These are a few of my favorite things: #36(Mary & Max: An Animation for Grown Ups)
Mary & Max is the story of beautiful & endearing (pen)friendship between two misfit, lonely souls. Though Mary & Max may be misfits from the typical point of view of society I found both of them endlessly fascinating & engaging, especially Max who certainly has very profound insights about life.
Mary Daisy Dinkle is an eight year old girl living in Australia. She has ‘eyes the color of muddle pond n birthmark the color of poo’. She lives with an alcoholic n kleptomaniac mother, who bakes with sherry, listens to cricket commentary & who doesn’t hesitate to tell Mary that she is an ‘accident’. Mary’s father works in a tea factory attaching strings to tea bags & has a passion for taxidermy & no time for Mary. Mary adored her grand poppy Ralph who told her children are found in beer glasses. On a whim Mary decides to write a letter to Max (whose name she chooses at random from a telephone directory), an American & asks him if children are found in cola cans in America!!
Max Jerry Horowitz is 44 years old, obese, has Asperger’s syndrome & doesn’t understand people.
(Humans were endlessly illogical.
Why did they throw out food when there were children starving in India?
Why did they clear the rain forests when they needed the oxygen?
And why did they create bus timetables when they never ran on time?
He agreed with his favorite physicist that there are only two things infinite:the universe and man’s stupidity).
Max lives with his Fish named Henry, a parakeet called Mr Biscuit, a cat called Hal (short for halitosis, ‘cos it suffers from bad breath) & imaginary friend Mr Ravioli who is fond of reading self help books n smoking cigars!! This is how interesting n quirky Max is!!
Mary & Max find somebody who can understand them, in each other. A special bond develops as letters, pictures & gifts fly back n forth between Australia & America. They share their innermost feelings n details of their everyday life n people around them. I found the letters very endearing, heart touching, & full of profound observations about life.
(Mary’s first letter to Max:
Dear Mr M Horowitz,
my name is Mary Daisy Dinkle and I am 8 years old, 3 months and 9 days.My favourite colour is brown and my favourite food is sweetened condensed milk followed closely by chocolate. I have a rooster called Ethel that looks like this.
He doesn’t lay eggs but will one day.My mother likes smoking,cricket and sherry
and my father likes playing in his shed with dead birds.
Where do babies come from in America?
Do they come from cola cans?
they are found in beer glasses.
Here is a drawing of me.(Inserts picture)
I can’t draw ears proper
but I’m good at teeth.
It would be great if you could write back
and be my friend.
Yours “sincerealy”, Mary Daisy Dinkle.)
Dear Mary Daisy Dinkle,
thank you for the letter, which I opened and read at 9.1 7pm after my Overeaters Anonymous class. I am trying to lose weight because my psychiatrist,Dr Bernard Hazelhof,says a healthy body equals a healthy mind.
He says my mind is not that healthy.
Your drawing is an interesting visual portrayal of yourself.
I have never met anyone from Australia.
Firstly, I will answer your question.
Unfortunately, in America, babies are not found in cola cans.
I asked my mother when I was four and she said they came from eggs
laid by rabbis.
If you aren’t Jewish,
they’re laid by Catholic nuns.
If you’re an atheist,
they’re laid by dirty, lonely prostitutes.
So this is where babies come from
I share my home with a fish,
some snails, whom I have named
after famous scientists…
..a parakeet called Mr Biscuit
and, finally, a cat called Hal.
“Hal” is an abbreviation for halitosis,
from which he suffers.
He followed me home after a gang of children
shot his eye out with a beebee gun.
Do you have a pet kangaroo?
When I was born, my father
left my mother and me on a kibbutz.
She shot herself with my uncle’s gun when I was six.
Do you like chocolate hotdogs?
I invented the recipe for them
and can send it to you.
When I was young, I invented
an invisible friend called Mr Ravioli.
My psychiatrist says
I don’t need him anymore
so he just sits in the corner and reads.
Last week I picked up 128 cigarette butts.
People are always littering in New York.
I do not understand why people break laws.
Butts are bad because they wash out to sea
and fish smoke them and become nicotine dependent.
I am just joking because, of course,
it is impossible for a cigarette
to remain lit underwater.
Also, fish do not have pockets
to keep cigarette lighters in.
I am 44 years old
and have 8 tracksuits
the same colour and size.
I weigh 352 lb…
..and am as tall as a 6-foot tree.
I enjoy entering the lottery
and have chosen the same numbers
for 9 years.
I have had many different jobs
during my life.
My first job was collecting
subway tokens in the subway.
My second job was at Yiddel’s
Gourmet Kosher Supplies
where I worked at the machine that made
pre-packaged noodle kugels.
I was born Jewish
and used to believe in God
but I’ve since read many books
that have proven God
is just a figment of my imagination.
People like to believe in God because
it answers complicated questions
Iike where did the universe come from,
do worms go to heaven…
do worms go to heaven…
..and why do old ladies have blue hair?
Even though I’m an atheist,
I still wear my yarmulke
as it keeps my brain warm.
My third job was for a company
that printed logos on novelty items.
I worked at the frisbee printing machine.
A frisbee is a circular plastic disc
that people throw at each other.
It is like a boomerang
but it does not come back.
My fourth job was when
I was called up for jury duty.
I didn’t get paid much
but got free cookies and coffee.
Jurors are outstanding members
of the community
who haven’t murdered anybody.
I made it to the short list
for a trial where a man
killed all his friends
at his own surprise birthday party.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get selected
because they found out
I’d been a mental patient at one point.
Have you ever been hang gliding?
My fifth job was as a garbage collector.
I got to clean up after litterbugs
and didn’t have to talk to anybody.
One time the police took me in
but let me go when they decided
I wasn’t a threat to anybody
The sixth job I had
was for the United States Army
in the stationery supply department.
Because I am good with numbers
I had to work out how many
ballpoint pens the Army needed.
One day they did a security check
and asked whether I was a member
of any radical groups.
I told them I was a member of
the New York Science Fiction Fan Club.
They said this didn’t count
but dismissed me anyway.
Fortunately, I did not remember
to tell them I was once a communist.
Have you ever been a communist?
Have you ever been attacked by a crow
or similar large bird?
When I was 9, a crow attacked me
on my way to school.
I had to have three stitches
and in spring I now wear a helmet
with eyes I have painted on.
People laugh at me
when I wear my helmet.
I’m not sure why.
People often confuse me
but I try not to let them worry me.
New York is a very busy
and noisy place.
I would prefer to live
somewhere much quieter
Iike the moon.
I don’t like crowds, bright lights,
sudden noises or strong smells.
New York has all these
especially the smells.
I often wear nose and ear plugs
when I go outside.
It helps keep me calm.
I find humans interesting but I have
trouble understanding them.
I think, however,
I will understand and trust you.
You appear very happy and I think
you would smell like a shrimp
as I know Australia
has a lot of shrimps.
Can you speed-read?
I have taught myself to read
two pages at once
one eyeball per page.
I have to go now
even though I have not told you
about my 7th job,
in a condom factory.
Write back soon.
Your American friend,
Max Jerry Horowitz.)
The claymation is extraordinarily beautiful. This is animation movie for grown ups. The soundtrack is also excellent & so is the rendition of song ‘Que Sera Sera’. A movie worth watching n re-watching.
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