Two Movies

Jenn and I were able to take in a couple of movies tonight. We saw The Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart, and Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Anniston (the other Ben & Jen).

We watched Along Came Polly first. It was about what I expected out of a Ben Stiller movie. He plays risk assessor for an insurance company. He thinks he has his entire life planned out, when his wife cheats on him on the first day of their honeymoon. From there, his world of order, planning, and minimal risk is turned upside down by a romance with Polly, a wild girl who can't make a commitment to anything. As with any other Stiller movie, various embarassing things happen to Stiller throughout the film. There's the staple bathroom accident scene, the side-kick pet jokes, and the usual hijinks. It follows the same successful format from There's Something About Mary. Although the movie doesn't stretch any boundaries, and it didn't leave us in stitches, it was cute, clean, and entertaining. Not something worth spending $20 to see in the theater, but good enough for quiet night at home.

The Butterfly Effect was a totally different story. I really liked it, and I think Jenn did too. I'm not a big fan of Ashton Kutcher, but I would definitely sit through this one again. The movie follows a troubled set of kids growing up poor. Evan (Ashton Kutcher) is living with his single mother and his father, who he hardly knows, is locked away in a mental institution. Evan is afflicted by blackouts. During high stress, he blacks out, and has no memory of what he does in the meantime. He and his friends are involved in some terrible events in their youth, from child molestation, animal cruelty, and worse. I was kind of uncomfortable watching the first hour of the movie. The things that were happening to these kids were frightening, but possibly more so because it all seemed like it just might happen to some kids.

Evan manages to make it out of his small town to college. He excels in his psychology classes, and is consumed with figuring out how memory works. He reasons that, if he can figure out how a worm's memory works, maybe he can figure out why he blacked out as a kid. He discovers that, if he re-reads his journals that he kept as a kid, he can flashback to any point in time in his memory and live through it again. This is where the plot of the movie kicks in, as Evan realizes that he can actually change the events of the past be revisiting these memories. The rest of the movie follows as Evan tries to fix all of the horrible things that happened to him and his friends in the past by reliving those memories.

I love thought provoking films, and this one is a real brain teaser. What if you could go back in time and change the past? Would you do it? What would you change? What would the outcome be. Sometimes, seemingly insignificant choices can lead to major changes in your life. The movies title comes from the idea that even the flapping of a butterfly's wings might some day lead to a hurricane. On paradox that is hard to get by is having a memory of your life prior to changing it. Let's say that you could go back in time, and change something that happened to you. Let's say event A happened to you, and you want to stop event A from happening. You take your happy trip back through time and prevent event A. Well, now you are in a quandary. You no longer have any memory of event A happening, so you have no reason to travel back in time to prevent it from happening. If you don't travel back in time, event A happens, and we are back where we started. Greater minds than I have pondered through the mysteries of time travel, temporal dissonance, and other such thought questions, and no one has come up with a definitive answer.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, talking about these movies. I give a big thumbs up for Butterfly Effect. Along Came Polly gets a "feh". It wasn't hilarious or great, but it wasn't bad either. If you can't decide what to watch, it's a good solution for filling up the time.


Jade Mason