Scott Hardie | January 3, 2002
The advertising for "Vanilla Sky" deserves praise for not revealing the bigger secrets of the film, and the magnitude of these secrets keeps increasing as the film gets closer and closer to its big finish. There are some vague spoilers in this entry, so don't read it if you don't want to know.

I have issues with movies where the hero wakes up and everything that came before was not real. I grant movies one use of this trick as a conceit, and if they continue to have the hero wake up, I knock the movie down a point on my scale every time. That piece of shit anime film "Perfect Blue" wound up with a 2 by this policy. "Vanilla Sky" could have been a 9, one of the best films I've seen this year (it certainly started that way), but wound up with a 7 in the end. Why am I so hard on films that keep redefining reality? I don't like investing an hour or more of my time and emotion into a story that turns out to be meaningless.

Tom Cruise: Good. Like Julia Roberts, he's become such a major star that people forget that he can actually act. He's able to suggest the pathos in his condition with his timing and delivery. One of the strongest male performances of the year that I've seen.

Penelope Cruz: Attractive, yes, but she's not called on to do much acting. And was her English this bad in other movies?

Cameron Diaz: She's got that evil grin down for damn sure. Jen Darling reincarnated. Aaaa!

Kurt Russell: Fine. It's good to see that he's gotten over his delusion that he looks believable holding big guns. His part reminded me a lot of William Hurt in "A.I." for some reason.

Jason Lee: Why is this guy a star again? Oh yeah, he made friends with Cameron Crowe and Kevin Smith. Who goes to see a movie because Jason Lee is in it?

Cameron Crowe: I don't want to like Cameron Crowe. But I don't want to like pop music either, and I can't help it. Every Cameron Crowe movie I've seen has been good or great. As long as he doesn't make a buddy movie with Jason Lee and Jack Black, I'll continue to see his work.

How would I improve this movie? Cut out the final act. The scene where Tom Cruise sees something on the TV screen, realizes what is going on, and starts pounding on the window, I'd end the movie there. Anybody in the audience with a brain can figure the rest out.


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