There’s a moment in Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July’s hilarious and discomfiting first film, in which the director of a contemporary art museum and her assistant are fawning over a new show. “It really is amazing. It just looks so real,” the director kvells over what she believes is a sculpture of a discarded hamburger wrapper. “Oh, that wrapper is real,” says the artist, a young man with blond Fabio-style hair.
The hero sails to far exotic shores, returns in triumph with a princess and a prize. This is the archetypal European Quest whose classic formulation is the Myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece. The theme has minor variations—as when the fleece becomes a Holy Grail—but the center remains: despite the setbacks and the losses he may suffer on the way, the hero brings his treasure-laden Argo back to port. The quest succeeds. Thus when the Renaissance explorers left to seek great riches in the lands beyond horizons on the west, their ultimate success seemed foreordained.