Charlie Kaufman‘s Anomalisa, a stop-motion animated drama about “a man crippled by the mundanity of his life,” is going to play the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and also (maybe, hard to say) Telluride. The voice actors are Jennifer Jason Leigh (Lisa), David Thewlis (Michael) and Tom Noonan. Duke Johnson is the co-director but Kaufman is the sole author of the screenplay and therefore, one presumes, the guy who thought up the title. Which reminds you of another unspellable, not-easy-to-pronounce, all-but-impossible-to-remember title, Synecdoche, which was a morose, somewhat arresting 2008 film that Kaufman directed and wrote. I honestly don’t remember much about Synecdoche except for the capturing of a certain feeling of middle-aged lethargy and not one, not two but three shots of a toilet bowl.
Ken doll contemplating existential gloom in Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa.
No one and I mean no one outside of Kaufman’s immediate circle (friends, family, attorney, agent, therapist) is going to remember Anomalisa. It’s barely pronounceable, all but impossible to remember and kinda difficult to spell. Go up to Tom Luddy or Todd McCarthy or Kris Tapley during the Telluride Film Festival and say “what’s the name of Kaufman’s film again?” and they’ll probably say “uhm, aroma…animal…Animal Crackers for Lisa?” And totally forget Joe Popcorn — he’s going to take one look at the lobby poster and go “anomawhassa?” It’s actually quite simple. It’s Anomaly + Lisa. But nobody’s going to give a shit, trust me.
So since the title doesn’t matter because nobody outside of those purchasing tickets to elite film festivals and animation festivals is going to see this thing, why not come up with a jerkwater digit-up-the-ass title that people might remember? Earlier today I came up with four: (1) Aromavagina, (2) Middle-Aged Anhedonia Anastasia Cereal In A Box On A Supermarket Shelf, (3) Amnioplacentasynthesis In A Cow Pasture While Lisa Fellates Her Boyfriend and (4) Weaseltooth: The Alfred Molina Story.
Are you telling me that Anomalisa makes more sense that any of these four? If you think that you’re crazy. I may sound like I’m kidding but I’m dead serious when I say people would definitely remember Weaseltooth more easily than Anomalisa.