ARTICLE KATE BRANCH
PHOTOGRAPHY SAM ZHU
Spike Jonze has always been at the forefront of youth culture. An avid BMXer and skateboarder from SoCal, Jonze formed the short-lived zine Dirt (subtitled Fuel for Young Men) and created shorts and music videos for the likes of the Beastie Boys, Björk, Weezer, and Sonic Youth, all of which premiered on MTV back when MTV was everything. His 1999 fantasy film, Being John Malkovich, in which tickets to a quarter-hour ride through Malkovich’s mind are sold, slyly toyed with the timely topic of transsexuality. It’s Jonze’s talent for reading society’s temperature and his ability to make its hang-ups more digestible that is stirring anticipation of his next venture, the sci-fi drama Her. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, an introverted single man who gets paired up with an artificially intelligent operating system, voiced by a seductive Scarlett Johansson. (Rooney Mara and Amy Adams costar.) Going by the name of Samantha, the OS prompts Theodore to get out of bed, listens to his problems, and offers solutions, all the while adapting and upgrading in order to become his ideal companion. It’s a must-see, especially for all the hyperstimulated, lonely gadget heads living in the world today.