Friday, March 27, 2009

Psychically Stoned--The Art of Enjoying Knowing

Maybe it was the curiously strong chai, maybe it was the guilty pleasure of seeing a movie at 4:30 in the afternoon on a weekday, but whatever the case may have been, I thoroughly enjoyed Knowing. To be fair, you might not want to trust me on this one, because not only did I like Knowing, but I also loved all the trailers that preceded it...and I usually hate trailers. Inglorious Basterds, Public Enemies, Star Trek, Sorority Row, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3--based on the trailers I want to see them all. And that makes no sense. Was I stoned? No I wasn’t. But it sure felt like I was. I’ve had it with Nazis and WWII movies, but damn it, Brad Pitt was chewing the scenery in the Inglorious Basterds trailer and it’s a new Tarntino movie. I’m there. I’ve also had it with new gangster movies, yet the lush period scenery and Johnny Depp disappearing into the role of John Dillinger in the dubiously titled Public Enemies seemed pretty enticing. I’m in. I also hate it when they remake great movies like Pelham One Two Three. Can’t they leave well enough alone? Plus it looks like Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Green and Mr. Grey have been morphed into one character played by John Travolta. Whatever, I’m along for the ride. And finally, Sorority Girls toss a dead body down a well and then a hooded figure starts tracking them down and killing them on Sorority Row—Looks fantastic. Can’t wait.

As for Knowing, I should say I had no desire to see it, expected it to be terrible but went anyway when a friend put out the offer. I think the key to enjoying these bombastic Hollywood offerings is to have no expectations. If you expect the worse, can you really be disappointed? As for the film, it has a pretty great premise. It opens in 1959 with a group of 2nd graders putting items in a time capsule. A freaky girl--think a tripped out Wednesday Adams--furiously scribbles down a series of numbers, urged on by the demonic voices in her head. That missive is unearthed 50 years later by Nick Cage’s son. After a bout of drinking bourbon, Cage starts recognizing a pattern to the numbers. They seem to be a code that has predicted the dates, locations and death counts of every major disaster in the last 50 years. A handful of the numbers suggest disasters to imminently unfold in the coming weeks. The film has a pervasive creepiness to it. Reminiscent of the creep factor of some 70s horror films like Audrey Rose. Factor in the cloaked men that are stalking Cage’s son and the specter of 70s Satanist films comes to the fore. Incubus, The Devil’s Rain, and even Coven come to mind. Sure there is some wretched overacting and some convenient and incomprehensible plot developments, but I was enjoying the apocalyptic fanfare. Interestingly, the end of the film turns creepy in a religious way. All of a sudden we seem to get transported to a Mormon educational film or a Unarius video and you realize that perhaps you’ve been watching a multi-million dollar religious propaganda film. Spoiler alert forthcoming: As the apocalypse bears down on planet earth, keep this in mind. There are chosen ones who will be spirited away to the heavens, their earthly bodies intact. As for everyone else, as long as you believe and have faith, you will find comfort, and perhaps, salvation. This message should have enraged me? Didn't I hate Forrest Gump for a similar faith-based world view? But like I say, perhaps, I was psychically stoned, cause yesterday at the movies, it was all good.


Gil said...

well, I AM stoned and the Devil's Rain looks like the best movie ever made.

Danny Plotnick said...

Has Borgnine ever made a bad movie. And what a supporting cast. Ida Lupino, William Shatner, Tom Skerrit, Eddie Albert and Anton Lavey!