*** Official "VANILLA SKY" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by cafink, Dec 11, 2001.

  1. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "In the end, he realizes that his dream or fantasy is only that. It is not reality. He chooses to deal with his misfortune and return to his life."

    Didnt the Tech Support guy say they now had the ability to heal him. He also said alot of his money had disappeared and David made a comment about Sofi being dead. So he could have been waking up 50 or even 100 years in the future.
     
  2. James Mitchell

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  3. Jeff Rogers

    Jeff Rogers Second Unit

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    I believe Tech Support said he was 150 years in the future...
     
  4. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Vanilla Sky blew me away. I didn't really know much about the film except the principles and it somehow ended up as scifi. I think it was a great film, and one I definitly have to see again in the theater. I haven't seen Abre Los Ojos, but I think the film stood fine on its own legs. I came out of the theater pondering how things came together, and what the hell the opening scene meant as well as the dialouge "Open your eyes" in the beginning, not to mention that Tom Cruise is talking to McCabe from the very beginning. A wonderful, film I especially liked the references to "The Red Baloon" and To Kill a Mockingbird."
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Spoilers below (you shouldn't be in a designated discussion thread until AFTER you've seen the movie):

    This film was sort of like a whacked-up dream version "Groundhog Day" because in his dream-state, David kept re-living parts that spooked the hell out of him, and all of his insecurities kept manifesting in the lucid dreaming. He was doomed to re-living the bad dreams until Tech Support showed up to get him either reboot the system or shut it off completely.
     
  6. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    JonZ,
    In Open Your Eyes, it was the year 1997 at the time of his death. Then it was 2147(i think) when it was time for Cruise to be awakened from his state of Cryo.
     
  7. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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    I first saw "Abre Los Ojos" over 2 years ago, and thought it was a fascinating, trippy movie. Although I bought the DVD several months ago, I decided to keep a re-watch on hold until seeing "Vanilla Sky" yesterday.

    So as I watched "VS", my recollection of plot points of the original had faded with time. I did remember more as the film progressed, so I can't say my experience with "VS" is not colored by my having seen the original. I watched "Abre Los Ojos" on DVD tonight to make a fresh comparison.

    As stated previously, the character of David is much more likeable than Cesar's -- not nearly as vain or self-centered. An early conversation between Cesar and Pelayo as they play squash (?) in "ALO" is wonderfully written and succinctly shows Cesar's character.

    One point in favor of "VS" is the expansion of Julie's character, creating a much more sympathetic portrait of a woman scorned, rather than a psychotic stalker. My main feeling with "VS" is that it is majorly in need of an edit -- "ALO" has better narrative flow. Some of the extra 20-minute length of "VS" over "ALO" has to do with the "seven dwarfs" Board of Directors, and Crowe's attempt to create a possible red herring.

    In watching "ALO", however, I was struck by how much clearer the cryonization theme was developed through the film -- they actually mention the freezing of humans on a television report, whereas in "VS", they just keep referring to, and showing the "thawed" dog.

    In "VS", Sofia's reaction as she wakes David up on the street is much more believable. In "ALO", she practically just jumps into telling him "I love you", a reaction which doesn't play very realistically, and of course, ultimately, is not.

    I also thought Crowe's insertion of flashcut memories as he makes his decision on the rooftop was rather poignant. He also had some nice use of music, in particular Joan Osbornes "One of Us".

    But when all is said and done, I much prefer the original. Possibly partially because it was my first exposure to this story, and thus totally played a mind trip on me. But I really think it's a much tighter film.

    Regarding Roger Ebert's review of "VS", I am also puzzled by the implication of the opening words of the film, spoken in Penelope Cruz's voice. In "ALO", I can't recognize if that's Penelope's voice or not.
     
  8. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen the original,but found VS to be very enjoyable. My only gripe was mentioned on the first page of this thread -- that Cameron Crowe's personal touches didn't feel right for David's character. I know his career is supposed to suggest his connection with pop culture, but I didn't really believe that he listens to Radiohead etc.

    He plays more like one of those suits behind the scenes who say they love certain things to kiss clients' asses. I can definitely see him having all of these pop culture trappings in a way to prove to others how cool he is (a la Partrick Bateman in 'American Psycho'). But the thought of him loving all of this stuff rings false. The thought of Cameron Crowe loving this stuff is obvious, so it boils down to each pop culture reference being his way of a Hitchcockian cameo appearance in the film -- like 'Look, I'm directing this film. Never mind that character, this is what I like!'

    Some of the soundtrack choices work better than others, but I won't slam Crowe any more because he not only put a bit of Jeff Buckley in the pic - but he actually had his name spoken by the actors and showed the album on screen. Kick ass!

    Back to the story briefly, the third act worked much better than I was anticipating. The 'spell-it-out' nature of the scenes weren't overtly annoying, and it was oddly touching in some way. I also really loved the club scene. Most people think of dance clubs as jovial places of bonding, but I've sometimes felt a sweet sort of melancholy there -- that feeling of being around tons of people yet being completely alone at the same time. Cameron nailed that feeling on the head and I love him for it.

    Definitely a DVD purchase!

    P.S. Buy Jeff Buckley's 'Grace' if you haven't already. If you have, buy another copy and give it to a friend!
     
  9. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Here are the Directors notes(Alejandro Amenabar's) inside the DVD of "Open Your Eyes"
    A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR...
    Open Your Eyes is about alienation in all its forms.
    Because it challenges our perception of reality and our security in what surrounds us, it was a different film to direct.
    I had never doubted my capacity of observation, but when I began Open Your Eyes I found that I was challenged.
    This film talks alot about appearances, about what we think is and isn't real. Everything we see, from the point of view of a man locked in a mental institution. Cesar;s perception of the characters and events surrounding him raise a lot of questions which are only resolved at the end.
    Cesar has several personalities, each of which is revealed through his relationships. For Cesar, Nuria represents desire, passion, instability, and adventure. Sofia, on the other hand, represents the very opposite, stability and tenderness. I might even agree with my producer, Jose Luis Cuerda, who suggested that Cesar was a kind of punishment for the spoiled rich youth in my film "Tesis"(1995).
    He is a character whose personality pushes him into a terrible situation.
    "Open Your Eyes is a thriller with elements of love, suspense, terror and sci-fi thrown in/ The finished film is far more moving than the original script, thanks to the actors, Cinematography and the music. So many times we have the impression that we've lived through something before, My question is, suppose we really had?
    Elizabeth S,
    Having played that opening scene numerous times. To me, it definitely doesn't sound like Penelope Cruz's voices in "Open Your Eyes"
     
  10. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Ive been thinking about this movie since yesterday. The more I think about it, the more I like it.
     
  11. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I thought this was a prime example of the parts not equalling a whole. The performances were great, etc. but it just never gelled. It never struck a mysterious chord and each twist just progressed on naturally and never came as a shock.

    I think Cameron Crowe was in over his head on this one. He's always been a better writer than a director and needs a few more films to grow into a movie like the one he attempted here.
     
  12. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Producer

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  13. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Hey all,

    Just got back from my viewing! I am a huge fan of CC's, and I was really looking forward to this one. I knew it was a remake, I knew it was a mystery, I knew there was a little sci-fi, and a teensy-weensy disfigurement. I really liked it. I will gladly pay for OYE now, to check it out. The only thing I didn't like in VS was Tech Support explaining EVERYTHING in the elevator. I suppose it suited the story they wanted to tell (not every movie has to be Memento or Fight Club - although I wish they could be as GOOD). I guessed John Toll, who makes every movie great, early on. I can't wait to see this again. It does sound different than OYE in theme...I felt VS was a sad love story with a lonely man. I also really enjoyed Cameron Diaz's character...I think she did a great job. I guess the scene of her dancing with the waiter and talking touched me. She seemed so lonely as well. I must recommend this one. I won't bother with a rating. I loved it. I'll buy it. I'll watch it again.

    Take care,

    Chuck

    P.S. I assumed that was P. Cruz on the machine at the beginning.
     
  14. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    You guys have pretty much covered everything I could say about Vanilla Sky except for this: if the Cruise character was more or less responsible for what he was dreaming, then why didn't he just dream that he had both the Cruz and Diaz characters? He could have thrown in that redhead, too. That would have solved a lot of problems and been a lot more fun! [​IMG]
     
  15. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Not the worst film I've seen all year -- that distinction goes to "Town & Country" -- but clearly the most disappointing, bumping out "A.I." from that spot. The film is so heavy-handed and manipulative -- particularly with its extremely on-the-nose use of music (did we really need Todd Rundgren's song "Can't We Still Be Friends" when Cruise is trying to sort out matters between Julia/Sophia?) -- that I alternated between bored stiff and feeling bullied.

    "Open Your Eyes" is such a stronger film that even the most casual comparison makes "Vanilla Sky" seem like even more of a mess than it already is. There's so much unecessary plotting and backstory -- particularly involving the Timothy Spall lawyer character -- that the film feels padded from the start and it's clear that all of the actors, save for a nicely-underplayed Kurt Russell and a wry Jason Lee, are way out of their element, including -- ironically enough -- Penelope Cruz, who was so good in the original. Cruise vacillates between a hyperactive pop-culture version of Jerry Maguire and moping around in such a way that he comes off as bipolar.

    It's clear that Crowe is way out of his element here-- the goofy life-affirming vibes of his other films clash badly with the dark source material. Despite an intriguing final scene (though the flashbacks as he falls are again heavy-handed and wholly unnecessary -- i.e, we GET it, Cameron), this is a train-wreck, a remake that never needed to happen.
     
  16. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Checking out the informal and formal reviews of this movie, it seems to have engendered relatively polar opinions. This might be an interesting case of MARKETING helping sales and hurting opinions (DVDFile listed the Cinemascore at D-). It wasn't what people expected, as it was marketed as a murder mystery. It will likely disappear from most theaters by next Tuesday. By then, many of the Oscar hopefuls will take their place (at least in NY/LA). So I might have to wait for the DVD release to see it again (not counting OYE).

    As anyone can see from my earlier post, I really liked this movie. I can't get it out of my head. The more I think about it, the more it means to me. One thing that might have hurt it's critical reception is that it is not the movie people wanted it to be. Unlike Memento or Total Recall, it essentially answers all of it's questions. That turns off some critics. It is also one loopy film, which turns off most moviegoers. A cynic would say Cameron Crowe wanted it both ways (or was pressured to resolve it neatly), but I think he told the story he wanted to tell (his interpretation of the original). I think it shows incredible growth as a director, and I can't wait for his next film.

    I appreciate the thoughts of the interpretations of others on this thread. They have given much to think about.

    Take care,

    Chuck
     
  17. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Chuck,
    personally, I think(and many others) will agree, that Vanilla Sky is not Cameron Crowe's "growth movie". Almost Famous shows his "incredible growth" very nicely. Vanilla Sky IMO(maybe others) as a going over his head, reaching in territory he shouldn't be allowed to be in. He has actually taken a step down!
     
  18. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    JohnS:

     
  19. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I don't know that Crowe was in over his head, but he could have handled some things better. Mainly, the soundtrack was just so damn obtrusive! Perhaps he was trying to make the film more palatable to the people who would be finding out that the movie wasn't what they were expecting?

    BTW, wasn't that Mustang sweet?
     
  20. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    JohnS,
    I don't think Cameron has one "growth movie". I think AF encompasses all of his ability to that point, and ends up brilliant and moving, and my favorite movie of 2000.
    I think VS shows Cameron headed down a new path, into new and interesting territory. Is it as good as AF? No. Does he have the capability to get better in this and other genres. Yes! Is he one of the best directors working today? Without a doubt. Cameron has the ability to make me feel comfortable when I watch his movies, even unsettling ones. He always makes the characters the core of the story. There are four or five directors I will see their movies, regardless of reviews or material or anything, sight unseen. He is on that list (I wish it were bigger...I need to expand my horizons[​IMG] ).
    So, in summary, the Mustang (and Ferrari) were very cool.
     

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