Monday, August 09, 2010

The Inception of my Resurgent Bitterness

After slogging through a long week at work with a long slog of work ahead of us for the weekend, the zwoman and I went to dinner and a movie on Friday night. She wanted to see "Inception," and it was playing in an IMAX theater at a convenient time, so I ponied up the $38 for two tickets. I don't recall ever being so bitter over spending $38.

The alleged IMAX theater in Kip's Bay isn't a real IMAX. It's just a big movie screen. Remember when we were kids and all theaters had only one screen and it was really big? Like the old theater on DoG Street? Imagine that with a sharper picture and a louder sound system. That isn't IMAX. Turns out the "real IMAX" theater is in Lincoln Center.

The dearth of IMAXdom was an initial perturbance, but I settled into my seat and got over it quickly. Until the movie started.

"Inception" takes ideas from "The Matrix," "The Cell," and "Total Recall" and combines them to form the most ill-conceived sci-fi movie since "Jumpers."

I can deal with sci-fi movies if they're well done. My only requirement is that the movie set out some underlying rules for the forthcoming supernatural shitshow, and that it stick to those rules. "Inception," like "Jumpers," has no rules.

I watched "Jumpers" for free at home on demand. Afterwards I wanted those 88 minutes of my life back and I was insulted by the movie's stupidity. "Inception" sprawls out for 148 minutes, almost two and a half hours of inconsistent plot and tiresome clenched-jaw intensity by every male actor on the screen. It's even more insulting that "Jumpers" and I'm still livid that I'm out $38.

The plot is: Leonardo DiCaprio and his buddies have this machine that allows you to experience shared dreams with other people while they are plugged into the machine. They use this machine to steal information from people through their dreams. One of his jobs gets botched and he has to fix it so that he can return to the United States to be reunited with his kids because right now he's suspected of murdering his wife so he has to live abroad, but if he fixes the botched job he can clear the murder charges.

It's as terrible as it sounds. There appear to be almost no rules to how the dream machine works, and the few rules set out early on are broken throughout the movie. It's nonsense. I realize that sci-fi is almost definitionally nonsensical, but this thing is beyond the nonsense pale.

The only way they could have salvaged this mess would be if in the end, when DiCaprio faces an elderly and lyophilized Ken Watanabe, he gets the secret information he was supposed to get from Watanabe at the beginning of the movie. A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. That's right. The only way to make this story remotely acceptable would be if six dreams were involved.

Instead we get predictable puke. I give it one bitter pill out of ten.


Greg said...

I also saw Inception. Biggest fraud since the '84 Mondale Campaign.

d-train said...

wow. most of the feedback dtrain has received on this has been overwhelmingly positive. i do know someone that walked out of it halfway through though. very interesting. thank you for the review.
on the movie front, my wife and i watched crazy heart on dvd this wkd....i'd give it a good to quite good.

T.J. said...

Zman, I don't get this, but I bet it's funny:

Greg said...

I checked my watch twice during Inception. I was in a "how much longer is this lame-ass event driven action schlockfest going to continue" mode.

Also, "The Other Guys" is funny.

zman said...


rob said...

to be fair, d-train, most of us w&m types are smarter than the folks you hang around

zman said...

My tattered ability to suspend my disbelief broke beyond repair when they hooked a dead guy up to the dream machine, all by himself, and then everyone was in the dead guy's dream. This makes no sense whatsoever, even if you're willing to assume that the dream machine makes sense.

d-train said...

that's very true.

Greg said...

And then Ellen Page appeared in the movie. For reasons undetermined. Seriously, they go through this whole spiel about how "talented" she is and introduce her to the whole concept but then that pans out into nothing. She's just....there. And I HATED the whole, "you CAN have a 'dream within a dream within another dream but can only go down so many levels of dreams'. Really? Why? It's as if the writers were thinking, "wait a minute, we can't have our protagonists continuously diving down into newer dreams because that would just be waaay out there---let's put a cap on it at say, 6 dreams, that's more realistic." It's like having a super hero who can fly....but only like 10-15 feet or so because it's more "realistic".

Squeaky said...

Great, we have $40 tickets for it tomorrow night. Could have put 'Spoiler Alert' in there somewhere.

Just kidding the wife and I never go out to the movies, not with a two year old.

Doesn't even sound like it warrants to placed on the old netflix cue.

d-train said...

squeaky - maybe you can at least pull the 'ole popcorn trick while you're there? hmmm? hmmm?

zman said...

And the kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun" was supposed to be the best at what he did, although no one ever explained what it is he does. The chemist I get. The forger I get. The kid from 3rd Rock? No idea.

d-train said...

and these prices i'm hearing are, in the words of regis philbin, out of control. our theatres here on the prairie offer far more attractive price points.

zman said...

And what's the deal with limbo? Who found it? How did they get out? Who figured out the limbo rules? [maybe rob?] Why don't the limbo rules apply to DiCaprio?

T.J. said...

Are you telling me the limbo rules are in limbo?

TR said...

why are we throwing spoilers out for a movie that's been out 3 weeks?

d-train said...

seriously - are handjobs for tips offered at these "theatres"?
what else are you receving for $40.00? a couple of cocktails perhaps?

zman said...

The whole movie is spoilt even if you don't know what's going to happen. I'd rather watch the Teej and Weav show.

T.J. said...

This week with special guest Nipsy Russell.

zman said...

For $19 per ticket you get to watch the movie on a big screen. They call it IMAX so you think it will be good. I doubt they get a lot of repeat business but there are enough people in Manhattan to make their money back even if people only go once.

Greg said...

Everybody wants to co-host a show with TJ:

Z-Man and the Teej

The Weave and Teej Show

A.M. Ale hosted by the Teej

The Flan-Man Wheelhouse Experience featuring the Teej

"The Teej" opening for Igor D-Train Overdrive.

Igor said...

Tune into The Teej Morning Zoo featuring Mr. Truck! 96.9 on your radio dial.

Igor said...

And by the way, limbo rules don't apply to Rob, either. It's why Dave calls him "Upright Limbo Champ," and it's not fair at all.

T.J. said...

The Teej Morning Zoo is already a huge hit...overseas.

d-train said...

and 690 AM

Marls said...

Is she still the ZWoman or should she now be called the Zwife?

I better be getting union scale if I have to produce all of these "and the Teej" shows.

zman said...

I think we are now zman and zwife as far as the IRS is concerned, but she's still the zwoman to me.

Tah-Tah-Tootie, get Nipsey Hussle this week. Teej and Weav have Nipsey Russell's corpse and I'm jealous.

Greg said...

And don't forget the albums:

Teej Side of the Moon

Born to Teej

Ziggy Teejdust


Let it Teej

Hotel Teejifornia

Teej Mask Replica

Achteej Baby

Straight Outta Teej

Teej Unplugged


Paul's Bouteej

Teej for the Tillerman

Tatteej You

Mr. Teejborine Man

White Light/White Teej

Teej Live at the Acropolis

Jagged Little Teej


Teej Out of Hell

3 Teej High And Rising

Teej Against the Machine


Enter the Wu-Teej: 36 Chambers


Teejic Kingdom




Squeaky said...

3 Teej High And Rising - that's the live version, right?

T.J. said...

Oh my:

Igor said...

Greg, that list made my day. "Paul's Bouteej" was somethin' special.

T.J. said...

Synchroniciteej got me gud.

Igor said...

I should leave well enough alone, but I'm one of those guys who does think that Exile on Teej Street is one of the best albums of all time. And the list can't be called "definitive" if it leaves out:

The Joshua Teej
Appeteej for Destruction
If I Should Fall From Grace with Teej
Physical Graffiteej
Darkness on the Edge of Teej
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's Teej

T.J. said...

Saturday Night Teejer?

Dave said...

thanks for the heads up, zman, i was all set to see "inception." thought it would be like eternal sunshine of the spotless teej.

saw my first 3-d movie last week-- toy story 3. amazing and highoy recommended.

T.J. said...

Don't you mean Teej Story 3?

TR said...

dead horse requests you stop beating it

T.J. said...

Blue Horseshoe requests you post something then...and not something out of a medical journal.

d-train said...

i've got something to look at...

from what i hear, a couple of you chaps may be able to benefit from the "cami secret"

give it a whirl!

T.J. said...

I really did just audibly laugh at work. Well done d-train.