The problem with becoming incredibly powerful in Hollywood is that
eventually you make a movie like Vanilla Sky.
Cameron Crowe is a brilliant writer and a brilliant director. Almost
Famous was an amazing movie, Jerry Maguire was a very good movie, Say
Anything is a classic, and even Singles was highly under-rated. And
let's not forget that this man also wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
So he was bound to put together a God-awful flick one of these days.
Tom Cruise is America's darling. He makes big movies. Mission:
Impossible I and II. Interview with a Vampire. The Firm. Jerry
Maguire. Even his bit part in Magnolia garnered him much deserved
praise. One of these days, they're going to break down and give him an
I'm told that Vanilla Sky is a remake of a Spanish thriller named "Abre
Los Ojos" (Open Your Eyes). They say the Spanish film is very, very
good. The remake is not.
Vanilla Sky is about a man whose entire life gets screwed up beyond all
get-out because he can't control his libido. Tom Cruise is having casual
sex with Cameron Diaz. Then he meets Penelope Cruz and falls madly in
love in one night. This pisses Cameron Diaz off. Then there's a car
accident. A disfigurement. An affair. A return from the grave. Kurt
Russell. A murder that may not be a murder. A mask. And Hell if I know
what's supposed to be happening.
The movie has a trick ending, which I guess is all the rage these days.
But unlike The Sixth Sense, where finding out that Bruce Willis...you
have seen it, right? I mean I don't want to give away the ending of The
Sixth Sense in a review of Vanilla Sky. That'd be pretty lame. Like
when I told everyone that the girl in The Crying Game was really a guy in
my review of Blown Away. That was bad. Oh wait, didn't you know the
secret to The Crying Game? Damn.
Where was I?
Anyway, the trick ending of Vanilla Sky doesn't so much make you settle
back with a smile on your face, pleased at having witnessed something
clever and imaginative. Rather, it makes you stand up out of your seat
and shout back at the screen.
"That's it? That's stupid! Lame!!! Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame!!!"
Meanwhile, until that trick ending shows up to explain everything, you're
left sitting hunched down in your seat, smoldering angrily.
"There sure as Hell better be a trick ending that explains this nonsense
or I'm breaking out the can of Whoop-Ass."
The sad thing about the film, aside from the idea of millions of people
watching it and being left cold and empty, is that they tried to make a
good movie. They really did. There's lots of sex in it, that's always a
good thing, right? There's some violence, a car crash, plenty of
drinking, being disrespectful to one's parents and/or authority.
Basically, it's filled to the brim with junk that would have pissed off
the CAP Alert guy if he were still around. But in the end, you don't
care. It's over two hours long and those hours would be better spent in
a Turkish Prison.
Can Tom Cruise do no wrong? No. He can do wrong. And here, he has most
certainly done wrong. He does an awful lot of acting in this movie. You
see him acting all over the place. "Look at me, Ma! I'm acting!!"
And yet, the truth is, his character is a very rich, good-looking,
powerful young man who can have any woman he wants, lives in splendor,
lives the life of everyone's dreams. Do you really think Tom needed to
do any kind of research for that role?
To top it off, Tom spends a huge chunk of the film wearing a Michael
Myers mask. (From Halloween, not Austin Powers). What's the point in
casting a pretty boy when you hide his damn face? What is this, Phantom
of the Spanish Remake?
There will, I'm sure, be people who say that I'm too harsh, that I just
didn't get it, etc. To them I say, oh I got it. It was just stupid. You
want a clever, mind-altering flick? Go see Mulholland Drive. Go see
Memento. Vanilla Sky ain't it, baby. Not by a long shot.
Vanilla Sky gets 1 1/2 Babylons. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz both
spend an adequate amount of time naked and in bed, though not with each
other, which would have given the flick another 1/2 Babylon or so.
1 1/2 Babylons! I'm surprised that the SMC didn't giveit at least 2 or 3
Babylons for the fact that there was a character played by someone named
Mark Kozelek that was credited as the "Dude, fix your face guy".
Directed By: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Kurt Russell, Jason
Lee and Cameron Crowe's brilliance, on display for all to see, hear,
applaud and worship.