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Quint has seen STAY! Is he glad he stayed or did he wish he hadn't?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here, gearing up for a double feature of SHOPGIRL and KISS KISS BANG BANG. I have a little time, so I thought I'd write up a short review of the psychological thriller STAY since it comes out this weekend.

I was very curious about STAY from the moment I heard it was shooting in New York. It's got a helluva creative team on it, with Marc Forster (FINDING NEVERLAND and MONSTER'S BALL) directing, David Benioff (TROY and 25th HOUR) writing and Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Bob Hoskins and Ryan Gosling starring. Then the trailer hit and it sold it like a horror movie.

It's not a horror movie. Don't believe that for a second. Sure, the human psyche can be horrific, but the film is more of a test of your conception of reality.

The film doesn't completely work, but it's an interesting failure. I think this is the first instance where I loved the twist ending to a film, but didn't care for the events leading up to it. It's usually the other way around (HAUTE TENSION comes to mind... loved the movie, until the twist). But I won't spoil anything for you, in case you want to give it a shot.

The film follows McGregor as a psychiatrist as he meets and tries to help a troubled young college student (Gosling). Gosling is teetering on the brink of suicide, suffering a pain he won't reveal. Whatever weight he's shouldering is slowly driving him to his knees.

McGregor's girlfriend is a teacher who had tried to kill herself. That discomfort is always between them. She's desperately trying to win his trust in her, but he's too afraid of her falling back to suicide to ever fully trust her. When Gosling tells McGregor that he's going to commit suicide on Saturday at midnight that puts McGregor in a tailspin. He's got it in his mind he has to save this kid, even though the kid makes it perfectly clear he doesn't want to be saved.

In McGregor's search for the troubled young man, he starts encountering odd things, some very obvious, some very subtle. He starts seeing the same mother and her child, the child saying, "Mommy, is that man going to die?" each time. There are certain scenes where the audience will see something the characters don't, but only if they're paying attention. For instance, at certain points in the movie you'll see the background extras are in identical groups of 2 or 3, each person the same height, weight, build and wearing the same clothes, going the same direction.

The real reason I didn't take 100% to the film is, unfortunately, in Forster's direction. If I didn't know better I would have guessed a C-grade music video director got his first shot at making a feature film with STAY. The movie is filled with these weird overlays... you can see some if it in the trailer, like Ewan will open a door and it morphs into subway train doors opening and Gosling is where McGregor was just before. I usually love this type of trick in movies, but Forster does it so much that it really becomes distracting. Not only is it distracting, but most of them are really clunky.

Thinking back on the movie now, after I've had a couple days to let it sink in, I find I'm liking it more than I did in the theater. The ending is really nice and almost makes the lead-up more interesting.

The actors all put in quality work, but I wish McGregor would have kept his accent in the movie. I don't hate his American accent at all, but it would have added a level of charm to the character if he had kept his native voice.

Naomi Watts is very pretty in the film and really puts her character's troubled history behind her eyes, never really doing anything overt or over the top. She ultimately doesn't have much to do, though. I must admit that every time she was onscreen with New York out the windows all I could think about was her riding in a giant ape's hand. KONG can not get here fast enough.

Bob Hoskins is fucking great in the movie. I love this guy. He plays a blind colleague of McGregor's who Gosling is convinced is his dead father. Hoskins has some interesting turns in the movie and is great in the short amount of time he has on the screen.

Ryan Gosling himself is very solid in the film. He's a fine young actor and seems to be on the fast track to screen stardom.

That's about all I have to say about the movie. If you like a mind-fuck kind of movie, even if it's not a completely successful one, then I'd recommend a matinee for this flick. If you'd just be interested in seeing this talented cast play around in a surreal world, then the same recommendation goes for you as well.

Okay, better get ready for some Steve Martin/Robert Downey Jr. goodness. Be back soon!

-Quint





Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:30 p.m. CST

    First

    by keekthesneek

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Damn it, Quint!

    by Childe Roland

    How is telling us the movie has a twist ending not spoiling anything? That right there is going to fucking ruin the experience for a lot of people. Now they know there's going to be a twist, so they're going to spend the whole first 95% of the movie trying to figure out what that twist is going to be. Way to go, schmuck-o!

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Childe

    by Kraken

    Really? Like we didn't know there was going to be a twsit ending to this movie just from the way they were advertising it. If you want to blame someone for people expecting a twist ending from these kinds of movies now, blame SCREAM and the 6th SENSE not Quint.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Can we just ONCE not mention Kong?

    by barryap

    Sweet zombie jesus, people...

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Kraken

    by Koola_Norway

    I agree with you.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:49 p.m. CST

    I agree with Childe.

    by Josh Town

    A twist is supposed to be a SURPRISE. I don't want to expect something crazy. Imagine what the 6th sense would be like if it premiered this week with everyone saying "its got another one of those twist endings". That movie worked so well because nobody had seen anything like that. Anyways....the movie sounds interesting, count me in.

  • So I guess Mouse programmed this simulation?

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 4:58 p.m. CST

    On twists

    by chrth

    Hold on a second ... people overplay the word 'twist'. A twist is when something happens that makes you RETHINK the entire film, not REVISIT. Vanilla Sky does not have a twist; the ending is an explanation for everything that's going on. Yes, you revisit the film to see how the ending is foreshadowed, etc., but it's not like the entire perspective of the film is overturned. You know that something is up, you just don't know what it is. Sixth Sense, on the other hand, could play out without the twist; there's nothing else to explain at the end. However, adding the twist makes you rethink the entire film. ... it may seem like semantics, but the trailers for this movie beg for an 'explanation' at the end: we need to know what the f is going on. Finding out what's happening isn't necessarily a twist, just an explanation. One suspects that even if the entire thing takes place in the Matrix (see my Mouse comment above), that's an explanation, not a twist. ... so I would say that Quint is likely mis-using the idea of a twist above, so he really didn't give anything away.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Looks like Jacob's Ladder...

    by The Colonel

    from the trailers. Gosling needs to find his mainstream breakout role. The guy can ACT. See The Believer if you don't, ahem, believe me.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 5:36 p.m. CST

    This movie should clue some people in to Marc Forster's hack

    by Nate Champion

    Sorry to let the air out of the balloon, but somebody had to.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 6:47 p.m. CST

    I agree Nate.

    by modlight

    I liked Neverland ok, but that and Monster's Ball were just formulaic predictable pics of their own kind. The "whimsical uplifting period piece" and the "make you think about stuff movie" I can't stand people putting things like that and A Beautiful Mind up for oscars and then complaining that Michael Bay is formulaic and unoriginal. This is obviously his "psychological thriller pic".

  • McGregor is dead or McGregor is hallucinating or the other guy is a younger McGregor or everyone is trying to drive McGregor mad or Soylent Green is people or some damned thing.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 7:46 p.m. CST

    OH MY GOD!!! JESSICA ALBA TOPLESS... FINALLY

    by Napolean Solo

    I know this aint got tish to do with you Quint but check out this link!!! She is fine as hell... http://www.sheendigital.com/alba/

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Bucknasty

    by geek molester

    noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 8 p.m. CST

    Bucknasty

    by Turd Furgeson

    You mother fucker. Scared the shit out of me. I was ready to see some titty!!! Usually don't get jumpy but I was one tracked with titty on the brain. Good one you prick.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Looks like I'll be checkin' this one out.

    by Bean_

    The TV commercials have been terrible though, I had to check IMDb for a plot.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Looks like a good movie

    by Silverhour

    Piqued my interest. I like Ewan McGregor, and Naomi Watts is hot, and Ryan Gosling seems like a solid up-and-coming star. I love movies that mess with your head, like Dark City and M. Night's stuff.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Kraken ***(SPOILERS)***

    by Ribbons

    Not really. This movie wasn't advertised as having a twist ending. "You should have maybe kind of been able to tell that it was giving off a 'movie with a twist ending' vibe in the commercials." I already knew, so it's not that big of a deal for me, but it probably is kinda not right to do. It doesn't even have a spoiler warning on the outside or anything. Then again, I heard that the rest of the movie was "an iron lung for a twist," so maybe Quint actually did a lot of people a favor, sort of.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Currently at 12% on the Tomatometer

    by Doc_McCoy

    Look for many of tomorrow's reviews to use the phrase "STAY away from this one". Hey chrth -- FYI the ending of STAY does pretty much fit your definition of a "twist". The problem is that the entire ad campaign (including the fucking tagline on the poster) blatantly give away the ending. No chance I'll be seeing this one.

  • Sigh.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 10 p.m. CST

    "Stay", soon to be followed by the sequels "Fetch" and "Roll Ove

    by Osmosis Jones

    Can we have ONE single fucking thriller without a twist ending these days? Aside from Red Eye, that is.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Bucknasty ...

    by welther47

    Good freaking Jesus, man ... now I have to scrub the floor beneath my seat.

  • Oct. 20, 2005, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one who's happy, that Hoskins is back?

    by DerLanghaarige

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Also at Rotten Tomatoes, THE FOG stands at 3% (that's not a

    by FrankDrebin

    The folks who made CATWOMAN are popping champagne corks.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:52 a.m. CST

    that alba thing was funny.

    by mocky_puppet

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Bucknasty...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...must die.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Cruel, very cruel!!!!

    by TheBoyFromUlster

    Bucknasty, thats just plain nasty man!!! Going to see Jessica tonight in Into the Blue, going to have a couple of beers and lay back and have a wonderful cinema experience!!

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Whatever you think is the twist ending, it isn't

    by BillBrasky2620

    There is nothing in the trailer that gives away what the ending of the movie is. Unfortunately, the actual twist ending is fairly similar to the ending of ANOTHER movie I saw this year (but I won't give away which one). That movie was fairly low-budget and not really seen by many people though, so people might give this movie more credit for being original than it deserves.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Crap Script

    by DannyOcean01

    If this is anything like the script then don't see the film. The twist at the end makes you feel like everything leading up to it was a pointless exercise. I don't mind if films have twists, but jesus, this script was almost entirely revolving around it. The narrative seemed to have no separate identity.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 9:01 a.m. CST

    For anyoe who likes this kind of crap, I suggest

    by I Dunno

    You rent or buy the Twilight Zone on dvd. The TV show, preferably the old one but the newer ones are the same thing. Same kind of twists but they get it done in 20 minutes, not 2 hours.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Whats in Bucknasty's picture

    by FrodosBlueBalls

    I'm at work and don't know if I should go there.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 9:18 a.m. CST

    "An Interesting Failure" That will look good on the one-sheet

    by MacFlecknoe

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 10:14 a.m. CST

    BillBrasky2620

    by Doc_McCoy

    You're wrong. If you'd actually seen the movie you'd know that the tagline blatantly reveals the movie's big secret. In the words of a couple of critics: "The viewer's confidence and attention are not only undermined, but completely disregarded. You get the same feeling as Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away." * "You could attempt to summarize the plot of 'Stay' -- or could try to catch the morning fog in a butterfly net: Either activity would produce the same results."

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 10:26 a.m. CST

    My point...

    by Childe Roland

    ...is that in the same paragraph Quint reveals that there is a twist ending and talks about how he doesn't want to spoil the film. That's just fucking stupid. Sure, folks who watch a lot of TV will probably have determined that this movie is supposed to be some kind of mindfuck, but they certainly won't be able to determine that the movie progresses in a fairly linear fashion up until the very end, when everything that seemed inconsistent earlier suddenly makes sense. I've seen some of the trailers and I agree that it's being pushed as a Halloween horror film, probably in part to throw people off. But no one on the marketing team had Mr. Voiceover say "...with a twist ending that will fuck your shit up!" or words to that Shyamalanian effect. If Quint was going to reveal that the movie had a twist or surprise or ironic ending, he should have put a spoiler warning in the headline. Fuck, even a movie like Sleepaway Camp would have been an entirely different viewing experience if the "shocker" ending had been revealed or hinted at in advance. For those of us who went into it thinking it would be a cheesey Friday the 13th knockoff and suffered through the first 95% of the film in true MST3K fashion, that last scene [SPOILER WARNING!!!!] where the psycho chick pulls a Crying Game out of her shorts [END SPOILER] was a laugh-fucking-riot and made the whole miserable experience worthwhile, just so we could recommend the movie to unsuspecting friends. On the other end of the spectrum, an otherwise good movie like Million Dollar Baby can be completely fucked by the suggestion that a twist is coming because, instead of enjoying the performances of the characters during the predictable portion of the film, you find yourself wondering "What the hell is going to take this from Rockette to Joanie Got Her Gun?" Quint should fucking well know better by now and, for that matter, all of you jaded bastards who find out a movie has a twist in advance just so you can try and figure out what it is and blurt it out in the theater or to the folks waiting in line for the next showing should have your ballsacks shaved with a dull rusty knife and dipped in rubbing alcohol.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Um, I have seen the movie. Have you?

    by BillBrasky2620

    According to the IMDB, the tagline is "Between the worlds of the living and the dead there is a place you're not supposed to stay" So I guess you're under the impression McGregor is stuck in a world between the living and the dead? Or that he can see dead people? If so, you're wrong on both counts. The twist doesn't even revolve around McGregor's character.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 11:14 a.m. CST

    IDunno...

    by BillBrasky2620

    I think your friend was BSing you...because none of the theories you postulated are even close to being correct. "McGregor is dead" is probably the most wrong one.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:01 p.m. CST

    The fact that they're telling you that something/someone is

    by Doc_McCoy

    And it's even easier to guess who that person might be when you tell them it's not Ewan.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:22 p.m. CST

    But...that's not the twist.

    by BillBrasky2620

    Even reading that tagline, I still would have been equally as surprised.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:44 p.m. CST

    My point is...

    by Doc_McCoy

    ...the surprise that *someone* is stuck between the world of the living and the dead is more interesting than *who* is stuck between the living and the dead. I think they made a huge mistake by marketing the movie this way. They give away a major plot point that you don't discover until, really, the third act, which will rob many audience members of experiencing one of the biggest mysteries of the film. And I don't think this marketing choice will help sell any additional tickets than if they'd simply marketed the movie like this: A student tells his professor he's going to commit suicide in 'x' number of days. The professor races against the clock to figure out what's happening and to try to prevent the suicide. Hint that there may be supernatural forces at work. It's become common in today's marketing campaigns to give too much of the movie away, and I think this is one of the more blatant offenses. y should have sold the movie like this: "A student tells his professor he's giong to commit suicide in five days at This movie focuses on the attempts of an Ivy League Professor to prevent one of his students from committing suicide.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Forgot to delete the bottom of that post (after 'offenses&#3

    by Doc_McCoy

    Bets on how much this movie makes over the weekend? Over/under of maybe $4 million?

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 12:51 p.m. CST

    It doesn't give anything away, believe me...

    by BillBrasky2620

    And there really is nothing supernatural about this movie. The movie's ending is still enjoyable even if you've seen all the advertising. I don't know why I'm trying to convince you, since it seems like you've made up your mind you're not going to see it, but it is.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Nips

    by Henry Jones Jr.

    I need to know wether Ms. Watts shows off her wonderful nipples in this movie too. SEE ALSO: Mulholland Dr. SEE AlSO: 21 Grams

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 3:57 p.m. CST

    buck...

    by calami-shami

    ...nasty. Yeah that scared the shit out of me, now i have to take a shower.

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 4:25 p.m. CST

    that's a 'short' review?

    by matrix69

    Geez. Hate to see a long one...

  • Oct. 21, 2005, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Spoiler*** Found in Imdb Comment

    by Mike Lovestein

    The director told us after the film (This is the potential spoiler)that this movie is basically about the final minutes before Ryan Gosling dies of the car crash you see in the beginning of the film. It's as he looks around he creates this world out of the people surrounding him and this is the world he inhabits before he dies. He summed it up a bit more eloquently than yours truly, but you get the point.

  • Oct. 22, 2005, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Is that scary chick from FRIGHT NIGHT?

    by George Newman

    looks like it

  • Oct. 26, 2005, 10:40 a.m. CST

    NOVEMBER...

    by smetty560

    Been done already...arrghh, I thought this was gonna be good. Blasted retread.