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Wild Things: Yes, That's a Monster in My Box

Let's be honest. There are times during Where the Wild Things Are when it feels like you're marooned on Monster Island and kind of confused about what's happening: In Spike Jonze's acclaim-snowballing adaptation of Maurice Sendak's iconic children's book, the wild things themselves spend a ton of time punching holes in trees, smashing up their thatched-dome houses, and bickering like they're in a Muppet remake of Married . . . With Children.

Something is happening, though, and you can count on it to inspire scads of grad-school dissertations for years to come. In the same way that Spike's even-more-brilliant-than-I'd-remembered Being John Malkovich was all about a depressed guy who wants to slide into a weird actor's brain in order to escape his own crummy life, Wild Things has been blown out into a story about a sad and lonely kid who bites his mom and plunges into a Freudian stew of raging emotions in order to work through the pain of his parents' divorce. Think of Kramer Vs. Kramer from the point of view of the kid—as he lunges into the howling fantasy world of his own subconscious.

Or don't. There's always the possibility, as suggested by a video mash-up called Where the Girls Gone Wild Things Are, that the whole thing's just about a kid getting his first woody.

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