Author Topic: Sober Second Thought Marathon  (Read 9262 times)


  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 11010
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Sober Second Thought Marathon
« on: February 12, 2015, 12:21:25 AM »

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, said the Senate was to be a place of "sober second thought" so that legislation from the House would receive proper, careful consideration before finally becoming law.

I have here in my possession 15 "bills" that have been carefully considered through numerous viewings in the House of smirnoff. Having been found worthy of approval, they have now been passed to my House, where these referrals will be perused with new eyes. Will there be agreement? Amendments? Discussions will ensue...

The titles are as follows:

25th Hour
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Finders Fee
The Insider
The Matrix
The Merchant of Venice (2004)
Out of Sight
Run Lola Run
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Usual Suspects
V for Vendetta
Vanilla Sky

« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 08:16:48 PM by Sandy »
"I'm a new day rising."


  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 11010
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 12:25:51 AM »
Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe, 2001)

 Sandy & smirnoff
  - Heavy spoilers for Vanilla Sky & The Village

Kicking off the discussion...

So this being your first time with the movie, and the nature of the film being what it is (a bit of a mystery as to what the heck is going on exactly, until the final act), I'd love to get a sense of how your understanding of things developed, and how your explanations for events may have evolved. It is after all a pretty shocking revelation that David has, and it takes a bit of explaining by the movie, even after it is revealed, to ground you in what was actually going on that whole time.

I know The Village is a film you like, and it has an equally (if not more) shocking revelation. And it's a revelation of a similar nature, the character's entire world being a sort of fiction. I remember being really stunned by it myself, and had no inkling that it was coming. If I recall correctly the film didn't tip it's had at all. Vanilla Sky is a little different in that respect though. There's something "in the air" so to speak. The David character continually has these close-to-reality-but-not-quite dreams, and there are voices now and again in the background, hints of someone speaking to him from another existence (maybe just a filmmaker being artsy, or maybe it means something... how are you to know for sure at first). The film also keeps coming back to this seemingly odd Benny The Dog story about a once frozen dog who has been brought back to life. So unlike The Village it could be said Vanilla Sky tips its hand a bit.

That said, it doesn't necessarily mean a person would suspect anything quite so grand. The dreams, the voices, the reoccurring TV commercials... they could all be explained without having to stretch. What I'm curious about is, how early did you become suspicious or were you suspicious at all? Did explanations start swirling around in your head before Tech Support showed up and laid it all out? I imagine the impact of the revelation (being rather lengthy to unpack) was a little more of a slow dawning than a punch, like in the Villaige. I wonder, was it ultimately as powerful for you? Did the movie make enough sense, and engage you enough, before the revelation for its unveiling to have that kind of power? I'm just wondering if your jaw hit the floor at any point. :)

My own experience, as far as I can recall, was that I was pretty much taking everything at face value up until David said "stfu" in the restaurant and suddenly everyone was silent (a good moment itself). It was then my hitherto logical explanations didn't seem quite so logical anymore. From that point on the movie is in kind of delirious state (thanks in no small part to the creepily upbeat soundtrack).

  • :)) No wonder this movie has staying power! That rug was completely pulled out from under you and you liked it!

First, I'll say about The Village, I saw it right after it came out, so didn't know anything about the plot. As I was watching, I had the distinct impression early on, that the elders had fabricated a story for some reason of protection. Paranoia? I wasn't sure. I did get a big surprise when she climbed a wall and it was the modern day. I did not predict that at all! It was a good shock. Vanilla Sky was a shock in degrees. I knew something, like you said, "was in the air," but I didn't know exactly what and the movie continued to surprise me, all throughout. Both movies are very effective in their different choices.

* Play by Play

From the very beginning, Vanilla Sky set up my expectations of, “Anything could be a dream from this point forward.” “Trust nothing.”  Does that make me a skeptic? I couldn’t trust anything, not any scene, and tried to take that as an opportunity to see what the movie was saying. I was also looking for tricks, feints, Macguffins… My mind was very busy. :)

When David wakes up both times, the 1954 movie Sabrina is playing on his TV. It’s the part where she’s daydreaming of dancing with David (William Holden). I love details like that.

  • Ah, so you weren't nearly as unsuspecting as I was the first time I saw it. :) I didn't give a second's thought to things like what might be playing on David's TV. I can tell you though, watching it this time (my fourth or fifth probably) the first thing that came to mind when I saw that was "I bet Sandy will know what that clip is from". :))

    • :)) Well, I did name my oldest daughter Audrey, after all!

* During the voice over, I didn’t catch McCabe’s words about David being charged.  I thought it was just something he did (go to a shrink), because he had reoccurring dreams and because, perhaps, his life was empty, he was looking for answers? I didn’t put a lot of thought into it at the moment.

  • Very understandable. When you are suspecting ALL things, it's easy to miss the few things that really did mean something. :)

    • Luckily, the movie didn't rely on me catching everything. It didn't feel vindictive at all, but more like, I want you to come play with me, but trust me that I will bring it all in for a satisfactory landing. And it did. :)

* The first prison scene, where we get David’s expository, made me think that the movie was all going to be in flashbacks, to find how he got there. I believed this was real and entertained the idea that the unfolding story was real too. Kurt Russel’s Atticus Finch, lowered my defenses! (I didn’t notice it before, but To Kill a Mockingbird is playing in the office at the prison at about 30 minutes in!)

  • Very sneaky. I would be amazed if anyone made that connection consciously, at that stage in the film... subconsciously though, who knows.

    • Very sneaky! Things like that are like an Easter Egg; something to enjoy when you're in the know.

* I didn’t get any of Benny the Dog! I thought it might be a metaphor for a new life, but because I couldn’t see exactly why he kept showing up, he became a nuisance to me. It had to be more than David’s second chance after the accident, but I didn’t know what and that made me mad at myself for not figuring it out.

The scene right after the car crash in the park, I knew right away was a dream, because nobody was around. That never happens in Central Park. :)

McCabe says, “Is that all you dream?” And then it shows two quick shots of the receptionist at the cryogenics place and David after taking the pills. I had no idea what those shots were at the time and had to let them go.

There’s a segue between David saying, “Someone did this to me… what is the answer to 99 out of a hundred questions? Money.” and a shot of Thomas Tipp trying to “help” David. I thought it was a rather obvious hint, but still believed from that point on that Thomas was the cause of him being in jail. I was supposed to think this, right? I’m so gullible!

  • Hmm, I never considered that reaction. I don't recall suspecting him myself, but like I said, I was naive and very unsuspecting when I first watched it. Hard to say what Crowe intended there for sure, but I can see what you mean.

    • And I was naive and suspecting. A deadly combination! Seeing conspiracies in every corner, but unsophisticated enough to solve anything. :)

* When David woke up in the street and Sofia took him back, letting him know she was in love with him, it was a little bit jarring. But, it is Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise after all and they do have great chemistry! So, I went with it. :D

When the doctor, all of a sudden, had a miracle answer for David’s recovery, I immediately thought he was paid off by the board and Tipp, to mess with David somehow. The whole procedure did feel like science fiction and bothered me some. At the time, I thought it was a too easy answer, to move the story forward in a way it wanted to go--a little bit of a cop out (I should always keep my smug opinions to myself until the fat lady sings, especially when it comes to your favorite movies. :) ).

  • Oh that's VERY interesting. That reaction sets you up pretty nicely for David's friend's little prank later in the cafe. "There's a seam opening up!" But I digress. *continues reading*

    • True, :) like the movie wasn't going to take itself too seriously about it either.

* The freeze frame shots, when David and Sofia are together talking about her mole, pulled me out of the movie a little. I thought it was a choice that Cameron Crowe was using to emphasize David trying to capture his memories. I didn’t like it much, but again, I didn’t realize that he was not only capturing them, but was creating them as well. This hint flew past me.

This is the part where things go crazy town. I thought David was having a dream when he saw his ravaged face in the mirror, but when Julie became Sofia, I decided that part of David's surgery was that the doctor implanted something into his brain, something that could be manipulated and would make him go insane.
I believed Edmund was possibly running the show, messing with David more, while manipulating his experiences. I didn’t trust his statement that he was there to help David. I was pretty confused by this point, so couldn’t really grasp onto anything of use, but I was completely immersed in it and went along for the ride.

  • I love how large the potential conspiracy was that you were entertaining. But really, that's one of the few ways a person could explain what was going on, based on what you knew.

    • Go large, or go home!... er, something like that. :) What did you think was going on during all of this? Can you remember your initial guesses?

      • I can't. But I think it was one of those times were I was distracted enough not to wonder too much. You know what I mean?

        • Yes I do. It's a great sign, being pulled into a movie that well.

        I'm not sure if you had this experience or not, but sometimes those "big picture" thoughts are just a vague thing in the back of your mind, and other times the film isn't all that diverting and it's what you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about. It's sort of like if you were watching Star Wars and all you cared about was seeing the Death Star destroyed. Scenes like Aunt Baru standing in the yard calling for Luke to come drink weird green juice aren't going to divert your attention, because they aren't really relevant to that goal. And really, most of the movie would not divert your attention because so little of it is directly about blowing up the Death Star. In other words, you'd likely be frustrated and bored. But with Vanilla Sky I surely found, and still find, lots of things in the film more immediately engaging than the big picture.

        Does this foreground/background experience of film ring true? It strikes me as one of those things that's all about finding a balance. A film that's all foreground will fun but empty. A film that's all big picture will be a bore but have a point? I've only really asked you questions about the big picture so far... I hope the other side of the equation was also compelling... but we'll get to that I guess. :)

        • I've been sitting here for a while soaking in your words and wondering if I've been watching movies incorrectly all this time! Why was I so intent on trying to figure out what was going on? Why couldn't I let myself be more diverted--let go? I remember when I watched Happy Gilmore and felt like I had just dropped into a whole other world. My experience with it turned out to be exactly like one of my favorite pictures you've posted. I think I saved it. Just a sec...

          :)) It gets me every time.

          Boy, do I need more of that second picture in my life. I think I'm trying to say, show me how to have more balance. Tell me about the things in Vanilla Sky that were and are immediately engaging to you. Help me live more in the foreground; the rest already comes naturally to me. Yes, the other side of the equation is compelling--tell me all about it. :)

          • I just talked to verbALs about the nature of storytelling and the quote "a good mystery must still be good, even with the final page torn out". And I think that measuring stick can be applied to just about any movie, including this one. That's really the question I was trying to pose. Would Vanilla Sky still be a film worth watching with the ending pulled out?

            In poker the skill isn't in drawing the right cards, it's getting as much money out of the other players as you can when you have the nuts. How do you do it? Do you bet everything you have right away? No, of course not. You do that and you'll probably scare everyone out of the hand and pot will have nothing in it but the ante. In that way maybe Vanilla Sky overplays it's hand. As you said, "From the very beginning, Vanilla Sky set up my expectations of, “Anything could be a dream from this point forward.”". You were right to be a skeptic... but was the film right to induce that response? I think not. Perhaps it put too much importance on getting an eventual answer to that question. Too much about winning the prize and not enough on sneakily raising the stakes so winning was worthwhile!

            I don't think you need doubt your nature for a second. That's the last thing I want. I think the film should work for you, not the other way around. And in this case maybe it didn't work as well as it ought to have.

            I have the luxury of having seen the film before, so my experience is fundamentally different. I know precisely which details matter and which do don't. I know what to pay attention to and when it's going to happen. Having just come off your own experience of "looking for tricks, feints, Macguffins… My mind was very busy" I'm sure you can appreciate the difference that could make. I got to very calmly take it in, I got to drift off in thought when I knew I had a moment, I got to let my gaurd down because I knew when it would strike.

            I like a film with a high degree of replay value. What I'd never really considered before was that this film might be good precisely because of how differently it works after you know. I realize I'm pretty much making the case for another viewing, which I absolutely hate doing. A film ought to work the first time imo... and this film may not (and may not ever!). Or not completely. It was largely by chance that I happened to see it a second time myself, and that was many years ago. I've seen it many more times since them. Lucky for me and for the film it would seem.

            I feel badly for not being a better ally in this. I regret now that these conclusions have come too late to be useful. Had I been a better adviser I might've encouraged you not to worry about putting any puzzles together because the film would ultimately take care of you.

            Not that I'm trying to invalid your experience either, which was probably closer to my own than I remember.

            • Quote
              I just talked to verbALs about the nature of storytelling and the quote "a good mystery must still be good, even with the final page torn out". And I think that measuring stick can be applied to just about any movie, including this one. That's really the question I was trying to pose. Would Vanilla Sky still be a film worth watching with the ending pulled out?

              You're asking the person who chooses Return of the King as the favorite of the three, purely on it giving me closure. :) I'm reading some of your exchange right now and this part will help me answer your question.

              "Sitting down a second time with a film is, in a sense, like removing the last pages... you know where it's going to end up, you are seeing how much you enjoy getting there."

              I would be frustrated having to come up with my own theories, but I thoroughly was engrossed with every scene. I'd re-watch this from time to time, even knowing the ending. I enjoyed the banter and the time the scenes took with small things: David and Brian's (loaded with shared history) banter, The legal papers carpeting David's floor, David and McCabe sitting on the prison floor talking about their favorite Beatle... The scenes stand alone. I think that's my answer. :)

              You were right to be a skeptic... but was the film right to induce that response?

              That is a very difficult question to answer, because I don't know when I would have started being cautious. In fact, the crash may have been more shocking, if that is even possible. I would have been thinking it was a rom/com or something... and BLAM! As it was, I was pretty much on my toes, ready for just about anything... but not that.

              It may have been a perfect way to set up the movie, because I was off kilter from the get go and somehow I think that would have pleased Mr. Crowe. You had a different experience, but it still worked for you. Would it have made much of a difference not have the initial dream scene?

              • I think you describe what it would have felt like perfectly. A rom/rom... and then BLAM! And to be honest I would've loved that. And even as is, it was a lot like that. The film is pretty sunny in between prison scenes and flashes of dreams. I don't remember having any real sense of just how dark it was going to get. How far down the rabbit hole it was willing to go. I do love a movie that can change gears like that. As if it was saying "oh you thought that was full speed?" And suddenly your thinking "whoa, this movie just started to go sideways on me".

                Now that I've seen the movie though I'd be loathe to eliminate that opening sequence. It's builds to a spectacular madness. David running full bore through an empty Times Square... it's a wow moment for me.

                • I wouldn't change a thing! Even with all the darkness, I had a sense the movie was going somewhere fulfilling. Like you said, parts were pretty sunny and they weren't there to be sardonic.

              I don't think you need doubt your nature for a second. That's the last thing I want. I think the film should work for you, not the other way around. And in this case maybe it didn't work as well as it ought to have.

              Oh it did! Very much so! I was just lamenting about being such a vigilant movie "studier." I need to learn how to let go sometimes and offset my serious movie watching nature, with more stuff like this. :)

              • I guess the ideal would be a film that ticks both of those boxes. Something that you can enjoy half-asleep OR fully-awake as the case may be. Or maybe that's just my ideal. I'll vouche for most of my Top 100 in that regard, as I've tested them in every possible state of wakefulness. ;)

              I got to very calmly take it in, I got to drift off in thought when I knew I had a moment, I got to let my guard down because I knew when it would strike.

              Ah, I'm getting a better sense now why you enjoy re-watching favorite movies so much. You make it sound like a complete joy. I need to do this re-watching thing more often!

              I can't wait to see this again a little down the road, because I too want to view it knowing everything and I too want to "very calmly take it in [and] drift off in thought..." I believe I need to drink some fruit tea to make the viewing complete. :)

              • Well here's a little teaser for you that I learned from someone else: keep an eye on David's car.

              I feel badly for not being a better ally in this

              You feeling bad is completely my fault. I didn't communicate very well why I was in a pensive mood. You always set up movies so well. You never give too much info and you are cautious with your enthusiasm, making sure I come to a movie as purely as possible. Sorry to throw a wrench in earlier with my wistful thinking.

              The beauty of re-watches is that I get to have both experiences. :)

              • Oh please, wist away. Wist! It's my fault for assuming the worst. Lets just say it wouldn't be the first recommendation that went over like a lead balloon. ;)

* Interjecting to say, Cameron Diaz is scary good here! I’m so afraid of her!

  • She's bad news isn't she. Very threatening and unpredictable. I agree, a great performance.

    • Speaking of performances, Tom Cruise doesn't always get a lot of credit for his work, but I truly was so impressed throughout all of this movie. Anything that's asked of him for the role, this guy delivers.

* I didn’t start putting pieces together until Rebecca was showing the Lucid Dream presentation and Edmund was in it. I went right to Star Trek Generations (Have you seen it?) and thought, “Oh, David is in the Nexus!”  Picard: “This isn’t right. This isn’t real.”  Maybe David had also seen Generations and it helped him make his decision. Picard: “It's our mortality that defines us, Soran. It's part of the truth of our existence.” :)

  • I have seen it but I'm not nearly familiar enough to have it come to mind like that. Picard should know though, he's been through the same kind of thing as David (living a whole life, while frozen in reality). Forget the episode name, but I'm sure you know the one I mean. He gets married, has kids, gets old, plays the flute. Probably my favourite episode. I never would have considered the parallels to this movie though... maybe why I enjoy it so much. Thanks for bringing it up! :))

    • That episode's title is The Inner Light. It's probably my favorite episode too. :) Lots of good quotes, "Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again."

Other discussion

I wonder, was it ultimately as powerful for you? Did the movie make enough sense, and engage you enough, before the revelation for its unveiling to have that kind of power? I'm just wondering if your jaw hit the floor at any point. :)

  • Yes, the movie was very powerful and it also laid out the meaning of all things in a very "kind" manner. Kind meaning that the movie was generous (we've talked about this before). It wanted to create a puzzle, yet, in the end, it also wanted the audience to have the chance to put the pieces all together, so we can catch the vision.

    Nothing was withheld for the sake of, dare I say it, art.

    • *waits for the sky to go dark and the oceans to freeze...*

      I... I think we're safe. I think you got away with one there. The gods must be sleeping.

      At the risk of waking them I'll just say, A MILLION TIMES YES!!!... and also add, what have you done with the person who liked Upstream Color, where's Sandy?!:))

      • :)) I don't know!!

        Wait, in my defense.... I don't give a flying fig about the science in Upstream Color. To me, it was merely the "vague" means to an incredible end. I saw the complete and utter destruction of a woman and then got to watch her reconstruct herself. She didn't do it alone either, but had someone at her side, someone who wouldn't take no for an answer. I found their journey together very compelling. If ever there were soul mates, these two would define the word. Another couple that I found just as compelling is Ivy and Lucius in The Village. I would wade through a lot of "art" to see relationships like these. :)

        Speaking of relationships, so little was really known about Sofia, in the end. I wish a little that there could be a sequel, where they meet again and have a messy, real, imperfect relationship. I want to see that movie too. :)

        • You're right, it's a little surprising when you think back and add up exactly how much time David and Sofia spent together (in reality). They meet at his birthday party and spent the night talking... he leaves her apartment in the morning and gets in the accident. That's one encounter of maybe 6 to 10 hours. Then months and months later David "plans his reemergence like the Normandy invasions", and goes to see Sophia. They only speak for a few moments. And then one last time during the trainwreck night at the club, during which David spends most of the evening at the bar, alone.

          I guess the significance of their encounters caused my perception to swell, because their scenes together feel like a much more substantial part of the film (time wise) than they actually are. All based on "that one night when true love seemed possible".

          • I had to go back in my mind and separate the short term reality of their relationship, from the long term dream. Pretty seamless, really. Again, I don't know if anyone could have blurred those lines as well as Miss. Cruz. She's pretty unworldly as it is.

            • That's a good way to describe her.

              The scene when she first encounters David post-accident... that's some acting. From both of them. She doesn't want to act shocked, even though she is a bit. And he doesn't want to make her feel bad for her reaction, even though it would hurt him. I don't think you can write into a script all the difficult emotions and feelings that are whizzing around in that scene, it's just acting.

              • Oh! That's one of the scenes I was looking forward to seeing again. You're so right--perfectly awkward. I believe there is more I will catch on my return.

So what did you think about Benny the Dog throughout? Did he become a nuisance to you too?

  • It's such an in-your-face coincidence, it practically demands that you speculate on it's meaning. I don't know though, I rarely look ahead. I'm not a natural predictor. I pretty much surrender to whatever a film tells me to think. "Oh, Tom Cruise thinks it's a coincidence, I also will think it's a coincidence then". I pretty much stick to whatever a film tells me and then sort out the value of it all later. Along for the ride, as they say. :)

    • This is what I mean by balance. I want more of "along for the ride." :) What's good enough for Tom is good enough for you! So great.

Have you wondered if you would have gotten in that car?

  • I did this time. I don't think I ever had before, I just went with it. But this time I put myself in that position and really thought about it. I think I might have got in the car, but not for the reasons I think David did. For him it seemed to me to be a "one last time" sex thing. Not that he isn't conflicted, but the scene cuts on her line "I won't tell a soul". The way she shows up though, undeniably stalking him, if that were me, the only reason I would've got in that car would've been if I thought I had a better chance at ending it safely by doing so. I don't know the degree to which she could screw up his life, professionally, finacially, socially, criminally, etc, but it seems like they've known each other long enough, and David's guard was low enough (rich, carefree...), that she would have a number of pressure points she could target if she wanted to. So it could be dangerous to brush off a person like that. To say nothing of deserving it, which up to that point in the film she really didn't. But short answer, yea, I would've probably got in the car.

    • I didn't even consider your second reason! Maybe, if I had seen it a few more times, or had known someone who could cause a lot of damage, I may have considered something like that. You're thinking ahead on that one! Placate the scary girl. Save your future. I'll remember that. :)

      • Well that' kind of the thing about the internet isn't it. We all get taught, hopefully not directly, just how vulnerable we all are. A restaurant screws a customer, the customer relates their experience online, the experience goes viral, the restaurant gets burried in so bad negative reviews on Yelp that people won't go within two feet of it, end of business. The customer may have been telling the truth or making it up to punish them for other reasons. A restaurant is an easy target, because they kind of have to put themselves out there... but really I think all of us have probably left enough details about ourselves scattered around the internet that a vindictive, persistent person could apply the same kind of leverage. I must have a more suspicious mind than you do on account of spending more time online, for a larger percentage of my lifetime. ;)

        • Maybe. :) I am also hopelessly naive. I need reminders like this to make me more aware. Otherwise...

    Ultimately it turned out to be a bit of a lose lose decision. Imagine what her next move would have been if David hadn't got in?

    • My first thought is she would have hit him with her car. Take him out, one way or another. My second thought is me replaying that scene in the car! I felt so powerless watching it as David squirmed and Julie unravelled. *shudder*

      • Such a brutal crash. I don't think my heart starts beating again until you start seeing people run towards the wreck. It's very raw the way they capture that all. No tricks, just a car off a bridge into a wall.

        • Yes, the quiet. The pause. My heart stalled too.

          • It seems very popular nowadays, if you're going to have a car wreck in a dramatic film, to shoot it from inside the car and not telegraph it at all. Just have the character talking and suddenly wham, they get t-boned. They've been doing it for a while now. So much so I think it's starting to become predictable. It still makes me jump because it's so loud, but it also always feels like a visual effect just happened. Bleh. It happened in a recent film I watched, which I can't name for spoiler reasons.

            • I remember the first time I saw it and it scared the bejeebers out of me. Now I get kind of angry when it happens. "fool me once..."

Is Sofia the perfect girl? I could see no flaws, either before his dream or during.

  • Perfect for David certainly. But... okay yea, there were no flaws. :)

    • :)) I thought so!

      If she weren't so adorable, it would be easier for me to hate her for her perfection. :)

If you could have a perfected lucid dream experience, with no knowledge of what had gone wrong, would you choose that, or would you want to live out the rest of your real life in a time that had left you behind and where your resources were gone--a step (leap) into the unknown?

  • David makes his mind up a lot faster, and with a lot fewer questions, than I would have!

    • That was awfully fast, wasn't it? Have you ever had a dream where you're working really hard and nothing is going well and the task is impossible? I get these often and no matter how tired I am, when I wake up, I'm done with sleep. I don't want to go back there. I'd rather get up and really do something. The master of my own destiny. :) Anyway, that's how I justified his quick decision. I'm done with sleep. Let's get to living.

      • Funny I didn't even consider that reaction... the way you feel when you realize it was a dream, yes, totally relateable. "I'm done with sleep." I could see feeling that way.

        • :) If you could see some of the impossible messes I've had to tackle in my nightmares, you'd be out of bed faster than you could yell, "Hoarders!"

    But to answer you question, I'm trying to think if I have any kind of moral or philosophical or spiritual reasons why I wouldn't just stay in the dream. Nothing obvious jumps to mind. But what's to stop the dream from becoming another nightmare? And if the potential for a nightmare didn't exist than would the dream be too sweet (and not enough sour) to be enjoyed, as David's philosophical advisor Brian might ask...

    Go with the devil you know? But which devil would that be? The dream is reset and reality is over a hundred years beyond David's last encounter. He seems to be completely in the dark. It may come down to whether or not you want to live forever or not. Or whether you believe you can come back as a cat. I think I'd opt for the dream in this case. If I'm to awake in the future I want it to be a much more distant future.

    • Please tell me more about "If I'm to awake in the future I want it to be a much more distant future."

      • Well, for one thing, I think if you go far enough into the future you will surpass the limitations of your own imagination. The distant future will literally be something beyond anyone's ability to predict, because even the elements which might comprise a theory of the thing have not been discovered yet. So in that sense I'd want to stay in the dream until reality surpasses it.

        But of course that supposes I cannot, in my potentially infinite dream time, make my own discoveries. Perhaps it will take living in a dream world for humans to make certain discoveries that in reality would never come to us. New tools lead to new breakthroughs. :)

        • Can I phone a friend? :)

          "Lo, verbALs, I'd like to sit in on a discussion with you and smirnoff. You're going to love his topic. It's right up your alley."

          I love how your mind works! I believe you definitely would be making discoveries in that dream world. :)

          • I mean yea, given enough time I might accomplish something... :)

How about you?

  • oh, shoot. That's what I get for asking an impossible question. :) Um... Could I have that perfect dream for, let's say a week? More than that, I'd be hooked, like a drug. But a week would be like a lovely vacation where I could create nice memories and then go and live a real life.

    • Ah, you mention the concern of getting hooked to it.

      You've seen Inception, so you'll recall this scene:

      Reminiscent of an opium den:

      In Vanilla Sky, David never really comes to realize the extent of his power. He never learns to directly control what he's dreaming, partly because he never realizes that he IS dreaming. In Inception, Cobb and everyone else are able to exercise far greater control over their dreams, but they are also aware that they are IN a dream (which is its own problem). I wonder, which experience would be closer to what you are imagining for yourself... and how confident are you that you would not been hooked after a week, let alone 5 minutes?

      • Not confident at all!!! I just really want a vacation! :))

        Well, first I have to admit that I was imagining. :))

        My understanding was that I would get to set up the scenario (the dream world) and then live in it unawares. That's how I imagined it. Your turn! Please answer the same questions. :) And, for extra points, you can paint a bit of the picture of what your dream world would look like.

        • First I get to have drinks with all the Enterprise crew in Ten Forward. My cover story is that I'm just in from Rubicon III looking for a good time (aren't they all?). Guinan gives me a Romulan ale and I tell her to keep 'em coming. Then I go on the Holodeck and star in a bunch of movies from my top 100. That should keep me busy for a while.  8)

          Also, I am addicted immediately. :)

    I've always been taught that there needs to be an opposition in all things. Happy cannot be truly understood unless I know what sad is. It's the oppositions in life that make it more fulfilling, so even though I may not like going through difficulties, I'll choose that over only experiencing the sweet.

    • Would you describe difficulties as naturally occurring and sweetness as man-made?

      • Wow, this question deserves the Riker beard stroke too!

        This is a trick question right? :)

        I believe that difficulties can be man-made as well, both from others and from within. And, sweetness can be naturally occurring, but the appreciation of them, must be man-made...    Do I get to cross the bridge of death?!

        • err... um...

    Also, I keep thinking about Kirk. :D "Nothing here matters."

    (Watch as Kirk sidles his horse up to Picard. That's good horsemanship skills. :) )

    My answer is, I want to make a difference too.

    • Good answer. I had to watch it twice. Once for the horse, once for the meaning. :)

We've already talked about him a bit but I want to bring him up again because I feel like he's a bit of an unsung hero when this movie comes up. Kurt Russell. There's one scene that has always made me wish he were in more films. It's right at the end when Tech Support points out he isn't real. An imaginary figure has an existential crisis, what could be more ironic than that? Except it's not funny at all, it's really sad to watch. Russell is unexpectedly masterful as he goes through all the stages of grief in a span of 2 minutes, concluding with a heartbreaking goodbye. For my money it's on the level of La Boeuf's "adios" in True Grit. I think it may be Russell's very best moment as an actor, ever. Easily forgotten amongst the other bombshell revelations in the final act and the rest of the film.

Did it sadden you to find out he never really existed?

  • As soon as I read, "There's one scene that has always made me wish..." I knew exactly where you were going. :) I've always liked Kurt Russell, mostly from growing up with his Disney movies, but sitting there watching him process his own non-existence, I thought, this man can act! Did I miss something along the way, in his career?

    I do confess, I got choked up, partly because I wanted the character to be real and partly because Mr. Russell was so beautiful in that moment. (Is beautiful the wrong word? a perfect triple axel, a Flutie Hail Mary, or a flawless mortise and tenon joint. :) )

    I'm so happy you mentioned this scene. It is a real highlight in the film.

Any other scenes or themes you feel like talking about?

You've been great at helping us explore everything! I guess I have one more question...

Do you have friends like Brian and/or are you a friend like Brian? :)

That "and/or" is interesting. I'm sitting here thinking about the question and wondering if both can actually be true. Is it possible for a person like Brian to also have a friend like Brian? The more I think about it the more I think it's one or the other. I'll try to explain.

What is Brian and David's friendship based on? The value of having a friend is clear, but not everyone makes a good friend for everyone else. But in Brian and David's case the friendship seems strong and desirable to both of them. So what is it about them that make them a good fit? David, a handsome, wealthy, carefree guy tied to a company, and Brian an scuffy, middle-class intellectual, and writer. They get along and there is a general camaraderie, but looking at it from an economics point of view there is also a double coincidence of wants. David get's Brian's groundedness, trustworthiness and blunt honesty (which is hard for him to find, in his position), and Brian get's David's access and support (which is hard for him to find, in his position). Neither one seems to be extracting more than the other, so they feel the relationship is equitable. They like each other, personality wise, and they value each other, utility wise. That creates a strong bond. They not only like one another, they also feel they are bettered for knowing the other person. That's a powerful friendship, that win win dynamic.

But would that same double coincidence of wants exist between two Brians? No. Two Brians cannot offer anything to each other, because they already have it. I think at most they would merely like one another, not better one another.

I think that's a persuasive argument, but I'm really only basing it on this one relationship. David and Julie would be a good counter-example to reinforce it. It's not at all an equitable relationship as it turns out. David thought it was (the good sex with no strings attached), but Julie clearly felt she was putting in more than she getting out. Evidently she had an idea about sex that was more sacred than David's. "When you sleep with someone your body makes a promise whether you do or not". That's fine, if both parties agree... but it's a mess when they don't.

To answer your question though, I would identify as more of a "friend like Brian". And by extension, I do not I think I have friends like me, I have friends like you. Hope that makes sense. :)

  • Quote
    But would that same double coincidence of wants exist between two Brians? No. Two Brians cannot offer anything to each other, because they already have it. I think at most they would merely like one another, not better one another.

    You've explained this very well. At first, I was resistant, thinking, "No! What about like-minded, two peas in a pod, birds of a feather...?" But, there's something very important in what you're saying. There's a big difference between liking and bettering. 

    "This person would help you become the best possible version of yourself." --Dan in Real Life

    This is what you're talking about, the kind of friend that challenges you and sparks your imagination and enthusiasm. You're right that David and Brian are great for each other. They understand each other and because of that, they keep each other honest. But their differences are key.  You've given me a lot to think about: symbiosis, personality types, friendship as laboratory...

    "When you sleep with someone your body makes a promise whether you do or not". That's fine, if both parties agree... but it's a mess when they don't.

    It's amazing that anyone ever gets together! The variables on possible deal breakers are endless! It's kind of a miracle, don't you think, when two people actually can find enough commonality to make it work, yet enough differences to make it interesting and, like you said, create a relationship that betters one another?

    To answer your question though, I would identify as more of a "friend like Brian". And by extension, I do not I think I have friends like me, I have friends like you. Hope that makes sense. :)

    You have friends like me? Cool. Yes, you make perfect sense.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 12:38:54 AM by Sandy »
"I'm a new day rising."


  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
  • Hey.
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 12:56:16 AM »

The Deer Hunter

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1296
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 12:57:34 AM »
Have you seen these "bills" before?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on The Insider!

Dave the Necrobumper

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 10825
  • My tinypic changed so no avatar for a little while
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 05:39:54 AM »


  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
  • Hey.
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 07:25:14 AM »
I just realized that The Matrix is on that list :D


  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24612
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2015, 08:15:37 AM »
Have you seen these "bills" before?

As far as I know, Sandy hasn't seen any of these and has kept herself relatively in the dark about all the major plot points and twists and such. :)


  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 30404
  • Marathon Man
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2015, 09:38:17 AM »
A lot of good titles, though I don't see Sandy enjoying Brotherhood of the Wolf much. Unsure why that one is on there.


  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24612
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2015, 10:31:54 AM »
Because I had a dvd collecting dust to send along. Why don't you think she'll like it? It's a costume drama plus it's one of the most visually stunning movies out there, and a pretty cool story. I feel like the positives should outweigh any of the films inherent weaknesses. The film has so much flavour! :)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 10:34:10 AM by smirnoff »


  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 581
Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 11:43:17 AM »
Most of these I haven't seen, but the ones I have I really enjoy. I'm excited to read your responses.