I Strongly Admire How That One Dream Sequence in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Always Makes You Cry by Shawn Berman

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Watching Jim Carrey on the Late Show with David Letterman (circa 2004), we agree that it takes a special man to make a crowd laugh by doing nothing—by just being there, existing, smiling the biggest smile we’ve ever seen. But Jim Carrey is able to do that effortlessly because he is Jim Carrey: the most funniest, most talentedest, most hottest person in the world, according to you (I’m still very much team Adam Sandler when it comes to hottest—a sore subject in this house).

As the video progresses, Jim tells the audience to settle down and be quiet—but that only gets them going even more. Jim, being the professional comedian that he is, plays into it—loves it, cherishes it—before going full-blown crazy guy—strutting around on stage, flapping his arms—pecking his head 360 degrees—similar to a grebe: the graceful water bird known for their elaborate courtship dances where the males and females pair up and undertake a tango-like duet in perfect synchrony.

Jim continues to dance across our iPad until the YouTube clip fades to static-y black, never once bringing up his latest movie that he was supposed to be promoting: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—which kinda bums you out, since you wanted to get his opinion on a particular dream that his character Joel has in the movie—a dream where Joel is taken back to one of his earliest memories of a beach house that crumbles to the ground—a dream that causes you to cry like the emotional, cinephile baby that you are—every. single. time.

Frustrated with the outcome of the interview, you do some quick research and come to the conclusion that the house in this scene is actually a secret sanctuary for Joel’s mind—a sanctuary which holds and protects his last, bittersweet memories shared with Clementine before their relationship is wiped out completely by a bespectacled Mark Ruffalo. Once the house is destroyed, no longer do Clementine and Joel have any sort of recollection of each other’s favorite restaurants—books—colors—songs—nothing: the ultimate test of it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

In the end, I agree with your wacky interpretation of the dream, mostly because you wave your arms enthusiastically while shouting intimidating, fancy phrases like Hartmann’s Theory over and over again. But, if we’re being honest, I kinda don’t have the guts to tell you that your theory sounds like grade-a-12th-grade-AP-English-bullcrap, especially since it would cause a fight—most definitely opening up a can of worms in which I accidentally tell you that your meet me in Montauk inner bicep tattoo is Tumblr-level cringe and you should be ashamed for having it. I am totally smarter than that. Besides—I truly believe that trying to understand dreams is a huge waste of time. Everyone knows that these so-called dream-pretation sites are secretly funded by elite, Ivy League schools as a way to avoid paying taxes. That shit’s been going on for years and will continue to go on for years until the FBI cracks down on them—which, by my calculation—isn’t likely at all. *Shrugs*


Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Rejection Letters, and No Contact. Follow him on Twitter @sbb_writer.

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