Moriarty looks at MYSTERY MEN and EYES WIDE SHUT!
Folks this is both a report I've really been looking forward to reading because I've been anxious to read Moriarty's thoughts on Kubrick's final film, as well as being a report that echoes profound sadness in the House of Moriarty. Young death is a terrible waste and hard to come to grips with and I wish Moriarty and his the best, whilst I enjoy his writing. Here's the old man...
Hey, Head Geek...
All the equipment is off and covered in the Moriarty Labs tonight in honor of a friend who has left us in the last 24 hours, and I find myself here with just a small group of intimates. No henchmen tonight... just people who care, who are feeling the same sense of loss, all of us trying to lend some emotional support to one another. It's been a strange, emotional time, and sitting here now, reflecting on it, I'm having trouble getting a grip on all of it. When I find myself in a place like this, there's one thing that has always given me some degree of solace, allowed me to make sense of things, and that's writing. The simple tactile pleasure of sitting at a keyboard clears my head, imbues me with the ability to focus.
Tuesday night began on a real high as I attended a screening of MYSTERY MEN, a chance to see the final version of the film and compare it with the earlier rough cut I saw a few months back. I must commend director Kinka Usher and the film's producers for their efforts in polishing what was a rough gem to start with into a dazzling, funny, eccentric joyride that manages to combine real heart, character humor, and broad superhero satire into something that is both wildly original and familiar in all the best ways.
When I first saw the film (you can check out my original review HERE), I thought it was almost great. The ending troubled me, since I didn't think it was half as funny as the rest of the film. That has since changed in a major way. The ending now is a wonderful way to not only allow each character to shine, but to allow the Mystery Men to actually be the heroes they want to be. One of the film's major charms is that it never makes fun of the characters. Instead, it takes delight in them, in the hysterical way they manage to combine both the mundane and the extraordinary to great effect. The film gives each of the characters real dignity, and the cast takes these great roles and runs with them.
In particular, Bill Macy is a gigantic enormous larger-than-life movie star in this film, and Ben Stiller and Janeane Garafolo continue to prove themselves some of our most accomplished young comic performers. Paul Reubens is always welcome onscreen, and he should enjoy a renewed career as a result of his sweet, somewhat pathetic performance as The Spleen. I could go down the line and compliment particular business from Tom Waits, Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear, Eddie Izzard, Pras (of The Fugees, thank you very much, everyone), Hank Azaria, Louise Lasser, or Kel Mitchell, but instead, let me just offer all of them my congratulations. They are wonderful.
The finished FX work in the picture makes a big difference, but it wasn't something I held against the film to begin with. All it did for me last night was wrap up this great present in the nicest gift wrapping I can imagine. Composer Stephen Warbeck adds his own bow and ribbon to the package with an outstanding score that is very funny, very sincere, and genuinely moving in many places. Macy has a scene where he's saying goodbye to his wife that will break your heart, and a lot of that is due to the wonderful, stirring work that Warbeck did. The selection of songs in the film is canny, and there's a balance of hits (like that insanely catchy Smashmouth song) and classic disco used to great effect. Every technical department on the film made outstanding contributions right down the line, and the finished piece is the kind of film that you will either respond deeply to or not get at all. I hope Universal's dice roll here pays off. It certainly deserves to.
After various misadventures in getting from the theater to the Labs (LA nightlife can be surprisingly seductive when it's this damn hot, especially when the Labs don't cool down quickly enough), I came in to the devastating news that has left all of us here reeling. Without violating the privacy of the immediate family, let me just say that it is a painful and disorienting blow to lose someone so early in life, and the effect on the entire group of friends in orbit around this one person we are now without has been profound. The strangest things run through you when you are given news like this. I wasn't involved in the situation in any direct way, but I still felt guilty about how exuberant the night had left me. I felt like I had done something wrong, going out and having fun.
As the sun came up today, I was looking at a full day of spying. Robogeek, who also infiltrated last night's screening with me, had invited me to join him in an expedition to various FX houses to sneek a peek at all sorts of verboten things. Instead, I begged off, trying to make some sense of the rollercoaster night before. I didn't fall into a fitful sleep until sometime after 9:00 in the morning. When I finally awoke, it was to the sound of my phone ringing. I didn't move fast enough to catch the call, but I quickly called the message up and played it back.
"Professor, be at Warner Bros. tonight at 5:15, and show up with your eyes wide open."
That was all, but I recognized the voice of the caller, a good friend of the Labs. I had to think about it for a few minutes before I realized that I needed to get out. I needed to sit in the dark and let someone give me something else to think about for a little while. Not to forget, mind you... just to give me a few moments off.
I am glad I chose to go. For one thing, I've never been to the Steven J. Ross theater on the Warner lot before, and it's now one of my favorite rooms in town. For another, EYES WIDE SHUT is a masterwork, a fitting summary for one of the true revolutionaries of film. The film is dense, adult, erotic and menacing in equal parts, and it will cause intense disagreements between those who see it. Like any Kubrick film, EWS challenges the viewer to have a real, complicated, fully engaged reaction, and it may well stand as the most human and even hopeful statement ever made by the director.
I've only seen this film once, and I'm sure I will have so much more to say after seeing it again (and again and again), but for now, there are images and emotions that I can't shake, things that made an immediate impression. The opening shot and the last line of dialogue are both brilliant, and they both belong to Nicole Kidman, who hands in a career-best performance here as Alice Harford. She may not have anywhere near as much screen time as her husband, but I was riveted by every line, every moment. She is dazzlingly attractive in key sequences, but it's not her beauty that makes the real impact. Instead, it's the way she pulls aside the "ice goddess" persona to show us someone underneath who's never been caught on film. There's a fragility that somehow wrestles with a real ferocity. She manages to be vulnerable and human without giving up any strength. She manages to give full life to both her motherly nature and her sexual identity, without either one overpowering the other.
Tom Cruise does not shatter the image he has established in film prior to this to the same degree as Kidman, but he does add colors we never knew he was capable of. In the film's early scenes, there's all the same Cruise confidence we're used to, the "Cruise missile" persona firmly in place. As the film proceeds, though, we see cracks in the armor, weaknesses we've never glimpsed, and he becomes more and more human. His performance is classic Kubrick, but I think he's managed to give more than some of the stars who came before him. He seems determined to show us what is happening behind his eyes, and that smile has never seemed like such a desperate trick. The film is his journey, and our impressions of the world that Kubrick plunges us into are formed as a result of the way Cruise moves through that world.
That journey is just as much of a trip as the one that Bowman undertakes in 2001 or that Alex endures in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. It's just a very different one. Even having read Frederick Raphael's EYES WIDE OPEN, I wasn't prepared for the grace of the storytelling. This is a smart, elegant film, constructed with care and restraint, but Kubrick's trademark chilliness (something I've always loved about him) is missing from most of the film. Instead, it's been replaced by something I didn't think he was capable of -- hope, and real human intimacy.
Teenagers may be able to appreciate the film as an experience, but I seriously doubt it will resonate for them on any level. Anyone who's dying to sneak in because they think the film's going to be "hot" should disabuse themselves of the notion. This film is erotic, but it's not pornographic. This eroticism is far more persuasive than just bare skin or simple thrusting. Instead, it's cerebral, intoxicating, dangerous at times, and has to do in large part with the nature of fidelity. All the comments we've heard about the 65 seconds of digitally altered footage are a double edged sword in my estimation. Yes, it's preposterous for Warner Bros. to have altered the film. Yes, it's distracting, but only because I had been set up to look for it. I would greatly prefer the original compositions as shot by Kubrick, but the changes didn't mar the film's overall impact on me as a viewer. All it did was pull me out of a moment. The spell the film weaves is persuasive, though, and I was pulled right back in.
There are many Kubrick trademarks on display in the film in terms of the use of Steadicam, the use of classical music, the style of composition, and there are some moments that seem like almost intentional references to early films by SK. Leelee Sobieski is a nymphet in the grand tradition of LOLITA, while there's a musical homage to THE SHINING that made me actually laugh out loud. This film isn't like any other film Kubrick ever made, though. Even pinning it to a genre is impossible. It's suspenseful, but calling it a thriller seems to sell it short. It's erotic, but that's not what distinguishes it. There's some humor in the film, but it's so black that I would be surprised if anyone described the film as "funny." Instead, Kubrick seems to have finally created his own genre with this film. If this has to be his final film, then it's a triumphant one.
I'm impressed on a deeply visceral level by the film's overall look. Using grain and light in equal measure, Kubrick somehow creates a style that is rapturously lush and also unpolished, rough. The film is positively swimming in light, and the effect becomes hypnotic. I don't have to know that the novel that inspired the film was called TRAUMNOVELLE to describe the film as feeling like a dream. There are moments that depend on coincidence, leaps in logic, and almost disconcerting shifts in time, but Kubrick never draws attention to his technique. Instead, it washes over the viewer, pulling them along.
But even that only describes the way Kubrick made the film. It doesn't hint at the actual content of it. For one thing, it wouldn't really make much sense if I just laid out a summary of the plot in "A-B-C" manner. The narrative is strong, simple, and direct. It's also not the point of the picture. Instead, it's the human moments that stand as the film's real triumphs. There's one in particular between Tom and Nicole, the pivotal scene for the film's first half, that depends on nothing except the two of them and their connection. In it, everything in the marriage between Bill and Alice is laid bare, exposed, and turned inside out. As a viewer, I was surprised to realize in retrospect that I didn't once think about Cruise and Kidman's real marriage in the scene. They are so amazing together as performers that I was able to set aside any preconceptions of them and simply accept the characters.
I am left with two profound impressions from the film and the day I'm just ending. One is a renewed idea of what love, fidelity, and marriage are all about. The film's central question (one that is genuinely controversial instead of manufacturedly so) is which kind of fidelity is more true: (A) A sense of fidelity inspired by the fact that there's no one in the world who you want to fuck more than the person you're with, or (B) A sense of fidelity inspired by a sense of honor to your spouse, despite your real desires? The difference is subtle, but enough to fuel the entire picture. I am not sure what my final feelings are about these people and this journey, but I will be seeing the film again as soon as I can. I can't wait until the rest of you have the opportunity as well.
The second thing I am left with, and the thing I will leave you with, is a renewed respect for the value of life. When it ends early, as it did for one troubled soul last night, the greatest loss is the potential of that life. By enjoying the final statement of one of my favorite filmmakers tonight, I was able to reflect on just what heights someone can achieve when they make the most of that potential. I'm going to take a few days off now and try and use these next few days to help my friends heal. Because of Stanley Kubrick, God rest his special, special soul, I do so with hope.
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July 15, 1999, 4:27 a.m. CST
An exceptional article. You really make this site special. The Humbert Humbert in me can hardly wait for more of Leelee in her underwear8)
July 15, 1999, 5:23 a.m. CST
by Bruce Wane
I have been reading your readers reviews for months now and have come to belive that most (if not all) of the readers sending in these reviews have yet to see the films at all. What the result is a combination of trailers and rumors mixed into a usually undetailed review with little or nothing of interest to say.
July 15, 1999, 5:47 a.m. CST
Bless you Moriarty, I hope everything sorts itself out soon. In the meantime go 'good' for a few days and look after yourself. By the way, the EWS review is your best yet.
July 15, 1999, 6:16 a.m. CST
by Serdar Yegulalp
You said, "I wasn't involved in the situation in any direct way, but I still felt guilty about how exuberant the night had left me. I felt like I had done something wrong, going out and having fun." Don't. If we were obliged to feel bad at every such step in our lives, joy would be impossible. Don't let such arbitrary guilt hold you back from living well. I've known people who did, and they were spiritually and emotionally dead before they left their twenties. I don't want to see it happen ever again, just on the basis of what little I've encountered in my life. So don't fall into that trap, OK? One last word -- both your reviews were outstanding. I plan on seeing both movies at my earliest convenience.
July 15, 1999, 7:16 a.m. CST
I wasn't too excited about either movie reviewed above, but after these glowing reviews, I'll probably check them out. I offer my sincere condolences concerning your recent loss. Take some time to heal. All my best, Gryphon
July 15, 1999, 8:50 a.m. CST
by Pope Buck 1
I want to echo the comments above -- Moriarty, these were perhaps your most eloquent and poetic reviews/essays yet. One point to clarify: it is not surprising that the "censoring" digital images didn't detract from the scene as executed, because Stanley Kubrick designed them that way. According to Tom Cruise's interview with Roger Ebert (posted at the Ebert website, if you're interested), Kubrick already knew he would have to cover up the "offensive" images, and was prepared to do so (albeit grudgingly) as part of his contract to deliver an R-rated film. Since the images in question are part of a LONG, unbroken Steadicam shot, it couldn't be fixed via editing without ruining the shot completely. So it was always planned for the interposing figures to be digitally inserted -- and though Kubrick died before all the work was done, he had his customary part in designing and planning how they would appear. Tom Cruise was there and should know, and now goes on record to say that that's why he hasn't spoken up to decry the situation. Yes, it was a ridiculous thing to have been forced onto Kubrick by the MPAA. Yes, it is hypocritical and censorious. But it is NOT an act of vandalism performed after Kubrick's death -- he himself planned it, to make the best of the bad situation.
July 15, 1999, 9:34 a.m. CST
I saw this movie about a week and a half ago, this was before the CGI story was released (or atleast before i had heard anything about it). Anyways i had no idea that there were cgi people placed in the scene while i was watching, but then again i wasnt looking for them. All they had to add in was black cloaks from behind, shouldnt have been too difficult. Oh yeah and to Bruce Wane (im hoping you left the Y out on purpose). Why dont you believe people like me or Moriarty have seen EWS? Just because we dont give away every detail of the plot? Most people like to wait and find out on their own but if you want to you can email me any question you have and i will gladly answer. later all
July 15, 1999, 9:44 a.m. CST
July 15, 1999, 10:12 a.m. CST
Reviews like this are what keeps me coming to this site. No spoilers for the films, only portraits of the emotions the films evoke. Every review of EWS I've read up until this point had spoken well of it, but had been very vague as to why it was so stunning. Moriarty manages to convey the reasoning without giving up plot points. I'm looking forward to viewing this film myself. Any Moriarty, my condolances on your loss. The death of anyone close is painful, but to loose someone young is doubly tragic.
July 15, 1999, 10:53 a.m. CST
One thing to throw out there. Does anyone know if the DVD version of EWS will be free of the digital objects? Could they do this in a Special Edition or Director's Cut release like Blade Runner? Also, if anyone knows any information on a rerelease of the Kubrick DVD collection please put forth some information. While good, it totally lacks when compared to most of the DVDs released by studios such as New Line. I'm still mad since I have to watch Full Metal Jacket in pan-n-scan. Ug, maybe Warners' DVD division will learn from their mistakes.
July 15, 1999, 12:21 p.m. CST
that would really be bad, but in any event, hope it turns out okay. PS- Gonna see EWS with my girl on Friday, hope it doesn't put bad ideas about fieldity into our heads. . .
July 15, 1999, 5:28 p.m. CST
God, this sounds like those "Rachel" films from france(or was that Switzerland?). I guess it shouldn't be surprising that a rehash of a second rate french titilator would be viewed as "art" by North Americans. Still, I was pretty skeptical about Exotica but it didn't turn out to be quite the "Showgirls" I expected it to be... Anyway this is Kubrick, and like Lucas before him, AICN will treat ANY steaming pile he drops as a work of art.
July 15, 1999, 9:13 p.m. CST
I've always read the talkback comments as long as I've been reading these articles, but Moriarty's reviews of these two films finally made me subscribe just so I could say thanks for such a literal and honest review of these films. So thank you, and I am now looking forward to seeing both of them more than ever.
July 16, 1999, 12:30 a.m. CST
Wow, I always thought she was a cutie, but as a "nymphet"???? Now I'm REALLY interested to see this movie.
July 16, 1999, 7:12 a.m. CST
This is going to add nothing that hasn't already been said but I feel that it is important to say it again: Awesome review. It's the kind that makes someone really want to see a movie. Someone mentioned something about capturing the emotion that the movie gives off and I think you did that wonderfuly. Second, and most importantly, sorry for your loss. I hope that you and your friends can console eachother in the next few days.
July 16, 1999, 9:08 a.m. CST
by Phil Noir
I was at the Ross screening as well. I echo your comments and commend you on summarizing the mood of the film better than most of the "professional" reviews. EWS is a difficult film on many levels. After bathing in the tepid water of mainstream films for so so long, one gets used to the temperature. EWS is like jumping back into a cold pool. Unpleasant at first, but once you get used to it, it's totally refreshing. Kubrick's unique voice will doubtlessly be misunderstood and unappreaciated by the masses expecting a real late night cable soft-core fuckfest with major stars. EWS is most like The Shining in the way it subverts audience expectations. It's Kubrick's Blue Velvet. ----------------------- Sorry about your loss.
July 16, 1999, 10:22 a.m. CST
I am the worst at names so excuse me if your name is wrong on the subject. I just wanted to thank you for a very heartfelt article on EWS and Mystery Men...I saw EWS earlier this week and felt much the same way about it. It was so different from anythink else Kubrick had done. I really felt for the characters and the situation, I was captivated from the very beginning til Nicole Kidmans final line at the end. It was small and yet so grand in depth and meaning. For me personally this was his greatest film, I like his others but they never have ranked in my favorites...I feel for you in your time of loss, It happens to us all and it is never a non-life altering event...Just to Mr.Wane's theorys to a bit of rest as I said above I do like Kubrick but not nearly as much in the past as I have liked this film, and personally I see George Lucas as the lowest form of pondscum hack in Hollywood, He is anti-Hollywood yet he is the very embodiement of everything that Stanley hated, what Lucas does is not art it is not film, it is movies, which are fun and I like, I love star wars (especially the ones he didn't direct ironically)...AVOUT(www.alternateversion.com)
Don't know how to start. Let's just say that this was the 1st time I've watched a Kubrick film, and the last. I don't what makes critics call this man the 'greatest' director ever. I will admit, that EWS had a good story and his use of colors was excellent (shall I say that red is his favorite color?). BUt this thing dragged and dragged. I've sat through 4 hour sermons at church, but this movie is sooo damn slow. This movie should've been left better as a book. I think if an airline would want all their clients to fall asleep during a nyc-la flight, they would put this movie on. I was yawning and looking at my watch every 20 mins. God, I don't know because I'm young or what, but this movie dragged (BTW, all the people in the theater watching this flick were above their 50s). And this flick took 3 years to make and 65 million? Shit, I would've shot principal photography in 2 weeks, and post production in another 2. And for alot of less money (excluding Tom and Nicole's salaries). There were some parts in this movie that looked like a student film (and I'm not talking about grain in the film). Jeez, this is the slowest movie in history. I counted a total of no more than 175 cuts for this 2:50 hr film. Armageddon at one point had 30 cuts in less than 3 seconds. I again will admit that it's a wonderful story, great acting, but this flick dragged like an old tired horse. Can someone tell me why Kubrick is considered the GREATEST film maker of all time??
July 16, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST
It all goes to prove that you can still get it wrong after 15 months. This movie threatened and threatened and threatened and didn't succeed in delivering. The old cliched criticisms of Kubrick will be levelled again ... cold and distant ... I think in years to come, people will look back and say that for the last twenty years of his career (count them ... 20 years which produced only 3 films!), he didn't equal his previous work from 1963 to 1975. Stanley was passed his prime and living on former glory. The strengths of his contracts with Warners ensured he made the movies his way ... but that doesn't mean they should have been made that way. If anyone else had made EWS, I seriously believe people would have looked past it already. Cruise and Kidman may even have passed on the script. Why did they do it? They did it for the same reason we will go and see this movie ... because WE HOPE it will be good. It isn't. It's bland, which I think is THE worst thing you can say about someone who had greatness in him and who achieved greatness, but whose greatness had diminished over the years.
July 16, 1999, 5:25 p.m. CST
As slowly paced as EWS is, I was not bored for a moment. In an age of instant gratification, where filmmakers seem intent on answering questiong the instant after they're raised, I was delighted to actually have to wait for reactions...to watch the characters struggle with their inner voices and hear what finally emerged, be it truth or falsehood. -- As to the poster who asked about why Kubrick is considered to be so great, it's because he tells his stories with images. 2001 is the most obvious example of this, where it's the pictures that are really what the film is about, not the dialogue. In EWS the dialogue is important, but it still serves the images, either reinforcing or contradicting what we are seeing. I'd be interested in the age of the poster who asked the question...not to imply anything negative, but like others I suspect this is a film that's not going to resonate with youthful audiences.
July 16, 1999, 7:09 p.m. CST
Danielle's right about this movie threatening and threatening and then not delivering. The first hour of EWS is perfect. Every scene builds up this huge dread about Tom and Nicole not getting off, either inside or outside the marriage. The color scheme and grainy picture tell you there's a grand scheme behind all this, and every situation has wit and sadness in it, this comic desperation of characters who don't know what they're doing and can't stop themselves. I loved the first hour. It promised so much. I can't remember ever sticking with a movie this long, waiting for the payoffs. The audience stuck with it too--this huge crowded downtown Boston audience was absolutely still, even after waiting 25 minutes for the interns in the projection booth to fix the reel after loading it in backwards. That's 90 straight minutes of pure involvement. Then we get to the orgy, and right down the shit-chute go Kubrick, cast, and film. For those who haven't seen it, I'll dance around the details, but suffice to say that any scene that has characters wearing masks for too long a time loses an audience. Get this straight, wannabe filmmakers: audiences HATE fucking masks. Even if we don't know it consciously, we're getting robbed. Masks are fine in novels, and even plays, and sometimes they're fun in movies like "Halloween." But that's because we're in the mask with the killer. Here, we're looking at everyone from the outside, and we don't know who they are, or what they're thinking or feeling. At one point everyone in the room is looking at one person, and the masks are creepy. That's the only time the mask-thing works. All the rest of it is ridiculous, and the audience started laughing at it. Right there, the movie tanks. It never recovers. Tom revisits the same places, meets the same people, gets more and more panicky, and in the end has a crying jag. That would be nice if we could tell what he's thinking at the orgy--whatever it is that makes him keep looking, and gets him in more and more trouble. But we can't because of that stupid fucking mask. I never want to see another movie character wear another mask. Why do they always show up in pretentious movies? All those shitty Elizabethan pictures have a big party scene where everyone shows up wearing masks, so all this existential-mistaken-identity shit can go on. Stop it with the masks already! They ruin everything. "Eyes Wide Shut" is just like "Full Metal Jacket": brilliant setup, lame-ass payoffs. "Titanic" inverted. Freud out.
July 16, 1999, 7:28 p.m. CST
I really wanted to like this movie, for weeks I was hoping for a good "R" rated sexual thriller and what I got was an overly long, boring film that accomplished nothing by the films ending. I kept waiting for something to happen and much to my suprise nothing ever did. Acting was great, but what did the characters "REALLY" learn about each other? The media didn't help by saying "The Sexiest Film Ever!" and all that crap. I actually got a headache from being so bored. I actually wish I had gone to see South Park for the 3rd time. I thought I was a film buff, I apparently can no longer appreciate films that are long for that sake of being long. Don't even get me started on the awful ending. If someone can tell me why it was a good movie I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to e-mail me with an explanation.
July 16, 1999, 8:15 p.m. CST
HORRIBLE!! And I thought the English Patient was bad. Sorry folks, this movie takes the cake for the shittiest and most boring movie of the year. Funny, the box office at the local cineplex was jammed, not for people wanting to see this movie, but people demanding their refunds. I got mine, my girlsfriend's and all our frat buddies $8 back. Critics are predicting this movie will make $150 million?? Huh?? What universe?? I fell asleep on what was the orgy scene. DAMN!! Shit!! This word alone can not begin to describe how bad this movie is and was and will be. First, cruise as a MD is hard to believe from a guy who didnt even graduate from highschool. This movie was highly overrated and absurd. I know the really deep and artistic cinema folk will want you to believe this movie was a masterpiece, don't be fooled, it was trash. Ive seem more eroticism in grade school sleepovers. Stanley Kubrick was a genius in his time but his time has passed. It took him3 hours to boringly tell us about a married couple who have fantasies of adultery (how cutting edge, I could've told you that in a minute). And ponder the age old question, to cheat or not to cheat. Like someone said: " Kubrick observed a generation's worth of cultural change from within his self-imposed bunker, and the remove shows. It's his eyes, I'm afraid, that seem to have been wide shut, and his movie that wears a mask."
July 16, 1999, 8:54 p.m. CST
Just back from EWS. I'm a big-time Kubrick fan but I wasn't at all prepared for this one. I thought it was supposed to be about a couple's relationship falling apart? That was just the start of it! The mask sequence at the centre of the film is surely the creepiest thing Kubrick has ever done, and it resonates through the remaining scenes with equal parts of bewilderment and menace. This is a profoundly disturbing and bleak film, certainly not the warm and life-affirming drama some folks claim to have seen. It's certainly the best film of this year, and quite possibly the finest film this decade. Did anyone else have the same worry I've been trying to get out of my head since the picture ended: was Alice somehow at the masked party?
July 16, 1999, 9:04 p.m. CST
With that my friends, ends the film career of one of the most provocative and brilliant directors of all time. Moriarty is 100% right when he said the movie is like a dream. There is no way in hell that anybody could imagine what this movie is about without experiencing it. Go see it people and see it more than once. See it 50 times and each time you will get another intrepretation. That scene when Tom Cruise walks into the Masked Ball is the probable the best scene of all the movie. Watch the camera angle, the haunting, eery and wildy erotic music, the actions of the characters. I swear if you don't feel the emotion behind the emotionless (masked) faces then something HAS to be wrong with you. Tom Cruise has delivered a magnificient performance and Nicole Kidman has proved that only she could have been Alice. Watch her face in the last scene for that. Just one question before I go - Where do I buy the Soundtrack. See you at the theatres.
July 16, 1999, 9:11 p.m. CST
here's a theory - Alice was the head leader and she somehow changed her voice :)
July 16, 1999, 10:11 p.m. CST
Just got back from seeing Eyes Wide Shut. I do believe that I am an intelligent person but I couldnt fit all of the pieces together. What was with the mask at the end? What was all this dream stuff? Im sure there are a million "hidden" answers to this movie. And Im sure in 20 years after Eyes Wide Shut has become a household name ??????? theres a thought,...that, regardless of what many critics say now, this movie will be regarded as a masterpiece, but until then PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH ANY ANSWERS TO THIS CONFUSING FILM!!!!!
July 16, 1999, 10:48 p.m. CST
by Rick Ralsten
First of all, to the person who mentioned having to watch a pan-n-scan version of Full Metal Jacket, rest assured, the DVD is not panned and scanned. The movie was actualled matted to be shown theatrically, so the DVD of FMJ (and The Shining) actually shows MORE than the theatrical version. Second, to the person who complained about EWS only having about 175 cuts in a 2:40 movie whereas Armageddon had about a jillion a second...you make the small number of cuts seem like a BAD thing! There is art in carefully blocking a shot, in camera placement and camera movement, in the way a scene unfolds naturally as one uninterrupted event. Not all movies benefit from the Michael Bay school of filmmaking, when even converstions between characters have to be hyperkinetically cut at breakneck speed.
July 16, 1999, 11:03 p.m. CST
From the above, it looks like Alice could have saved her husband, Pollack partially lied to Bill and the Amanda got killed to protect Pollack's reputation. Pollack was the rich guy who threw the party in the start (for those that didn't know).
July 16, 1999, 11:10 p.m. CST
Wow. Just got back from seeing EWS, and I must say that I haven't had such a totally engrossing moviegoing experience since...well, EVER. This film is absolutely mezmorising, on numerous levels. Vintage Kubrick. Kubrick's films are MEANT to be somewhat ambigous people, and open to interpretation!. Free your minds, and USE them for the love of Pete!. I had an invigorating 20 minute discussion in the lobby w/ 3 complete strangers over this film. It felt so good to CHALLENGED by a film again, and not spoon fed some tripe that I have seen a thousand times before. Just superior film art. Period.
July 16, 1999, 11:31 p.m. CST
Thanks to Moriarty
July 17, 1999, 12:28 a.m. CST
into thinking this movie was going to be the kind of movie we have all gotten used to over the past few years. Am I surprised that, as mentioned some posts up, that some frat boys and their girls demanded their money back? Not really, as a former frat boy I might have done the same. IN the theater where I went opening night most of the theater was the same way. There were a lot of grumbled, a lot of shifting, and a lot of distracting comments from the teens/early 20s crowd (generalization) all around us. And I really don't blame them. The marketing for this movie was very misleading IMO. I enjoyed the film thoroughly and I think Moriarty's review was very good in light of what I saw tonight. UNfortunately I am still trying to get a good grip on everything I saw on the screen, trying to process the emotions generated by the characters and think the movie through, but I may never be successful in that. Maybe that's why I liked the movie so much, it is very rare IMO these days to find a movie that engages, or even attempts to engage, complex emotions. This movie may not be on my top 5 list, but it is very solid. If you go see it don't believe the mass media on your way in. Expect more and you shall be rewarded. Maybe this would be a good topic for the Lake Placid Regional 12-step Meeting.
July 17, 1999, 12:48 a.m. CST
If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's when people expect all teenagers to be in the line for American Pie. I went to go see EWS today (with a horde of crazy teens) and my body is still, cough cough, resonating on many levels, all of which have little to do with seeing people naked (they did a baaad baaad thing). And while yes, i can't say that i'm the most experienced when it comes to relationships and the various questions they bring up, i dont think i needed to be to appreciate this movie. I can still question my motives, and I can still try and better myself through doing so. I like to think (in my young, naive way) that good movies do that, that even if you have little in common with the characters, you always have your humanity, and there's always a way to fit a movie into your little sphere. I'm 18 yrs old, I still think i'm a teenager, and EWS made a whole lot of sense (in a Kubrick way) to me.
July 17, 1999, 2:44 a.m. CST
this movie was hauting, disterbing in a way and upright amazing!! The biggest thing that turned me on was the whole idea behind it. Premiscious people, and how everyone is human, and born to ...well.. fuck, as Nicole put it. Thank you Kubrick and see you some day. Bone-daddy
July 17, 1999, 6:32 a.m. CST
by Darth Kittles
I just recently started taking an interest in Kubrick's career, waiting for the DVDs to come out before watching any of his movies. EWS certainly is a worthy final addition to his career. For me, the film wasn't a psychosexual thriller (and if you really thought it would be, you believed the hype). It's, like all of Kubrick's films, a man's struggle with himself. And the whole movie become complete when (SPOILER) Bill saw Alice asleep with the mask next to her. It's summed up right there: His secrets lie there on the bed. And Kubrick asks the question: Can anyone truly be married if he or she hides things from his/her spouse? And is there a difference between reality and fantasies? Great stuff.
July 17, 1999, 9:13 a.m. CST
Sorry 'bout your loss, Moriarty, but EyesWideShut BLOWS. I haven't been in such excruciating pain in a movie theater since...well...maybe never. Maybe since the last half of Lost Highway. I used to consider myself a Kubrick fan, but y'know, I think Strangelove is the only film of his I can sit through with genuine pleasure. The rest feel like penance. The real shame is that THIS piece of crap was his swan song. I despise Cruise & Kidman, but I was surprised to find myself despising the film even more. If I hadn't been stuck in the middle of a crowded theater, I would've split LONG before the torment ended.
July 17, 1999, 11:28 a.m. CST
The entire premise of the movie is absurd, there is no dramatic reason given for Tom going off on a sexual bender. So his wife had a little fantasy, BIG DEAL! Tom was shown to be a self-confident person who understood how sexual games were played and where the lines are drawn, he was not shown to be a sexually or emotionally naive person that could not deal with reality. Without that motivation, there is no reason for him to do what he did, making the rest of the movie pointless. No matter how beautifully the movie was made (and it was) it was still the dumbest, most poorly written movie Kubrick ever did and that is a major disappointment!
July 17, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST
Sometimes, when reading a novel, seeing a movie or aplay, it helps to have experienced the situation the author is talking about. If you are doing a nuanced commentary on sexual relationships between long-married partners, it becomes more difficult to reach an audience who have not had similar experiences. Unfortunately, this let's out most people not out of their early twenties. I would not have understood this picture at that age. I simply had no reference points. I am much older now and have seen the elusive qualities of sexual desires, the nature of relationships and often weighing how any decisions at all matter to the overall meaning of my life. I think that Kubrick (being a VERY old one)is addressing these questions. EWS is a real adult movie. These are not seen very often anymore. Most emotionally based movies slip into cheap-novel histrionics very quickly.I say, see it because it's different from regular cinema fare and then see it again in 10 or 20 years. (This doesn't always work. No matter how much I try, I still can't watch Barry Lyndon all the way through. I try every 7 years of so.) By the way, when I ran a video store in the 80's and was asked for a "real good action-type movie", I could always recommend Clockwork Orange as chillingly violent and gave a "love it or your money back guarantee". I never had to give back a dime. . . and usually then rented them Dr Strangelove ("But it's in black and white!" . . "Don't worry about it. Same guarantee")
July 17, 1999, 2:42 p.m. CST
I don't understand these Kubrick ass kissers! Eyes Wide Shut was a piece of crap. A big tease! It's set in NYC but nobody has a NYC accent! Not one person! even the waitress. There are more English and European accents than NYC accents. Kubrick didn't know what the F*** he was doing in the last year of his old age, so he strung everybody along includ Cruise & Kidman. As for Cruise I will never ever see him in a movie again. He cannot carry a picture. That's why he surrounds himself with A list actors.
July 17, 1999, 3:30 p.m. CST
So much about this movie was right--the acting, the design, the cinematography--and that extraordinarily creepy orgy sequence (a mini-masterpiece onto itself) but this movie just didn't hold together. You've got this one plot thread about the disillusionment of Nicole's fidelity (P.S. Nicole IS underused and her drunk act is terrible) along with this thriller plot about Tom's odyssey into the sexual underworld that becomes more and more conventional as it went along. The supporting performances are fabulous with Alan Cummins, LeLee Sobieski(?), and Sydney Pollack (who should act as much as he directs) striking just the right notes but Tom's one facial expression really grew monotonous after a while. While no one can deny the movie's dreamlike tone and the thoughtfulness behind the different vigenettes, the snaillike, sometimes jagged pacing and the lack of any overall point just made it seem like a puzzle that just didn't fit together. Now that I think about it--Kubrick would probably take all of this as a complement. Enigmatic indeed.
July 17, 1999, 9:17 p.m. CST
by Pinball Wizard
I just want to commend Moriarty on what I thought was a great review. He made me exited about this Eyes Wide Shut without giving anything away. A superb job. It's very frustrating to read a review which gives away too many plot points and when the reviewer feels it's his/her obligation to give away a film's twist. Roger Ebert, by the way, is a prime example. I only read his reviews AFTER I see a movie to find his opinion on it.
July 18, 1999, 10:12 a.m. CST
I am so disappointed im EWS. I am also very surprised that Tom and Nicole spend to much time and energy on this film. I am usually a fan of Kubricks, (loved The SHining and Full Metal Jacket beats any war film ever been made) but I definitely found myself wondering if or when anything exciting was going to happen. When things almost looked interesting, it turned out to be a tease to keep me awake if anything. The supporting characters were great but also a tease. I really wanted to know more about them but didn't get to. Kubrick was a great filmaker but I am a little disappointed.
July 19, 1999, 12:33 a.m. CST
by Frank Rizzo
I was pretty surprised that I actually liked this movie, I was expecting something too "artsy", like that excruciating piece of excrement called "Thin Red Line". Maybe what I liked best was the fact that the movie never did what I expected it to. How many movies have we seen (of any genre) that aren't really bad per se, but its just that you've seen a million others like them and you have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen at the end. By the way, I thought the orgy WAS creepy--you are left with the disturbing realization that it might just be a bunch of rich hedonists, or...something more sinister. It leaves it to your imagination. I say sinister--a secret society with passwords, black robes for initiates, purple for higher ranks, and red for the high priest...plus the chanting, incense, big circle on the floor, sex-as-worship(?), and death penalties....sounds like witchcraft or satanism. And it involves the leaders of society--kind of unsettling!
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