Today! Because we all lie to ourselves to be happy –
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Stephen Tobolowsky (x3), Thomas Lennon (x2), Mark Boone Junior, Callum Keith Rennie, Jorja Fox
A singularly great film, Memento bestowed on the world the inestimable gift of Christopher Nolan – the closest thing to Spielberg since Spielberg, but operating with a decidedly adult bent in his giant feature films. From its twisty, complex screenplay to the wildly inventive, imaginative direction, to the whole story unfolding with increased tension suspense backwards through the plot – there really has never been anything else quite like it. As much as I might enjoy some other Nolan films more, and think one or two to be legitimately better, he is unlikely to make anything more technically impressive than Memento. Okay, Dunkirk is pretty stunning as well. Nolan is a master of the first order, is what I’m saying.
Hardly fun, escapist fare, Memento got dumped into theaters in March of 2000, where it lingered a while, never expanding beyond 550 screens, before eventually developing a following. I wouldn’t see it myself for well over a year, but would remember forever the date I finally did – not because Memento was a particularly impactful, world-changing movie (though for some, it might have been?) – but because it was how a few of us tried to get our minds off what else was transpiring that day. I’ve never had an occasion to write about my personal 9/11 experiences (they weren’t all that different from what everyone else not in NYC or DC went through), but the key memories I have – being woken up by ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike saying something was going on in New York, turning on the TV, rushing downstairs to tell my dad to turn on the news (I was a commuter in college, which wasn’t as lousy as it sounds), making the 20 minute drive to Keystone listening for updates and watching the sky for planes (being in northeast Pennsylvania, we were geographically in the middle of everything happening), the eerie silence of the campus, people standing around dumbstruck, classes cancelled, a mass of students and teachers silently watching the TVs in the lounge as the nightmare continued to unfold – always will include that by the afternoon we as a group were pretty emotionally wrecked, and just wanted to do anything else. I watched the news constantly for the next week, like everyone else, but that afternoon a few of us went to someone’s apartment and watched Memento.
Sorry about the digression – Memento has literally nothing else to do with 9/11 – but given that the First 100 Movies pop quiz is only two months away (You didn’t know there would be a test, did you?!), I had to emphasize What movie does Joe associate most with 9/11? Consider it a freebie! Now maybe you won’t be so caught off guard. Start taking notes, for heaven’s sake!
The State alum Thomas Lennon joins the Two-Timers list, after his appearance in the much funnier I Love You, Man of #377, but today is the occasion of our third member of the Three-Timers club – your favorite and mine, Stevie Tobo!
Tobolowsky’s career has included many memorable, varied parts – the zenith of which is almost certainly from the pictured film – however, short of Ramis/Murray’s brilliance, I’d guess people as a whole may recognize him next not from his supporting work in #378’s Sneakers or #389’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man, but from his integral work as the much referenced Sammy Jankis in Memento. That’s no mean feat for someone who is sporting literally hundreds of TV and film roles! 3rd Three-Timer, after Cary Elwes and Rip Torn! Well done!
Coming tomorrow! No more Mr. Nice Duck!