In 1993, Jon Bon Jovi wrote a song called Always for the soundtrack of a movie called Romeo is Bleeding. However, after Bon Jovi saw a rough cut of the film, he decided that the film was not worthy of his music so he declined to allow Always to be played over scenes of Lena Olin and Gary Oldman shooting guns at each other.
Instead, Bon Jovi recorded and released the song on their next album, Cross Road. And rather than allowing the song to appear in a bad feature film, they instead decided to feature it an even worse music video.
The video features Jack Noseworthy (who was very briefly a semi-big deal in the 90s) as a young man who is so stupid that he can’t just be happy having the amazingly sexy Carla Gugino as his girlfriend. He also decided to cheat on her with Keri Russell, who is either Carla’s roommate or maybe her kid sister. Either way, it was a pretty stupid move on Jack Noseworthy’s part. Carla runs out of the apartment and meets Jason Wiles, an artist who paints a terrible portrait of her. For some reason, Carla then calls up Jack and invites him to the the apartment. When Jack starts to look at the painting, Carla tries to stop him. (So why did you call him in the first place, Carla?) Jack sees the painting, gets upset, stabs the canvas, and then somehow makes the apartment explode. Later, Jack thinks that he sees Carla standing in his bedroom but it turns out that it’s just his imagination. Questions abound like, How did Jack blow up that apartment? Why would two incredibly attractive women settle for Jack Noseworthy? Where did the painter disappear to? Those questions go forever unanswered.
In the United Kingdom, Always was the very first number-one single on the UK Rock and Metal Singles Chart, which just goes to show you the sad state of metal in 1994.
Event Horizon, a sci-fi/horror hybrid from 1997, is one of those films that starts out with a series of title cards:
“2015 First permanent colony established on moon.”
Wait … 2015? How did I miss that?
” 2032 Commercial mining begins on Mars.”
Yay! Only 16 more years to wait until we’re finally on Mars!
“2040 Deep space research vessel ‘Event Horizon’ launched to explore boundaries of Solar System. She disappears without trace beyond the eighth planet, Neptune. It is the worst space disaster on record.”
Wow, that sucks. But things happen…
Alright, let’s get this story going!
Seven years after it disappeared, the Event Horizon suddenly sends out a distress signal. It turns out that it didn’t blow up like everyone assumed. Instead, it’s still out in space. The surly crew of the Lewis & Clark is called off of leave and sent on a rescue mission. (And when I say surly, I do mean sur-ly! Seriously, nobody on the Lewis & Clark is in a good mood … ever!) Accompanying the crew is Dr. Weir (Sam Neill), the scientist who designed the Event Horizon. Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) may not be happy about having Dr. Weir on his ship but, then again, Captain Miller always seems to be annoyed about something.
The Event Horizon appears to be deserted. The walls are covered with blood. The captain — at least it appears to be the captain — has been crucified and left on display. Dr. Weir explains that the Event Horizon was designed to create an artificial black hole and it’s possible that the ship went into another dimension and that it may have brought something back with it. Other crew members speculate that the Event Horizon may have accidentally been transported to Hell. Either way, it’s not a good thing but, after the Lewis & Clark suffers some damage, the crew find themselves stranded on the Event Horizon.
Soon, the crew members are having hallucinations. The ship’s doctor (Kathleen Quinlan) sees her son running through the ship. Captain Miller sees the burning corpse of a friend that he had to abandon during a previous mission. Another crewman appears to be possessed and attempts to commit suicide by opening up the airlock. Dr. Weir has visions of his dead wife. Things get darker and darker. People die. Eyes are ripped out of sockets. A video of the original crew is found and it’s like something out of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. Miller wants to blow up the Event Horizon. Dr. Weir replies, “We are home!”
Seriously, Event Horizon is a curious film. I’ve seen it a few times and I have to admit that it’s never quite as good as I remembered. If you want to get really technical about it, Event Horizon is a poorly paced film that is overly derivative of the Alien franchise and it features perhaps the worst performance of Laurence Fishburne’s career.
(Yes, even worse than his performance in Contagion…)
But, at the same time, even if I’m always somewhat disappointed with the film, Event Horizon is also a movie that stays with you. Whatever flaws the film may have, it is genuinely scary and disturbing. Director Paul W.S. Anderson does a good job of turning that spaceship into the ultimate floating haunted house and, even more importantly, he keeps you off-balance. This is one of the few horror films where literally anyone can die, regardless of whether they’re top-billed or have an Oscar nomination to their name. Whatever the evil is that has possessed the Event Horizon, it is ruthlessly and sadistically efficient.
Plus, there’s that video. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. Anderson has complained that the studio made him cut a lot of footage out of the video but what remains is disturbing enough. Seriously, you’ll never want to hear another Latin phrase after watching Event Horizon.
On Sunday night, I watched Part 2 of Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.
Why Was I Watching It?
I was watching it because I watchedPart One on Saturday and I absolutely loved it! I wanted to see how Part Two would deal with the second half of Marilyn’s life. Would it explore the mysteries that still surround her death? Would the Kennedys make an appearance? Who would come off worse — Joe DiMaggio or Arthur Miller?
What Was It About?
Part Two of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe deals with her life after she became a star. We watch as the increasingly fragile Marilyn marries the physically abusive Joe DiMaggio (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the mentally abusive Arthur Miller (Stephen Bogaert). (Seriously, neither Joe nor Arthur comes across positively in this film.) Marilyn continues to deal with her own fears that she’ll go crazy like her mother (Susan Sarandon). She has a brief moment of hope when she meets John F. Kennedy, though the film is deliberately vague about the details of their relationship. Ultimately, she ends up having a breakdown and is hospitalized against her will. By the end of the film, it seems like she’s found some hope for the future but then, we see her tossing and turning in bed and clumsily reaching for a bottle of pills…
Kelli Garner’s performance as Marilyn was just impressive here as it was during the first part of the film.
What Did Not Work?
Sadly, Part Two just wasn’t as good as Part One. To a large extent, Part One worked because of the emphasis on Marilyn’s relationships with her mom (Susan Sarandon) and her adopted aunt Grace (Emily Watson). In Part Two, those relationships were overshadowed by Marilyn’s unhappy marriages to DiMaggio and Miller. As a result, the film lost some of its focus and it often seemed to be meandering from one unhappy scene to another until Marilyn’s final night.
Also, I was disappointed that the film was so vague in its approach to Marilyn’s relationship with the Kennedys. Listen, everyone knows that Marilyn had an affair with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy. The film tried to create some ambiguity about this point, never actually showing either Kennedy brother on screen and instead, just having Marilyn talk about them. Rather unfairly, this created the impression that both affairs could have been another one of Marilyn’s delusions. Quite frankly, Marilyn Monroe deserves better than that.
“Oh My God! Just like me!” Moments
Just as with Part One, there were several. Kelli Garner humanized her iconic role to such an extent that I think everyone watching could relate to her. I’ll just say that I’ve known my DiMaggios and my Millers and leave it at that.
Fame does not equal happiness.
In the end, Part Two was not as good as Part One but, overall, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe was worth the 4 hours it took to watch it. It did a great job of recreating the Hollywood of the past and Kelli Garner gave a great performance. Since this is Lifetime that we’re talking about, I imagine both parts will be rerun frequently. If you missed them the first time, don’t make the same mistake twice!
Earlier tonight, I watched Part One of the latest Lifetime original movie, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.
Why Was I Watching It?
Lifetime has been advertising The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe for about two months now. From the first commercial, I knew that this was something that I was going to have to watch. After all, a movie about a famous and tragic actress on the always melodramatic Lifetime network? How could I not watch?
What Was It About?
It’s right there in the title. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe tells the story of how poor country girl Norma Jean Baker became the iconic Marilyn Monroe. The first part of this two-part film dealt with Marilyn’s early years. We watched as Marilyn (played by Kelli Garner) made her way out to Hollywood and appeared in her first few films, all the while dealing with her mentally unstable mother, Grace (Susan Sarandon). Part One ended with Marilyn on the verge of becoming the world’s biggest star. It was a happy ending for Marilyn but not so much for the audience because we know what’s going to happen to her during Part II.
The first part of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe was everything that you could possibly want from a Lifetime movie. The costumes, the production design, the cinematography — it was all properly opulent and wonderful to look at.
Even more importantly, Part One was anchored by three wonderful performances from three great actresses. Susan Sarandon was heartbreaking and poignant as Marilyn’s unstable mother. Emily Watson brought a quiet strength to the role of Marilyn’s surrogate mother, Grace. And finally, there’s Kelli Garner in the title role. After years of doing good work in small roles (Bully, Lars and The Real Girl), The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe finally gives Kelli Garner a chance to show what she’s capable of doing as an actress. In part one, Garner gave a performance that both humanized an icon while also suggesting the legend that she would eventually become.
What Did Not Work?
The film’s framing device, in which Marilyn told her story to a psychologist played by Jack Noseworthy, occasionally felt a bit awkward. Otherwise, as far as the first half of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe was concerned, it all worked.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
Obviously, I don’t want to sit here and compare myself to Marilyn Monroe. I’ll leave that for others to do. However, I do have to say that there were quite a few “Oh my God! Just like me!” moments in the first part of The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe. That was one reason why the film worked so well — it took an iconic figure and humanized her to the extent that anyone viewing could relate to her.
There were many moments that I related to during part one, particularly when it came to Marilyn’s emotional vulnerability and her desire to be seen as something more than just another pretty face. In fact, there were more than a few times that I had to look away from the screen because, often, Marilyn’s pain was my pain.
Ultimately, though, the biggest “OMG! Just like me!” moment came at the start of the film when Marilyn spent over an hour trying on different outfits before greeting the psychologist waiting in the next room. I’m just as obsessive, especially when it comes to picking the right clothes for a doctor’s appointment.
(Seriously, I once spent an entire day putting together the perfect outfit for seeing the allergist.)
Fame can’t buy happiness but it can come awfully close. (Of course, I have a feeling that lesson will be invalidated once I watch the second part of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.)