Review Date: November 07, 2001
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Producers: Tommy Pallotta, Jonah Smith
And talk about being clinical! Most of these chatterboxes wouldn't even shut up or slow down for a second in order for me to even attempt to grasp their jargon-filled rhetoric about the meaning of life or the interpretations of dreams, bla-bla-bla. I'm not even sure if anyone is supposed to be able to keep up with these folks, or take it all to mean something "deep and insightful", when really it's just a bunch of psychobabble fluff disguised as pseudo-intellectual wisdom. Boooooooooooring! All of it, was just plain lame, and boring to me, as an individual. But did I just not "get it"? Not really. I consider myself to be a pretty smart cookie and the bottom line with me and this movie is that it just left me bored out of my skull. If I wanted to watch an intellectual discussion of meta-physics, existentialism and the meaning of life, I'd pick up a few expert books, watch some documentaries or interviews with actual connoisseurs. But watching some flaccid character's supposed "dreams" filled with wordy quotes and interpretations from pretentious, overly-aware slackers, is not why I pay to go to the movies. But even as I say that, I could certainly see a certain niche of the populace loving this kind of garbage (yes, once again, an overwhelming amount of "real" movie critics love this film...which always reminds me of why I started this website in the first place).
To me, it's a trippy exercise in animation, and in that regard, it succeeds somewhat, although if you're prone to motion sickness, beware! And would smoking some heavy weed or dropping some acid bring you closer to the point of this whole movie? Definitely! In fact, writer/director Linklater himself was quoted as saying these words before the film's premiere at Sundance: "How many of you out there are on drugs?" When a number of hands went up, he added, "Good. This is for you. The rest of you, just bear with me." (Source: James Berardinelli) Does that mean that you have to be in an altered state in order to enjoy this thing? No, but I can definitely see this movie turning into another "cult classic" for the potheads around the world. Even I'm guilty of talking shit when I'm drunk off my ass with my buddies, but I certainly wouldn't make a movie about it or expect others to give a rat's ass! The theater in which I saw this flick had 10 people in it when it started, and by the time it was over, only 5 people survived. Unfortunately, I had to be one of them (since I publish my reviews on the Net, I think it's only fair that I stay all the way until the end, as painful as it might be). Actually, I did like the one theory right near the end of the film by the character playing the pinball machine (which is apparently Linklater himself), but pretty much everything else in the movie was poppycock to me. So is this a recommendation or not? Well, to be honest, I really disliked this film and certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who thinks a lot like me, but if you read my entire review and are actually interested in sitting around with a ragtag bunch of bohemian coffee-drinkers who enjoy listening to each other rant on about a certain philosophy and attempting to decipher the answers to our universe while watching pretty "moving paintings" shift around before your blood-shot eyes...well, enjoy the trip, my friends. To everyone else, thank me for saving you money.
And why am I even giving this movie a 4/10? Well, to be honest, I always gotta give props to those who attempt to try something different in film (even if it fails miserably, like this thing) and I certainly admire Linklater for trying something unique. Also, the visuals are pretty incredible and I admittedly did find myself dreaming about a possible re-visiting of the film, but only under the influence of some massive doses of higher enlightenment. Picasso/Dali, you guys would've loved this shite!