Greatest moment: Inauguration Day. Jackie Evancho sings the National Anthem, while former First Lady Michelle Obama scowls in the background. Nothing better sums up the two contrasts.
The worst of 2017 would be the anti-Trump protests courtesy of ANTIFA, campus radicals, Communist agitators, Islamic fanatics, disgruntled Hillary voters/feminists, Black Lives Matter, illegal aliens and George Soros’ paid thugs. These protests started the day after the election and continued on through-out the year. The strange thing was that the protests weren’t about anything – other than their side lost and they couldn’t handle it.
Next worst, would be Hillary Clinton’s never-ending campaign against Donald Trump. Someone should tell this aged bimbo the election is over. Hillary’s so-called book tour was just her way of proving out the old saying: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” All claims of Russia collusion have proven false.
In 1977, Warner Bros. released the long anticipated sequel to the 1973 blockbuster “The Exorcist”. Weekend box-office receipts were huge, but the reviews were terrible – so bad that the film was re-edited, then re-released. The new cuts didn’t help much and the “Exorcist II” died a quick death.
Backstory. “Exorcist II” was directed by John Boorman, known best for “Deliverance” (1972.) Boorman hated the original film, said it “wasn’t uplifting”, which may account as to why this one is so different.
Jon Voight was originally cast as Father Lamont. Voight asked for script changes to make it “more believable.” After three screenplay revisions, Voight still unsatisfied, quit. (Star Linda Blair said that with each rewrite, it only became worse.) Richard Burton replaces him.
Ellen Burstyn (as Chris MacNeil, the possessed girl’s mother) refuses to take part. Still on board are Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil, Kitty Wynn as Sharon and Max Van Sydow as Father Merrin.
PLOT: The Catholic Church decides to investigate what killed Father Merrin in an exorcism, sending Father Lamont (Richard Burton.) Regan MacNeil is now undergoing hypnotherapy with her psychiatrist Dr. Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher.) Father Lamont participates in these sessions and finds that the demon “Pazuzu” still lurks within, prohibiting Regan from her true destiny.
Dr. Tuskin is skeptical. Major plot point: Science vs. religion.
Regan, besides being an artist, miraculously heals an autistic girl by briefly speaking with her. She also has some psychic abilities and is “in synch” with the priest.
Thru flashbacks, it’s revealed that Father Merrin’s previous exorcism was of a boy named Kokumo – a healer in Africa who has the power to drive away locusts. Lamont comes to the conclusion that it is “great goodness that attracts evil,” in an attempt to destroy it.
Lamont, against the church’s orders, travels to Africa. He sees that his visions are correct.
Weirdest Scene. As Regan dances onstage – Father Lamont is attacked by an angry mob. They think he’s in league with Satan. Regan feels his pain and goes into seizures. Lamont barely escapes.
Lamont, with the help of “Ecumenical Edwards” (Ned Beatty) finds Kokumo (James Earl Jones), now a scientist who is breeding a new locust that will resist its destructive tendencies.
“The Good Locust.”
Returning to the states, Lamont meets Regan, they go into synch again, where the spirit of Father Merrin tells him to guard her against evil. Instead, Lamont takes Regan back to Georgetown, back to where the original exorcism took place. Dr. Tuskin and Sharon find out and while rushing there, they are met with a plague of locusts. Their taxi crashes next to the house.
In that house, Lamont meets the second Regan – the evil one. The demon-possessed twin urges Lamont to kill the good Regan, but he realizes that he must kill the evil one, by “tearing out her heart.”
A larger swarm of locusts descends, smashing into the house. Lamont kills the evil Regan. Good Regan begins twirling an instrument thru the air (the same used by Kokumo.) This calms down the locusts. Lamont and Regan leave, the evil one vanquished.
First, the highpoints. Camerawork (by William Fraker) is exceptional, some of the shots are starkly beautiful. Louise Fletcher’s look when she realizes Regan’s drawing foretold the future… Father Lamont’s first meeting Kokumo and when Regan sleepwalks on top of the roof.
Music is by the legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
Some costly set decoration – Regan’s glassy penthouse apartment is remarkable.
Richard Burton’s performance. By 1977, he was divorced from Liz Taylor and on the wagon, anxious to prove he could still act. He gives it one hundred percent.
What Went Wrong? The storyline goes off in too many directions. The strobe-light hypnosis sessions go on for too long – the effect is irritating. The idea that the Catholic Church would investigate a four year old exorcism is farfetched. (Isn’t that a job for the police?) The grand finale is so over the top, but where else are you going to see Richard Burton tear out Linda Blair’s heart?
The 70’s has been called Hollywood’s Silver Age and it would be fair to say that the “Exorcist II” could only happen in the 70’s.
Alton Nolen, a Muslim fanatic who beheaded one of his co-workers, was sentenced to death. Nolen killed Colleen Hufford, shortly after he was fired for trying to convert others to Islam. He was also convicted of stabbing and nearly beheading Traci Johnson, who also worked at the same factory.
Talk about poetic justice. Akayed Ullah, a Muslim immigrant fanatic, decided to set off a pipe-bomb in New York City’s Times Square subway station. (Ullah was disturbed by America’s Christmas displays.) Instead, his homemade bomb backfired and he injured mostly himself.
Authorities immediately rushed him to the hospital. I would’ve left him there to die.
Speculate about what might’ve happened. I think God stepped in and said, “Enough is Enough.” (Despite the left’s desperate attempts to rationalized and cover-up the actions of this death cult.)
Due to increased interest in this article, further content has been added in REDtext.
In the special features section, on the “Eyes Wide Shut” DVD, there are three interviews, labeled under “Cast & Crew”. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg. (Why is Spielberg listed as a crew member? Because he helped cut the missing 29 minutes.)
Contrary to what Warner Bros. execs said at the time, they were not “delighted” with the original version of “Eyes Wide Shut”. They didn’t like it, didn’t understand it and wanted cuts. Director Stanley Kubrick said “no,” (he had final authority), until he was found dead four days later from a heart attack.
Edited scene: Originally, Alice does have a brief sexual encounter with Sander Szavost at the Christmas party. (Song follows, titled “Baby did a Bad Thing”.)
Sky du Mont as Sander Szavost with Nicole Kidman as Alice.
Edited: Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) is betraying Bill Harford (Tom Cruise.) Alice (Nicole Kidman) is being used as a sex slave by the Illuminati-like lodge, and by Ziegler himself.
Probably the most interesting sequence rumored to be cut is Alice Harford’s dream, which Nicole Kidman mentions indirectly. The interviewer asks her why did she laugh while sleeping? Kidman replies, “I was laughing at the imagery of the dream.” Apparently, her character is a victim of a secret society (the Illuminati) and she’s remembering her MK-Ultra programming thru the dream.
Warner Bros. were especially disturbed by whatever was in this scene.
Further proof of the cut dream sequence occurs at the film’s conclusion. At the toy store, Helena Harford (Madison Eginton) picks up a Barbie doll with wings. In the edited dream, Alice is seen “flying”. [ILLUMINATI BUTTERFLY SYBOLISM.]
Helena Harford shows mother an image of her other half.
Not edited, but not easily understood are the final scenes. The daughter appears separated from her parents, while Alice keeps Bill occupied in conversation. (As their daughter is being taken away by the secret society.)
Nicole Kidman said she’s seen the movie twice. Is this a hint, i.e., once the original, twice, the cut version?
Of the three interviewed, she’s the only one who cries, saying Kubrick’s death “seemed wrong” and “that he had more to say.”
Tom Cruise describes his director as a “magical, wonderful guy.”
Tom Cruise with director Stanley Kubrick.
“Eyes Wide Shut”, three years in the making, was wearing on Cruise, who both “dreaded and looked forward to ending” the Dr. Bill Harford character. Kubrick said, “Every scene, every moment, has to be earned.” Cruise asks, “Just tell me how long is this gonna take? Two years?” Kubrick laughed, saying, “Tom, if it took that long, then everything they say about us is true!” When asked about his death, Cruise replies that he had great concern for the movie – another indication that he was telling us something happened to “Eyes Wide Shut” after the director died.
Stanley Kubrick & Steven Spielberg
The Salieri of the piece is Steven Spielberg, who doesn’t talk about “Eyes Wide Shut” at all. He mentions that he didn’t like “The Shining” at first, that Jack Nicholson’s performance was “Kabuki theater”; however, “Stanley’s films grow on you over time.” For him, Kubrick’s best gifts were “his friendship” and “his impeccable craft, his compositions, and his films.”
Sketches for Kubrick’s concept for “A.I.”
In another interview, not on this DVD, Spielberg claims that Kubrick wanted him to direct “A.I.” (Artificial Intelligence.) Kubrick would produce it. What most people aren’t aware of is that Spielberg completely rewrote the script Kubrick wrote. “A.I” (based on the short story “Summer Toys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss.) “A.I.” was headed for darker themes, something Steven Spielberg wanted no part of. Thus, with “A.I.” we have a Disneyized version of an unrealized Stanley Kubrick film.
As for any hope for the missing “Eyes Wide Shut” footage reappearing, it ain’t gonna happen. The cast, the crew and Kubrick’s family have been sworn to secrecy. Warners denies there ever were any major cuts. (There is what is called the “European Version” containing 90 seconds more of orgy footage.)
A positive note: only Stanley Kubrick would’ve dared make this movie and there are still clues to what can be learned from it.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36
“Vanilla Sky” (2001) opens with aerial shots of Manhattan, or what it looks like if you’re flying in too low, ready to crash into a building. Thus, begins the dream… and what is a movie if not a dream? Sometimes, dreams predict things. The camera zooms down toward “The Dakota” – that notorious apartment building we all know from “Rosemary’s Baby” and from where John Lennon was murdered.
The Beatles – Illuminati hand signals by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
“Vanilla Sky” was filmed in 2000 and then released on Dec. 14th, 2001. I’m surprised it wasn’t cut – reedited – as some other pre-9/11 films were. (e.g. “Men in Black 2”, “Spiderman”, and “Collateral Damage”.) There are more 9/11 references , which I’ll get to later.
PLOT. David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a rich playboy who has everything. David and his best friend/employee Brian (Jason Lee) are nearly killed in a car accident toward the beginning. Brian remarks, “You know what? Your life flashed before my eyes.” This warning is laughed off.
David’s quandary: He controls a media conglomerate (left to him by his father), but he’s not taken seriously by “the board”, who want to take it away from him.
More seriously: He is involved with Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) whom Brian refers to as his “fuck buddy”. When Sophia (Penelope Cruz) enters the picture, Julie knows she’s about to lose him.
When David meets Sophia (originally Brian’s girl), they become soulmates in one evening. Just when our hero thinks he’s found his dream girl, Julie returns, luring him into her car, possibly for a sexual rendezvous. While driving, she begins to unravel, revealing that she knows she’s his “fuck buddy” and asks “When did you stop caring?” Ms. Psycho Girlfriend asks “Do you believe in God?”, then rams her car through a railing, crashing into a concrete wall.
David survives, but is left disfigured, his side partially paralyzed with excruciating headaches. After some time of being alone and depressed, he attempts to resume his relationship with Sophia. On their reunion date, she brings along Brian. Things do not go well from there. Drinking tequila shots, David sees Sophia dancing and also sees that she has moved on.
In a short, but very funny scene, David stares at his face in the men’s room mirror. Three guys pass by and one tells him, “Dude, fix your fucking face!” (Even Tom Cruise laughs.)
David finds Sophia (speaking with another man) and basically wants her to tell him where they stand. She doesn’t want to say, then finally she blurts out: “I’ll tell you in another life, when we’re cats.”
Going home, she ditches him for Brian and our former hero is left passed out drunk on the sidewalk.
“Vanilla Sky” shifts into many gears after this, but like I promised , I’ll get to the other 9/11 references.
[WARNING – SPOILER ALERT.]
At the conclusion, David (whom we do not know if he’s dead, alive or dreaming), is forced to confront his greatest fear: heights. His dream guide takes him up an elevator into one of the tallest skyscrapers in New York City. His guide explains that he’s in the future now, “much has changed and your money will not last long.” On top of the building, he meets with his psychiatrist, Brian and Sophia. He is faced with a decision: stay in his “Lucid Dream” or wake up by jumping off the building. Speaking with the only woman he ever loved, he asks Sophia if she remembers telling him – “Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.”
David makes the decision to jump. End the dream.
9/11 – The Falling Man
As he is falling, one cannot help but be reminded of the 9/11 jumpers. This is the subliminal message. America was woken out of its dream – its vision of invulnerability. So how did the filmmakers know this beforehand?