Never Say Never

Aside from “multi-talented,” that would make for a good nickname for RDJ.
You know, like when you refer to people by first name “nickname” last name…

The story of us… me saying with a lot of his movies that I never want to see them.
And time after time, I break the vow I make to abstain.

It’s pretty much like this:

To save myself a lot of aggravation or to attempt to cut down on obsessive behaviors I’ve exhibited in the past, I make lists and add notes next to the things I want to see, am borderline about and are definitely not interested in.

Considering how it’s so hard to come by the movies I actually want to see, especially where this guy is concerned, I have to make due with anything I can get my hands on.

 

This isn’t necessarily the case here because Gothika was one of those movies where I’d considered seeing it a couple of times, but keep giving myself reasons not to.
All I have to go on in the pros column amount to the following bullets:

  • It’s his first big theater release since finally reaching sobriety, part of his “comeback” if you will
  • he met his future wife, Susan Levin, on the set of this movie and I’ve heard so many soppy stories from the two of them about how they met, got on and eventually got to where they are now

The cons are as follows:

  • I’m not a fan of scary movies, period
  • He doesn’t play lead and this is more likely to be focused 99% on Halle Berry
  • nightmares could follow and if so, follow me around for a couple days/weeks

I’m going to hang on for the next couple nights in case nightmares are imminent. I’m usually very good at repressing the unpleasant stuff. Speaking of which, there was a line in the movie about how repressing things is a survival instinct that comes very much in handy. Halle Berry’s husband said that if Chloe (played by Penelope Cruz) didn’t repress things, she wouldn’t have come out of her ordeal alive.

I’m trying to go through my head as to the movies on this list that I am hell-bent against seeing. And how many “vows” I ended up breaking because I was bored:

Technically, “The Pick-up Artist” and “A Scanner Darkly” were on the list at some point, only because I saw part of them and weren’t fond of what I saw. But I think with the latter, I was a bit thrown off by the rotoscoping and the apparent weirdness (haha, strange considering the person writing this entry).

I ended up seeing both all the way through on account of curiosity and… hey, see them once, that stops the curiosity and I don’t have to do so again.
Strangely, I’m still considering seeing them another time. “Scanner” I’ve seen through a couple times out of boredom and in reality, I don’t believe it’s all that weird a movie.

It’s one of those things… overexposure results in adapation. What I’m all too familiar with, especially with Prince’s music.

 

Real quick, I just gotta say two things on that.

Prince’s music was the first time I applied this technique. I did research on his albums to save me money and hopefully to keep me from overindulging.
Ultimately, a couple of albums I had zero interest in ended up in my collection.

“The Rainbow Children” was a gift that came with Lovesexy… so I really had no say in that, per se, but whatever… I probably would have broken down and bought it eventually because none of Prince’s albums are on the wrecka stow shelves anymore. (except Lotusflow3r at Target)

“Dirty Mind” was when my walls of resistence started to crack… I decided early on that I wanted my collection to start at 1999 because that was when he first made it big, made it into the mainstream 80’s music scene. But seeing as I’m oh so curious to learn everything I can about Prince, I had to see where he started as far as finding his own sound.
Controversy was part of that package… couldn’t have one without the other, right?

 

While I’m on those two, my close friend presented an interesting experiment for me. Which I decided to do last night while playing 2 hours of Kingdom Hearts II. After I had had 2 glasses of wine, plus a total of at least one shot of B&B from my mom’s “birthday drink” from my dad at happy hour. She passed it around the table to take care of the 6 ounces in the glasses and I helped her finish it.

What I will… it’s really not that bad. I think I like it a bit better than Grand Marnier, which is supposed to be the better, more expensive stuff. Experimenting is good with some restricted guidelines.

One thing I will say and this is kinda funny… when I write my entries, I tend to have a central idea in mind, but of course, my mind wonders. I go from one tangent to another when I realized something else I want to write about or just makes sense for the moment. And ultimately I always end up back on the train of thought I started on. Already, I can see that happening here more flawlessly than in previous entries where I literally write “how do I get back to square 1”

 

The suggestion was to make a playlist of my favorite songs of both albums, but comparing them track by track.
In other words, listen to the first tracks of both albums back to back and decide which one you like better and put it on the playlist…
Or at least that’s how I approached them last night.

Dirty Mind and Controversy are brilliant candidates for track by track comparisons because they’re short albums. Only about half an hour each, although I believe Controversy is a little bit longer.

My overall impression after last night:

Dirty Mind won at least 8 times out of 10.

I’m not sure if it’s personal taste or fact, but I got to thinking how much I loved Dirty Mind the first time I heard the album. Blown-away, more like… pretty much the way all of the musical critics were. Suddenly Prince was starting to stand out as more than just the next Stevie Wonder or Smokey Robinson (someone on “Glory Years” said that they needed the high-voice falsetto in the industry because Smokey wasn’t doing those types of songs anymore… although I don’t believe it’s entirely the reason why Prince’s first 3 albums were all sung in the higher register… I heard he was more comfortable there and didn’t think his lower register was as strong)

There were some tough decisions in the beginning.

Both Dirty Mind and Controversy make for great songs, great opening tracks that help define an album in sound and message.
Although I do like the more “current” sound of Controversy (meaning it was one step closer to the sound that made 1999 as awesome as it was), Dirty Mind was my first choice because it was more cohesive, straight to the point and in the shorter track time, it just crossed leaps and bounds.

Dirty Mind 1 Controversy 0

When you were mine (which is currently playing in my head, lol) and Sexuality was another tough choice, but again, I had to side with cohesiveness, straight-forwardness… and first time in, When you were mine was a stand-out track for me as in ‘how could I even consider on missing out on this song’

Dirty Mind 2 Controversy 0

Of course, the dry streak ends here.
The bass in this album is fantastic, mostly thanks to Andre Cymone, between “Do it all night” and “Uptown”…

Seriously, though, how can any song compete with “Do me baby”… the predecessor of such wonderful ballads as The Beautiful Ones, Scandalous and Insatiable… everything about it screams out in ectasy (including Prince, lol) because the way all of the elements come together on this is mind-blowing.

Dirty Mind 2 Controversy 1

Perhaps the hardest choice was the next two tracks
Gotta broken heart again vs. Private Joy

What’s not to love about Private Joy… I mean, the Linn-drum makes its first appearance on Prince’s records, it’s happy-go-lucky/euphoric vibe…
Then I heard the Dirty Mind track first… the quality is so different between the two that it’s no laughing matter. The first sounds like it was recorded with less sophisticated equipment (most likely was one of many products of Prince’s at-home recording studio), but it has a charm about it because of that. It’s also very short, straight-to-the-point. There are maybe one or two verses that don’t last that long and there’s only one message addressed. One of those rare moments where Prince gets inspired, paints a detailed picture of one scene and finishes it promptly as possible because there is only a couple of points to get across. No need for fluff and stuff in between (filler, that’s the word)

Private Joy is a step closer to Prince’s unique 80’s sound, which was ultimately what Controversy is. A stepping stone/transitional album during which Prince experiments with new things that eventually take shape in his music in general.
As it stands last night,

Dirty Mind 3 Controversy 1

As if things didn’t look bleak enough for Controversy, get a load of the next set of tracks.

Uptown vs. Ronnie talk to Russia

OMG… can I say “not even close” a couple of times.
Ronnie talk to Russia, although it makes sense in the time frame in which it was written, I’m not taking anything away from the patrotic message (Prince manages to address politics and religion in the same album… which makes the title all that more logical)… but I dunno, there’s nothing about the song that I find particularly stimulating. It’s one of those tracks that has so little impact that you forget its even there.

Whereas “Uptown” has great bass and makes for a helluva party.

Dirty Mind 4 Controversy 1

Hmm… I figured that Head would gain another point for Dirty Mind coming into it… despite how much I have said that “Let’s work” did nothing for me or I just plain wasn’t a fan.
Aw hell, I can’t even remember why I didn’t like it… it’s basically become a Prince staple in his concerts along the lines of “Let’s go crazy”… hmm… there’s something about a song starting with that contraction that makes it “top 40” material…

It’s nothing against the subject matter of “Head,” I assure you. It’s attacked with such tactfulness that I hardly notice it at all.
Something about seducing a bride-to-be into a chanced encounter involving oral sex… at the time, it must have been scandulous, especially when he performs it at a show. Oh boy, I don’t think I’d want to even go there.

Songwise and as far as enjoyment goes, we have a clear winner

Dirty Mind 4 Controversy 2

“Sister” has to be one of Prince’s shortest tracks EVER… yet it accomplishes and say so much in those 1 min 40 seconds.
I’m not sure if I disclosed this on my blog before, but after quickly going over Prince’s personal history, I know exactly how this track came about… it could be a product of anger and depression or it could just be a plan on words, considering we’re talking about incest here.

With a couple of things to consider, aw hell, this song raises more eyebrows than Head.

I’m sure the incident that inspired this occurred a good 8 years previous. But I recall Prince wanting to live with his father when he was a kid, got his wish, but after having one too many girls in the house, his father kicked him out. Prince called his sister and gives a tearful plea, asking her to ask his father to let him back in the house… which she tries to do but even after trying to talk things out, Prince is denied the opportunity to return.
I believe I read about this in Neal Karlan’s Rolling Stone interview. He and Prince went around Minneapolis in Prince’s T-bird, and Prince gave him a “guided tour” of his neighborhood, saying he did this here, went here, did that there, one of those things being that phone booth.

On the other hand, the highly controversial track Annie Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, I like how it dares to go against the grain and covers things that are otherwise unapproachable by most artists.
But I gotta give another point to Dirty Mind

Dirty Mind 6 Controversy 2

Jack U Off is a ground-breaking track as far as musical engineering goes. I believe I read somewhere that Bobby Z was credited with playing the Linn-drum on this track, but don’t quote me on it.
Then we have the Morris Day track “Partyup” on the Dirty Mind album…

going mostly from the stand-point of finding the perfect ending track, I gotta give the point to “Partyup”… despite the fact I’m not a huge fan of the song myself. Well, compared to the other 15 tracks between the two albums, I’d say it’s only one step above “Ronnie talk to Russia” in my book… the title of the song is repeated multiple times to the point you forget there are other lyrics…

You get a story out of “Jack u off”… a couple of them, but actually, now that I think about it, both tracks handle their choruses the same way (repeating the title of the song multiple times)

“Partyup” speaks out against the draft and war in general.

lyrics like “how come I have to kill somebody I don’t even know” and “I don’t wanna die, I just wanna have a bloody good time”

So my early 80’s Princely playlist is as follows:

  1. Dirty Mind
  2. When you were mine
  3. Do me baby
  4. Gotta broken heart again
  5. Uptown
  6. Let’s work
  7. Sister
  8. Partyup

Although it might make sense to put “do me baby” before “when you were mine”… if we’re talking about a consistent storyline here, that would be even better.
First you say that you wish a girl was still yours, then you’re in bed with them and then they’ve broken your heart…
and actually, I may have left out “Do it all night” on previous occasions and just skipped to “Gotta broken heart again”

Must say that experiment was a lot of fun.

 

While on the subject of “never say never,” there were a couple of albums I had no interest in for one reason or another that I ultimately got. Either because I changed my mind or “greatness” was thrust upon me.

For You- I decided later on that I was curious about checking into it… and for a first album, it isn’t too bad. There is potential, but after a couple of listens, I’ve backed out completely. Maybe because I just expect more, maybe because when I was listening to the album I was dealing with some demons (which included our hyper-sensitive fire alarm)…

The Black Album- I was insistent against it because a) I believed Prince was high when he wrote it, and b) I believed Prince never wanted anyone to hear it… but of course, I got curious, had to find out what it was about this album that resulted in its “shelving”… truth was that Prince wasn’t high on ectasy when he was writing it (although Superfunkacalifragisexy has instances where Prince sounded like he had to have been on drugs because of lyrics or out of character vocals, even for him)…
there was also that I heard that it was a hip-hop album… therefore, you know my attitude on hip-hop

Mica Paris’s BBC radio broadcast of Purple Reign in 2003 (man that was a pivotal year for a lot of people) was the deciding point… I heard bits and pieces about it being an answer to the serious “Sign o’ the times” album, dance music for Sheila E’s birthday party, and two tracks set out to speak out against a couple of things getting under his skin… one being the hip-hop track “Dead on it” and the other being plain pissed off at Bob Cavallo and Nelson George

TBA is one of those albums that sounds best to me only when I’m in the mood to listen to it. I want to hear R&B/funk dance music or there are just a couple of tracks I like to single out. “Bob George” became one of my favorites because… too many things to name, it’s innovative and it’s thought-provoking all at the same time.

On a track by track basis, I’m at odds with it majority of the time. It’s not the stuff I like to hear Prince perform. Not just the sound, but the strength of the songwriting material in general.

Le Grind, Cindy C and Superfunkacalifragisexy… and the West Compton track… they run long for me, first of all… second, the subject matter with a couple, I find a little disconcerning at some points.

Cindy C. is a funny case in the fact that it’s one of those Prince song titles that carries over into my everyday speech. I see an ad on TV with Cindy Crawford and I call her “Cindy C”… I remembered on my D&P night recently how I used to pronouce “cream” because of that track.

West Compton… it’s an instrumental track, which is already a strike against it. I’m not a fan in general. Venus de Milo and Alexa de Paris are brilliant and this isn’t my cup of tea.

Rockhard in a funky place… need I say more, the title itself doesn’t make the track appealing and musically, I find it a little lax compared to previous Camille tracks, which I find to be exceptional on multiple fronts.

When 2 r in Love was a nice track to have on here because it was a good break after “Dead on it”… whereas I appreciate what Prince was trying to accomplish with it, but as someone said in that BBC broadcast, he can’t rap on a track to automatically make it hip-hop…
It’s an example of Prince trying to stay current when he’s better off sticking to what he knows best, his own style and himself.
After a couple listens of the Lovesexy album, it’s hard to listen to it in this context in comparsion.

Lovesexy- this was more about Alphabet St. not being one of my favorite songs more than the album cover… sure, a bit embarassing for you to be caught with it in your hands and yes, sales were lax because stores were hesitant to have it on display… but seeing as its the answer to The Black Album, it went without saying. I had to listen to it.
And I believe I came across some footage of the Lovesexy tour just before that that changed my mind… Anna Stesia blew me away like nobody’s business… just WOW

And while I’m on this train of thought, Parade was another album I was hesistant about.
For the exact same reason. I didn’t understand the appeal of “Kiss” so why get an entire album that might follow those same lines.

In both cases, not only did I find myself in the wrong, but I found that I liked the singles better now that I know where they are in the context.

Batman- there was no real need for me to own it… nothing really new about it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Partyman (the music video was a bit off putting, or rather Prince’s “Gemini” look)… I got it because I was bored and it turned out to be a good investment

Graffiti Bridge- my greatest opponent… I heard how bad it was, how bad the movie was… at least, I broke down and caved one of my .org admirers decided to send me the Prince tracks… which is the reason I agreed… because I heard the other artists on the album were awful… for the longest time I resisted and finally I caved…
speaking of which, I listened to at least 4 Prince songs a couple nights ago to ease my mind before bed.

Two of which were from this album:
The question of you and Joy in Repetition… two of my favorite tracks on the album… there was a lot about the first that I find intriguing and keeps me coming back… then the three notes played at the end of each measure in “Joy in repetition” kept my attention throughout the whole song

There are two sets of three notes repeated in this song and I am biased to one of them. Oddly enough, I found them on my keyboard just now without my having to search for them. I just pressed one key, it happened to be the first one and automatically my fingers found the other two.

I believe we’re talking on a scale of E flat… and the three notes in question are C, B sharp and E flat on the next octave up from middle C
My musical terminalogy is very weak so I have very little clue as to what I’m talking about. But I’m trying to learn.

The other two songs I played were two of my favorite ballads, “The One” and “The Greatest Romance ever sold”… funny how sometimes you will play songs on whims and their lyrics identity with a current predicament. or attempting to resolve unresolved feelings about something.

So….

I resisted two albums that became my favorites: Come and The Gold Experience.
I didn’t want to hear Prince during a difficult time for him, thought the music might not be up to his potential… but in both cases, I was surprised and found to be in the wrong.
Although I was hesistant about Come at first because I thought it’d be too depressing and dark… that turned out to be true but I didn’t get that right away.

And… I think that’s about it.

His self-titled album is probably the only other one I’m going to seek, but it’s for completion as far as his personal storyline goes in my album collection…

his NPG albums, I’m hell-bent against because I’m not a fan of hip-hop or rap… and pretty much anything where he is involved but you don’t hear his voice.
I resisted The Time on those grounds… until I saw the music video for “Ice cream castles”… in which case, I was sold… Morris Day had a certain aura about him there that I have yet to completely explain.

He got 2 albums out of me and otherwise convinced me to google him on YouTube to see appearances on sitcoms that didn’t make it past the first season… and that movie “The Adventures of Ford Farlaine”

 

In essence, what I’m getting at here is that this isn’t the first time I’ve broken vows of “I’m never going to look into this for….” any number of reasons… or should I say, RDJ has made me do so quite a few times, but “Gothika” wasn’t necessarily a case of that.

Movies of his I have actually vowed no interest in and have watched included:

Fur and Charlie Bartlett…

shoot, I thought there were a lot more.

Home for the Holidays might have been marked in red on that Word.doc at some point, but I was searching for it on TV until I found it on YouTube…

I had The Singing Detective marked in red and decided later on that with all of the press I found on YouTube about it, I have to see it at some point… plus the whole story that Mel Gibson gave him the role for this movie, it made for good mediation for him in particular (both he and the character Dan Dark dealt with being crippled by a disease and ‘took to their bed and walked’)

Charlie Bartlett, I don’t think I did a lot of research on beforehand… all I knew was that he was played the antagonist principal in this… him playing the antagonist, I figured right away that he wasn’t going to be of any interest to me… it wouldn’t interest me as a fan of his work to see him play the bad guy.

:sigh:
I don’t think I’d ever been more wrong about marking any of his movies in red under the “never want to see this” column… I only wanted to expose myself to the really good stuff, the intriguing storyline that would be of interest to him and me, and served a part of his soul during this, that and the other thing…

Two candidates testing me to break vows are “Natural Born Killers”… on a constant basis, so I consider myself lucky it doesn’t air on TV… and “Good night and good luck”, which earned a lot of Oscar buzz, but more for George Clooney than anyone else (I don’t even know who else is in the movie, lol)

 

I vowed a while back, in response to how often “Gothika” airs on the many HBO/MAX channels we have, that I’d wait until Halloween season (October) to see it… because it would make for good movie fodder during that time. A time where I pretty much work to avoid AMC because I don’t want to watch scary movies.
I don’t mind the occasional psychological thriller (“Saw”) or even the spoofing kind of scary movie (which not only includes the Scary Movie franchise… which ultimately spawned the likes of Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck, but “Diary of The Dead”… which was the idea of my animé club, but its one of those “you gotta watch it because you know just how bad this movie is and that’s what makes it funny”)

As far as slasher movies go, my only experience is the last few minutes of Halloween (very creepy, especially with the theme music) and two Nightmare on Elm Street films (the original and I believe “Dream Warriors” was the 2nd… my best friend & scary movie fan talked me into it).

Stephen King seems to be the king of horror movies, seeing as many of his books are adapted into movies… but I think that’s where I draw the line.

I saw bits and pieces of “Cat’s Eye” when I was a kid… whatever little I saw, I’ve done my best to repress because it scared the hell outta me… that whole BS about a cat stealing baby’s breath and a cat was almost put down because it got framed by this gnome-like creature

“Carrie” I had pretty much researched because bits and pieces of a dream I had seemed reminscent of it, despite the fact I hadn’t seen it, the closest was in spoofs and that SNL movie “Superstar” with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon
so there’s no need for me to have to see that movie becuase I know how it goes… and a lot of respect to Stephen King for it being his first big hit in the bestseller’s list and I believe his wife deserves some credit cuz she thought it was good enough for other people to read.

“The Shining” is where I draw the line.
I didn’t mind Jack Nicholson as The Joker… and he is definitely my favorite live-action Joker, the closest I’ve seen to the animated one (the way I believe he was originally configured), but I draw the line at seeing him in thrillers… on the grounds that he’s so good that he’s scary. I saw bits and pieces of “The Shining” and have no intention on watching the entire movie… because he just creeped me out so much…

Then of course, The Exorcist is the queen of them all… I won’t be able to watch that a second time. My dad is a fan of horror movies himself and has been trying for years to get me to see it. Finally, I caved and told him I wanted to see it once. (We have the special edition DVD)… I did NOT sleep at all that night.
Any movie that deals with demons and possession, I’m sure, I cannot tolerate it because it’s so convincing that I might suspect myself to become a future victim… and I don’t want to have to deal with the potential nightmares.

 

I believe RDJ said that “Gothika” was going to be one of those types of thrillers… like The Shining… the kind that hadn’t been seen in 20-30 years. So I was leery about it, yes… given my history with horror movies, I have full right to be.

But I have a couple of reasons as to why today was perfect for it.

a) my folks aren’t home, so no questions can be asked… that whole thing about my mom rolling her eyes at me cuz I’m watching something cuz RDJ is in it…
b) it was daytime. although cloudy, it wasn’t dark out
c) I could deal with some numbness right now

Seeing “Gothika” today of all days was actually a good idea because every now and then, you need to dabble out of your comfort zone… see a movie because it does numb the mind and senses. Kind of the same reason why it’s healthy to watch a bad movie every now and then for the sake of relishing how bad it is.

Then again, after seeing it, I have as much reason to believe it will give me nightmares as I believe it might be one of those types of movies…
there are a couple movies labeled as horrors or thrillers, but there are parts of them that are so fake, or so unrealistic and unbelievable that you have less reason to be afraid of it than you had before.

Interestingly, this movie could be considered a suspense and mystery film as much as a thriller… because that’s what the plot is built on.

I learned coming into it that there are a few twists. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is imprisoned in her own asylum because she committed some crime she can’t remember. I thought the principle twist was that she really killed her husband, but that was broached in the first half hour. In fact, in her first scene with RDJ after she’s committed, he tells her that their boss, Doug is dead and she’s the one that killed him.

Okay… so there is reason to believe, an overwhelming amount of evidence that she killed her husband in cold blood…

I’m nowhere near an expert in mysteries, although reading as much Sherlock Holmes as I have recently has provided me with tools I have taken to some movies where pieces need to be put together (or just episodes of “Castle” while I wait for “Psych” to come back on the air).
With certain movies, this being one of them, I approach them objectively. If there’s a big question mark, I spend the movie not only lingering on edge of my seat, waiting for it to be revealed as I’m figuring it out… and I judge the overall package based on the end.

I’ve come across a few Sherlock Holmes mysteries where the beginning starts really good and really interesting… and the way it ends leaves me with a cold shoulder.

Part of me respects how this movie was approached and its objective was achieved, but the other part isn’t sure the end justifies the means.

Actually, rereading its synposis in Wikipedia is helping to explain a lot of pieces I found to be missing, even after the overall conclusion had been drawn.

I’ll approach this one step at a time. First I’ll cover the sypnosis as I saw it and then I’ll add my own commentary later on about RDJ and his role as well as Halle Berry… and my little ishes about the plot being believable or not.

First of all, I’m watching this movie on the edge of my seat, on the seat on our sectional furthest from the screen… I’m prepared for a moment to come where I’m going to either jump or scream because something startles me. It doesn’t start out all that bad and even as Miranda is put in the aslyum, I keep thinking there will be one of those startling moments.
And I don’t let up on this philosophy until the ending credits roll and the screen goes black.

My heart did jump at least twice when there was sudden movement, but there wasn’t a moment like, the most recent, the beginning of the new Pirates of the Carribean film where a supposedly dead body jerks back to life… there was nothing that made me want to scream.
Needless to say, I approached the movie democratically and tried not to make any major judgements until I had all of the facts.

The movie starts with Miranda having a discussion with Chloe (Penelope Cruz), one of her patients about nightmares she’d been having. It’s a very serious and dramatic opening scene. It’s not until the two depart when Chloe starts to freak out and scream, as the patients at the mental hospital often do.
Miranda is under the impression that Chloe is making these stories up, like other patients have, as a plea for attention.

RDJ played Pete Graham, another doctor that works in the instuition and Miranda is married to the director of the entire hospital.
They have an interesting conversation, the husband and wife, after he asks her to throw water on a mirror. He says that this is what Chloe sees. She’s an image, Miranda is the mirror and when she asks who he is in all this, he says that he’s God.

For some reason I couldn’t place, I had a feeling that would come back to me later on in the movie.

As a personal request from the boss, Pete follows Miranda home to make sure she gets there all right. Of course, cliche #2 (after the “I’m God” thing) is that there is a major thunderstorm they drive home through. She has to follow a detour since there’s a sinkhole in the road.
There’s a bridge and she swerves around a girl that seems to be standing in the middle of the road. She talks to the girl, tries to help her and in some odd twist, the girl is on fire and she grabs Miranda…

and she wakes up in a cell as if she were a patient.

Right now, I’m thinking “okay, when did she kill her husband and how much of this actually happened”

The dialogue is said to be one of the weakest points of the whole movie, according to critics and several user reviews. I don’t think it’s really that bad. In fact, I’m sure I’d heard a lot worse.
She and Pete have a few interesting conversations. One is where she asks if they had an affair, if he wants to and he asks if she wanted to.

One of the initial assumptions I came up with was that she killed her husband because she found he was cheating on her.
That was debunked because no evidence arose to allude to that.

She talks with Pete, her lawyer and the sheriff and she ultimately quotes Chloe, saying that she can’t trust someone who thinks she’s crazy. It’s assumed that all three parties believe she is because of the overwhelming evidence.

The sheriff, one of her husband’s best friends, wants to her to get shock treatments and shows her some crime scene photos.

There’s also a dramatic scene where she’s in the group shower with the other girls and her arm starts bleeding for no apparent reason.

After seeing the photos, her arm bleeds out again. The words “Not Alone” are etched in her arm, marked on the walls and written in condensation on her cell.
Miranda believes that this suggests she wasn’t alone when she murdered her husband.

Time passes and I’m wondering how much more screen time Robert is going to get… I did decide to watch this movie because of him, after all. Can’t say I was too surprised about that, although that didn’t erase the disappointment I felt by the end of it. On those grounds.

In essence, I knew that I wanted to see this mystery solved as much as Halle Berry’s character. Because I was interested in what was going to happen to her, I had to see how this all figures together.

Another development that comes about is a girl named Rachel Parsons. Miranda sees her picture in the office of the director of the hospital (I believe her husband was one step down from this guy). She’s the daughter of the director and her death 4 years ago was ruled as a suicide. The girl is the same one Miranda saw the night of her husband’s murder and continues to see haunting her throughout the movie.

Throughout the movie’s course, we see one thing through Miranda’s eyes and another through everyone else’s.
She sees Rachel attacking her in the showers, everyone believes she cut herself
Rachel is throwing her around her own cell, the camera shows her doing that to herself

She escapes the hospital (that in itself seems unbelievable) and returns to the scene of the crime… where a lot of the pieces start to line up. She sees that she really killed her husband.

The next morning, she stumbles across a farmhouse, probably because she knew Rachel had lived there or somebody she knew spent time there. I couldn’t tell if it was her husband’s or Rachel’s.
But there’s a lot of stuff that alludes to other activities going on there.
She’s about to leave when she sees a box for a video camera.

I’m onto hypthosis #2:
she found out her husband is in the pornography business and killed him because of it

In the basement of the farmhouse, there are needles, meds and a bed with chains… as well as the video camera. Which of course Miranda watches back and her husband says into the camera after he’s hovering over a girl’s body “It’s good to be God”

Which of course, I suspected was going to happen. Given the comment he made earlier.

Somehow, the cops manage to find her in the basement and along with it, a girl comes out of the crawlspace, screaming for help.

This is probably the first time RDJ has any screentime in over an hour: at the police station during the aftermath of this revelation. He’s trying to convince the lawyer and with the lawyer, the sheriff, that Miranda could have saved a lot of lives with her actions.

Her hypothesis about “Not Alone” is that Rachel Parsons wasn’t the only case in which this happened. Then later she figures that there had to be a second serial killer involved in this obscene crime.

Another theme throughout the movie: there’s talk about being on fire, a tattoo of a girl on fire. She’s trying to figure out what it is. Tries to convince Pete that there’s something to that… of course, Robert is the realist in all this, so he’s the antithesis to what she’s saying… the way she believed Chloe was making up stories for attention, he’s believing she’s deflecting from the “important” issues by trying to convince him there’s something to this.

She sees Rachel’s ghost on fire and she, herself, is on fire.
The night she escapes from the mental hospital, she comes across Chloe’s cell where it appears that she’s being assaulted and sees the tattoo.

In a late ditch attempt to convince Pete of her sanity, she tells him (I assume this is her granted “one phonecall” in prison after she’s arrested for escape from the hospital) to look into the tattoo. Which he ultimately googles. He denies her talks of ghosts and spirits, but at some point, I guess he becomes a believer. :shrug:

In the county jail, she’s telling her latest theory to the sheriff about the second serial killer and what his profile would be like.
It didn’t take long for me to automatically suspect him and she comes to the same conclusion (I guess that goes to show those Sherlock Holmes stories weren’t compeletely a waste, lol)… what results is a last minute climax where he reveals the tattoo on his chest and he tries to capture/kill her so she won’t leak the secret.

He’s armed and she’s hiding under his desk while he reveals everything. Part of me suspects this will end with her shooting him dead or Pete arriving as her savior and shooting him dead. One thing’s for sure: a couple of columns labeled “flammable” have been shot and are leaking… using the gun strapped under the desk, Miranda shoots the sheriff, the gases catch on fire and he gets engulfed in the flames.

At the end of it all, she looks to the mirror door looking outside and Pete arrives just after everything had happened. We don’t hear him, but I believe he says “Sorry” or “I’m sorry”… something like that for not believing her, that sort of thing.

The movie ends with her and Chloe walking together, Chloe about to catch a bus and they hug, thanking each other for helping them escape that place.
Miranda then sees a boy about to get hit by a bus, she screams and it goes through him… like Rachel Parsons, it was another ghost and there’s a sign on a post that says “Have you seen this boy?”
Alluding to the possibility of a sequel, but considering the lack of prestige, probably won’t happen.

I guess you could say, in a way, the movie’s message or plot mechanism is a lot like The Sixth Sense. If you pay attention in the beginning of the movie to the most crucial event, the rest makes a lot more sense.
This isn’t as much as a stretch as Bruce Willis actually being a ghost… but the fact that they explained Miranda’s actions from the murder to everything she does/sees in the mental hospital as a result of her being possessed by a ghost… I dunno…

I mean, the pornography/serial killer thing was already a stretch as it was, but the fact she was possessed by Rachel’s ghost all along. Rachel cut her arm in the shower and while being possessed by Rachel, Miranda kills her husband to exact Rachel’s vengence.

I guess what I’m saying is that I was questioning the legitamacy of the explanation… does it make sense, absolutely, it explains a lot. But it takes a big stretch of the imagination for anything like this to occur in real life. I’m not beyond believing that possessions don’t exist. I’d prefer it if they didn’t because that’s something that really terrifies me.

In The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment has had a couple incidents in one room of his house where he believes he’s being attacked by a ghost. Bruce Willis asks him to confront the ghost to see if there’s an explanation. It turns out that the ghost is actually trying to ask for his help.
Which is ultimately what happens in this movie.

Quite a bit of a stretch, though. I must say.

With the little screentime that Pete Graham gets in this movie, I must say that overall, RDJ’s acting was up to task for this movie.
Sure, it starts with me being a little unsure as to who his character is. He seems as serious and crediable as Terry Crabtree in some instances. Heck, I looking at him and still seeing the man I saw in U.S. Marshalls and the beginning of Wonder Boys, the guy still getting over addiction or still suffering through it.

Over time, though, when he had to be serious, had to be a friend, had to be the doctor, he brought everything he could to the role and did it quite well.
It’s nice to see him wearing glasses in another role and even moreso that he’s actually the sane person for a change. Not playing the one with the problems.

So part of the time, I couldn’t help but think how much I’d like him to be there to get me out of that type of jam. The reliable, dependable type. And I can’t say that about a lot of people.

I’m not sure about what movie I said this, but I learned at least a month ago that it pays to trust Robert Downey when he’s playing a role.
The movie might have been “A Guide to Recognizing your Saints” but I’m not positive.
All it takes is a little bit of fleeting hope that he’ll do right by you and you will be awarded, either in big or little ways, depending on what the role is. He brought little things to that movie and a few big ones with the one big fight scene with his character’s father.

Then The Pick-up Artist was yet another lesson in having faith… of course I know the movie overall is horrible. But part of me hoped, well, part hoped that the Mafia or whoever Molly Ringwald’s dad owed money to didn’t kill Jack Jericho by the end of the movie… given how I feel about the guy as an actor, part of me was hung up on the belief that there was something about Jack Jericho I might warm up to. Something to really make me trust him.
I guess one chorus of “Blue Suede Shoes” was all I needed.

I can’t quite put a name or label to it, but I don’t think I’d ever felt this way about any actor before. Trusting them so much to bring something to a certain role… making the venture into the silver screen worthwhile. And every role is different.

As a scary movie meant for Halloween, yes, it was a good venture for me.
As a Robert Downey film… not so much. It’s like “Wonder Boys” in the respect that I can’t really watch it or approach with him in mind because the movie is about so much more than his character.

One thing I have kinda noticed about him… not sure if it’s still true, I’ll have to check his topless scenes in Iron-Man and Sherlock Holmes… and oddly enough, I find it a little irritated in an OCD type of way.
But I swear that the little chest chair he has, it is like a straight line that goes down the middle of his chest… I’ve seen in Wonder Boys, may have seen it in Ally McBeal (I can’t remember, lmao), and definitely say it in Chances are yesterday… it’s one of those times where I gotta ask “what is up with that”

Very strange…

As is the idea of even considering pursuing co-worker romance on the set of this movie… of all movies.
I know he didn’t get as much screen time as Halle Berry, but seriously, Robert, where did you find the time or inspiration to have eyes for producer Susan Levin?

It’s one of those “last place you would expect to look” cases.

And Wikipedia boasts that the movie is well known as when the two met and pursed romance once time was done shooting.

Bits and pieces of the conversations involve:

Robert asking Susan three times if she wanted to make out with him (she said a flat no the first two times, in disbelief)
Susan was hesitant to get involved because a) he was an employee and b) she thought he was weird (still thinks so)

I think she said the weirdness stemmed, in part, from a couple of crew lunches where he would come to the cafeteria with a box full of herbs for his new healthy diet… a tad unusual, I agree.

Considering the type of movie this was, I must say that Robert had to have been quite the charmer to pull all of the things that he did… simply amazing.
I think it was on Ellen where he said that he ultimately got her to fall in love with him and says to a nearby audience member that she “just did” and it only took 3 minutes.

In “Tropic Thunder,” I saw nothing more than acting brilliance. I mean, he was a dude, playing dude, disguised as another dude… that alone takes genius. The fact he got nominated for an Oscar is another thing, considering its a comedy (poorly overlooked as a genre in the Oscars).

I remember his acting being brilliant in “Iron-Man” but I can’t remember if I knew who the hell he was at the time… I was blown away by the storyline, I think, especially the end where he breaks superhero taboo #1 (revealing secret identity)

Time and time again, I was compelled by his brilliant acting before I thought “wow, he’s really cute” which is how I’ve gotten a few of my favorite actors under my belt (Tom Cruise, Shia LaBeouf, Jesse McCartney)…

I watched Ally McBeal a couple of times in the fall just to see into his character and what he’d bring to the show. His singing was a pleasant surprise… that’s all I really remember.

It was all about the acting at first because I went to see 3 of his movies last year… cuz he was brilliant in Tropic Thunder and I wanted more.

Speaking of that, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” will be on Reelz Channel tonight. Because of the comparisons between it and “Due Date,” I figure it’s a no-brainer. I gotta see what that movie is made of.
And I’m sure it’ll be a breeze compared to “Gothika”

“Less than Zero” came about for a number of reasons… I stuck with the movie because of him.

Chaplin, I had to see because a) it happened to be on, a great opportunity, b) it came highly recommended by a good friend of mine and b) two words: Oscar Nomination
more acting brilliance.

…OMG… I don’t think I can even pinpoint when I quote “fell in love with him” beyond the acting brilliance.
Larry Paul is for whom the bell tolls, most likely. I can’t think of any other role that really made me swooning for him. The fact that his abscene weighed so heavily was proof enough of that.
Quite the charmer… and I think that’s what I saw in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” more than the acting… Harry Lockhart was a really likeable character, insanely likeable.

I didn’t even remember until I tried to find a video with the song by The Fray of the same name, but “never say never” was the name of Bieber’s movie… my blocking that out of my memory was a stroke of brilliance.
I’m as likely to see it as the Jonas Brothers movie or Hannah Montana… and with both, I have a shred of respect for the Jonas Brothers… tiny shred that puts them a notch above Beiber on the pop singer foodchain in my book.

I should learn just to “never say never” regarding anything with Robert Downey… because I may soon regret it and contradict myself.

Then again, even then, I don’t find myself disappointed in my ventures that almost always arise from bored.

 

Speaking of that, I spent nearly every minute this afternoon writing this entry after Gothika… I guess I had to get all of this down when its still fresh in my mind.
But man, can my mind wander.

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