not cinematically content with only Atlas Shrugged: Part Two and that one pedo documentary on Netflix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_All_Men_Pedophiles%3F) to while away the lonely nights, Red Pillers have found a new voice in film through Stanley Kubrick and one of his last unfinished films, Eyes Wide Shut.
so: could Kubrick, as they say, swallow such a big pill? if so, to what extent was Eyes Wide Shut a masterpiece of misogyny, if any? any part at all? in the whole of something larger perhaps, behind the camera? beyond ourselves?
dismiss those who claim they know well any one of Kubrick’s films without understanding the methods of creation. he was simple enough to reduce, because some people just demand perfection above all else. in our world as it is, all of us now gestate authenticity by the Internet, and it is quickly passed. Kubrick bore truths in crawl. no matter the price and inconvenience, no compromises. it is for us to judge the fruits his labors, but only a fool would call Kubrick anything less than a wholly committed artist dedicated to his designs, shining brightest from within.
be aware Eyes Wide Shut was not completed before Kubrick’s death, nor was it his last film. it’s a widely known fact Spielberg and the studio had to add sound work and make final edits after Kubrick’s passing, a mere six days after he released print to studio. a notoriously finicky editor, Kubrick’s contracts always stipulated he alone had rights to his final cuts of any release in an earned freedom unique to all but a few Hollywood directors. Spielberg would finish Kubrick’s last film, Artificial Intelligence, much less successful than Eyes Wide Shut but very alike in cinematography and in tone.
the man who is most known for pioneering film technique was not without his pitfalls. Steven King himself, writer of the novel The Shining, hated Kubrick’s adaption of his work. the famed author decried it’s cold, soulless tone. he noted Wendy’s lead portrayal was “shrill and misogynistic as anything put on film.” it takes manic dedication to out-creepy the literary master of horror, and King was allegedly dogged by many disturbing personal phone calls from Kubrick late into the night during primary filming:
King: 3 am… ughh… hello?
Kubrick: DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD AND GHOSTS? IN HELL, KING?!
and though King did later produce his own TV adaption of The Shining, his vision would never reach the genius it takes to make a film a fair number of conspiracy theorists believe was Kubrick’s confession for faking the first moon landing
additionally, Kubrick filmed more than his share of racism in Full Metal Jacket, a unique piece on the morality of war which spawned the phrase “me love you long time.” the violence of 1971s A Clockwork Orange and it’s strong overtones of rape shocked studio reviewers and complicated release at a time when the Catholic Church itself promoted and endorsed Friedkin’s The Exorcist. if Kubrick was not a misogynist, a racist, or violence-obsessed, it’s at least fair to remark he didn’t do much to deflect criticism.
Kubrick was not interested in defending himself, his films or being PR friendly, seeming to prefer both be judged on merit. given that his works were received with initial mixed approval but later high acclaim, cagedness was perhaps the wisest approach. he was devoted to his visions but his attention to detail paid off in some of the highest cinematography. to capture candlelight in Barry Lyndon a special film lens set was crafted in a fantastically costly film move [which captured aperture precise enough for NASA to film the dark side of the moon.
Kubrick fired his own actor choice for the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket after the sergeant coach ad-libbed scathing insults precise enough to frighten film crew and, in a noted departure from habit, the director further allowed Ermey to write improvised dialogue on-set in a bid for authenticity. the rights to Eyes Wide Shut and the novel upon which the film was based had been retained by Kubrick in the 60s, production being delayed and re shot for years before it’s 1999 release and far before Kidman and Cruise were cast. he won an Oscar for 2001: A Space Odyssey despite early criticism of the film’s impenetrable slowness and idiosyncratic tone. Kubrick worked and suffered, and sometimes, he made others suffer for masterpiece.
Kubrick was, by turns, working terror and an incisive helper depending on the clock and who was spared the wheel. although he maintained a life full of good relationships with his cameramen, sound editors, and technical professionals, his actors often found his perfectionism dark. Shelley Duvall’s long takes and altered dialogue placed her under so much stress during filming of The Shining her hair began to fall out and her weight plummeted from illness. perhaps in an homage to notable actress tyrant Hitchcock, Kubrick would later claim he tortured her mind in order to capture the broken, fearful woman his film required. as Duvall crumpled according to plan, authenticity taxed Nicholson who became manic and harassed over constant script takes as the alcoholic terror was born. to achieve Full Metal Jacket and it’s “degeneration into masterpiece,” Kubrick required his actors to wade into filthy, toxic, asbestos ridden buildings in clear breach of English law. he was not the easiest man to work with, but he allowed his daughter Vivian Kubrick to direct and follow him on-set for her own documentaries and was never a ghoul so much as an ardent lover of authenticity in capture at any cost.
genius has a price. given the evidence at hand Kubrick could seem a bit like Hemingway: misogynistic, harried, hard working, unkind, obtuse, and above all self-obsessed. indeed, was the price of Eyes Wide Shut Kubrick at his best, or his worst?
when Eyes Wide Shut was released in 1999, it’s creator was not alive for it’s debut to the world. he had passed months earlier and left a number of unfinished projects to his good friend and admirer Steven Spielberg, a foster father totally committed to art in his own right. so great was his own proxy commitment to Kubrick’s ideals he even kept the disastrous ending of Artificial Intelligence intact, an outlandish red herring which all but ensured mockery. these two men of renown are responsible for the film adaption of Dream Story, of Eyes Wide Shut, and everything it carried from it’s forefathers.
it hardly serves us, but if Kubrick had any wind how much sex, song, and story was cut out of Warner Bros. theater release of Eyes Wide Shut, it just would not have been. remember: Kubrick retained sole editing rights in perpetuity to every one of his films he could. for example, he went so far as to edit The Shining while it was in theaters, cutting out a hospital scene now absent at the end of the film. ending edits alone are not remarkable; even Kevin Smith altered the ending of Clerks in the final hour, whimsically struck by the notion axing off Dante in a pool of blood might not be feel-good comedy material. what made Eyes Wide Shut unique was it’s 400 day production length and the fact it was delivered by Kubrick unfinished. perhaps he knew he had little time for masterpiece.
Eyes Wide Shut was called an erotic thriller, a horror, a piece of shit, a porn, but never just a movie. Kubrick kept a veil of secrecy around production, though he nevertheless expressed joy in work to the press. but privately his doubts became more candid:
R. Lee Ermey, an actor in Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket, claimed that Kubrick phoned him two weeks before his death to express his despondency over Eyes Wide Shut. “He told me it was a piece of shit”, Ermey said in Radar magazine, “and that he was disgusted with it and that the critics were going to ‘have him for lunch’. He said Cruise and Kidman had their way with him – exactly the words he used.”
whether or not his leads complicated shooting is beyond our scope. in any case, everyone living from family to studio rejected Ermey’s claim, although Ermey could not have possibly benefited from such a lie either financially or professionally (he would later be threatened with several lawsuits). Eyes Wide Shut is one of Kubrick’s lowest critically rated and publicly rated films, but because that means it has a 77% favorable rating rather than The Shining’s 94% numbers mean little. his sudden death assured the films financial success and widened publicity despite it’s unfinished state and any external tampering, which would later be undone by unrated DVD release. the film was a success and a credit to a glowing life of work and art.
i’m not going to break down or review Eyes Wide Shut; watch the damn thing yourself. if you must cliff it from Ebert.
but don’t tell me about it. his thriller received three and a half stars, received praise for “being an erotic daydream about missed opportunities and inflamed passion,” but lost points for what Ebert alleges was an altered ending and a digital, rather than literal, orgy. i largely side with this one:
” Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” is like an erotic daydream about chances missed and opportunities avoided. For its hero, who spends two nights wandering in the sexual underworld, it’s all foreplay. He never actually has sex, but he dances close, and holds his hand in the flame. Why does he do this? The easy answer is that his wife has made him jealous. Another possibility is that the story she tells inflames his rather torpid imagination.”
that’s Ebert for you! as for The Red pill…
” I think Kubrick was trying to show how most relationships are born out of convenience instead of love. Alice doesn’t love Bill but she stays with him because of what he can provide for her. Bill doesn’t really love Alice because he doesn’t even know her. He has a very idealistic idea of who she is, but that doesn’t really ” I do remember the scene between Bill and the roomate [sic] at her shitty apartment. Bill does not respect that chick, behaves accordingly, and could have fucked her in mere minutes of meeting her. That was some stone cold game he was running, sheer unadulterated IDGAF.”
well, okay, he got rid of the hypergamy talk bullshit, but why is it all about Eve? wasn’t Bill the focus of most of the film? are we to blame Alice for her thoughts when Bill’s were much more corporeal? am i to extrapolate an unreliable narrator of Kubrick?
out of all the things Kubrick could have possibly intended for Eyes Wide Shut, we’re down to Barry Sue fanfic, a self-insert dating guide. i get the appeal of Tucker Max now: it’s like Twilight for dudebros! all the vicarious misogyny intact! grave, turn, nod.
the rest of that thread is all celebrity stuff and Scientology nonsense, but this guy made me laugh and he’ll make you laugh too. he also is very obviously out of his mind.
and if you can believe it, things get even worse for poor Kubrick: Cokey Bro revised his, er, screed, and now we have a new everyone to hate!
” Eyes Wide Shut is The Red Pill…. in a pill. “
oh! what’s the future like? is food in pill form? are pills in food form?!
” While in women in relationships with alpha get to be turned on by this man who wants to fuck her (as opposed to the option of getting validated by a beta male). Women are totally aware of this! “
DUDE! YOU MUST CHILL! DUDE!
” The PERFECT relationship is the one who you both are in lets-fuck mode, and also dedicated to her and want to be in a relationship.”
(that reminds me, how is Tommy Wiseu these days?)
” Critiques of the movie: Tom Cruise was WAY too attractive, successful, intelligent to not turn on Nicole Kidman, who clearly had a high sexual libido. She would never flip on him.”
” women are like Florida housing markets plus Tom Cruise was too hot” does not constitute film analysis, but whatever, it’s not my brain.
art is in the eye of the beholder, but i don’t get Eyes Wide Shut being anything close to Red Pill, even in it’s own light. you can project yourself and your desires upon another character; that’s called porn. you can put value desires and ulterior motives upon a character; that’s projection. but: if you want to claim a film, and to claim an artists intent, you must be able to defend it beyond yourself.
this is a thing The Red Pill cannot do. i trust they want to claim Eyes Wide Shut, and with a little more inner work they might stand a chance of success of creating something that resembles a narrative. i’m not asking for James Joyce: a coherent thread of character motivations based on actions would suffice. but they don’t do, so… what the fuck can we do?!
welp, nothing. as it turns out, Kubrick’s narrative is strong enough to withstand even the most incomprehensible read. most Red Pill reviews seemed to indicate, after a bit of jargon, agreement with Kubrick’s intent: Eyes Wide Shut remains a film about “monogamous infidelity,” hidden desires, and the natures of desire which remain hidden within our waking eyes. if it took them a while to get there, we can at least take small comfort different paths can often lead to the same destination, especially when the path maker has the road well enough for anyone to follow.
Eyes Wide Shut is not “Red Pill” so much as it is Red Pill proof. it’s also feminism proof, Democrat proof, and fire proof. it’s simply too meaningful within itself to possibly be contained by any one ideal… especially a misogynist power fantasy. it’s enough that it’s itself. it should be so for everyone. it’s art.
the dread game angle is some bullshit though.
if Eyes Wide Shut wasn’t Red Pill, why even discuss the claim at any length? why discuss Kubrick as if he could be a part of a group of online misogynists over ten years from his death? what’s the point?
like it or not, the Red Pill missed the mark on Eyes Wide Shut: it’s not their art. the artist, though, might have more in common with their brand of philosophy. the Red Pill poses itself and it’s work and high vanity. as many fellow fans will agree, Kubrick seemed at his best when he was glorifying the darkest, least trustful aspects of human nature, and most TRPers seem to occupy a similar space. neither holds others in high regard. a Red Piller and an obsessed director here held the women in their lives under little regard, yet are compelled to think they alone might elevate them higher through abuse. if Shelley Duvall was immortalized at all, it was only her suffering which was captured, a fact Kubrick exploited and dismissed. if Red Pillers are racist, they can be at least comforted they have in their few years online not done near the damage Kubrick did in less than ten seconds when he directed a Vietnamese girl to say, “sucky sucky five dollah.” Kubrick’s last works were disappointments to him, finished by his friends and i’d suspect most of those who took The Red Pill might feel a similar burden of disappointment with their lives near the end. their similarities are exacerbated and paled before one large difference.
Kubrick worked. he suffered for his art, he made friends sometimes, and he let his work speak. he elevated what he made higher than himself, and if he lied and hurt and harmed, he damn well made sure it meant something in the end. he loved his daughter and granddaughter deeply, and i doubt he would have let them speak to him for a second about the alpha male “right” to “run game” on any of the women he did care about. i don’t agree with Kubrick’s methods but i respect that he didn’t seem to desire revenge.
i have never seen a Red Piller, let alone an MRA, come close to any expression or attempt true, artful creation. they make no case for giving to the world or others; they take for themselves when and while they can with relish. i have never seen a Red Pill discussion which didn’t devolve into nursed hatreds. i don’t what an MRA or Red Pill movie would like, nor do i know what their photography would look like: all i have is bad web comics and the glimmer of hope Futurism might make a comeback (a wild year will be spent discussing Marinetti before history comes full circle and everything of theirs regresses into Dadaism). come to think of it, the only way The Red Pill might be able to discuss art effectively would be if they actually made anything, but rightist art movements are very rare nowadays and the last thing we need is another Warhol.
if it sounds like i’ve been unfair to Kubrick, perhaps i have been less kind than some, yet it is not without regard that i consider him a product of his time. Full Metal Jacket was considered, in the eighties, to be a very scathing indictment of masculinity and Kubrick himself said he intended it criticize the patriarchy during war time. he’s still my favorite director, but he had many flaws, and the burden of his strict adherence to emotional realism makes a study in duality. if he collapsed under it at times, he was only one man, and it is with the highest love i honor his successes of film, cinematography, and art.
the day will come when The Red Pill passes through the world. the MRM with them will fall before long; their numbers are small now since the 90s even as a wounded animal shrinks dangerously into the corner to die. Kubrick’s works will outlast such a thing by centuries, maybe millenniums.
the world is not illuminated by hatred and easy answers but by truth, and hard work and through it we can make even the darkness shine. there will come a day when no woman will be told her pussy makes her life easier; that her virginity is a prize to be protected and seized, and if she is from a third world country and poor that her poverty is an ignorant virtue to be exploited by Western men. the sun will never fuel a day where Stanley Kubrick’s works are anything less than a part of our night, a duality of light and dark, ebbing torrents of blood through elevator doors and tides of the cleansing water below. our earth will be forever captivated in art’s orbit, and wonder what a director thought as he captured the romantic flicker of a flame between man and woman, knowing by the same device another unwraps Apollo’s celestial wife with great care and infinite love. and the sun feels no jealousy for his gaze is laid upon her white skin and the blue calm of her curious enamored alike, eyes wide open to their discoveries.
Kubrick waves from stars and moons and worlds beyond, and he shines.
the moon landing will come up in conversation time and again, and it might never be settled which tale is more compelling: the uplifting and true journey of man’s first voyage to the moon, or the Giovannian opera-lie of the great 20th century director who helped fool the whole world and confessed his sins within the very method he carved his artifice, exorcising his guilt through horror.
people not yet born will howl with laughter when they observe the recruits of Full Metal Jacket being eviscerated by Satan’s motivational coach, and feel their laughter die with a Vietnamese sniper on a dirty floor begging for death.
somewhere a film student watches Artificial Intelligence; she doesn’t care for the movie itself but admires the care with which Spielberg directed his great friend’s message. her young twins, however, seems positively delighted by the happy ending. the film student makes a note of this and vows to show them The Killing on their tenth birthday. they’ll try to watch Eyes Wide Shut with their friends at a time when she’s not around, but mostly they’re just bored with it, long since jaded from midnight Internet searches. they watch Pulp Fiction and come back to it years later.
a high school student sees Full Metal Jacket and wonders if he’s really cut out for service. he cringes when his friends joke about the Vietnamese flute player in band class. they don’t know where the reference came from. he shows them the film, and five dollar whores are humanized. the flutist wonders what made her bullies back off.
finally, on /r/TheRedPill, an angry young man is moved to watch
Eyes Wide Shut. he thinks Bill has everything, and he wants his life as bad as anything. he plans an orgy and he begins to wonder if his girlfriend has fantasies about anyone other than him. in bed, she admits to some hidden desires, and that night he tries his best to fulfill them. he feels powerful. in the morning he trusts her less, becoming possessed of misplaced aggression, and he asks himself why she hasn’t fulfilled all his desires in turn. he breaks up with her a week later to try playing the field, convinced of her emotional infidelity. he tells himself he’ll find a pure girl this time, one made only for his pleasure. but there are no virgins waiting for the sulking young college lad. he regresses further. later in life he’ll look upon this sulky life period with no little amount of bemused embarrassment, like an old acting role he gave up after learning how ill-suited he was to play the part.
the moon wanes to dawn, fully covered now, and she sleeps.