A Look Back | My Journey into Vanilla Sky – The Hot Mess of Exposition

Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz & Cameron Diaz
Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz & Cameron Diaz

Until today, I had never seen Vanilla Sky. I never heard anything good about it and I’m a personal fan of the Spanish original Abre Los Ojos, a movie of which I just wrote a movie about. And then one day, when I got home from work at 1 in the morning, I was able to catch the last hour of the film. Oh god did it make me cringe. From that moment on I was determined to watch the movie in its entirety so that I could write this.

Now, like most people I have gone through a period in my life where I wasn’t a fan of Tom Cruise. I love him now, religious beliefs aside; he’s a good actor.

This movie was not one of his best choices.

The director and the writers missed the point of the original. You have the source material, it was awesome, it got rave reviews, why mess with a good thing? Because they can of course.

Let’s start off with the opening sequence. That was way to long. It’s simple; he’s alone in the world, which is his deepest fear. He also has a fear of commitment. He’s not supposed to be friendly with Julianna, he’s supposed to only have sex with her, she’s supposed to mean nothing to him. Except, they have a rapport with one another, they joke and chat and she makes herself comfortable in his house.

Then there is the overlaying narration. Enough, too much talking, it was unnecessary. What made the original so good was the connection between the characters without all that talking!

I hated this movie within the first ten minutes.

I’m watching it and it’s like everyone forgot how to act in this movie. Jason Lee. I love him, he’s great but his delivery of his lines was just bad. There is no other way to say it. He was so stiff and it’s like he forgot how to act. Then there is Penelope Cruz who was in the original Spanish version – and amazing in – and her deliver was also so stiff. There was just stiffness to the entire film and the added talking just made everything worse. So much unneeded dialogue that ruined the film. The director lost all of the artistry that the original film had. Then there is the whole dynamic between David (Cruise) and Julianna (Cameron Diaz). They are not supposed to be friends. She is supposed to be a one-night stand which is what makes her a scary person, a scary character. She is a one-night stand who got under his skin, who scares him because she makes him lose control, she makes him feel something. She connects to him in a way he never wanted.

That is their dynamic. And their car scene. Oh god, so much talking, so much needless talking that ruined it. There isn’t supposed to be anything. Instead they are talking and talking and he even fights her over the control of the car as she speeds them to her death and his deformity.

I hate this movie. What am I watching? Why am I watching this again?

I hate all the exposition in this movie. I hate it all. It ruins everything, everything that was good in the original, everything that made the original film so impactful.

One hour in and hour and twenty-two minutes to go. God, give me strength.

Okay, another thing wrong with this movie is that it drags out the scenes so much. The club scene where he meets Sophia (Cruz) and Brian (Jason Lee) is way too long to mean anything. He’s miserable, we get it, there is no reason to make that scene so incredibly long.

The director ruined such a great movie. There is no reason for this film to be as bad as it was. It should have been as amazing as the original, it even had one of the actors from the original. But the wordiness of the film took everything away from it. Even these great actors weren’t able to make something good out of this crappy film.

Every time Sophia turns into Julianna Cameron Diaz’s performance is crazy and doesn’t fit with the character of Sophia. She does not fit the character at all. She’s Julianna, she’s supposed to be Sophia and she doesn’t act that way. Her lines, the characterization, it’s all wrong – it’s bad. It’s just, it’s bad. I don’t believe there is any other way to say it. And then Jason Lee, oh god, I know I’ve already said this and I’m sorry for all the repetition in this piece, I truly am, but this movie is awful.

There is nothing redeemable about the movie. The ending is just a hot mess and everything there, everything that happens creates this inconsequential jumble for the audience. Not to mention that throughout the film, the director inserted bits and pieces here and there, giving away the ending of the film.

Don’t see this movie, save yourselves the 2-hour drama of roundabout mess and enjoy Abre Los Ojos, because that film is amazing.

Vanilla Sky is not.

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