The movie Vanilla Sky left me with a strange feeling; I walked out of that theatre thinking that I did not get my $8.75 worth. It wasn’t the worst movie I’ve EVER seen, it’s just that it failed to do the one thing I go to the movies for. It failed to entertain me. Sure, Tom Cruise and Jason Lee are great actors. Of course I enjoyed seeing Cameron Diaz half naked through the beginning of the movie. But in my opinion, there were no real dramatic moments, no comical interludes, no memorable lines of dialogue, and nothing heartwarming could be found anywhere in this movie. The on-screen chemistry between Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz was horrendous, and the friendship between Jason Lee’s Character and Tom Cruise’s character was barely believable. I found myself sitting through the movie saying, “Good Lord, when is this going to end?”
Curious to see what others thought of this movie, I went to the Internet Movie Database at imdb.com. Quite a few of the first page of reviewers shared my opinion. When I got to the second page, a review, extolling cameron crowe for his excellence in movie making, started off, “It’s a shame that people do not like to be challenged when they go to the movies.” He further explained that people who do not like this kind of movie enjoy “connect-the-dots” type of movies, a remark that showed the writer’s opinion that people who didn’t like this kind of movie weren’t “smart enough” to understand it. Well, dha-1, you can take your opinions and shove them up your arrogant little ass! I understood the movie, and quite frankly, I just didn’t like it! The last time I saw four actors so sadly squander their talent was in the movie, “Nothing But Trouble,” a “connect-the-dots” movie, as you say, that ALSO failed to entertain me!
I don’t like movies like Vanilla Sky because when I go to the movies, I don’t want to be “challenged.” There is nothing to be gained by being challenged at the movies. If I’m taking a class in something, say computer science, and the professor decides to challenge me with a really hard problem, I will benefit if I succeed in that I will know the material a lot better. If my boss gives me a challenging project, and I complete it by the deadline, I will benefit by being a better employee, and I will be seen as valuable and intelligent for stepping up to the challenge. What is being challenged at the movies going to do for me? Make me a better moviegoer? Is it going to show me how to consume popcorn better or save money on my admission ticket? Absolutely not! The benefits to be reaped from a “thinking movie” like this are negligible as compared to the benefits of being made to think by solving a real-life problem. All I want out of a movie is to be entertained. If the movie is a thinking movie and in the process I am entertained, then I will enjoy the movie (Fight Club was one such movie.) But Vanilla Sky provided nothing but Cameron Diaz eye Candy that I already have at home because I own The Mask and There’s Something About Mary on DVD.
This situation reminds me of a movie that I had the displeasure of seeing several years ago. Natural Born Killers was, in my opinion, one of the worst movies of all time. I walked out of that movie wondering if the people I was walking out with were going to try to kill me just for pure sport. I was shocked from beginning to end, that such a piece of shit actually made it to the big screen. And Rodney Dangerfield, who I enjoyed so much as an actor, practically lost all of my respect (now he really gets no respect!) just for being in this film and playing the role that he played. But that’s not the point. The point is that the people who spoke in defense of this movie said that I just “didn’t get it.” Not true. The fact is, I did get it. I just hated it. Oliver Stone’s vision in this movie is to show us, the simple, unenlightened moviegoers, how the media perpetuates violence in this country. He does so by creating two characters who go around killing people for no reason, and the media creates a national sensation out of them. He shows his point by beating the violence in the media issue TO DEATH. Folks – when was the last time you were making a decision and you said, “I wonder what Oliver Stone would do?” I don’t go to the movies because I want Oliver Stone’s opinion or his vision or his anything. If I wanted his opinion on violence in the media, I would write him a letter. “Dear Oliver: As someone whose intelligence is highly regarded worldwide, I was wondering if you could share with me your vision on violence in the media. Love, Rugboy.” And for you people who call this movie a “satire” of media violence, keep in mind that one crucial element of a satire is humor – of which this movie had NONE!
To me, a movie is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a way for me, after dealing with social, professional, familial, and other pressures, to sit back, relax, and be entertained. That’s all I want out of a movie. Make me laugh. Make me cry (no movie has done it yet.) Get me caught up in an amazing story. Just entertain me. Don’t bother me with someone else’s opinion. I’ve got my own, which is more than enough for any two people. If I am going to see your movie, please don’t make me think. BELIEVE ME – I DO PLENTY OF THINKING! I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be movies that make you think. In fact, I will allow that Vanilla Sky might have some entertainment value for some, and if you enjoy a movie like that, peace be with you. But in the same way that I did not impugn anyone’s character for enjoying such a movie, don’t call into question my intelligence for NOT enjoying it. Because the fact is, we might want something completely different out of movies. All I want is a little entertainment.