2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
Reading the previous entries in this series has only reinforced my belief that naming your favorite film — of the year, of the decade, of all freakin’ recorded time — is more of a personality test than an exercise in objective critical judgment. So rather than try to make a brief case for the unimpeachable awesomeness of “Memento,” the movie that gave me more giddy pleasure than any other over the last 10 years, I think I’ll just reveal the peculiar predilections and biases that made Christopher Nolan’s stone-cold masterpiece (oops) custom-fitted for my particular sensibility.
For one thing, I’ve come to realize that there are few things I enjoy more as a filmgoer than the feeling of happy bewilderment. (“Happy” because despite having little or no idea what’s going on, I’m confident that I’m in expert hands — i.e., that it’s deliberate obfuscation, not incoherence.) My list of recent favorites that traffic in this sort of free-floating disorientation runs long: “Mulholland Drive,” “The Headless Woman,” “Primer,” etc. But “Memento” is unique in that its unusual structure (which is not merely “backwards,” incidentally — there are two timelines that converge on a point somewhere in the narrative’s middle) ensures that you, like anterograde-amnesiac protagonist Leonard Shelby, find yourself in a brand-new dense fog every four to five minutes. Even on my fifth viewing, by which time I’d pretty much committed the film to memory, each of these in medias res experiences still provided a satisfying jolt, a sense of cognitive scrambling.
Still, if it were only a matter of hitting that particular button, my passion would be fairly superficial, like a hot-and-dirty fling. What made me propose is the film’s underlying philosophy, which happens to concur with one of my own most deeply held convictions. Like most great films, “Memento” tells a discomfiting truth — namely, that we have little or no idea why we do most of the things we do, and that our conscious motivations are little more than convenient lies that we’ve told ourselves and then carefully forgotten. That Christopher Nolan, in only his second feature, managed to turn such a bleak, paralyzing idea into a hugely entertaining mind fuck still seems miraculous to me. Can I even be sure that I’ve correctly identified my reasons for loving this picture? The beauty and the terror of it is: not really.
Film Salon has invited a group of special guests to write about their favorite film(s) of the 2000s. To read the entire series, go here.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.
Films of the Decade is a series running in Film Salon, our new collaborative blog.