At The Theater #26: Inception

SPOILER WARNING – I’m going to talk about Inception in detail here, including the ending. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to skip this post until you see it.

Inception is a total mind-fuck. I think this was well expressed by the audience at the theater where I saw it. As soon as the credits rolled, there was a loud wail of anguish from people in the crowd. This wasn’t the same wail of anguish you’d hear at a Last Airbender screening; it wasn’t coming from a poor quality standpoint. The camera just stays on that damn spinning top for so long, then it starts wobbling and…black.  Was Leo awake? Was he still dreaming? To quote a teen in the lobby after the movie: “Christopher Nolan must die!” Again, I think this was coming from a different place than when that was said about M. Night Shamalan from teens after seeing a different movie across town.

 Random Thought #1: The snow-scape dream fortress looked a lot like the sniper board in Metal Gear Solid for the PS1. 

I really liked Inception. It was like a combination of Lost’s sideways reality, The Matrix and The Sixth Sense. For a very exposition-heavy movie, I think Nolan did a good job of interspersing the exposition so that Inception didn’t feel weighed down by it.

I liked the open-ended ending. At first it looked like that top was going to keep spinning forever and he was still dreaming. But then it starts wobbling and I really hoped it would fall down, because I wanted a happy ending for the guy. But it ended before we could get our answer. Does it even matter? Leo walks away from the top before it stops spinning. It’s as if he said, “this is my real world,” reunited with his kids. If you wake up in heaven, do you question it? Leo risks everything to return to his family, and in the end he’s satisfied that he’s reunited with them to the point that he doesn’t even glance back at the top. But we do. Not that we have a choice, the camera is staring right at, spinning and wobbling away.

 Random Thought #2: Joseph Gordon Levitt in this movie has caused me to want to start wearing vests.

I want to see this movie a second time, largely to watch the wake-up scene on the plane again. I don’t remember what the order was of people waking up. Maybe that gives us some clue as to whether or not Leo was actually awake in the end. Was he the last one to wake up? If he wasn’t, I think would lean heavily towards him being still asleep. Everyone else should have made it out of the dream before him, right?
Inception reminded me a lot of The Matrix, to the point that I’m really hoping they don’t mess up any sequels the way that the ball was completely dropped with the two Matrix sequels. Then again, I have faith in Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight was my favorite movie of 2008, so I know the guy can do sequels well. But really, I can’t even see where you’d go with this movie in a second one. It works so well on its own. We don’t need Inception 2: The Search for Leo.

Tuesday Night Movies is on a road trip! We saw Inception at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor, Maine. I love this movie theater. This might be my favorite movie theater. It’s this or LA’s Arclight.

What makes Reel Pizza so great? Basically, it’s the concession stand. While other theaters have branched out from popcorn and candy to include nachos and pretzel bites, you can order pizzas at Reel Pizza. The topping list is extensive. Don’t feel like pepperoni tonight? Why not go for mussels, artichoke hearts or goat cheese? Need something to wash it down with? How about a beer? That’s right, beer. And it’s good beer too. They offer Guinness and selections from local breweries, all for cheaper than what a Bud Light would run you in NYC.

The two theaters were designed with the concession stand in mind. Each row of seats has a counter in front of it to put your pizza tray and beer. The first three rows of taken up by couches and easy chairs. These seats are usually the first to go. TV trays are available for viewers lucky enough to snag these seats. When your pizza is ready, a BINGO board on the side wall silently announces your number to let you know that your pizza is waiting for you in the lobby. They even throw an intermission into each movie so that you can grab another beer, or if you’re hungry, another pizza.

 The Reel Pizza bingo board of pizza readiness.

I haven’t been to Bar Harbor without going to Reel Pizza. If you’re there, it’s a must-stop-at destination.