Friday, October 11, 2013

Room 237

Now here's a real piece of shit.

I try to be nice about these things. Really, I do. I try to see the best in everything and assign the very best of intentions. But lord was this movie bad, and it was the first film I've seen in a long time that actively made me angry. It wasn't just poorly executed, but poorly thought out and completely inscrutable from start to finish. In other words, a real piece of shit.

This film is ostensibly a documentary about Stanley Kubrick's seminal horror film The Shining, or, at least, that's what I thought it would be. I had heard about it when it was in production, and then I saw it the list of newly added instant selections on Netflix, so I decided I'd check it out. I'm a fan of The Shining and its production -- along with every Kubrick production for that matter -- has become the stuff of legend. But this wasn't a documentary on the film's production. In fact, I would be hard pressed to call this a documentary of any kind. It was basically just a film-version of the IMDB user comments page.

Here's the premise of this film: A half dozen or so people talk about their various crock-pot theories about this film's meaning and intentions. These half dozen or so people are never seen or introduced, so we have no idea who they are, what they look like, or what their credentials are. All we hear are their voices and idiotic, insane ramblings.

The first theory about this film's meaning is that it's Kubrick commentary on the genocide of the American Indian by the United States of America. The evidence presented? It's mentioned that the Overlook Hotel was built on an old Indiana burial ground, there is a photograph of a Native American chief on the wall in a hallway, and in the scenes in the food cupboard, a few cans of Calumet baking powder are seen in the background for a few seconds. That's pretty much it, and this theory is somehow discussed for about fifteen or so minutes and presented as irrefutable proof that Kubrick's entire film is solely about the genocide of the American Indian.

And that's just one theory out of about half a dozen, each more ridiculous than the next, all told with the utmost earnestness and conviction, if not the best sound or editing design. At one point one of the narrators apologized before excusing herself to quiet her child in the next room, and I'm not making that up. I'm pretty sure this film's audio was recorded entirely via Skype.

Another theory is that the film is actually about the Holocaust. Why? Because there is a reoccurring Eagle motif which somehow only signifies Nazism. Oh, and when this film discusses reoccurring motifs, they pretty much only show two examples, which anybody can tell tell you does not prove a pattern. Oh, and the number 237 itself (which is the room where Jack and Danny see that ghost) can be turned into the number 42 by multiplying 2x3x7, and since 1942 was when the Nazis formally decided on their Final Solution, therefore this film is entirely about the Holocaust.

And don't even get me started on the theory that this film is actually Kubrick's attempt to admit his culpability in helping NASA fake the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, not only because the theory itself is wholly unsupported by any legitimate examples from the film, but because the Apollo 11 actually landed on the fucking moon.

I suppose in a way this film might as a commentary on the over analysis of film itself, but then I would have to be just as crazy and obsessive as the crackpots found in this movie... and I don't want to go there.

Do I have anything nice to say about this movie? Whoever edited together the footage from the Shining (along with some of Kubrick's other films), did a decent job matching it up with the dialogue. But other than that... this was a real piece of shit.

1 comment:

Mugato said...

Here's my theory. Scatman Crothers is in the movie, scat means shit ... think about it