Movies A-Go-Go Christmas Extravaganza: Eyes Wide Shut

1999 romantic comedy

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A man searches for a little holiday nooky.

I've written poorly about this, my favorite Christmas movie, before, but it deserves the popular Movies A-Go-Go treatment. Actually, I'm not sure if this or Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas is my favorite Christmas movie. They're close. I guess it would depend on how horny I am. When I'm feeling extra randy, the choice is obvious:

I like Eyes Wide Shut more every time I see it. I've now seen it over 70 times despite the lack of puppets. When I previously wrote about it--after watching bits and pieces of it with a group of people playing poker, the ideal way to watch any Stanley Kubrick movie--I said it didn't feel complete. That's the type of thing I probably shouldn't type after watching a movie in bits and pieces because now, I don't think there's a single wasted moment in this movie and the storytelling and character development are nearly perfect. Sure, if Kubrick had had more time--he was killed by NASA right as he finished the movie, allegedly--he would have seen the light and included at least one puppet, but I don't think that ruins the movie experience.

Or was Nicole Kidman actually a puppet?

Anyway, I should explain that I had to watch this in two installments. I've been suffering from a little insomnia lately, and my sleeping habits are all jacked up. So I actually started watching Eyes Wide Shut around 5-something Christmas morning after not sleeping since about 4 PM on Christmas Eve. Eventually, dawn came, and the sun started oozing into my bedroom. Eyes Wide Shut just isn't a movie you can watch when it's light outside, so I put my pants back on and took an extended intermission. I can't promise any of this will be represent the thoughts of a man who was entirely lucid. Words in bold were added afterward.

As always with the enormously popular Movies A-Go-Go, these are my thoughts as I watched. If you want, you could take off your pants, start the movie now, and then read as you watch on your own. It'll be very close to the actual experience of watching a movie with me, and that, I believe, is something that punk Leonard Maltin has never offered you.

Here we go.

Kubrick knows how to start a movie. My God! I could look at Nicole Kidman undressing all day. [First, this first shot is far sexier than anything in Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. And because I want to pull back the curtain as much as possible, you should know that I just got distracted while proofreading this and watched a gif of this opening scene for about fifteen minutes. I'm not saying I'm proud of this, but I feel it's something you should know.]

Wait! Maybe this is what the otter is watching!
You can make your own masturbation joke here if you want, but I'm taking the mature road and refusing to do it.

Tom Cruise, always charismatic. However, there are times--and I know you know what I’m talking about--where it looks like he’s about to chew a face off.

Mr. Ziegler can throw a party. Saucy Hungarians, drunk bimbos, tons of light.

Where do you think Sydney Pollack's Mr. Ziegler character keeps his sex party mask? And do you think a fellow like that's got more than one of those, or do you just wear the same sex party mask every time? I need to do some research on this.

I could watch Nicole Kidman pretend to be drunk all day.

This party’s bathed in golden light. So much of this movie, as I recall, is lit by Christmas lights. It gives the whole thing this fuzzy, fairy-tale ambiance.

I want to see what’s at the end of the rainbow.

Oh, poor Mandy. It’s not a party until you have to resuscitate a completely nude woman.

Tom Cruise could give me that smile, and I’d also agree to go to rehab.

By my calculations, Nicole Kidman has danced with this suave Hungarian gentleman for at least 45 minutes. I have no idea how I came up with that number.

I just love everything Nicole Kidman does with her face in these early party scenes. This must have been pre-Botox, when she could still do things with her face.

Do you think they even had to pay Sky du Mont (that's that guy's name) to do this?

This mirror shot is possibly the most incredible shot of Kubrick’s career. At least until Tom Cruise shows up.

Tom Cruise, quite literally eating a face off.

If I were Nicole Kidman, I'd rather look at myself in the mirror, too.

We’re at 6 nipples now. 10 if I’m allowed to count Nicole Kidman’s multiple times. I'm going to try to keep track.

I’ve been slightly inebriated one time, and I’ve never been stoned. If Nicole Kidman’s acting is to be believed, both make you talk really slowly.

The color is very artificial here, but I like how the bathroom behind Kidman’s nipples (and later, the window) is all this electric-milky blue.

This is my new favorite Christmas movie.

Let’s be serious, Tom Cruise. Any hypothetical woman is going to be thinking about your penis when she’s in the same room with you.

Kidman’s convulsive laughing fit has now ruined my Christmas. Or as Cruise puts it: a FUCKING laughing fit!

As Cruise listens to his wife’s story, one that is apparently going to take 45 minutes to tell since she’s stoned, I’m starting to wonder when this takes place in the Mission Impossible chronology.

45 minutes again. What’s with me and the number 45?

I’ve heard people say that Kidman and Cruise have no chemistry in this, but I don’t see it. It’s the same sort of chemistry a man would have with an unreliable lawnmower, but it’s still there.

There’s another Christmas tree. There are almost as many Christmas trees as there are nipples so far. I wonder what the significance of this all taking place around the holiday season is? Is it just so that I’d have an excuse to watch it at 5:30 AM Christmas day?

More blue. I never realized that New York City was so blue.

See, Tom Cruise? Marion’s dad just died, and she’s quite obviously thinking about your penis. Not even a dead dad in the same room is going to keep women from thinking about your penis.

Carl arrives, interrupting awkward kissing near the recently deceased. I hope he can’t smell Tom Cruise’s pheromones, but I don’t really see how he couldn’t.

Who plays the Navy guy in Cruise’s black and white dark fantasy flashback. [His name is Gary Goba, and this is his only movie. He's a model.]

Here he is. Gary Goba.

“Hey, hey. What team’s this switch hitter on?”
“You want to take a ride in this fudge tunnel, you stupid faggot?”
I think that was the Van Buren Boys from that Seinfeld episode. [OK, I was apparently confusing two Seinfeld episodes here. I was thinking all the Van Buren Boys were like the two effeminate guys who steal an armoire from Kramer in the Soup Nazi episode. Now this doesn't make much sense at all.]

It’s the fur hat on this prostitute. Absolutely irresistible. There’s no way I’d have interest in a prostitute, but I would pay to cuddle with that hat.

Domino, played by Vinessa Shaw. And I'm starting to think that Kubric hired most of these actors and actresses just because they were good looking.

Red doors, tinsel, green walls, silver doors. Boom! Christmas tree!

“What do you recommend?” That sounds like something I’d ask a hooker when talking about money. That or, “What do you have on special?”

One hundred and fifty dollars spent, and he didn’t even get to touch her hat. Maybe that's what I'd ask the prostitute--"How much just to feel your hat?" That would not be a euphemism.

Two Christmas trees in the same show. I’m pretty sure the trees are beating the nipples at this point.

Nick Nightingale--playing light jazz on piano is probably one of the few things you can do for a living with a name like that. No wonder he dropped out of medical school. What medical professional would have a last name like Nightingale?

Tom Cruise can’t keep his hands off Nick Nightingale.

And in a deleted scene, he eats his face off.

There’s a second reference to rainbows.

Milich, owner of Rainbow Fashions, is played by Rade Serbedzija, presumably because Peter Stormare wasn't available. This character's got himself a tree, too. [I looked up Mr. Serbedzija, and he's a busy actor. I saw him last as "Frightening Old Man" in The Double.]

Cruise should go with an Elsa costume. Those are all the rage. Or show up to the sex party dressed as Spiderman.

Apparently, Milich has more problems than his bald spot. I’m not sure if this Rainbow Fashions scene is supposed to be played for laughs, but I thought it was very funny. There’s just something about a Eastern European guy yelling at two Asian men in their underpants.

Why is this picture here?

Good thing Tom Cruise didn’t forget the password and say another Beethoven opera after spending all kinds of money to get to the sex party. [Beethoven didn't have any other operas. Fidelio was it.]

Nick Nightingale, jamming on the electric keyboard. You know, this sex cult could have saved money by hiring Stevie Wonder and not needing to purchase a blindfold.

This is the weirdest foreplay I think I’ve ever seen.

This woman who just approached Tom Cruise at the creepy sex party has an even better hat than that prostitute!
I may have spent too long looking for this picture.

“Hey, aspiring actress, would you like a part in Stanley Kubrick’s new movie? Tom Cruise is going to be in it.”
“What? Are you serious? Absolutely! This could be my big break. What part am I going to play?”
“Oh, you’re going to lay on your back on a guy on his hands and knees while some other guy bangs you. Anonymously, because you’ll be wearing a ridiculous mask.”

I can’t decide if I’d have an open-mouth mask or a mask with an outrageous beak.

I mean, I like them both. I'd have to be a multi-mask orgy man, I guess. What if I showed up in one of those old-school plastic Halloween masks with the flimsy rubberband? Would they automatically turn me away regardless of what passwords I knew? 

Oh, the double password! That’s a smart move, Guy in Red Cloak.

Wow, Red Cloak is a major boner kill.

Beak. I would definitely go with an outrageous beak mask.

Daughter there significance with that name?

More blue again. I’m really digging that blue.

Kidman with a nightmare that forces her to giggle uncontrollably.

Alan Cumming?

[Here's where the sun came up. Intermission. Hum yourself a little song before continuing please.]

By the way, I lost track of the nipples at the big tree-less orgy. But I’m fairly positive nipples pushed ahead of Christmas trees, at least temporarily. There's still a lot of Christmas trees in this movie though.

Ahh, that piano. So simple, yet so striking. I think I’ve decided it’s somebody trying to play “Jingle Bell Rock” without fingers or prior piano experience.

Larry David just came out of the car at the orgy residence. No, wait. It’s Dick Cheney. No, nevermind. It's neither of them.

This scene at the gate, though implausible enough to make you wonder how much of this is going on in our protagonist’s head, is timed so perfectly. And that piano! Chilling!

Slow pan in the doctor’s office, ending at yet another shot of a Christmas tree. This one’s washed out, the colors bleeding into a paleness. [If I had more time, I'd line up every Christmas tree in this movie in order just to see how they change throughout the story. Do they gradually fade? Do they get smaller?]

I think I’ve decided that Christmas is a symbol for the fantastic, the fresh and new, the unbridled hope for something you don’t even understand. It's glowing temptation lurking everywhere Tom Cruise and his penis go.

Domino--that name’s got to be important. I’m not smart enough for this movie.

These God-damn trees! Sally, a gal who doesn’t understand personal space, tells Tom Cruise that Domino is HIV-positive, that Christmas tree lurking in the background. It's faded and imperfect, branches askew.

The posture of the bald guy in the tan trenchcoat in what might be both the quietest and most exciting scene ever. Solace in a coffee shop with the front page of his paper reading “Lucky to be alive.” [Why the hell did I type this? It doesn't even make sense. I would like to point out that I still hadn't slept before starting the rest of this movie.]

This movie is criminally underrated.

That conversation with Syndey Pollack doesn't answer very many questions at all, but how much fun is it to watch Pollack here? I was distracted in his first scene because he was wearing suspenders with no shirt.

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I counted Pollack's nipples or the nipples in the painting behind him. Add "nipple counting" to the list of things I'm bad at.

Which mask do you think Pollack's character wore? And do you think Pollack the actor was actually present during that sex party? That scene had to have taken a long time to film, a lot longer than most people would imagine. I think I'd want to be there, but I don't think I'd be able to stop giggling and Kubrick would force me to wear a blindfold like Nick Nightingale. 

Do any of my readers attend masked sex parties? If so, let me know in the comments. I'd like to attend one.

Tom Cruise returns home and turns the lights off on his Christmas tree. That's likely the most significant moment in the entire movie. More blue.

Oh, man. That mask on the pillow. Tom Cruise is so busted. Again, this shot brings up more questions than it answers, but what a perfect shot it is. It's a choice, no? 

Look at the shadow on that pillow! If given the choice between Nicole Kidman, a mask, and a puppet, I'd go with the puppet. But it would be a tough choice. 

This is likely a complete coincidence, but Kidman is wearing a coat that is very close to the one the bald guy was wearing in that chase scene.

Nope! Not my imagination! Those coats are identical!

Whoa, Kidman! With a last word like that, this is probably going to end up with an R rating.

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