31 in 31: Room 237

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Story: Film historians & other interested parties people with way too much time on their hands obsess over minutiae in Kubrick’s The Shining.

Scares: Only the fact that people go frame by frame to find a scene where an actor’s body is just so when he hits his mark…so it looks like a book is the actor’s “hard on”. Yeah. I know.

Splat factor: Only in clips of The Shining. Yawn.

Closing scene “shocker”: That almost two hours of my life was wasted.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul): A documentary that’s an original.

Trick or Treat?: American Indians in baking powder. The number 42 and a German made typewriter as a condemnation of the Holocaust. Minotaur skiers next to a cowboy. Tons of clips from The Shining and other Kubrick films playing as the folks who put these stupid ideas out blather on and on…and on. My god this is navel gazing at it’s most ludicrous.

I felt like I was back in my “Films of the 60s” undergrad class, where my professor was so enamored of the details that he’d turn a movie about one thing into a statement about something else entirely. (Usually something perverted. He was a peach.) Oh look – posters in the background mean something! No, it’s patterns in general he’s pointing out! Sets are realistic! No, they’re false and plastic! Hey folks – Kubrick faked the moon landing!

What drives me crazy is that I’d heard fantastic things about this film. And it’s so full of crazy ideas (and the people that came up with them) that I had to force myself to sit through it. It’s the worst kind of pretentious nonsense; the kind that’s so busy patting itself on the back that it forgets basic documentary ideas. Nowhere is there anything else but film clips with voice-over narration from the group of obsessives. Sometimes it doesn’t even make sense. Using a clip of Barry Lyndon during a discussion of father and son? Sigh. Stop trying to be Kubrick and maybe you’d have made a better film here.

On the plus side? I now know why Jack Torrence dove into the bottle. I wanted to do the same all through this salute to crazy town.

Score: 0 out of 5 pumpkins. I’m so disgusted that I don’t even want to gift this boring clunker a null sign. For stoned film grad students with symbolism boners only.

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