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01 September 2010

Has anyone seen the movie Primer? Gah, my head hurts. Probably going to watch it again today in order to try to figure it out.
Nope. No one has. No one on MeFi, either. =)
posted by Eideteker 01 September | 09:03
I watched it a few years ago. I always intend to watch it again to understand it better. But I don't think I'll ever want to invest the time it would take to really figure it out.
posted by DarkForest 01 September | 09:39
I keep wanting to watch it but I find the (realistic!) depiction of suburban tech dorks so boring I turn it off after about 40 min.
posted by The Whelk 01 September | 09:48
I let google figure it out for me. I was too lazy to do it myself. Also, I got to see a review that explained what I didn't like about it. I was too lazy to formulate it myself. Say, there seems to be a theme here! Anyone want to say what it is? I don't feel like finding the words at the moment.
posted by Obscure Reference 01 September | 09:52
A while ago. The timeline diagram and Wikipedia explain it pretty well.

If you get a time machine, go back and make yourself see it before Inception so you can smirk smugly when people tell you how complicated that is.
posted by TheophileEscargot 01 September | 10:07
Ah, I was smirking at the Inception people long before last night. I am totally down with the nested dream thing, but time travel has always baffled me.
posted by desjardins 01 September | 11:38
After watching it about a dozen times, reading that timeline and the Wikipedia article and links and going through the forum on the movies official website, I almost get it.

I could just watch that movie with the sound off though; I love that harshly lit grainy look it has and the director's framing is great. The opening shot is one of my favorites, you see nothing but a row of lighted windows with no perspective and think, "I know this is a sci-fi movie, is that spaceship or something?" and then the light goes on and it's revealed to be suburban garage door. The whole movie makes suburban Texas look alien and menacing.
posted by octothorpe 01 September | 12:42
I just re-watched Primer (and reviewed it for The Fella's weekly newsletter) in August. It's... ouch. I always love watching it, but it hurts my brain.

I actually think Inception IS more complex --- possibly a great deal more complex --- than its manifest narrative suggests, but I can't quite work out how. If it's just the heist film that it appears to be on the surface, it's a pretty piece of junk; if there's more going on, it might be one of the most complex films I've seen in years.

I really love the clodgy engineers-in-a-garage presentation of Primer. It feels very authentic to me. The meetings early on in the film are identical to the after-hours meetings my dad and his colleagues would have (coincidentally, in suburban Texas) working on software in the '70s.
posted by Elsa 01 September | 13:18
It's SO dead-on and authentic that it ends up boring me silly.
posted by The Whelk 01 September | 13:24
Oh, sure, I can absolutely imagine that feeling, and you're certainly not alone in feeling that. Its pacing and aesthetic pose a challenge to the viewer, to be sure, as does the sound quality. It's often hard to catch quiiiiiiite what the two principals are saying, which doesn't help.

I listened to the director's commentary, too, and it's mostly Carruth talking about A) how they got that shot for cheap or B) how he screwed up that shot/sound through his novice's cluelessness. I found it fascinating, a combined how-to and how-not-to for the budget filmmaker.
posted by Elsa 01 September | 13:30
I loved it. I like a movie that expects you to keep up.
posted by King of Prontopia 01 September | 13:53
Here's a scene by scene explanation, don't have time to read it now so I can't vouch for it.
posted by octothorpe 01 September | 14:12
I just finished re-watching it, after having read through some of the forums. It makes slightly more sense now. The main thing that I didn't catch on the first run-through was that the whole movie takes place inside of a few calendar days. For some reason it seemed like they'd been cycling for weeks, so I couldn't understand why there weren't 40 iterations of them.
posted by desjardins 01 September | 15:06
For some reason it seemed like they'd been cycling for weeks

I think the wearying long stretches of implied (but not actual) time are intentional on the director's part.

The days feel a lot longer to Aaron and Abe, because [spoiler*]:
A) They're living through days that are longer than usual. At one point, Abe remarks "I think my body is getting used to these 36-hour days." But, if I understand correctly (and here I get super-duper spoilery), Aaron's extra trips mean he's living through even longer days, and more of them.

B) Their bodies are suffering the unspecified effects of the time travel device itself, as well as mental confusion of keeping track of a nonlinear life, and they're exhausted.

So they're wearier than they would otherwise be, and the days feel like weeks.

*I don't know how to do the spoiler tag here. Can someone point me in the right direction to find it? And does it work for an individual comment, or just at the top of a thread?
posted by Elsa 01 September | 15:30
I don't know if you need a spoiler tag for a 6 year old movie (plus it's clear what the thread's about). However, the abbr tag might work: testing
posted by desjardins 01 September | 15:54
I don't know if you need a spoiler tag for a 6 year old movie

Agreed. In general, though, I'd like to know the MeCha spoiler tag, and to know whether it works for individual comments. I'll dig around for it later.

As someone who usually accesses MetaChat through the Recent Comments page (and therefore gets a cross-section of threads without knowing what might be in them), I'm appreciative when someone uses a spoiler tag or a spoiler warning, so I do the same. I'm not trying to dictate anyone else's behavior, of course.
posted by Elsa 01 September | 16:14
Good point about the recent comments page; I never use that so I didn't think of it.
posted by desjardins 01 September | 16:23
Also, thanks to NetFlix, I am discovering older movies quite often.
posted by Ardiril 01 September | 16:33
I've seen it! In the worst way possible as well. Stumbled onto it when flicking through late night TV and got sucked in. Missed most of the opening, so I was sitting there about a third way in piecing the story together, in a film that's not easy to piece together if you see it in full. It was awesome!

Course, when it was over I kind thought: Whu...? Only then did I finally grasp that there were three Arons due to a time machine. Happy with having figured that out I made a mental note: see the full film later.
posted by dabitch 01 September | 16:37
RE: the spoiler thing- there's not really a spoiler tag, but if the title of the post has the word "spoiler" in it, the comments will be blacked out in "Recent Comments."
posted by BoringPostcards 01 September | 17:43
Man, reading these recaps reminds me how much I hated the fact that the main characters were named Aaron and Abe. It's like they looked in a book of names and took the first two. How about some difference for clarity's sake! Geez.
posted by Eideteker 01 September | 17:46
Oh, and the abbr tag doesn't work on most mobile devices (AFAIK). I prefer rot13.
posted by Eideteker 01 September | 17:47
It's SO dead-on and authentic that it ends up boring me silly.

posted by Obscure Reference 01 September | 18:04
Eide, if you know the filmmakers are Mormon, it makes more sense (as does the lily-white casting).

I enjoy it, and I think it's one of those that I actually enjoy more not being wholly certain of what's going on.
posted by dhartung 01 September | 19:11
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