Avocado Weekly Movie Thread (7/21)

Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, where we talk film! Have you seen any new movies? Old movies, come here and discuss! I had a few of these scheduled some time ago to time with movie releases. I had to reschedule or cancel centered around David Copperfield, the new James Bond movie, the Top Gun sequel, etc. because they weren’t going to be seeing theatrical releases soon. I learned a valuable lesson that day: always wait until the last minute to get your work done. So you might have to while for the prompts when I ask you your favorite Charles Dickens adaptation or you favorite film about aerial dogfighting.

The film for this week’s prompt though…. well, it’s been sliding later and later (with Nolan hoping to keep it in the summer to “save theater” or whatever), but so far it’s going to be released some time this year, probably the first day that theaters are opened everywhere.

This weekend was originally supposed to see the release Tenet, a movie with the most Christopher Nolan-y premise possible: “A secret agent is tasked with preventing World War III through time travel.”

Nolan, though, is the guy who can put together high concept and emotionally cold movies… and somehow they become the biggest blockbusters of the year. Take away his name on the director credit, for example. Could anyone else have made a blockbuster of a bunch of thieves who travel into another person’s dreams to make them sell their company?

We can go meme-er.

Inception is probably my favorite Christopher Nolan movie. Hot dang, those visuals. Cities folding in on themselves. Trains plowing through the streets. Joseph Gordon-Levitt walking on the ceiling. It’s so stunning that it’s easy not to think about the plot… which honestly is rather thin.

But who cares when you have dream sequences this memorable!

Another Nolan film, The Prestige, provides a thesis for what I think he was trying to accomplish in Inception. It’s one big magic trick. Ellen Page flips open a door to another world like an assistant would. DiCaprio tries to get the mark on his side with a bit of misdirection. But like in The Prestige, you can spend your whole life trying to unravel the trick. Oh, what does that ending mean? Is there evidence that DiCaprio is still incepted? Howabout we flowchart all the different inception levels to see how they line up? But see, that only leads you down a path or cold rationalism which inevitably leads you to David Bowie playing Nicholai Tesla. The solution is not nearly as satisfying as the beauty of the magic trick itself.

Even Inception is somewhat a metaphor for movie-making. As pointed out on the Black Check podcast, each person on DiCaprio’s team fulfills a role analogous to a movie crew. DiCaprio is the director, but he needs special effects artists, actors, writers, a producer, the guy who provides everyone all the drugs, etc. From time to time, things go wrong (like, say, the director constantly derailing the story because he’s always inserting something about the ghost of his dead wife), but you have to be flexible enough to modify your approach on the fly.

Why not just sit back and enjoy the mind-blowing spectacle of everyone going slow-mo into a river while on another plane of existence they’re battling it out in a sweet mountaintop resort like a bunch of GI Joes? Let the movie magic wash over you.

Inception celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

This week’s bonus prompt: What is your favorite cinematic depiction of dreams?