There are some movies that, no matter how terrible others say they are, i just can’t help but watch over and over. Whether I wind up flipping past one of them on late-night cable, or if i grab a DVD from my shelf; there are some films that really affect me.
One film that i think got the really short, poo-laden end of the stick during its theatrical release was “Vanilla Sky”. Let me state for the record that i am NOT a Tom Cruise fan. I find him barely tolerable to watch, even in early movies like “Cocktail” or “The Firm”. I’m sorry, he had that all-American look and became an “it” actor without really ever earning it (in my opinion). I think most of his performances have been pretty wooden (with exception of a few films like “A Few Good Men” and “Eyes Wide Shut” and yea, i suppose he was pretty badass as the douchey self-help guru Frank in “Magnolia”) Actually, when you look at his filmography on imdb, the dude hasn’t really even BEEN in a ton of films, and the one’s he has been in are mainly action films (so really, not much room to stretch out one’s acting abilities).
Now, on the other hand i LOVE Cameron Crowe (director of “Vanilla Sky”) and i think he did a really beautiful job remaking “Abre Los Ojos” while putting his own artistic/musical mark on the film. He got a really great performance out of Cruise, too: playing a young, rich, pompous, handsome devil who knows of no real cares in the world. Life is but a dream, until he meets an amazing girl, spends one evening with her, then sees an insane girl the next day, and his life is turned upside down. that’s the basic plot of the film, but the story goes off in a few different directions that prove to be something of a mind fuck if you aren’t really paying attention to all of the action on the screen. Now, in the original film, the underlying idea about time/place is made a bit stronger and more evident earlier on in the film. Unfortunately, i think for American audiences, the alleged “twist” to the story came too far from left-field that it made the moviegoers mad, and made the film laughable in many people’s opinions.
Well, not me. And yes, i think the original version is lovely and beautiful as well. And honestly, when I saw the Crowe version in theaters I *did* walk away thinking “eh, not so much”. But thanks to the gods of cable programming, i’ve been given ample opportunity at many a 1am to revisit the movie and my reaction to it. And i’ve got to say, it keeps getting better every time I see it.
Here’s one of the few scenes you can find on youtube that ISN’T a fan film or a fan music video for the film. Not my favorite scene either, but it’s lit, designed, and shot beautifully, and i think Cruise acts his butt off in this scene. Penelope Cruz, of course, just has to show up in any movie and radiate that light that she has. Which, of course, she does here.
I guess I also am digging this scene tonight since it’s truly one of the first true days of fall in New York (temperature and foliage wise), and this scene replicates the beauty of autumn in Central Park in a very real way.