Monday, November 04, 2013

Franzia Movies + A Documentary Review: Room 237

Ever have one of those afternoons or evenings where you don't have plans and someone half-heartedly suggests going to the movies? It's not for a specific movie but just to go. You might be going to a movie your friend or girlfriend wants to see but you do not want to. Buy a box of Franzia wine, remove the bag of wine from the box, attach a plastic tube to the spigot, place the bag into your lady's purse or buddy's jacket and drink Franzia throughout the movie. Don't do this at good movies, just at those films you are dragged to by others. That is a Franzia Movie.

Room 237 is a documentary showcasing the odd theories of several fans of The Shining. I like Kubrick's work, and The Shining is the one film that affects me for days after whenever I watch it. It is unnerving. Room 237 is a hysterical documentary about the idiots that walk among us as well as the power of people to see what they want to see in a film. The interviewees have the following theories:

1. It is Kubrick's portrayal of the American Indian genocide. This is also the meta story of everything of humanity's entire nightmare of a past all in one film.
2. It is Kubrick's portrayal of the Holocaust.
3. It is Kubrick's explanation of demons and ghosts that are sexually into humans (cool).... and his role in faking the Apollo moon landing telecast. Jack's mental anguish is Kubrick's anguish over faking the moon landing.
4. It is a story of possible sexual abuse of Danny by Jack with Danny wanting to kill Jack, but I couldn't make this guy's theory out as well because of his nervous and creepy laughter. He was very focused on family dynamics. I can't type this enough, his laugh is awful. His theory also involves watching it backwards and forwards at the same time.
5. A woman created maps of the entire hotel (a set), and the layout of the hotel does not make sense. She is obsessed with labyrinths and mazes. The whole movie is about the minotaur (Jack) and mazes. I found her reading of the movie interesting, and something I had not considered.

The Indian genocide theory is by a journalist who spent time looking for Indian artifacts as a kid as well as being a liberal journalist who would have been very aware of the 1970s American Indian Rights movement of the '70s. His thought on this being about the killing throughout history is from his mind which watched five years of the Lebanese civil war first hand. The Holocaust theory is spouted by a professor of German history. The faked moon landing theory guy is a conspiracy theory enthusiast. Family dynamics, creepy laugh guy had a wife and one kid and lived in a secluded spot. Their theories are not about the movies as much as it is about their lives being centered around their obsessions. It is a symptom of narcissism. Even Chuck Klosterman's review of the documentary misses this key part. They see what their lives direct them to see, and of course, they feel their interpretation is the right one.

Per these interviewees, The Shining isn't a horror movie until maybe the last 20 minutes or as one subject says, there is nothing supernatural in the movie except one specific thing. Forget the multiple ghosts, bartenders that look devilish out of nowhere, elevators of blood, kid talking and showing to himself horrific imagery of the hotel before getting to the hotel, the steady, growing personification of the hotel and telepathy. These people are so wrapped up in their theories that they look for the smallest things that may support their ideas yet miss other obvious things. There's a minotaur where it is obviously, to you and I, a man skiing. The American Indian designs represent the destruction of Indians, not the fact that Indian influence in the West was, and still is to a lesser degree, a huge aesthetic influence. Continuity issues or visual slips are important signals to tuned in viewers. A single typewriter and a dissolving shot of peoples and luggage cue viewers into this being about the Holocaust. The key tag for room 237 is where Kubrick tips his hand in the faking of the moon landing. The delusions of these individuals are fun to listen to, even if they have the laugh of a murderer.

I would have loved to see a roundtable of these people. Would they argue and rip on one another or would they support each other? Pour a stiff drink and enjoy.

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