Bad Moviethon #12 – Vanilla Sky


…in which I examine if bad movies really deserve their woeful rotten tomatoes score

Vanilla Sky | 2001

Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe reunite after “Jerry Maguire” for “Vanilla Sky,” the story of a young New York City publishing magnate who finds himself on an unexpected roller-coaster ride of romance, comedy, suspicion, love, sex and dreams in a mind-bending search for his soul.

Technically, this has a rating of 42% but I will allow it. This is your run of the mill all a dream movie, except that part is tacked on fifteen minutes before the end of the movie. Before that, it’s a jumbled, confused mess of a film. After that, it’s even more confusing.

Tom Cruise is a rich egomaniac who treats people like shit. One day this backfires on him and Cameron Diaz flips out and crashes her car with him in it. He’s disfigured and his arm is bust. His life sucks and he pushes everyone away. He also wears this mask the plastic surgeons give him. All of this is interspersed with him in jail for the murder of Penelope Cruz. He’s talking to a psychiatrist who will determine what he’s charged with or something.

Eventually we find that he basically agreed to be frozen and live in a lucid dream. He killed himself and a splice occurred, so he began to live in his dream. What’s happening from that point is that a glitch is messing up the dream. So he keeps seeing things, particularly Cameron Diaz instead of Penelope Cruz. That all spirals out of control until he smothers Penelope to death.

Now, all of that was fine, but then we hear about ‘Ellie’ and conveniently, there happens to be a video playing about L.E., some life enhancement company. Of course, this is still the dream, but Tom Cruise doesn’t know that he’s dreaming.

Eventually the penny drops after he’s called Tech Support and his psychiatrist – who’s been claiming that none of this is real – can’t name his own daughters. And he can’t do that because he’s a figment of Tom Cruise’s imagination.

At the end he’s given the option to stay in the dream or ‘wake up’. He’s been frozen for 150 years so he won’t have any money and life will be different etc.

He chooses to wake up and the movie ends with someone telling him to open his eyes (which is how the movie began).

This is a remake of a Spanish movie so maybe it’s better to watch that, but I was just left wondering what the point was. If some of it was a dream – fine, but all of it? Really? Yeah, I get that various parts of his psyche were manifesting in his dreams. His guilt over his poor treatment of Cameron Diaz. The way his vision of Penelope Cruz is too perfect to be true, the psychiatrist becoming a father figure.

The clues in the movie point to it all being a dream, but apparently there’s some real in it. Who knows. I don’t think I care anymore. It just made my head hurt. I’m not surprised that people loved it. It’s got that wishy washy real deep shit happening here feel about it. People love that kind of thing.

Verdict: 5/10

I see that Tom Cruise was running in this movie too. I wish I’d run away after fifteen minutes.

The best thing about this movie is the Happy Endings quotes about it:

I miss Happy Endings so much!


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