July 19, 2010

The 10 Best Things About Inception(!)

1. It's not a sequel!

2. There won't be a sequel! (?)

3. It's not in 3-D! (And looks significantly better because of it!)

4. You can actually have "intelligent" conversations about it with other people while using cool words like "limbo", "projection", and "inception"!

6. The violence is family-friendly!

7. Ellen Page's character doesn't know the meaning of sarcasm!

8. The "compounded time" arithmetic distracts you from the film's actual running time!

9. Tom Berenger!

10. !


  1. Daniel - Those are indeed good things about Inception. #3 is a big one for me too. I would add -

    10. It's not a superhero movie! (I came home from the movies to see that the cover of E.W. was the Green Hornet. Nooooooo! Stop!)
    11. It's not an animated movie about superheroes or villains.
    12. It isn't a zombie movie.
    13. It isn't a vampire movie.
    14. It has a train in it. (I love trains.)
    15. It's not based on a TV show, a computer game, or a graphic novel.

    Actually, I found more to like about it than that - when I saw it a second time. I was so busy listening and trying to keep everything straight that I wasn't gripped. The second time - knowing how everything worked - I was much more engaged. I'm not going to take all the blame for being somewhat disappointed first time around; Mr. Nolan needs to share that blame. The film needed better editing for pace, coherency, and dramatic impact. But it was a clever film and fun to think about.

  2. Oh, and you changed your template too! Looks good.

  3. Excellent and funny list - kudos. I don't know if you will do a full review of this or not, but from what I have seen on general comments & reviews about Inception, I am starting to feel like I did after the Dark Knight - like an unintended Nolan apologist. All the ridiculous hype aside, and I tried not to see any previews, I was truly and fully on board while watching this film (the first time). I would like to see it again for my own enjoyment, but I thought it stood on its own ... or maybe I was just in the right frame of mind and personality to enjoy it in the moment. My mind was definitely racing as the movie went along, but actually I am glad that some of the solutions that I was predicting along the way didn't come true.
    I was impressed with the movie as a whole, period, and delightfully thrilled by much of the visual feast on offer. I would definitely recommend the biggest screen and best sound possible when picking a theater to watch this in.

    Without going into a point-by-point dissection, I agree that some elements (like more fully developed characters), may have been compromised by the density and earnestness of the film's vision, but I genuinely enjoyed the experience in the theater, and it resonated in some deep way with a satisfaction that I rarely find anymore from "blockbusters". I will be curious to see how the reactions continue as the weeks go by, and the hubbub dies down from both the pre-release Nolan acolytes and the panting oh-yeah-I-totally-saw-everything-coming-why-didn't-you-this-movie-sucked sneerers. Is sneerers even a word? Probably not. Am I making something out of nothing? Probably.

    anyway, haha - #8 made me laugh out loud, I definitely did not realize how long it was whilst watching, but I should have expected that with Nolan.

    also, I agree with Hokahey on the new template ... in theory - my stupid work computer does not seem to be able to handle the spatial balance and/or the black & red text over the images, but I am going to blame that on IE6 (which is what I am stuck with here). I am guessing it will look great at home on Firefox or IE8.

  4. What a great site! I agree with you about Tom Berenger! Let's hope he stays in A list movies.

  5. (Re: the template - thanks, I'm still testing it but I love that Blogger added some options after all these years. And for the record I think it seems to be automatically optimized for Firefox. Somehow the spacing always ends up off in IE, in this template or any other I've tried.)

    Hokahey, good calls on #10, #13, and #15c! To the extent that I was desperately hoping for an original story this summer, Inception delivered mightily. I think I owe it a second viewing, but I agree with what you said about tightening things up a bit, even with details like Watanabe's accent and the number of seconds it would take the van to fall (even in super slow-mo, how long did it take that thing to hit the water?!?!).

    Josh, I really did enjoy myself while I was sitting there and trying to figure it out. Having not seen a trailer (and I still haven't) I had little clue as to what was going to happen, which was really fantastic. And the eye-popping scenes looked even more eye-popping, as is always the case when trailers are avoided.

    Anyway, this movie, while mostly great, isn't going to change the world (or Hollywood, unfortunately), but no matter one's opinion on it, it's been refreshing to hear and read so many engaged viewers actually giving thoughtful opinions on a movie (as in, not my list above). Maybe, as others have said, what makes a great movie is its ability to spark fascinating debates amongst its viewers. Either that or we've all been conditioned into dumbed-down zombies over the years and we've been floored by a film that actually engages the mind. Whatever the case I'll sign up for more, even if that means a second viewing in the absence of anything else that's good this summer.

    jmmcrea, thanks for visiting! Yeah, Tom Berenger - had to do a triple take to see if that was actually him. He definitely still has some mileage in that weathered face so I hope this wasn't his curtain call, either.

  6. Thanks Daniel,
    This movie came up at dinner with a few people and more heated debate ensued; I will concede that there are valid points people are bringing up about how this movie was not such a great "film" on some levels (for them). But like you said, the experience has been one that engages people, is refreshingly original, and delivers many scenes of stunning visual impact.

    My impression about the van falling: I found the repetition of several of the shots (van included) and the several repeating lines of dialogue to be both useful for structural reminders in the film's world, and also somewhat poetic ... a rhythm of sorts that kept its own beat, even if the overall pacing in the movie didn't work for many audience members.

    In any event I really enjoyed your list and Hokahey's list and thoughtful comments as well - much appreciated.

    PS - the site looks and functions excellently in both FireFox3 and IE8 (spacing and all) from my home computer.

  7. Well thanks, and I know there are a lot of other places where you can go to have a more in-depth conversation on the truth of the movie - one of the links you sent me, and also at Cinema Blend and "here".

    But about the van...it was just too much for me, too long, too many cuts back to it, including a few times where it didn't seem to even change location. I can understand that it was good as a reminder for the viewer to keep their levels straight, but, well, I'm just nitpicking.

  8. Daniel - I'm with you on the van. Lots needed editing to shorten or editing out completely. Meanwhile, edit out some of the shooting in the snowy dreamscape. Editing is this film's biggest flaw. When they are in the hotel, and Arthur steals a kiss from Ariadne - that almost seemed like a scene that belonged in another movie. It needed to end up on the DVD outtakes.

  9. Speaking of the DVD, this is going to be one packed with an incredible amount of interviews and stories and explanations, etc., etc., etc., and I'd wager all of them are framed vaguely enough that people will still be able to argue this one for years.

  10. Weird, but I liked it because it is very different and without any expense.
    Interpretation could be different for everyone, but 10 points was enough to rate as it is. I agree with you for 9 rating.

  11. 1. Yes! Thank god.
    2. Nonsense. I will eat a bug if they don't make a sequel.
    3. Yes! Although in fairness you can see any 3D movie in 2D too.
    4. I admit, it has inspired some of the more interesting film conversations lately, but I still don't think it's as smart a movie as it's getting credit for.
    5. Yes, and the Masterpiece/Backlash talk before most people had even seen it.
    6. I disagree with the notion of family friendly violence in the same why I did with TDK.
    7. But luckily she knows the meaning of everything else so she can keep the audience up to speed with her endless exposition!
    8. Actually it seemed like it lengthened it.
    9. I could've lived another full life without seeing Tom Berenger in anything. I know, but I hated Platoon. Sue me.
    10. That was pretty much my reaction to the hallway fight.

  12. #2. Yeah, I'll join you in the bug-eating...
    #8. Ha! Maybe that's even more accurate.
    #9. Really? I don't know why but seeing his somewhat recognizable face had a curious novelty to it. Not that the part required too much from him, though.

    The further I get from this movie (granted, only one viewing), the more I question whether it really held anything under the surface. There are lots of Big Questions that, when it comes right down to it, don't really mean much outside of the theater. In other words, for somebody like me who looks for "real-world" lessons or relevancy from movies, this had pretty much nothing to offer other than some interesting dream insights/theories and a weakly developed subplot about love and regret.

    If I have to see summer blockbusters I hope they're this engaging, but I think I'll still stick to "smaller" movies (like the recent Teza) if I'm looking for anything that offers lasting significance for my life.

  13. I need to see it again, but yeah, I'm not finding a lot of depth to it. Like I said elsewhere, all of the different theories over what is happening in the movie only add extra layers to the puzzle without actually making the story deeper or more resonant.

    My favorite theory suggests that the whole thing is meant to be planting an idea in Leo's head and not Cillian Murphy's. Something to do with that repeated line about growing old full of regret.

    Anyway, I liked it. Not sure if it will go down as the masterpiece some of the early reviewers claimed, but I want to see it again before passing final judgment on it

  14. Well it was some of your comments on your own review that really got me thinking along the lines of, "OK, so what?" about a lot of the plot. It's an odd situation in which everybody loves debating it but nobody really cares who's right! How often does that happen? We're all just shrugging our shoulders and moving on.

  15. Craig Kennedy: Enthusiasm killer!

  16. Ha, yeah I guess that was kind of a downer.

  17. "The 'compounded time' arithmetic distracts you from the film's actual running time!"

    Lol. It was also very interesting and clever.

    Have you seen all of the Inception charts that have been posted around the net?

    I'm with Hokahey. The new template is snazzier. I agree with his additions to your chart as well.
    How do you like LinkWithin? I'm a fan.

    How about a review on Inception Daniel? Imagine if Coleman wrote one? The goram thing would be 6K words long.


    "all of the different theories over what is happening in the movie only add extra layers to the puzzle without actually making the story deeper or more resonant."

    Well said. I never thought of it that way. You're correct.

    I have read all of those theories on the plot as well.

  18. Yes, I've actually been following all of those level charts that you've been posting. Very interesting but at some point I don't think they were showing me anything new. I'm not feeling much in the way of a review right now, so much has already been said about it. If Alexander did write one, ha, I'm sure he'd have some fun with the describing it.

    I think I do like LinkWithin, at least more than the other "related posts" I used to have. I know you posted on your other site they they were redundant and took that to heart with the redesign. LinkWithin, for the most part, definitely chooses the best related posts anyway, and I like the visual aspect of it as well. The only draw back, maybe, is that it slows down the loading time for the page. But I'm fine with that.

  19. Yeah I agree. The charts make the film easier for some to digest. I'm going to see Inception for a third time this weekend.

    Glad to hear you are reading my other site and that you find particular posts helpful. I eliminated Related Posts from my site after I installed LinkWithin.

    I noticed the load time as well. I have been thinking of adding it to the main index like you have but I'm still on the fence.

    I haven't written a post about this on the other site yet (but I am in the near future) but LinkWithin has nearly doubled my pageviews per day.

  20. Really? Wow, that's some solid data to justify continuing to use it. I'm beginning to see it used on a lot more (and bigger) blogs, and expect that soon there will be some upgrades or additional options.

  21. It's been nice. I started seeing (I'm writing the post in your comments) widget.linkwithin.com/redirect? in my referrers section more and more. I thought nothing of it becuase I had just installed LinkWithin and knew it was the plugin. Then my numbers started to creep up and I realized site visitors were using and getting used to it on my site. Really! getting used to it and clicking through to other pictured posts. Those thumbnails go a long way to selling someone on clicking.

    New features would be sweet.

    I see it used on inappropriate sites, sites that are not visual.


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