In anticipation of the film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Ken Watanabe, Moviefone is taking a look back at some of 'Inception's' zany predecessors, films that truly made us say, "WTF?!" Christopher Nolan's 'Inception' hits theaters today, and with glowing reviews it's poised to become this summer's intellectual blockbuster -- a mind-bending experience that will dazzle you as much as it will make you scratch your head. (In its review, Entertainment Weekly called the film "brainiacally engaging.")
In anticipation of the film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Ken Watanabe, Moviefone is taking a look back at some of 'Inception's' zany predecessors, films that truly made us say, "WTF?!"
'Eyes Wide Shut'
In this final mind trip from director Stanley Kubrick, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who were still together at the time, play a wealthy married couple whose rocky relationship is exacerbated by their adulterous desires. This leads Bill (Cruise) down a strange path that includes a visit to a mysterious mansion where danger -- and orgies -- lurks at every corner. By the end of the film, the couple reconciles; but 11 years later, we're still trying to figure out how it all happened.
'The Saddest Music in the World'
Isabella Rossellini plays a beer heiress in search of the country with, well, the saddest music in the world in this charming but confounding musical from Guy Maddin. The film is as modernist as it is a throwback to the silent era -- think 'Un chien andalou' for the modern-day audience.
Unpleasant events occur in this indie from writer-director Harmony Korine, about the residents of a small town in Ohio. The film, which features a performance by Chloe Sevigny ('Boys Don't Cry,' TV's 'Big Love'), takes a nonlinear approach to its plot, and features everything from cat hunting to a boy dressed up like a bunny. It's every bit as bizarre as Kornie's real-life persona, which was displayed on 'The Late Show With David Letterman' the year of the film's release. (see below).
'The Man Who Fell to Earth'
David Bowie's first major film performance was a fittingly dramatic one in this cult '70s classic, in which he plays an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton who travels to Earth in search of water for his home planet. Along the way, he falls for the lonely Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), setting off a chain of events that leads to his imprisonment and ultimately a bad case of alcoholism. (On the bright side: At least he finally found something to drink.)
Indie queen Tilda Swinton is ravishing in this gender-bending costume drama from Sally Potter, which received two Academy Award nominations in 1993. Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, Swinton plays the titular male character who makes a promise to the dying Queen Elizabeth I to never grow old. The promise is kept; but years later, in a true WTF?! moment, Orlando wakes up and must start life anew -- as a woman. Whether she's playing a man or a woman, Swinton is superb throughout.
A fashion photographer (David Hemmings) may or may not have glimpsed a murder through his lens. It's maverick director Michelangelo Antonioni's take on London in the swinging '60s, in which finding the killer takes a back seat to mod flats, hot models and, in a wonderful end sequence, tennis-playing mimes. 'Blow Up's' leading lady, Vanessa Redgrave, was no stranger to the avant garde in her early days, having also appeared in 'Morgan!' (1966), 'Isadora' (1969) and Ken Russell's 'The Devils' (1971).
Said Roger Ebert of David Lynch's 2001 flight of the imagination: "The less sense it makes, the more we can't stop watching it." Truer words have never been spoken about this Oscar-nominated mind-bender, which finds a wide-eyed aspiring actress (Naomi Watts) taking in a mysterious woman (Rita, played by Laura Elena Harring) with amnesia. Thus begins a search to unravel the woman's true past, and in doing so, they walk a fine line between reality and fantasy.
Viewers will want to pay especially close attention to this film, because, just like this writeup, it's told completely backwards. Long before 'Inception,' Christopher Nolan was boggling the minds of audiences with 'Memento,' about a man (Guy Pearce) with short-term memory loss who is determined to find the person who killed his wife.
30 years ago, William Hurt's unique career was launched in this psychedelic romp for eggheads. In the film, the Oscar-winning actor plays Dr. Eddie Jessup, a Harvard professor who expands his mind with hallucinogens and sensory deprivation. (Don't worry: he's tenured.) Thanks to director/provocateur Ken Russell, the plot fades as we are treated to every one of Jessup's trips in vivid detail. Fun fact: 'Altered States' marked the film debut of a young Drew Barrymore.
The title 'Wavelength' refers to what you'll hear during much of the film: a tone played at different frequencies. The dialogue is hardly snappy; in fact, it's barely intelligible. Still, it must have done something right, as this 45-minute zoom shot was named one of the best films of the 20th century in a critics poll conducted by the Village Voice. Meanwhile, film students everywhere have tried to decode the action in this 1967 celluloid experiment, and now you can take your best shot; the entire movie is available to watch below.