random scene. Ugghh.
Wait - what the fuck just happened?Toni Collette just aged 20yrs and changed her hairstyle. The dad's Band-Aid is now on the other side of his head. The girlfriend's clothes are different and she's suddenly wearing pearls!!!!!!
We have a glitch in the matrix people!!
I had to rewind at this point because I couldn't figure out what the hell just happened - was I remembering Lucy/Louisa's clothing wrong - has her hair been down all along? Did I imagine that that Band-Aid was on the other side of the dad's head? You know what, this film is getting so weird it defies description. Shall I explain? I cannot.
After Lucy/Louisa clears the table at the speed of light - seriously, nobody ate a thing - she and Jake wait for dessert in the sitting room while Jakes parents head to the kitchen for a screaming match. No idea why or what about to be honest. And then Lucy/Louisa notices a picture on the wall of a small child… Jake says it's of him. Lucy/Louisa thinks it's of her. I mean...what?
Another career change as Jake announces that Lucia - yeah, it's Lucia now - is studying Gerontology (the study of aging). That makes the fourth degree this woman is studying. She must be mind-bogglingly brilliant. And yet she's in this movie…
As Lucy/Louisa/Lucia goes to the window to check the weather, she turns around and Jake and his parents have disappeared. And Lucy/Louisa/Lucia is back wearing her original clothing, with her original hairstyle.
What.the actual.fuck? When did this happen???
This movie is doing my head in.
Jakes father is suddenly an 80yo decrepit man with dementia. And he won't stop saying 'fucking'. It's very disturbing coming out of an elderly man's mouth... Toni Collette is an 80yo bed-ridden woman, being fed by Jake - kudos to the makeup people, they've done an outstanding job! The next time we see her she breezes in as a 20yo not afraid of her overbearing son. Yeah, I forgot to mention that Jake is one of those sons who berates his parents and criticises them at every opportunity. My bad.
And throughout it all Lucy/Louisa/Lucia keeps on telling us that she wants to leave. She has to go to work in the morning!
Another clue to what's going on in this movie is in the basement. Lucy/Louisa/Lucia had found it earlier on - with scratches all over the outside of the door - and Jake went psycho, not wanting her to enter. You'd think there was some sort of pathetic creature tied up in a secret cage; or an other-worldly creature hell-bent on brain liquification and world-domination.
Instead, she finds:
The janitor's coveralls in the wash. Wait, what?
A cache of paintings, seemingly Jakes, and posters on the wall - the same ones that she had showed Jakes parents - attributed to someone else.
When Lucy checks her phone, the pictures of her paintings aren't there.
This basement is filled with broken dreams... Act 2 ends with Jakes mum dead and his father 40yo. Yep. Great fucking movie.
Let's we sum up what we know at this point:
Jake is a boring weirdo, the product of what can only be described as a marriage of closely related cousins.
Jakes father has no concept of how to look after farm animals, nor how to dispose of their dead bodies.
Jakes parents have the ability to either body-morph or time-travel so that they can appear as 20, 40, 60 and 80yo in the one night.
Jake and Lucy have the ability to ignore what's going on in the previous point.
Lucy will also answer to Louisa and Lucia. And she has four distinct fields of study.
This movie is crap.
And now they're back in the car - thank Christ for the snow-chains! And still, there is NO MUSIC. People. If you're ever on a car trip with me, for the love of God, you MUST HAVE MUSIC!
They're back in the car reminiscing on the evening, and their memories are fuzzy… did Lucy/Louisa/Lucia really remember the evening the right way? I can barely keep my eyes open listening to these two drone on and on and on. One minute they're happy; the next they're fighting; and then they're onto death again. Happy; weird and moody; fighting. OMFG!!!
And then a detour for ice-cream. In the middle of a fucking blizzard!!
For a fleeting moment - before we get to the ice-creamery - our director gives us the briefest of clues as to what this movie could be about… Jake starts talking about the high-schoolers he sees who have been ostracised at school and how he sees them as grown-ups years later - and he wonders, 'has life treated them the same way?' As he speaks, we see the janitor walking through a crowded school hallway, his gaze resting on a teenage outsider.
Is Jake the mysterious janitor?
And when they get their ice-cream, Lucy feels that the teenage-girl server seems to be familiar - a young girl, someone she ought to know - someone with the same type of rash as Jake. It's right on the tip of her tongue…
Ice-cream Server: I'm worried, I shouldn't be saying this… You don't have to go.
Lucy: I don't have to go where?
Ice-cream Server: Forward, in time. You-you can stay here...
And with that, Jake and Lucy leave. Without any further conversation about the young girls strange words. None.
And the fucker just bursts into song!!! He should NOT have, he's singing in a really high, really bad falsetto.
**Edit: Oh yeah, so my cousin Paul won't know what falsetto means. It's a method of singing, generally by male singers, to sing notes higher than their normal range. The BeeGee's are masters of it - think Staying Alive. There you go Paul**
Fun Fact: Oh, piss off! There are no fun facts. Get real people!
You know what, this movie is pissing me off. Let's get some dot points happening:
After eating 2 or 3 spoons of ice-cream Jake HAS to get rid of the rubbish, and it HAS to be at his old high-school, another timely detour.
Lucy/Louisa/Lucia is now Aimes. WHHYYY??!
Jake seems to know how many classrooms there are, how many bathrooms, staff rooms. Do you know these things about your old school?
After dumping the rubbish Jake wants to make-out. In the car. In the middle of fucking blizzard!!!
Jake: I just thought, it's peaceful, it's quiet here … 'Baby it's cold outside…'
Lucy: Really? You wanna quote a rape song at me?
Bugger, she might be right. And now they've sullied "Baby it's cold outside" for me forever.
Fuck-me if they don't start making-out. In a car. Must I say it again. In the middle of a fucking blizzard!!! BOOM - stalker alert. We have the janitor peeking through a hole. At them??? Jake thinks so. And so out he jumps, into the blizzard. And all Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes wants IS TO GO HOME!! And in the midst of chucking a massive tanty, we hear another version of 'how did they meet'. Now Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes is saying that it was just easier to just.say.yes. and give him her number… And just like that, her tanty has her out of, and locked out of, the car. I thought this chick was brilliant??!
And as she heads into the school, where Jake has supposedly gone, she passes a bin that is chockers with the same ice-cream cups they have just thrown out. That's a pretty big clue there people - Jake loves those ice-creams!
As Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes wanders the halls calling out for Jake, she finally meets the wretched janitor. But you know what… he seems like a really sweet and meek old man. He is kind to Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes and offers him her slippers - the same slippers that Jake gave her when they first entered his parents house. Yeah, didn't mention that before. My bad.
But when the janitor asks Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes what Jake looks like - so he can keep an eye out - she is unable to describe him.
We hear a 3rd 'how did they meet story' - seriously it could be the fourth, I've lost the strength to care at this point. This time Jake was being a creeper and she wished that she had had a boyfriend with her so that Jake would leave her alone. Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes likens Jake to "… a mosquito that bit me on an evening 40yrs ago." Yep.
The ending of this movie doesn't even bother trying to make sense. I mean they try to - I think - explain what could have happened to Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes and Jake:
BY INTERPRETIVE DANCE... i wish i was kidding ugghhh...
In the dance, they get married! And then Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes is attacked by the janitor, Jake comes to her rescue, there's a fight and Jake gets stabbed and dies.
And the janitor cleans it up.
I don't know if this is what happens to our love-birds, seriously, who the fuck knows because we never see these pair in the present day again. The film ends with their car completely snowed over and seemingly abandoned.
The janitor packs up for the day and jumps in his truck. Shit gets weirder if you can believe it!! We travel back to see Jakes parents fighting in the kitchen - I am absolutely buggered if I know if it's the same fight from before in Act 2. The janitor - still in his car outside the school - freaks out, strips off completely, follows an animated, talking pig - dripping maggots from its belly - back into the school, with the pig referencing that the janitor is a physicist after all, as we see his pasty white ass shuffling down the corridor. Yep.
And into the Nobel Prize ceremony!!! It's an elderly Jake, one assumes a physicist, giving a lovely shout-out to Lucy/Louisa/Lucia/Aimes who is in the audience. He then retreats to a mock-up of his childhood bedroom on the farm, yet still on the Nobel Prize stage, and breaks into song. You actually have a nice voice there Jesse - so much better than the falsetto. The song - Lonely Room from the musical Oklahoma. Yeah, I forgot to mention Jakes obsession with musicals too. My bad. Anyway, this song is all about accepting isolation and misery, casting aside his dignity and asking some girl to be his bride. Yep.
The end. Fuck me. That was two hours of my life I will never get back.
Look, the name of this movie really tells the story doesn't it… 'i'm thinking of ending things'. Jake has a girlfriend that he takes on a trip - but does he though? She has at least four different names; her clothes, hair and jewellery keep changing; what she's studying keeps changing; and the story of how they met changes three or four times. So, is this a story about breaking up?
Or has #1 son summed it up perfectly - the girlfriend, the ice-cream server and the janitor are all Jake. He is looking at his life as it has played out and how it could have played out. He see's his parents as they were, as they are, and how they're going to be.
This is a movie about a man who is thinking of ending his life - and he ultimately does.