Thursday, October 20, 2016

de profundis clamo ad te domine

The Sixth Sense
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Donnie Wahlberg
Released: August 6, 1999
Viewed in theaters: March 4, 2000

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (lost to American Beauty)
Best Director - M. Night Shyamalan (lost to Sam Mendes for American Beauty)
Best Supporting Actor - Haley Joel Osment (lost to Michael Caine for The Cider House Rules)
Best Supporting Actress - Toni Collette (lost to Angelina Jolie for Girl, Interrupted)
Best Original Screenplay - M. Night Shyamalan (lost to Alan Ball for American Beauty)
Best Editing (lost to The Matrix)

"You know the accident up there?"
"Someone got hurt."
"They did?"
"A lady. She died."
"Oh my God. What, you can see her?"
"Where is she?"
"Standing next to my window."

Brrrrrr, it got a little chilly in here! I get goosebumps every time I watch that scene. I STILL remember seeing the trailer for this movie and that was the first thing they showed and I was so creeped out by it! Of course, in the trailer they used a different take and he tells his mom that the lady "broke her neck". 

Do I even need to put a spoiler warning for this movie? Everybody and their grandmother has seen this movie, right? Actually, being that this movie is 17 years old, there is a whole new generation that has yet to see this movie, and hopefully they will able to enjoy it spoiler-free. I look forward to my two nieces seeing it one day. As they are only four and a year old, they are much too young to see it now! With that said, yes, obviously there are spoilers, so if you are perhaps discovering this movie for the first time, please see it before reading the rest of this review. 

I have a lot of history with this movie. As you can see, I didn't actually see it until seven months after its theatrical release. I saw it when it came out during its Oscar re-release. I didn't see it in its initial run because I hate scary movies, but then my brother convinced me to see it, that it wasn't scary at all. He was right; it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, though plenty of scenes made me jump the first time I saw it. It's definitely more on the psychological thriller side than horror. After I saw the movie with a friend (we went to a 9 PM showing and I will admit, I did have a little trouble falling asleep that night, shut up!), I called my brother the next day because I absolutely loved it and there was SO MUCH to discuss! I even had a four hour conversation about it with my mom (who had also recently seen it) during a road trip. I even remember eating lunch at a pizza place and there was this couple near me and I could hear them talking about Mischa Barton's character from the movie and I soooo wanted to jump in and offer my opinion (can't remember exactly what they were discussing), but I didn't because I'm not the type of person to jump in strangers' conversations! 

In fact, there was so much to discuss about this movie, that I even made a website dedicated to this movie! Yes, it was my very first (and only) website. It was amazing; I wish I still had it, but I think it's in cyber heaven now. I made it with Angelfire....haha, remember Angelfire? High five if you do! I think it was called "Sara's Sixth Sense Site." That would make sense because I do like alliteration. I even remember the home page was the photo on the right of Haley Joel Osment and the text above it read in large red letters, "Do you dare enter the world of The Sixth Sense? Come at your own risk. Remember, not every gift is a blessing. Yo no quiero morir."  You clicked on the photo to enter the site. I had red text (because red was an important color in that movie) with a black background. Oh, man, I wished I still had access to this! I had so many features to my site, including FAQs. One of the questions was, "Did Cole know Malcolm was a ghost?" and 2000 me can't remember what I put, but present day me would say, Well, duh, of course he knew! He knew the difference between the living and the dead, RIGHT?!?!? And I had a question about whether the woman who poisoned Kyra (the Mischa Barton ghost) was her mom or stepmom, but I can't remember what I thought back then. They never actually say if she's the mom or stepmom. It has to be a stepmom because no mother could poison their own child, right? It would just be too horrible!  I think I even had the question, "What are triangle pancakes?" because I had never heard of those is my life. I assume they're pancakes in the shapes of triangles? I know, duh, Sara, but I have never heard of such a thing! Must be a Philly thing. Other features on my site included photos, a guest book, songs that reminded me of the movie, and a list of things that might indicate if you're obsessed with The Sixth Sense. Some of these included items like, "When someone tells you a  corny joke and you reply, 'I didn't know you were funny'" and "You wear glasses without the lenses". My favorite thing about my site was that I ranked all of the ghosts on a scale from 1-10 in terms of their scariness and I gave a little backstory about each one. If I remember right, I think I ranked the woman in the kitchen who screams at Cole (Osment), "You can't hurt me anymore!" and shows him her wrists in which she obviously committed suicide to get away from her abusive husband. OMG, she was so scary! Terrifying! She still scares me to this day! The other ghosts did scare me the first time I saw this movie, but she's the only one who really still scares the sh*t out of me!

After I saw The Sixth Sense and the Oscar aired, I was really impressed that an eleven-year-old was nominated for an Oscar (yes, I realize Anna Paquin was the same age when she WON her Oscar in '94, but I didn't start watching the Oscars until a couple years after), I joined an HJO message board where I met some great people. I'm even Facebook friends with a few I've met there. I created my site in the summer of 2000 (June 20, 2000, to be exact, but who's keeping track?) and posted a link. After sifting through many messages, I found a couple that complimented me about my site. I don't mean to toot my own horn, (okay, maybe a little!), but let's take a look shall we? Here's one message:
I just wanted to say that your page is excellent!! One whole month is a lot of time to put into something, and let me tell you, that was time well spent! I haven't seen all of your site, but I checked out most of it, and it really is great (not to mention that you thanked me and Mandi for providing you with the "you know your obsessed when...stuff! hehe that made it even better that my name was on it!!j/k) But really, thanks for the site, it's on my favorites, cause I know I will be checking back there a lot.

LOL, apparently I made a big deal that it took me an ENTIRE MONTH to create this site. OMG, shut up, 2000 me!

Here is another very sweet message somebody wrote to me:
I just had to tell you how proud I am of you!! Your page is very well done and I love the pictures. All of your hard work has paid off! You're a very talented and smart girl whom I admire greatly. Keep up the good work and be proud of yourself! Everyone go check out Sara's Web page, it's very cool!

Here's another one:
Sara's site is super, I've never seen a sixth sense site that even slightly resembles Sara's. Sara included lots and lots of new and very informative information and facts in her site. There are many sites about T6S, but Sara's is the greatest (God knows that I'm not saying this only to please Sara who's a regular in this board ). Unlike other sites, Words and text information spoke louder than pictures. This is why I believe that Sara's site is the best so far. It's not only pics and basic shallow few facts..but really Sara got in to the real deep concept of the movie, I'm sure this reflects Sara's own personality. She managed to -perfectly- analyze the movie and to answer every debatable scenes. It was very hard for me to leave her site after I firstly visited it. She also included very scientific concepts that the movie tackled. I have to admit, I enjoyed everything Sara did, and I do admire her talents.

Obviously, I should have won an award for my Sixth Sense site. It was an amazing site; it truly was. I really miss my awesome Sixth Sense site and wish I still had it. It would be interesting to see what I had written about it sixteen years ago.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Shut up already about my Sixth Sense site from sixteen years ago that doesn't even exist anymore and get on with the review!

Don't you love the scene where child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is telling Cole this really lame story about a family driving and Cole tells him that he needs to add "twists and stuff" to make his story more interesting. It was right there in front of our faces the entire time! And when Cole tells Malcolm, "I see dead people" and they zoom in on Willis's face. I feel like this movie started the whole twists trend, although obviously there have been twists in movies long before this one (The Usual Suspects comes to mind). I do think it was clever the reason his wife, Anna (Olivia Williams), never talked to him was because he thought she was mad at him and was giving him the cold shoulder. When he goes to the restaurant, he thinks she's mad at him because she was late and I like the touch of him not moving the chair when he sits down and when the check comes, she grabs it just a second before he's about to get it. Looking at that scene now, how depressing is it that she went to the restaurant her dead husband proposed to her on their anniversary? I think I would rather just stay home and drink a bottle of wine and cry. Can you imagine the conversation she had with the waiter?
Waiter: "Are you here to celebrate a special occasion?"
Anna: "Yes, it's my husband's and my [whatever number of years] anniversary."
Waiter: "Marvelous! Where is the lucky man?"
Anna: "Oh, he's dead. He was shot by a former patient in our bedroom and died in my arms, but I couldn't not come here on our anniversary. This is where he proposed to me."
Waiter: "Uh....our best bottle of champagne is on the house tonight."
I just wrote Sixth Sense fanfic, y'all! But seriously, that scene seems a little contrived now because nobody would ever do that!

I like that he can never open the door to the basement to get in his office and it always looks like he's reaching into his pocket to get a key, but towards the end it is revealed that there's a desk with a huge stack of book blocking the way. Remember, as Cole told him, "They only see what they want to see!"

One thing that really doesn't make any sense, now that I think about it (this movie always seems to produce more questions than answers!) is how Dr. Crowe and Cole became acquainted. When you watch it, not knowing the twist, you don't question it. It's a year after the incident with his former child patient, Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg) and we see Malcolm outside of Cole's home with notes about him. He follows him to the church and says they were suppose to have a session that day, but he missed his appointment. (Um, how does an effing child psychologist miss his appointments? Good Lord, even the awful hack "child psychologist" from The Good Son never missed her appointments!) But if you're watching this, KNOWING the twist, it doesn't make any sense how a dead man could set up an appointment. Although there is a note saying that Cole was referred to him in 1998, when he was still alive, so maybe he had all the information about this kid, but hadn't taken him on as a patient yet? IDK! Maybe I just answered my own question.

Just like how they try to fool you with Malcolm and Anna, I think it's very clever how they try to fool you with Malcolm and Cole's mom, Lynn (Toni Collette). I was fooled, but now watching it knowing the twist, it's like, of course! The scene when Cole comes home from school and Lynn and Malcolm are sitting opposite each other in the living room should be one of the first giveaways that Cole knows he's a ghost. I feel like any other kid would have mentioned Dr. Crowe being there, but Cole doesn't say anything; granted, he is an odd child at times. When you watch this for the first time and Lynn tell him she's going to make him those famous triangle pancakes and that he "has an hour", you think, oh, she's referring to his session, but apparently it takes an hour to make triangle pancakes! You also notice Cole doesn't talk to Dr. Crowe during his mind-reading game as not to make his mom suspicious, but then he does talk later about the rainbow drawing, so never mind! Also, I don't know if you caught this, because it's easy to dismiss and I didn't catch it until my third viewing, but after Cole tells Malcolm, "They don't have meetings about rainbows", you see him turn his head and looks up, then down. He was so looking at a dead person, I know he was! I think it was his grandmother since he didn't seem to be too scared and the grandmother and the lady who died in the fire at his school (the one who helped him before the play) seemed to be the nicer ghosts who he talked to. The lady who died in the fire was the reason he knew about his teacher being called "Stuttering Stanley".

The other scene with Lynn and Dr. Crowe in the same room is after the birthday party when Cole has gone through that traumatic experience and they're trying to figure out what happened to him. Dr. Shyamalan tells them (but really only her) that the cuts and bruises on Cole is concerning him and wants her to talk to a social worker.

It's been a few years since I last saw this movie and I forgot that the first time you see a ghost, it's nearly an hour into the movie. (Okay, if you want to be technical, the first time you see a ghost, it's ten minute into the movie, but we're not suppose to know about that! Shhhh!) Now you do hear the ghost that was on the other side of that door at the birthday party Cole attends. (By the way, do yourself a favor and go to Spotify and play "Head" by Tin's the song from that scene). The first ghost you see is the Suicide Ghost, the one that scared me the most. Of course, earlier in the movie we have an interaction with her although we never saw her. This scene startled me quite a bit the first time I saw this movie and even when you know it's coming, it's still quite startling. It also seems like it's just one long camera take from the moment Lynn takes Cole's tie into the laundry room to get a spot out and retrieve a new one for him, then turns right around to walk back into the kitchen and many of the cabinets and drawers are open. Supposedly there is a very quick cut when she enters the other room, but it's so flawless you can't even tell. I was wondering how they did that!

Cole is afraid of the ghosts (as anybody would be!), so Malcolm suggests he help them. This is a turning point in the movie. The main ghosts he helps is that of a young girl named Kyra (a pre-The OC Mischa Barton) aka Puke Girl. That scene where she's revealed with vomit coming out of her mouth in his tent is absolutely terrifying! I find Kyra to be the most fascinating of all the ghosts, as she has the biggest arc out of any of them (and I'm sure 2000 me would agree), but there are so many questions. First of all, why does she even need Cole's help to play the video indicating her (step)mom poisoned her? She (and all the other ghosts) seem very capable of handling physical objects. She pushes the box containing the video in it out from under her bed when Cole enters her creepy bedroom filled with marionettes and porcelain dolls. Really, could they have made her room even more creepier? Also, why is she hiding under the bed? Doesn't she know she's a ghost? Oh, right, Cole tells Malcolm, "They don't know they're dead"....BUT if Kyra doesn't know she's dead, then why is she giving Cole the tape implicating her (step)mom poisoned her? Unless she thinks she's still alive and wants to save her sister, who they say is starting to become sick now? But couldn't she do that if she was still alive? ALSO...she KNEW she was being poisoned when she was alive, right? Because that's why she kept the camera rolling when Mommy Dearest came in with the poisoned soup during her marionette plays. But if she knew she was being poisoned, why the eff was she eating the soup? As I mentioned earlier, I assumed the woman was Kyra's stepmom, but honestly, they never say one way or another if she's a stepmom or the biological mother. Remember when I overheard a couple at a pizza place talking about this scene? I'm pretty sure they were discussing this same exact thing! They were also probably wondering why a parent could do such a thing to a child. I wondered the same and did some research. I think it was my mom who told me about Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Now if you've ever seen the TV show House, they did an episode about this. I also talked about it at length in my Sixth Sense site. Here is what Wikipedia says about it (the bold is emphasized by me): "In Munchausen syndrome by proxy, an adult caregiver makes a child or elderly person appear mentally or physically ill or impaired by either fabricating symptoms or actually causing harm to the child or elderly person to gain the attention of medical providers and others. To perpetuate the medical relationship, the caregiver systematically misrepresents symptoms, fabricates signs, manipulates laboratory tests, or even purposely harms the child (e.g. by poisoning, suffocation, infection, physical injury)." That's some scary stuff. Nice touch having the (step)mom wear red to the funeral while everyone was wearing black.

My favorite scene in the movie, as I'm sure it is for many other people, is the scene I quoted from above, when Cole and his mother are in the car and Cole reveals his secret to her. It is very emotional when he tells her that his grandma, her mother, talks to him sometimes and she's the one who keeps taking the bumblebee pendant Lynn gets mad at him for taking. Even after watching this movie numerous times, I still teared up when Cole tells his mother that his grandma told him that Lynn came to her grave site and asked her a question and the answer was "Everyday" and Cole wanted to know what his mother asked and Lynn replies, "Do I make her proud?" Toni Collette is so good in this movie and she knocked it out of the park with that scene (as well as Osment, of course). I was shocked (-shocked!-) when I learned she was Australian. 

I think Shyamalan found lighting in a bottle with this movie; I don't think he was ever going to top it. I did see Unbreakable and Signs and I did like those movies, though I haven't seen Unbreakable since its theatrical release and I honestly don't remember anything about it, so I would like to revisit it. I've seen Signs twice and I did enjoy it, despite one very stupid thing (which I don't want to say because I'm not reviewing that movie right now so I don't want to spoil anything, but those of you have seen it, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!). I also saw The Village, but I thought the twist was a let down. The movie as a whole was okay. I haven't seen anything since that one and I'm kind of glad because they all look pretty terrible. I have seen video reviews of some of those movies and it looks like I wasn't missing anything! However, The Sixth Sense is one of my all time favorite movies. I wouldn't make a site dedicated to it if it wasn't!

I have breaking news....

OMG, YOU GUYS!!!!! OH MY GOD.....I FOUND MY SIXTH SENSE SITE!!!!!! You don't know how HAPPY this makes me! I was able to find a link to the page that includes all the other links to all my features. Now the site is still down and it's all just a bunch of HTML gibberish and there's no black background with photos and red text, but the text is still there. You KNOW I have to share it with you! This was my introduction page. I've copied and pasted so I can get rid of the gibberish and it will be easier to read:

When The Sixth Sense first came out in August 1999, I wasn’t crazy to see it for two reasons: 
1) Bruce Willis was in it (C’mon, you have to admit he’s not the world’s greatest actor!)
2) When I saw the movie trailer, it just scared the living crap out of me. (I’m afraid of dead people.) 
I'm assuming most of you saw the movie when it came out in August. Well, I didn't. I saw it in March when it was re-released in theaters. I saw the trailer for The Sixth Sense when my two friends and I went to see South Park in the summer of '99. When I saw the scene where Cole says "Standing next to my window," I got shivers down my spine. When I heard him say "I see dead people," I thought, there is no way in hell I am going to see that movie. You don't understand my fear of dead people. I am utterly afraid of dead people. I've had these awful dreams and I am just mortally afraid of them. When I got to funerals (I've only been to three in my life - so far), I cannot look in the coffin because it freaks me out so much. You don't understand what a baby I am about this, but it scared the living you know what out of me! Oh, yeah, and I didn't want to see it because I don't like scary movies. (I guess it's classified more as a "psychological thriller", though.)
My friend who knows I hate scary movies saw it and she said, "Sara, don't see that movie!" But when I asked other people like my roommate and my brother who saw it, they said it wasn't that scary. And over Christmas Break my brother convinced my mom and I that we had to see it. I knew there was a "twist" at the ending and I begged him to tell me, but he wouldn't. And I'm glad he didn't! He convinced me that it wasn't scary at all. And when I saw that this movie had been nominated for Best Picture and young Haley Joel Osment had gotten a nomination got best Supporting Actor, I was becoming more curious. I mean, it's not every day when an eleven year old gets nominated for an Oscar! It soon began to grow more and more popular and when it was nominated for six Oscars, I decided to finally go see it and see what the fuss was all about. My friend Amanda and I went to see it at a Lawrence theater on March 4, 2000 at 9:20 p.m. (Yes, I still have the movie stub!) I was surprised that the theater was near full. I didn't think there would be that many people since it was re-released. But after seeing the movie, I understood why the theater was full. The minute we sat down, the lights go off and the trailer for Erin Brockovich comes on. (Talk about perfect timing!) 
You know what's really pathetic? I was scared at the first scene. I thought a dead person was going to jump out at us! But then I relaxed and then got a little tense when Vincent appeared. But then after that, I relaxed and enjoyed the movie. It wasn't until the party scene where I began to feel my heart beating out of my chest for the rest of the movie. From the moment Cole is locked in that closet till the very end, I was clenching my stomach so tight and had my hands ready to reflex quickly to my eyes if I needed to! But I'm proud to say that I never had to leave the theater and I never completely covered my eyes. (Although I did have to look away for a second when I saw that boy's half blown off head - ugh.) 

Well, it turned out that I absolutely fell in love with it. I did jump a few times, and it did scare me, but at least I didn’t have nightmares. (Although I did have trouble falling asleep that night and I kept waking up, thinking about the movie. Plus it didn’t help that my white robe hanging on my closet door looked like a ghost!) I saw it three times in two months. It’s one of those movies that you think might not be good to view after you’ve seen it a first time because you know already know the ending, but I think it gets better and better the more times you watch it. There are so many things you can catch that you missed on your first viewing. 

Because I love The Sixth Sense so much, I decided to make a website dedicated to one of my favorite movies. I don't think I'll ever get sick of this movie. I could talk about it forever. The day after I saw it, I called my mom and brother to analyze the whole movie with them. Then a week later when I went home for spring break, my mom and I talked about the movie for four hours on the drive home. (Hey, it made the time go quick!)

In this site you’ll find my opinions about the movie,  questions and answers, quotes, biographies and lots of other fun stuff! If you haven’t seen the movie, I’ve put an asterisk (*) by any links I feel might give away the deep dark secret revealed in the movie. (But hopefully you have seen it by now!) I’m not very experienced when it comes to making webpages and this is my first one, so please keep that in mind! 
And please remember to sign the guestbook before you leave! Thank you!

The Sixth Sense is about a young boy, Cole Sear, (Haley Joel Osment) who can see dead people. He doesn’t want his mother, Lynn, (Toni Collette) to know because he’s scared that she’ll think he’s a freak. The only person he feels he can confide in and can help him with his problem is child psychiatrist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). Dr. Crowe is determined to help him after he has failed one of his former patients, Vincent Gray (Donnie Walbergh). But he soon finds out that helping Cole takes too much time away from him being with his wife, Anna (Olivia Williams). But in the end he discovers a shocking secret about himself, making the audience ponder, Was it Malcolm who helped Cole or was it Cole who helped Malcolm? 

And here are my FAQs which I found amusing. I can tell you right now that nobody ever e-mailed me to ask these questions; I just acted like people did and I was answering them! Haha!

Q: What is the name of the song that is played during the birthday party scene? 
 A: That’s Head by Tin Star. Unfortunately, it’s not on the soundtrack. 
Q: Trevor Morgan (Tommy Tammisimo) looks familiar, but I can’t quite replace him. Where have I seen him before? 
A: If you’re a religious watcher of  ER, you’ve probably seen him as Dr. Anspaugh’s son who had cancer. Plus he's been in a lot of movies since  The Sixth Sense, including The Patriot, Jurassic Park 3, The Glass House, and The Rookie. 
Q: What was the name of the product Tommy Tammisimo was endorsing in his commercial? 
 A: That was Pedia Ease, a cough syrup medicine for children. It’s a made-up product, but there is Pedia Care. 

Q: What is the significance of the color red in the movie? 
A: If you have a good eye (or if you’ve seen the movie multiple times!), you’ll notice that many items in The Sixth Sense are red: the doorknob, the balloon, the sweater Cole wears at the birthday party, the dress that Anna wears at the restaurant, the doors to the church, the sweater Lynn wears in the car, Cole’s tent, the light bulb, the box containing the videotape, the Zoloft pills, the religious figure Cole steals from the church, the frame, the ink of the pen that Cole wrote his “upset words” with and the dress the mother of Kyra wears at the funeral to name a few. M. Night Shyamalan explains that “anything that’s tainted from the [ghost] world or has a connection to the other side” is colored red. 

Q: Why did Cole and Vincent have a patch of white in their hair? 
A: Cole and Vincent were the only ones who could see dead people, remember? Shyamalan wanted them to share a physical trait. According to some researchers it is natural for one to loose pigment in their hair when they experience trauma. 

Q: Did Cole know that Malcolm was a ghost? 
A: This is one of those questions I’ve seen debated numerous times, but in my opinion (and lots of other people’s I know), I do believe he did know. Remember when Cole was walking fast to the church when Malcolm was following him? Well, he looked scared and I think he sensed that something was wrong. Plus, I think if you did have this ability, you could probably tell a live person from a dead person. 
Ahhhh! So 2000 me agrees with present day me! Good to know! I do know myself!

Q: Why doesn’t Cole’s breath show when he’s around Malcolm? 
A: Because it only gets cold when ghosts get angry. Malcolm gets upset in the end when he finds out he’s dead and hence we see Anna’s breath. Also, remember the scene where Kyra was unbuttoning Cole’s tent? You could see his breath then, but when he went back to her and pulled the blanket off her, you no longer saw his breath. 
Q: How come Cole never told Malcolm he was dead? 
A: I’m not sure about this one, but I think he wanted Malcolm to figure that out on his own. 

 Plus it would spoil the movie!

Q: How much money has The Sixth Sense grossed so far? 
A: According to it’s made an estimated amount of $661,500,000 worldwide. 
Q: How does The Sixth Sense rate in terms of top grossing movies of all time? 
A: In the United States, it is the 14th biggest movie (so far). It used to be the tenth, but movies like Spider-Man, Harry Potter, and  Lord of the Rings pushed it out of the way. Worldwide, it is the 13th biggest movie of all time (so far). 
Obviously those movies I listed didn't exist back in 2000, but I did see I last updated my site in 2003.

Q: Why did Kyra’s mother poison her daughter? 
A: She had a condition called Munchausen by proxy. It's when a parent purposely harms their child to get attention. 
Q: Wait! You're confusing me! What is that disease? Mun-what? 
 A: This is from the  Encarta Encyclopedia: I INTRODUCTION Munchausen Syndrome, mental illness in which a person intentionally deceives health-care professionals into believing he or she is ill. People with this disorder migrate from hospital to hospital, attempting to get admitted by continually faking or producing symptoms of illness. They embellish their medical histories with dramatic stories to attract attention, and they willingly undergo tests and treatments-even surgery-for contrived physical or psychological ailments. The term "Munchausen's syndrome" was coined in 1951 by British physician Richard Asher, who adapted it from the surname of Baron M√ľnchhausen. The baron, a German cavalry officer in the 18th century, had acquired an erroneous reputation as a pathological liar who greatly exaggerated his adventures. People with Munchausen syndrome intentionally mislead others about their health and assume the sick role typically because they want to be cared for and nurtured. In contrast, patients with hypochondriasis are preoccupied with illness because they misinterpret bodily sensations as evidence of serious disease (see Hypochondria). In malingering, people fabricate medical symptoms or illnesses in pursuit of specific external goals, such as qualification for disability payments or evasion of military service. Munchausen syndrome represents the most extreme and chronic variant of a group of similar mental ailments called factitious disorders. Doctors diagnose factitious disorders in approximately 1 percent of hospital patients who receive psychiatric evaluations. Individuals with Munchausen syndrome tend to be men who are unmarried, unemployed, and estranged from their families. II SYMPTOMS People with Munchausen syndrome or other factitious disorders may claim medical symptoms in a variety of ways. These include (1) total fabrication, such as falsely claiming to be HIV-positive; (2) simulation, such as mimicking a seizure; (3) illness aggravation, such as manipulating a wound so it will not heal; and (4) illness induction, such as injecting oneself with bacteria to cause infection. The maladies may either be relatively common, or so esoteric that most physicians would have only a passing familiarity with them. The most frequently fabricated physical signs include anemia, rash, fever, and bleeding. Factitious psychological disorders, in which people fabricate emotional symptoms such as depression, are much less common. In Munchausen syndrome by proxy, also called factitious disorder by proxy, one person (usually a parent) produces symptoms in another (usually his or her child) to experience the sick role vicariously. For example, a mother may induce vomiting or diarrhea in her child with over-the-counter drugs, then present the child for treatment while denying knowledge of the origin of the problem. The parent also may falsely report symptoms and alter laboratory data. Ailments commonly falsified or induced in Munchausen syndrome by proxy include seizures, apnea (cessation of breathing), vomiting, and fever. III CAUSES Many psychiatrists believe that Munchausen patients have suffered emotional neglect or deprivation in their past and that their "disease forgery" becomes a way of receiving attention and support. At the same time, people with this disorder combat a poor sense of self-identity by assuming the well-defined role of a sick person. Duping medical professionals also helps stifle feelings of weakness and vulnerability. A hypothesis that brain abnormalities cause Munchausen syndrome remains unproved. IV TREATMENT Patients diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome rarely consent to treatment of their disorder. Instead, when confronted with their ruse, they generally flee and continue their deceptions elsewhere. Non confrontational strategies, such as behavior modification, have been effective in selected cases. For motivated patients, psychotherapy can both enhance insight and provide the nurturance they once obtained through falsified illness. Medications such as antidepressants may be effective when the patients have additional mental illnesses. When addressing Munchausen syndrome by proxy, doctors focus on ensuring the ongoing safety of the child. 
Q: Was the woman who killed Kyra her mother or stepmother? 
A: I’m not really sure about this one. In my opinion, I believe it was her real mother. That’s what the script says. It doesn’t exactly say in the movie. I’ve asked many people this question and half think she’s the mother and the other half think she’s the stepmother. 
Interesting....2000 me thought it was her real mother while present day me thinks it's her stepmom. I don't remember reading a script. I guess we will never know for sure.  

Q: How did Cole know that his teacher stuttered when he was a child? 
A: Remember the scene where Cole is getting ready to play King Arthur in the play and his teacher told him how their was a fire in that part of the school? And remember before that when the burnt lady was helping Cole with his makeup? The lady had died in the fire and I do believe she’s the one who told Cole about “Stuttering Stanley.” 
Q: Why did the dog run and hide under the bed when the boy who shot himself in the head appeared? 
A: I don’t think the dog could see him, but animals have instincts and the dog could probably feel a presence in the house. 
Q: Was the battered suicide woman (the one we see in the kitchen) the same ghost who opened up all the cabinets at the beginning of the movie? 
A: Yes, she was. If you’re not hiding your eyes behind your eyes, you can see that all the cabinets are open when she yells at Cole. 
Q: Were there any ghosts besides Malcolm that Cole wasn’t afraid of? 
A: Yes, he was not afraid of his grandmother or the teacher who died in the school fire. Also, I read that he learned Latin from a priest who had died at the church. Whether or not that is true, I don’t know.
Q. How did Malcolm get a hold of those files about Cole? 
A: I think he had those files before he died; that’s the best explanation I can come up with. 

Q: Why can’t Malcolm open the door to the basement? 
A: He thinks it’s locked, which is why he’s always searching his pocket for the key, when in fact Anna had blocked the door with a table because Malcolm’s office is downstairs and she’s trying to shut out memories of him. The audience doesn’t see the table until we find out Malcolm is dead. Of course he gets downstairs because he’s a ghost and can walk through the door, but he refuses to acknowledge that he’s broken any physical laws. 

Q: What was the poison Kyra was gradually killed from? 
A: I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I’m told it was floor cleaning solution. 

Q: Would you recommend the soundtrack to me? 
A: Yes! Even thought the songs are short, it's a great soundtrack (with very creepy music). I like De Profundis (the song played at the very beginning) and Malcolm is Dead. (The song they played at the end, although I think they should have changed the title of that song!) 
Q: Where did Cole get all those religious figurines he had in his tent? Did he steal them from the church like he did with that one statue? 
A: I’m guessing he did. (Tisk, tisk! Stealing from a church!) 

Q: How does Lynn afford to send Cole to a private school when she’s juggling with two jobs? And how does she afford a Volvo? 
A: I have no idea! In the movie you got the impression they were struggling with the money. But perhaps her mother had some money and gave her it when she died? (Hey, maybe that bumblebee pendant is worth some money!) 
Q: What are triangle pancakes? 
 A: I’ve never heard of them, but I’m guessing they’re pancakes in the shape of triangles. Duh. Perhaps they’re a Philadelphia treat? 
And the last segment I'll share (because I don't need to make this any longer than it already is!) is my ranking of the ghosts.

My analysis of each ghost complete with a “Scary rating” from 1-10 (1 = not very scary, 10 = very scary)
The Woman in the kitchen:
This is the first ghost that we actually see in the movie. (Well, except for Malcolm, but we weren’t suppose to know he was a ghost at that point!) She was the one wearing the pink bathrobe and was in the kitchen, the one who Cole thought was his mother. (I knew it wasn’t though!) She was actually in one of the first scenes although we didn’t see her. Did you notice how all the cabinet doors were open? Well, she was the one who had opened them all the morning that Cole was eating his Cocoa Puffs and his mother was doing the laundry. I got the impression she committed suicide by slashing her wrists (that would explain her slashed wrists!) because her husband was abusing her (that would explain her bruised face). Remember when she started yelling at Cole. Well, I assume she was yelling her husband’s name at him and that’s why she was so angry. 
Scary rating: 9.. I have seen this movie numerous times and every time she walks by when Cole is in the bathroom I ALWAYS jump or scream!   

Still true. 

Well, I’m guessing you know who this ghost is! You’re right, it’s the young teenage boy from the seventies with the back of his head blown off. Obviously he killed himself by his comment to Cole, “Come on, I’ll show you where my dad keeps my gun.” He wasn’t murdered and he didn’t commit suicide. He was probably just playing with his dad’s gun and accidentally shot himself and blew out his brains. How nice. 
Scary rating: 7…. Well, at least he didn’t yell at Cole, but that line was just beyond creepy and when he turned around, oh Lord! The first time I saw that I thought I was going to be sick!
The three ghosts hanging in the school:
This appears to be a family: there is a man, a woman, and a young boy. Like Cole told his teacher when he was in class, their school was used to hang people back in the 1700s. The man is black, the woman is white, and the child is bi-racial, so they were hung for racial reasons. 
Scary rating: 4 … There’s only one shot of them, and even though they are a little bit blue, they aren’t that scary. They don’t scream at Cole and they don’t have blood or guts gushing out of them.
The burnt lady:
This is the lady who was helping Cole “practicing his lines.” She died when there was a fire in the theater. She was a teacher and taught Mr. Cummingham when he was a student at the school. We learn that from Mr. Cummingham who tells Cole that. I’m pretty sure she was the one who told Cole about “Stuttering Stanley.” And she is one of the few ghosts that Cole is not afraid of. 
Scary rating: 7 … She seemed really sweet, but I didn’t know she was a ghost until Mr. Cummingham comes in and asks Cole who’s he talking to and she turns around and you can see all of that side is burnt. That really freaked me out!
Biker lady: 
This was the dead person Cole was referring to when his mother asked, “Where is she?” and he replied, “Standing next to my window.” She was riding her book and broke her neck in the car accident and instantly died. 
Scary rating: 4 … a little creepy looking but not too frightening.
Kyra Collins:
I thought Kyra Collins was the most complex and interesting and had the saddest story of the ghosts. Here is a young girl, of about twelve, who was poisoned by her own mother. When I first saw her I thought she had died of bulimia because she was puking and looked super skinny. I still have a lot of unanswered questions about her death, but this is my theory of why she died: Her mother had Munchausen by proxy which you can read more about if you go to Questions and Answers. Basically what it is, is when a mother purposelessly harms their child to get more attention. By the father’s comment to the mother, “You were keeping her sick,” my theory is that the mother was the one who got her sick in the first place, making it gradual at first until there was so much poison in Kyra’s body that she died.  I’m guessing that Kyra sort of figured out what her mother was doing to her and that’s why she taped it. But that just gets me even more confused. If she knew what her mother was doing, why would she keep on eating the soup, and how would she know somebody would see the tape after she died? (Remember all those tapes she had in the room), Or perhaps I’m over analyzing too much? Maybe she was just video taping her puppet show and left it on accidentally when her mother gave her the bowl of soup. But obviously after she died, she had to get Cole to help her to give the tape to her dad to show her how he died because her little sister was beginning to get sick too and she didn’t want her to die.
Haha, I love how 2000 me has the same burning questions as present day me.  

Scary rating: 8…. A very sweet little girl, she probably was but she scared me when she was unbuttoning Cole’s tent and puke was coming out of her mouth, when Cole pulled the blanket off of her, and when she grabbed Cole’s foot from under her bed. (The first time I saw that, it nearly gave me a heart attack!) Also, I was a little creeped out by her room with all those hand and finger puppets. And the scene when she's under the bed and her hand reaches out and grabs Cole? That freaked me out just a tad!
The ghost in the closet: 
This is a ghost in the movie we don’t see, but I would have liked to out of curiosity. He is the ghost Cole gets attacked by when he is at Darren’s birthday party and Darren and Tommy Tammisimo throw him in the storage locker when they tell him they’re going to put on a play called “Locked in the Dungeon” and he’s going to be the one locked in the dungeon. The interesting thing about this ghost was that he wanted Cole to open the door, but the door was already open. According to Cole’s statement, “They only see what they want to see,” this ghost could not see that the door was open. From people I’ve asked, it seems that this ghost was locked in the closet and that’s how he died. If I remember right, he says something about taking his master’s horses, so he must have been punished. It scared the hell out of me when Cole was in that small space with that scary sounding ghost. And it sent chills down my spiny little spine when the balloon pops and all you can hear silence. :::shiver::
Scary rating: 8 …. No, you don’t see this ghost, but that scene always makes me nervous.
Cole’s Grandma:
We never see her (although I wish we had!) but she is mentioned a few times in the movie. It doesn’t say how she died, but I’m guessing of old age or from an illness. She was the one who took Lynn’s bumblebee pendant which used to belong to her and moving it. I thought one of the freakiest parts in the movie was when Cole told his mom, “Grandma says hi.”
Scary rating: 1 She’s his grandmother and she loves him. We don't have to worry about her hurting Cole. 
The Spanish ghost:
This is a ghost that Cole doesn’t meet, but rather Vincent, the young man who was a former patient of Malcolm and shot him before shooting himself. After Cole confesses his secret to Malcolm, Malcolm listens to a taped session he had with Vincent. Cole reminds him of Vincent and he wants to see why this is so. During the session Malcolm is called out for a phone call and that’s when the weird noises start happening. He turns up the volume on his tape player all the way until all he can hear is static, Vincent whimpering and a voice shouting in Spanish.
Scary rating: 3 You don’t see this ghost, but he sounds kinda scary and the scene itself is enough to send chills down your spine.
Malcolm Crowe:
The only one you didn’t know was a ghost until the end of the movie (unless you caught on before that). He was fatally shot in the gut by one of his former patients, Vincent Grey. It's hard to tell if he knew he was dead or not, but if there was was any part of him that thought he was dead, he refused to believe it.
Scary rating: 1 Became one of Cole’s only confidants and helped Cole with his deep dark secret.  
Wow, that was certainly a fun trip down memory lane! It felt like I quantum leaped back into 2000 me!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

C'mon, Ride That Train

The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Alison Janney, Laura Prepon, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow
Released: October 7, 2016
Viewed in theaters: October 12, 2016

I read the book this movie is based on a month ago and I figured out who the person was behind the mystery pretty early on, even before there's a small clue given. I don't want to brag, but whenever I watched an episode of CSI, nine times out of ten, I would always guess the murderer right. It's just this gift I have, you could say! Don't worry, I will give a huge spoiler warning before I get to that part. The book and this movie definitely had a Gone Girl vibe to them, though it didn't quite live up to that one. Both are mysteries and both involve highly unlikeable characters. I am glad I read the book just so I would be prepared to hate all the characters! The book revolves around three female characters who take turns narrating the story. There's the titular Girl on the Train, Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt). She is at the lowest of the low. Her husband left her for a woman he was having an affair with about two years ago, she lost her job due to her excessive drinking, and she passes the house she used to live in while riding the train into Manhattan. All she does all day is drink and sit on benches and look at statues. In the book, she really lets her looks go and gained a bunch of weight since her husband left her. There are scenes in the movie where she looks pretty terrible, but I never got the impression she got as bad as she did in the book, appearance wise. Some male characters pull a Donald Trump and say some pretty nasty things about her looks, but that's not in the movie. She lives with a friend, Cathy, (Laura Prepon) who has let her stay for two years even though Rachel said she would only be there for a couple weeks. In the book, Cathy does kick her out, but that never happens in the movie. She has more of a bigger role in the book.

The woman Rachel's ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her for is Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), a beautiful blond. Now in the book, she was a complete conceited bitch. While she still comes over as pretty unlikeable in the movie, I think they made her a little more sympathetic in the movie than she is in the book. Tom and Anna now live in the house with their one year old daughter, Evie. It's the same house that Tom and Rachel used to live in when they were married and Rachel passes by it every day on her commute into the city and it makes her livid to see her ex having a new life with another woman, especially since they have a child and Tom and Rachel wanted to have a baby, but she was never able to conceive and that caused her to start drinking which therefore started their fighting and Tom cheating on her. Rachel's drinking got so bad that she was quite violent and we see flashbacks of her smashing a mirror and threatening to cut her husband with one of the broken pieces. We also see that her husband lost his job because she threw a plate of deviled eggs across the wall at a party his boss was having at his house

The third woman is Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett). She and her husband, Scott (Luke Evans) moved into the house a few doors down from Rachel's old house after she moved out.  Rachel doesn't know them, but she often sees them on their balcony during her ride trains. She imagines them as this perfect couple and is jealous of what they have. What Rachel doesn't know is that for a short time, Megan was a nanny for Evie. She also doesn't know that Megan and Scott don't have the perfect life she thinks they have because Megan is seeing a therapist (Edgar Ramirez) who she tries to sleep with. (How cliche, I know). One day, Rachel sees Megan kissing a man who is clearly not her husband and is very upset by this since she knows what it's like being cheated on. She gets plastered and goes on a drunken tirade about how she would like to smash Megan's head in for what she did to her husband (and while she does this, her phone is recording it)! When she's riding on the train, she decides to get off on the stop where Megan lives and when she sees Megan (or thinks she sees Megan), she goes after her, ready to confront her. She is very disoriented and confused and stumbles and something (or someone) clocks her. She wakes up the next day on her bed (not quite sure how she got home because they never tell us!), bloodied and dirty. She has no idea what's happened.

Megan has gone missing and the police (the main one is played by Alison Janney; the male officer in the book had a much bigger role in the book) come to question Rachel about Megan's disappearance. They think Rachel may have something to do with it since they know she's often harassing her ex and his new wife. They think since Anna and Rachel both bare a similar resemblance and are around the same age, Rachel may have attacked Megan, thinking she was Anna. Rachel denies this, but they tell her that Tom and Anna saw her. That's when Rachel tells them about the man Megan had been kissing which makes her sound insane since she told them she didn't know Megan and had never met her before, but yet she saw her with another man. Because of her excessive drinking problem, they don't take any of her claims seriously and Megan decides to pay Scott a visit and tell him about his wife's infidelity. She tells him that she was a friend of Megan's, that she knew her from the art gallery she worked at. 

Okay, just to be on the safe side, I'm going to issue my spoiler warning now. If you've read the book, but haven't seen the movie, feel free to read ahead because nothing major is changed. But for those of you who haven't read the book/seen the movie, then be warned that THERE ARE SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT!!!

After Rachel tells him about the other man, it takes five seconds for Scott to pull up a picture of Megan's therapist from his website and Rachel confirms it was him she saw. The whole thing seemed a little too easy. The movie glosses over the part where he's questioned and is let go from suspicion. They are now looking at the husband, but Rachel knows Scott couldn't have done it. That is, until Scott finds out that she was lying about knowing Megan and becomes suspicion of her and assaults her. It's actually way worse in the book what he does to her. Rachel goes to the police station to report him and tell them that Scott is obviously the murderer, (did I tell you they find Megan's body in the woods? So she's dead...for real) but Janney tells her that they know she's been getting cozy with Scott and they know she often visits him and that they know Scott didn't do it because they have surveillance of him at a sports bar the night Megan disappeared.

I knew they were trying to trick me and everyone else with thinking it was Megan's husband or her therapist, but I knew all along that it was Rachel's ex-husband, the man she was still in love with. You never go with the obvious and Megan's husband and therapist were just that. It would have been a really great twist if Anna was the maybe she found out she was now the Rachel in this situation and Tom was cheating on her with Megan, who was now the new Anna (which she does find out he was having an affair with the nanny....this book/movie is so full of cliches, I tell you!) and killed Megan. But no, it was Tom who was the killer. He killed her because he was having an affair with her and when Megan confronted him and told him she was pregnant, he told her to get rid of it, but she said no, and he said he didn't want another kid and pushes her and she falls and hits her head on a large rock. Since she's already down, he just decides to finish the job. In the book, she thinks about just not telling him and going on her way, which is sad because she could have lived and just started a new life.

After learning that Scott couldn't have been the killer, Rachel runs into the wife of Tom's ex boss (Lisa Kudrow) and she apologizes to her about her behavior that day at the party a couple years ago. The boss's wife is confused and tells her she didn't make a scene and she only took a nap. This is when Rachel realizes that Tom has been lying to her all these times and she suddenly gets her memory back and remembers everything she thought she did that was wrong and horrible (like the threatening to attack Tom with a broken piece of glass) was actually Tom acting that way. She also remembers that night Megan disappeared and while she thought she saw Anna get in a car with Tom, it was actually Megan. I guess I shouldn't be so proud of myself that I guessed who the murderer was early on, as it seems pretty obvious now!

Another reason not to like Anna is that after learning that her husband had an affair and quite possible killed the woman, she was going to stay with him! WTF, lady? She does come to her senses after Tom attacks Rachel and she fights back by thrusting a corkscrew in his neck. Anna makes sure to finish the job by twisting the corkscrew into his neck.

Remember that video I mentioned of Rachel ranting about how she wanted to kill Megan for cheating on her husband. It never comes back in play! And this wasn't even in the book, so I'm not sure why they had it in the movie, especially when they didn't use it. Weird. Also, am I right about how unlikeable all the characters are? This movie is no Gone Girl, but it's an enjoyable thriller to see on a weekday afternoon...which is when I saw it! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Reality Check

The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir
Cast: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Paul Giamatti
Released: June 5, 1998

Oscar nominations:

Best Director - Peter Weir (lost to Steven Spielberg for Saving Private Ryan)
Best Supporting Actor - Ed Harris (lost to James Coburn for Affliction)
Best Original Screenplay - Andre Niccol (lost to Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard for Shakespeare in Love)


The Truman Show is a movie that was ahead of its time. It's a reality show that's been following around one man since his birth, thirty years ago. Everyone is in on it except for Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey in one of his first more serious roles). Now reality TV did exist back in '98 when this movie was released (even though I never watched them, I remember The Real World and Road Rules were already established by this time), but the slew of reality TV as we know it didn't seem to really start until the early 2000s. You have your competitive reality shows like Survivor (2000), The Amazing Race (2001), Big Brother (2000), American Idol (2002), Project Runway (2004), Top Chef (2006) and you have your candid reality shows like The Hills (2006) and everyone's favorite (said nobody ever), Keeping Up With the Kardashians (2007 - hmmm, I could have sworn that's been on a lot longer...guess it just feels that way!) and a bunch of others. I have always preferred competitive to candid. Except for Big Brother, I watch or have watched the shows I listed. The Truman Show would be in the candid category and I have never understood the appeal of watching people in their real lives. I have tried to watch these kinds of shows before and THEY ARE BORING! My brother, God knows why, loved The Hills when it aired and was always talking about it so I decided to check it out, thinking I was missing something amazing. I watched the first two episodes before I decided I was out. It was one of the most boring and pointless things I had ever watched. 

Of course everyone on candid reality shows KNOW they are on a reality show and therefore manufacture drama for the show's benefit. They also haven't had their whole lives documented on TV like Truman. Like I said, everyone is in on the whole thing except for Truman himself. Everyone in the small town, also an island, he grew up in is an actor and has a role they each play. His "wife", Meryl (Laura Linney) is an actress named Hannah Gill. His "best friend" (who he's known since he was 7) is Marlon (Noah Emmerich...he plays the FBI agent in The Americans) is an actor named Louis Coltrane. Even his "parents" (Holland Taylor plays his "mother") aren't his real parents, but actors playing the Senior Burbanks. We don't know anything about his real parents, but that Truman was adopted for the purpose of this show, which was created by a man named Christof (Ed Harris).

I don't know how anyone can be so oblivious that they don't even realize that they have their own TV show documenting their life, 24 hours a day and it's shown all over the world. But the movie manages to make you believe he wouldn't have any idea, just like in Home Alone, where it's absolutely ridiculous that parents would forget to bring their kid with them on vacation, they set it up so you can buy the absurdity of the whole thing. For one thing, since everybody is an actor in the small "town" he lives in, everybody knows their place and roles. Truman may be a big star everywhere else in the world, but nobody here treats him as such. There have been a couple close calls where people have tried to tell him what's really going on, but they deal with those people pretty quickly. The biggest example is when an actress named Sylvia (Natascha McElhone) playing a character named Lauren that Truman has a crush on before he meets Meryl (or, more accurately, before Meryl literally falls into him) takes him to a private spot on the beach and tells him that her name is really Sylvia and that everybody knows everything he does and how everybody around him is pretending and that everything around him is a set. A man in a car comes up saying he's Lauren's father, but Sylvia claims she's never seen this man before in her life. Needless to say, Truman is confused and the man tells him she's been having "episodes" lately. He also tells him that they're moving to Fiji (random!) and Sylvia is obviously removed from the cast. Truman has never stopped thinking of Sylvia and is trying to find a way to get to Fiji to find her.

Another example of Truman having no idea his life is being recorded is that they make it so he never has any desire to leave the island he lives on. We see a flashback of when he was a young boy and his "father" was "washed out to sea" when they were on a boating trip. Christof did that not only to instill a fear of water into Truman, but to also see how he would cope with a parent's death at such a young age. Even when Truman decides he's going to Fiji, there are still signs warning him not to go. One is a literal sign when he visits the travel agency and there's a huge poster of a plane being struck by lightning and the caption is "IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU." That just made me chuckle because which travel agency, in their right mind, would have that kind of poster? The travel agent tells him that they're booked for over a month. Truman decides to get on a bus to Chicago, but the bus conveniently breaks down and they can't go anywhere. He then decides he and Meryl should travel somewhere and decides on a whim they should go to New Orleans, but whenever he tries to get out of his neighborhood, cars are blocking his way. He does mange to get out and even drives across the bridge, which he is afraid of. Once they are past it, there is a sign warning them of a forest fire, and then they have to turn back because there's been a leak at the plant.

Of course, we later learn that Christof has been controlling all of this. The island is not actually an island, but rather a large soundstage built inside a huge dome in Hollywood. The town he lives in is called Sea Haven and it's "enclosed in the largest studio ever constructed". They also say that, along with the Great Wall of China, it's one of two structures visible from space (though didn't they debunk that theory that you can see the Great Wall of China from space?) All the control rooms and many cameras and people who work behind the scenes, including Christof, are located in the moon structure.

And the most obvious part that Truman never notices he's being filmed is because they use small, hidden cameras jewelry of the cast members, in his car radio, and in small objects of my favorite was the camera in the electric pencil sharpener when he's at work. He's none the wiser that there are any cameras around.

After being unable to leave Sea Haven, Truman begins to grow very suspicious. He start to notice odd things...such as he always sees the same people walking around his block in the same order. Meryl always seems to be hawking some product (like cocoa) like she's on a commercial and Truman asks who she's talking to, but she denies she's talking to anyone. But, of course, she is advertising all the foods and clothes and everything else you can buy, because we later learn that the viewing public is able to order anything they see on "The Truman Show" from the catalogue! Truman starts to get more angrier and grabs her, thus making Meryl yell "Do something!" at one of the cameras. This confuses Truman even more and demands to know who she's talking to. This gets Meryl written out of the show and a new love interest will be introduced to Truman at his work.

The show decides to bring back Truman's "father" from the "dead" to boost ratings. We see a bunch of the same people always watching the show: a man who's always in his bathtub, two old ladies, a whole diner of its employees and patrons watching from the little TV up in the corner, two police men watching in their office, a few families watching, etc. Even Sylvia is watching from wherever she is now (something tells me she never actually moved to Fiji!) even though it's a little bit hypocritical for her to be watching since she's against the entire idea.

Truman begins to figure out what's going on and manages to escape through a tunnel he digs from the one place in his house where there isn't a camera view. Christof and the other producers (one of them is played by Paul Giamatti) freak out and they cut the feed for the first time in the show's existence as their star is missing. They have all the actors and crew members look for Truman on the large sound stage, but all of them come up empty-handed. They are all surprised when they find Truman on a boat in the large manmade "ocean" as he is afraid of the water. Christof orders them to turn on the boat camera and since is is able to control weather and water elements, he creates a huge storm, knowing that he will have no choice but to turn back. Truman is able to hold on and Christof orders the network producers to turn it up a notch. They hesitate, saying he could die in front of a live audience and Christof replies with, "He was born in front of a live audience."

Truman manages to make it through strong waves and  a large tidal wave. The storm finally recedes and he continues to sail on and hits a wall painted like the sea and sky. There is a set of stairs leading to the only exit out of this place. He has a conversation with Christof and it is made to look like his voice is coming from the sky, as he is talking to God. (It's not the most subtle scene!) Everyone watching cheers as they watch him exit his reality show existence. We never see anything of him once he goes through that door, but I guess that makes sense since the cameras have turned off on him. The movie ends with one of the cops asking the other, "What else is on?"

It's crazy to think this movie came out right before the reality show craze and we also didn't have all the social media and YouTube where people can post every detail of their lives for strangers to see. Of course, people on reality TV shows and on social media are AWARE they are sharing their lives with the entire world. I have no idea how Christof was never arrested for what he was doing! I guess everyone was so captivated by the life of Truman Burbank, that they didn't care. I would feel weird watching somebody who wasn't aware they were being filmed. That just seems so wrong.

The trailer of this movie gives away the premise of the whole movie and when the movie starts, it begins with interviews of Christof and a few of the actors talking about their roles on the show, so you, the audience, are already aware of what's going on. I have to wonder, though, if it would have been more effective if they hadn't given away the plot in the trailers and just started the movie with Truman and you weren't aware, just like him, that he was being filmed and his life was a show that was being shown to the world. It would be a great twist if we were discovering what was going on the same time as he was. I'm guessing they didn't do this because they were afraid people wouldn't see the movie if they didn't know what it was about. Although you would think having Jim Carrey as your star would help since this was during the time he was really popular. I would say this is my favorite Jim Carrey performance and movie. (Cuz it sure ain't Batman Forever!)

I was listening to a podcast about this movie and they were talking about how Peter Weir had considered putting cameras in theaters and having the audience see themselves on screen for a moment before cutting back to the movie. That would have freaked me out so much. I imagine they didn't do this for logistical reasons. That seems like it would be way too expensive to install camera in all those theaters, plus it would really only work on the first day of screenings as I'm sure word of mouth would happen and people would find out about it. It's a cool concept, but I can understand why it didn't happen. 

If you've never seen this one, I highly suggest you check it out. It will make you appreciate your privacy a lot more! Good morning and in case I don't see you for the rest of the day, good afternoon, good evening, and good night! 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It's the End of the World As We Know It

Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson
Released: July 1, 1998

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound (lost to Saving Private Ryan)
Best Sound Effects Editing (lost to Saving Private Ryan)
Best Visual Effects (lost to What Dreams May Come)
Best Song - Dianne Warren for "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (lost to Stephen Schwartz for "When You Believe" from The Prince of Egypt)

Deep Impact
Director: Mimi Leder
Cast: Tea Leoni, Morgan Freeman, Robert DuVall, Elijah Wood, Leelee Sobieski, Vanessa Redgrave, James Cromwell, Maximilian Schell
Released: May 8, 1998

Spoilers, obviously!

Remember in 1998 when two movies about asteroids hurtling towards Earth to destroy all mankind were released within months of each other? Those movies were Armageddon and Deep Impact and I'm going to review them both because it just makes sense to do them at the same time! I'm not going to make you wait with bated breath and I'll just come out and say it now: I don't really care for either one. If I had to recommend one, I'd probably say Deep Impact, but ONLY because it's half an hour shorter (but still long....Armageddon is TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG (but yet feels longer!)) and at least I didn't get sick watching Deep Impact as the cuts in Armageddon only last about a second. In fact, I read the IMDb trivia for that movie and they said the average cut lasted about 1.5 seconds! It was like, Cut to Bruce Willis! Now to Ben Affleck! Now to Liv Tyler! Now back to Willis! Oh, we need to see Tyler again! Oh, wait, don't forget Affleck! This was pretty much the entire movie (with the other actors throw in, too of course). I felt like this movie was made by someone with ADD! However, I would recommend this one over Deep Impact if someone was looking for something to watch with friends and just get drunk and made fun of something because this movie is absolutely ridiculous (another piece of trivia I learned via IMDb is that (and I hope this is true!) NASA shows this movie as part of their management training program and asks new managers to spot as many mistakes as they can and the most number spotted has been 168!) and has more funnier moments than Deep Impact (mostly unintentionally!), which is the more serious film. While I immensely disliked Armageddon, I don't think it's Michael Bay's worst movie, which is saying something! That's when you know I really hate other movies of his! 

The premise of Armageddon is that an asteroid, the size of Texas, is hurtling towards Earth and there is only eighteen days to stop it. (There's even an ominous countdown clock!) If it hits, all life on Earth, as we know it, will be wiped out. There's only one man for the job and his name is Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis). Is Harry the best NASA has ever seen? No, because his field of expertise isn't even in astronomy. He's an oil driller. Yep. You heard me. But he's just not any oil driller, he's the BEST deep-sea oil driller in the world! Six billion people on the planet and he was the one they called. NASA scientist Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) wants to split the asteroid in two (so then we'll have two asteroids the size of Colorado?) and divert them away from Earth.

"Mr. Wizard". Heh!
Truman introduces Stamper to his team of eight astronauts who have been learning to drill for the past eight months in preparation for the mission. Stamper is not impressed with them or the "piss poor" production of his rig they put together. Jason Isaacs plays another NASA scientist who helped put the rig together and Stamper calls him "Mr. Wizard". Um, hello! He is a wizard! He's purebred wizard, Lucius Malfoy! That made me LOL when he said that. Stamper claims he's the best driller in the world (just because you say it over and over doesn't mean it's true!) because he WORKS with the best and he wants his own men up there with him. Haha, I read on the IMDb trivia that Ben Affleck told Michael Bay, "Wouldn't it be easier for NASA to train astronauts to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?" and Bay told him to shut up. But he's right! It makes so much more sense that way! If this is true (and I'm sure it is), I bet Bay put in that line where Stamper asks Truman, "All they gotta do is drill? No spacewalking? No crazy astronaut stuff?" after he had that conversation with Affleck just so the audience wouldn't be thinking the same thing he did cuz he know they

So Stamper rounds up his rag tag team of oil drillers. Even though they're the best team of oil drillers a man could have, they're all pretty much a bunch of imbeciles and dopes. I honestly don't remember any of the characters' name and even when I looked them up online, they still didn't register with me, so I'll just call them by their actors' names. Steve Buscemi plays a horny guy; Michael Clark Duncan's character is a big, burly guy who looks intimidating, but deep down, he's really sensitive and just a big teddy bear; Owen Wilson plays a dim-witted rancher who's also a geologist. Will Patton plays a gambler who lost his wife (or girlfriend?) because of that and never got to have a relationship with his son. (Spoiler alert: he will at the end of the movie). And there's other characters played by not as famous people.

Also on Harry's team is AJ (Ben Affleck) who happens to be dating Harry's daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler) and this does not please Harry. Harry raised his daughter her whole life and she grew up on the oil rig with him and the other men that work for him. She calls her father by his first name and it's so blatant how they shove it down your throat because, literally, in every line Grace speaks to her father, she ends it with his name. Such as, "I've been seeing AJ for five months, HARRY." Or "What about having a life, HARRY." Or "Who is the hypocrite here, HARRY?" Or "You listen to me, HARRY!" It's like, we get it, Michael Bay, she doesn't call her father "Dad" and they don't have a close relationship. Her mother left when she was really young and she was raised by a bunch of "roughnecks". A couple of the guys even tell Harry, THEIR BOSS, about what a "hottie" and a "babe" Grace has grown into. Really, what kind of moron would you have to be to speak that way about your boss's daughter? So stupid. And what makes it even grosser is that the comment is made that they all helped raise her, so they're all, in a way, father figures to Grace. So, eww. (To be fair, it was only Buscemi, Wilson, and the fat guy commenting on how hot she is, but still...)

This movie has probably what is the worst scene ever in the history of cinema. It is so bad and cringe- worthy. If you've seen this movie, you know what I'm talking about, don't you. I just have two words for you: Animal. Crackers. OMG, that scene is SOOOOOOOO bad! SO, SO, SO BAD! As if that scene isn't bad enough, Grace then asks AJ, "Do you think it's possible somebody else is doing the same exact thing somewhere else right now?" No, Liv Tyler, I really doubt nobody else is playing with animal crackers on their significant other's body right now! Aurgh, that scene is so stupid!!

The men agree to destroy the asteroid because they can't say no to their boss who tells them they can't refuse the U.S. Government in asking for their help to save the planet. There is an amusing scene where Stamper reads a list of requests from his employees to Truman about what they want if they complete and accomplish their mission. This includes having speeding tickets wiped from their record, being able to stay at the White House, and never having to paying taxes again. I mean, who can blame them? If you were tasked with having to save the world, you would want something out of it too! I would certainly be expected to be owed big time!

They have about fifteen days to train to go into space. William Fichtner plays one of the people who is in charge of training them and when we get a shot of the crew walking in slow motion, he exclaims, "Talk about the wrong stuff!" which made me groan. This includes getting physical exams, getting psych evaluations, flying in fighter jets to get used to traveling at fast speeds, training to know what it's like to be in space. They keep the fact that a huge asteroid is about to strike Earth a secret because they don't want mass hysteria and panic to ensue, which I understand. But about six days before the mission, a chunk of the asteroid hits East Asia and kills 50,000 people in Shanghai with a huge tidal wave. Then Paris gets hits soon after and now the entire worlds knows what's going on and about the mission. There is an unsettling scene at the beginning of the movie when New York is hit and you see one of the World Trade Center buildings with a gaping hole through it...a little too real to life.

The men go up in space and there's lots of action and quick jump cuts. A few of them die. But then we get to the point where one of them has to sacrifice themselves and AJ draws the short end of the stick for that (literally). However, Harry tricks him and takes his place, telling him to take care of his daughter. By this time he has approved of Grace and AJ being together. This makes AJ upset. I can understand he doesn't want Harry sacrificing his life because he is his fiancee's father (oh, did I mention AJ asked Grace to marry him and she said yes?), but did he really want to sacrifice his own life when he had a fiancee waiting for him? Dumbass. And let's be honest, Grace would much rather have him come back than her father. Okay, maybe that's a little cold-hearted to say. There was a scene that got me a little teary-eyed when Harry is saying goodbye to his daughter who can see and talk to him via a screen at NASA headquarters.

Harry sacrifices himself to save humanity, so he really should have a planet named after him. In fact, they should have just renamed Earth "Stamper". I mean, the dude scarified himself to save not only the entire human race, but the entire ecosystem on earth. If anyone should not have to pay taxes for the rest of their lives, it's Grace...and AJ since he is getting married to her. The movie ends with their wedding. Cue the Aerosmith know the one!

Armageddon was the bigger success at the box office between the two movies which isn't a surprise because it did have the bigger stars and had more of a budget so it was more glossier. The first hour of Deep Impact is really boring, but the second hour gets more interesting with its premise, although I don't think they executed it as well as they could have. I think Deep Impact would have been better as a mini series than a two hour movie. With this movie, you're getting four different perspectives from four different characters. The character we get the most focus on is an MSNBC journalist Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni - yes, I know there's an accent over the "e" and her name is "Tay-a" and not "tea", but I don't know how to add on the accent!) This is a woman in her mid-30s who is acting like a petulant child because her parents (Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell) are divorced. To make matters worse, her father is getting married to a woman only two years older than Jenny, herself. Jenny is investigating what she thinks is an affair the Secretary of Treasury (James Cromwell) is having with a woman when he suddenly resigns. But after doing some research, she realizes she mistook what she heard as a woman's name, "Ellie" for "E.L.E." which stands for "Extinction Level Event. Morgan Freeman plays the President and he is way more presidential than the President in Armageddon. After Jenny finds out there's an asteroid (and this one is only the size of NYC, so it has nothing on the Armageddon asteroid! Cuz Bay does it bigger and better!), the President tells the American public that it is projected to hit the earth within a year and that he has assembled a team of astronauts (this time the are fully prepared astronauts and not just oil drillers!) to stop the comet. Even though it is significantly smaller than the asteroid in Armageddon, it is still big enough to cause extinction. For the past eight months, the United States and Russia have been building the largest spaceship ever constructed. It's called the Messiah and is being built in orbit around the Earth. Robert Duvall plays the veteran astronaut in charge of the crew, Captain Tanner. His crew also includes Jon Favreau and Blair Underwood. This movie has a lot of "Hey, it's that guy!" moments. (Or, "Hey, it's that woman!") Other people of note in this movie are Kurtwood Smith (the dad from That '70s Show), Laura Innes (Dr. Weaver from ER), Dougray Scott, Mike O'Malley (Kurt's dad from Glee),  and Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler from The West Wing).

Also in this movie are Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski who play a high school couple named Leo and Sarah. Their story never links with any of the other characters in this movie which is really weird because you would think all the stories would link together. I know Jenny and the President meet and Captain Tanner and the President meet, but I can't remember if Jenny and Tanner are ever in a scene together. But the high schoolers and their families are never in any scenes with the other main characters of the movie. So their role is that they discovered the asteroid. This happens two years before it actually hits. They're with their astronomy professor and he is looking up something on his computer and discovers the asteroid, but as he's going to tell someone, he gets hit by a truck and his car explodes in a fiery ball. We then get text on the screen that reads "One year later".  I guess even though he died, the U.S. government knew about it since they were already preparing for the mission to divert the comet. Since Leo and his teacher discovered it, they name the asteroid after them. Like would you really want a killing machine named after you? While watching this, I couldn't help noticing that Elijah Wood will play the exact same character again later in the same year in The Faculty. He discovers the asteroid (well, with help) in this movie and he's the one to discover the aliens in that movie and both are from outer space and he gets on the cover of a news magazine in both films. The only difference is he's the main character in that movie and he's more ancillary in this.

Okay, let's get to the part when it starts to get interesting. The first hour is just setting everything up and meeting the characters, and, like I said, it's boring. But I started to pay more attention again when President Morgan Freeman came on TV and announced that while they were able to detonate the asteroid with the Messiah, it did not succeed in destroying it and instead it has broken into two pieces: one is six miles wide, and the other about a mile and both are still heading towards Earth. He tells the American audience that while they've been "hoping and working for the best", they've also been "preparing for the worst." Working with the Russians, they have another plan to divert the two large comets away from Earth. However, there plan can only happen when they are only hours from striking the planet. But in case that fails too and the asteroids do hit, he tells his audience that they have been preparing in case they need to repopulate the Earth again and that an underground bunker has been being built in the limestone caves of Missouri. There is a network of caves that will allow one million people to live there for two years (the time it will take for the sky to clear of dust). Not only will there be people, but also seeds, plants and animals, "enough to start over". A computer will randomly select 800,000 Americans to join the 200,000 scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers, soldiers, artists that have already been selected. (I guess they already had their ow lottery - but, wait! What if you were a doctor and weren't one of the 200,000 selected, but would you be able to go if you were one of the 800,000 "normal" people selected? Do the non-selected scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers, soldiers, and artists get a second chance when they draw for the general public or was that their only chance? I'm so confused!) Basically what President Morgan Freeman is telling the American audience is, "Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'!" I guess if you were getting this bad news delivered to you, you'd want it to be from the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman.

Jenny delivers the details of the lottery on the news. The biggest kicker is that nobody over the age of 50 will be selected (the exception being if they are one of the 200,000 pre-selected who have knowledge in a certain field). While she says this, they show her mother watching the news and I felt so bad for her. (She later kills herself, good job stupid lottery people who make these stupid rules). I can understand if they wouldn't allow anyone over 80, even over 70, but I still feel like people in their 50s and 60s are not THAT old. And if there's going to be an age limit, why stop at 50? You only have 800,000 spots for the entire country which was what back in '98? 250 million people? Why have anyone over the age of 30? Why don't they just have the age range be 12-30? That way you don't have to worry about baby-sitting annoying little kids and people are still young enough they can repopulate the world. Seriously, if they're not going to let people over 50, they might as well do it that way! Maybe I'm over thinking this way too much. I think this whole concept is a great social experiment, but they don't really delve into it that much. Like I said, this movie would have been better served as a mini series.

A few special snowflakes have been pre-selected. This includes Jenny because she's an MSNBC reporter? And Leo and his family because he discovered the comet that's going to kill everyone. Sarah's family, however is not selected (awkward!) So even though they're only 17, Leo decides he's going to marry her and basically green card her so she can get in the shelter. (They missed a golden opportunity not casting a Hispanic actress!) Sarah agrees to do it if it also means her parents and baby brother get space in the caves too. They seem to get the ok, however on the day when they are picked up by the military who is driving them to the caves, Sarah's parents and brother are denied access and she refuses to leave them, which I don't blame her. They're from Richmond, Virginia and when Leo and his family get to the bunker caves in Missouri, Leo decides he needs to go all the way back to Richmond to get Sarah. Virginia and Missouri are not that close! Why didn't he think of this sooner? His parents (his dad is played by Schiff) are reluctant about him going back, for, like half a second, then they're like, "Yeah, you better go and get her."

Oh, yeah, they're also letting two of each animal into the bunkers ala Noah's Ark and we see people with their young children who didn't get in, protesting. I love animals, but it is ridiculous they're giving up space that could have been used to save PEOPLE'S LIVES for baby elephants and giraffes (no matter how cute they are).

So the asteroid is getting closer and closer. Jenny gives her spot of safety up to Dr. Weaver and her young daughter. She goes to make amends with her father because they had a huge fight and they embrace as a huge tidal wave comes for them. The crew on the space shuttle sacrifice themselves to destroy the other comet. Leo gets Sarah and her parents tell her to go with him and take the baby.  I don't understand how all these people out ran a tsunami...., but they just climb up a mountain and they're fine.

President Morgan Freeman is also alive and tells everyone that pretty much the entire U.S. from the East Coast to Ohio and Tennessee has been wiped out, but that they will prevail as a nation. I remember watching this movie when it first came out and thinking, "Oh, good I would have survived because that terrifying 1,000 foot wave wouldn't have reached me!"

Okay, that's it for now. I'm a gettin' the hell outta here!