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Surprisingly, The Shining is one of my favorite movies. I may come across as someone who loves romance films and chick flicks, but the reality is, I am a scary movie lover at heart. I also tend to be really picky when it comes to scary movies- I don’t like anything gory or zombie-esque because it just doesn’t really scare me. The Shining, however, completely mystified me and terrified me at the same time. Admittedly, now that I’ve watched it about a dozen times, I’m more or less immune to the scariness of it. If anything, it’s something I like to put on as background music while I do other things.

Anywho, The Shining has garnered a number of fan theories over the years, and today I’m here to go over my favorites. Obviously, these are all theories I pulled from the internet, and none of them are my original discoveries. I’ll be sure to cite all of my sources at the bottom of the page, if you’re interested in doing some further reading.


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1- It’s About the Genocide of Native Americans. This conspiracy theory is one of the most interesting to me, and it also provides some of the most concrete evidence. If you pay close attention to the movie, you’ll notice that the hotel is full of Native American imagery and decorations. Even minor details, such as the baking soda cans, allude to the Calumet (peace pipe) of the Native Americans. Some theorists have pointed out that the elevator of blood could symbolize the blood of the Native Americans that were killed by the European invaders. And anyway, the guy in charge of the hotel did mention that it was built on top of a Native American burial ground…interesting. I’m not exactly sure how this ties into the main plot of Jack being an absolute madman, but I see where people are coming from with this theory. Interesting fun fact: the design of the Overlook Hotel was actually inspired by a real hotel called the Ahwahnee, with similar Native American designs and symbols.


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2- It’s About the Holocaust. This one feels a little strange and reaching to me, but you do have to take into consideration that we’re talking about Stanley Kubrick here. He was a very weird man. His films are famously noted for being dark, twisted, and unsettling, so it’s entirely possible that The Shining is a metaphorical Holocaust film. The basis for this theory is the significance of numbers. 1942 was the year the Nazis initiated their “Final Solution”, and the number “42” appears at various times throughout the film. It appears on Danny’s shirt in the beginning of the film, the number of cards in the parking lot, and even alludes to a movie Danny and Wendy are watching- The Summer of ‘42. And finally, perhaps the most chillingly, multiplying Room 237 (2x3x7) equals the number 42. There are a few other easter-eggs that point to this theory; Jack’s typewriter is German-made (his killing machine, if you will), and a Nazi emblem, a yellow eagle, is seen on one of his shirts. It’s also noteworthy to add that Kubrick was born into a Jewish Bronx household in the 1930s, and his father was named Jack. This could all be a huge coincidence, of course, but it does make for an interesting conspiracy. 


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3- It’s Supposed to be Watched Backwards. I was a little confused when I first read this conspiracy theory, but I think I finally get it. Basically, if you play the film backwards and forwards at the same time (and overlay them ), the two versions will eerily line up (people call this version the “Kubrick Code”). If you watch it this way, the beginning and end scenes will contextually line up in a way that makes perfect sense, and meet in the middle during the scene where Dick Halloran is lying in his bed “shining.” To be honest, this conspiracy theory isn’t entirely too out-there for me. After all, the reverse spelling of redrum to murder does play a large role in the film. Hopefully I can get around to testing this one out, preferably in broad daylight. 


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4- It’s About MKUltra. MKUltra was a series of highly controversial (and illegal) tests placed on participants from the early 1950s to 1973. Although the participants volunteered willingly, what they didn’t know was that they were actually being put under a sort of mind control with drugs such as LSD and sensory deprivation. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re right- MKUltra partly inspired the sci-fi horror series, Stranger Things. But anyway, back to The Shining. The theory goes that Jack Torrance is supposed to represent a test subject of such mind control, and the Overlook hotel represents the CIA slowly eating away at him and making him go crazy. There is also a Monarch ski poster visible at one point in the film, which some conspirists consider significant as well (“Monarch” was the code name used by the CIA for MKUltra). Spoooooky. 


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5- Danny is a Victim of Sexual Abuse. If you’re looking for a theory that feels more plausible than CIA mind control and the Illuminati, perhaps you’ll find this one believable. It’s no secret that Jack has physically abused Danny in the past (to the point of fracturing his arm), so I personally don’t think it’s entirely unbelievable that sexual abuse occured as well. I always felt a very strange, uncomfortable tension between Danny and Jack, especially in the scene where the two are alone in Jack’s room with Danny on his lap. Also, theorists have pointed out that the magazine Jack is reading while waiting in the Overlook lobby is an issue of Playboy, and one of the article headliners mentions incest. The widely discussed scene where Wendy witnesses the creepy-bear-costume-sex-act has also been brought up as an allusion to this. The bear motif appears throughout the film, especially with Danny (his bedroom contains a lot of references to bears). Another theory is that the room 237 traumatized him so much is because that is where the abuse took place- and that would partly explain Jack’s odd, impulsive, sexual experience there. 


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6- And Lastly, it Inspired Frozen. Obviously, this “conspiracy theory” is meant to be more of a joke than anything else (at least, it’s a joke to me), but let’s analyze it for fun anyhow. One blogger, Mary Katharine Ham, describes both Elsa and Jack as “a danger to family members, whose volatility increases after a long isolation inside a giant, ornate, high-ceilinged building in a cold desolate landscape. Screenshots from the two films do look similar, but I actually find it more humorous than creepy. Nonetheless, I get what Mary’s trying to say with this.  


Before I close, I just want to point out that Stanley Kubrick has never officially confirmed or denounced any theories about this film. This is all speculation and not factually proven, but it’s still fun to go through all of the theories and make assumptions about the famous film. Like I said, it’s one of my personal favorites, and to be honest, I could see many of these theories (especially the genocide allusions) overlapping and being true; the symbols, the references to history, the overwhelming theme of denial. The movie, to me, is more or less a giant metaphor for the past, our past. What are your favorite theories about the film? Let me know in the comments!

Sources: https://www.ifc.com/2016/06/the-shining-conspiracy-theories

https://www.collativelearning.com/the%20shining%20-%20chap%2012.html

https://horrorfreaknews.com/man-bear-costume-shining-symbol-sexual-abuse

Photo sources: Threadless, United to End Genocide, The I.B. Tauris Blog, Esquire, Hyperallergic, All That’s Interesting, Gallery Roulette

Coming up next: Taco Tuesday: Making a Dessert Taco

 

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“We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented.” -Christof


*SPOILERS! Watch the movie first if you haven’t already!*

Have you ever seen a movie that’s so, so good, it’s almost painful to watch? That’s how I feel when I hear the first few bars of The Truman Show theme.

If you tuned into last week’s movie review, you know I had a bitch of a time trying to find Chitty Chitty Bang Bang online. Luckily, The Truman Show is currently on Netflix, so you can head over there yourself if you’re interested in seeing this movie. And seriously, you have to. If you’ve gotten this far and haven’t watched the movie, close this page and watch it right now.

I was purposefully very sarcastic and cynical in my last review, but I’ll try not to be in this one. The movie is already so cynical and dark, it pretty much speaks for itself. So what is The Truman Show?

Well, it stars none other than the eclectic Jim Carrey. You know him for his slapstick humor, but did you also know him for his more serious performances? (As far as I’m concerned, he only has a few.) Jim Carrey’s performance is raw, singular, genuine, and above all, emotional. He slides into the role of Truman Burbank so quickly. Carrey really brings him to life in a seamless, authentic manner. You almost forget Truman is just a movie character. Though the film is marketed as a satirical comedy, that label is hardly the tip of the iceberg. Yes, it’s a comedy, but it’s also a cynical exposé of religion, media, government surveillance, and reality television.

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Essentially, the movie is about a television show called The Truman Show. Truman Burbank, the star of the show, has lived his entire life unaware of the fact that his entire life is being filmed and broadcast to the entire world. His wife is an actress, his best friend is an actor, and everybody in his city, “Seahaven”, are actors as well. And the city, for that matter, isn’t even really a city at all. It’s a giant freaking set, inside a dome, installed with 5000 24/7 secret cameras. Despite the fact that we, as viewers, know Seahaven isn’t real, it’s easy to consciously forget. We ourselves often forget to distinguish reality from fantasy, and Seahaven is a sharp reminder of that.

I feel like at some point in our lives, we all worry that the world revolves around us. I myself have been secretly worried in the past that my entire life is like Truman’s- a conspiracy that everybody is in one, except for me. Maybe it is, but I think the more likely scenario is our fight-or-flight instinct. We all have a desire to feel like we are in control of our own lives, for primarily survival reasons. It’s a very “you-can’t-get-me-if-I-get-you-first” feeling, in a way. The directors of the movie could have very easily glazed over this and made a pure comedy out of this conspiracy, but Peter Weir is a genius. The movie is funny, but it’s a dark, slightly uncomfortable humor. Humor isn’t the primary point of the movie, the point of the humor is to make the sadness of the film more bearable and accessible for viewers.

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Everyone is tuned in to watch Truman’s unassuming life, who, like I said, has no idea his entire life is a television program. At least, for the first thirty years of his life. If Truman never figured out his life was all a reality TV show watched by millions around the world, that wouldn’t be much of a movie, would it?

This does raise an important question. We (hopefully) know that what is happening to Truman is immoral, so why do millions of people tune into The Truman Show? Why does almost nobody see anything wrong with this? Because we’re fascinated by human behavior. It makes us feel more normal about our own habits; it comforts us. It’s not much different than turning on a reality TV show or tuning into your favorite content creator- we crave to see every element of their lives and compare its normalcy to our own.

In order to keep Truman from trying to get out of Seahaven, creators of the show instilled a traumatizing fear of water into Truman when he was very young. Truman witnessed the death of his “father” in a boating “accident”, forever leaving him with intense aquaphobia. Of course, there was never a real boating accident, and the man playing Truman’s father is just an actor. Nonetheless, Truman’s intense fear of water effectively prevents him from ever leaving. As I said before, all Seahaven’s residents are actors. They either have a set script to read, or they are fed lines to repeat via microphone by Christof, the creator of The Truman Show. Christof has overwhelming power over Truman’s life, but gives Truman just enough freedom that the audience can see his true emotions and natural human behaviors.

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Despite the fact that all of Truman’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors were technically real, Christof did manage to Truman’s personal life intensely. When Truman is in college, the Christof and the show crew have already picked out a future wife for Truman, Meryl. Despite Meryl suddenly appearing in Truman’s life and essentially pushing herself onto him, Truman falls in love with another “student” on the campus. The actress, whose real-life name is Sylvia, sneaks Truman out on a secret date so that they can spend one evening together before she is “taken away.” Sure enough, an man who introduces himself as Sylvia’s father, shows up immediately and drags her into a car. As she is being pulled from Truman, Sylvia tries as quickly as she can to tell Truman the truth about his life (“It’s all fake, none of it’s real, it’s a set,” etc.) Despite her efforts, Truman isn’t able to figure out what she means, and is left completely shocked when Sylvia’s “father” announces they’re moving to Fiji.

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Translation: Sylvia is being removed from the show.

Truman, of course, in his unknowing obliviation, really believes that Sylvia is in Fiji, waiting for him there. Even after his marriage to Meryl, he spends years planning an escape to Fiji where he can reunite with Sylvia. And if that’s not the most f*cking tragic, heartless thing you’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is. Truman even uses scraps of women’s magazines to try to recreate her face, so that he can find her when he gets to Fiji. Outside of the show, Sylvia is now a member of the “Free Truman” campaign, which demands that Christof end the show forever.

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Side note: the show’s adamancy to make sure Truman falls in love with a pre-picked actress never sat right with me. Wouldn’t it make more sense to let Truman fall in love with whoever he wanted, to make his feelings and human behavior more authentic and enjoyable to watch?

Anyway, fast forward past college. Truman is thirty, still working a desk job, married to Meryl, and still secretly planning his adventure to Fiji to find Sylvia. Around this time, Truman begins to notice strange, unexplainable events that all seem to revolve around him. A spotlight from the set falls in front of him, a circle of rain only follows him, and the radio in his car appears to be describing all of his movements. And then, shit kind of hits the fan when the actor playing Truman’s dad sneaks back onto the show and surprises Truman. Although Truman’s “dad” is quickly removed by other actors, Truman is decidedly suspicious and wary of his life. With nothing holding him back any longer, Truman decides to take his first trip out of Seahaven, and subsequently drags Meryl on an impromptu car trip.

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Though he has a deathly fear of water, Truman’s determination pushes him through, and he crosses the bridge out of Seahaven with Meryl (who is freaking the FUCK out, by the way.) Ironically, the scene in which Truman and Meryl are driving out of Seahaven is the most genuine moment they ever have together. Obviously, Meryl is just an actress who never felt any authentic emotions towards Truman, but on this car ride, they’re both screaming and having a wild time together. It’s fascinating, and twinged with humor as well. Of course, there is no freaking way Christof is going to let Truman get out of Seahaven, and he blocks Truman’s path with a series of implausible accidents. Truman floors it through warnings of a “forest fire”, but his journey is stopped short when he reaches “a leak at the nuclear power plant.” Though Truman jumps out of the car and tries to run into the woods, he is captured and held down by workers in hazmat suits. It’s genuinely disturbing to watch, and broadcasts a terrifying truth: those who dare to speak the truth are often seen as dangerous to society. And, similarly to how the show creators manufacture fears for Truman, our own government/society manufactures fears to keep us in line.

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After being returned to their home in Seahaven, a heated argument breaks out between Truman and Meryl. Truman, now fully convinced that he is being watched under some conspiracy, lashes out at Meryl when she denies his accusations. In a moment in panic, when Truman grabs a knife from Meryl’s hands, she screams out, “Somebody do something!” and breaks character, before being quickly removed from the show. He reflects on his strange life experiences with his best friend, Marlon, who is secretly being fed replies by Christof. “Truman, if everyone was in on it…I would have to be in on it.” We appear to see some wavering in Marlon’s eyes and voice, as if he himself is struggling to keep up this lie from his closest friend.

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Truman’s growing suspicion and awareness of the world around him reminds me of a book quote I’ve always loved. When we stop focusing on the small things in life and turn our attention to the big picture, when we question things, we see life in its painful, beautiful glory. I’ll insert the quote here, and let you chew on that for a while.


“Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way. But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there’s a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. Some people learn to lift the veil themselves. Then they don’t have to depend on the wind anymore.” When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead.


In an attempt to keep the show together and prevent Truman from leaving the Seahaven, Christof re-introduces Truman’s father, who uses amnesia after the accident as the reason for his prolonged absence. As Truman cries and falls into the arms of his “father”, audiences around the world cheer, and the show ratings skyrocket.

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After Meryl moves out and leaves Truman, he begins spending his time sleeping in his basement. One night, a member of the production team notices that Truman is sleeping slightly out of sight, and remaining seemingly unresponsive to external stimuli. Christof sends in Marlon to wake Truman up, but when he pulls back the blanket, the world is shocked to see that it’s only a dummy. Upon further searching, Marlon discovers a makeshift tunnel in Truman’s closet.

With Truman now missing in action, a city-wide search in Seahaven breaks out. Arm in arm, flashlights in hand, hundreds of cast members marched through the streets calling Truman’s name. To make the search easier, Christof cues the sun to rise in the dome, even though it’s the middle of the night. We watch Christof take control of the sun, and once again, a biblical allusion is made. His power as an almost celestial-like being is getting out of control, and he’s destroying reality with every move. Panicking, Christof realizes the only place they haven’t searched for Truman is on the water, despite his life-long fear of it.

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Sure enough, when Christof turns on the “ocean cams”, we see Truman sailing across the sea on a small boat, looking surprisingly happy and at peace. The world once again cheers at Truman’s discovery, but it’s unclear if they’re happy that he’s trying to escape, or just happy that Truman is back on TV. Nonetheless, Christof is pretty pissed that Truman is trying to escape, and simulates a dangerous storm to try to coax him back to land. Christof sends in lightning, thunder, rain, wind, and even capsizes Truman’s boat at one point in an apparent effort to kill him. “We can’t kill him in front of a live audience!” cries one crew member. “He was born on a live audience,” replies Christof coldly.

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Despite capsizing and risking his own life for the sake of truth, Truman somehow manages to pull himself back onto the boat and keep sailing. At this point, completely dumbfounded, Christof stops the storm and watches Truman sail onward. It’s amazing how despite the fact that he’s so close to death and losing everything, Truman appears to be, like I said, the happiest he’s ever been. He is finally pursuing his freedom, his right to a true life, and he’s clearly willing to die for it. He sails on peacefully, now having overcome Christof’s storm. And then, Truman’s boat hits the wall of the dome.

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My favorite element of this scene is that it’s completely silent, except for intense, instrumental music. We can’t hear Truman as he smashes his fists on the wall of the dome, gazing up at the sky in despair, the integrity of his life and trust now completely destroyed. It’s a physical manifestation of challenging fate and reality, physically touching what has restrained you for all your life, and coming face-to-face with your greatest fear. As he begins to walk around the inner perimeter of the dome, he appears to be walking on the water, as if he has taken on a newfound celestial form. He finds a stairway leading up to an exit door, which is really just another theological allusion- the stairway to heaven.

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Before he can push through the door, Christof speaks to him for the first time in his life through a loudspeaker coming from the “sky”,  and actually tries to convince him to stay in Seahaven. It really does come across like God is speaking to Truman, because all Truman hears is a man’s voice coming from the parting clouds. He introduces himself as the creator of the show. “And who am I?” replies Truman.

He tries to tell Truman that there’s no more truth in the real world than there is in his little dome world, but does ultimately reveal to Truman that yes, his life is a television show being watched 24/7 by millions of people. Christof attempts to comfort Truman by telling him that he is real, and so were his feelings, despite the fact that his entire life was artificially monitored. Irritated by Truman’s dumbfounded silence, Christof laughs and says, “Come on, say something! You’re on television.”

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With a slight smile, Truman looks up at the sky and repeats his famous catchphrase one more time: “And in case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!” He spreads his arms, bows, and unflinchingly exits through the door. If you pause the movie at the right time, with his arms spread open wide, Truman appears to look figuratively crucified. As Truman leaves the show, Christof is flabbergasted, crowds across the world go wild, and Sylvia springs up and out the door to finally reunite with Truman.

That’s where the movie ends, and it feels so right. Christof has finally lost his battle to Truman, and Truman’s unconditional desire for accepting life beyond what is in front of him has won. We don’t know what happens to Truman after he exits the show, and it’s perfect. I nearly cry every. Single. Damn. Time.

We’ve now established this is a pretty hefty drama/comedy film, but the thing that makes The Truman Show so singular and remarkable is its cynicism. The Truman Show may just be a fictional movie, but it’s also social commentary on Christianity, metaphilosophy, simulated reality, existentialism, and reality television. This movie came out about twenty years ago, but it’s still relevant to our own modern society and personal relationship with media. With technology as our catalyst, we are the stars of our own Truman shows.

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As you may have picked up on by now, the character of Christof does take on some form of an analogy for Christ. He is the controller of Truman’s universe- the overseer of all, with the power of utter surveillance on those literally below him. It’s also noteworthy to mention Truman’s own namesake: is he really a true-man, we wonder? Yes, his emotions and thoughts are real and his own, but will he ever be able to accept a life beyond his false simulation? Will he choose danger, real pain, and freedom over the safety of what he thinks he knows? Truman basically answers that question in the intense sailing scene- he would die for his own freedom. He represents, a dark, desolate future where we repeat history again, but this time in the form of government surveillance. Truman really doesn’t give a shit, he’d rather be dead than live in a fantasy where nothing is what it really seems.

What we can infer, however, is that Truman and Sylvia will soon be finally reunited. Sylvia, the catalyst for Truman to lift the corner of his veil and see beyond what is in front of him; Sylvia, the only true thing in Truman’s life.

As I said, this is is hands-down one of my favorite films of all time. It’s entertaining, it’s funny at times, and ultimately, it’s extremely powerful. I’m excited to hear your thoughts as well on the film, and if The Truman Show has had a similar impact on your life. This movie is 10/10.

Movie trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2 

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loTIzXAS7v4 

Coming up next: Tips for sensitive skin

*Spoilers, duh.*

Y’all, I have happy butterflies in my stomach today. I am so, so excited to start Movie Meaning Monday, and even better, kick it off with one of my favorite movies of all time. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is really one of those movies that will hold a special place in your childhood, assuming you grew up watching it. I’ve tried to show it to friends my age, and the truth is, the magic just isn’t the same when you watch it for the first time as an adult. It’s slightly tragic, but it’s the way things are.

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I’m generally not a big fan of musicals, but there’s something about this 1968 film that I love. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has been forever preserved in my memory as an important movie from my childhood, no matter how old I get. It’s vintage, it’s creative, it’s catchy, and the character development is there. Even the film itself has some deeper, darker allusions planted in it, but we’ll get into that later.

Basically, I think this is how the article’s gonna go down: I’m going to rewatch the entire movie in one sitting, and then step-by-step analyze the plot, characters, themes, etc. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I’m curious if I’ll notice things I hadn’t picked up on before.

First of all, this was nearly f*cking impossible to stream online. Even more annoying, I own a physical copy of the movie, but my laptop doesn’t have a disc drive. Nice!

The movie opens with in 1907 with a montage of the European Grand Prix, which was a popular car race at the time. One particular car is seen winning the races again and again over the span of two years (hmm, wonder where this is going), until the car tragically crashes and essentially burns to a crisp, effectively ending its racing career. Growing up, I actually thought Dick Van Dyke was the race car driver, and frequently wondered how he could have survived such a horrific accident.

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That being said, the racing montage is more or less not relevant to the plot. In fact, about 25% of the movie isn’t even relevant to the plot, but, uh let’s carry on.

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So, our ‘ole friend the dilapidated race car ends up in an old garage in rural England, where brother-and-sister Jeremy and Jemima Potts fall quickly in love with it. And so we enter the cliché subplot of “Children of a Poor Single Dad Beg Him to Make a Financial Exception for Them.” Their father, eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, struggles and toils over how to afford the car. We’re also introduced to crazy old Grandpa Potts at this time, who isn’t too active now, but trust me, he comes back, so remember that name.

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Soon, another subplot arises. Jeremy and Jemima, out playing hooky from school, meet a beautiful upper-class belle named Truly Scrumptious. Yup, that’s her real, spankin’ name.

Admittedly, I had a major crush on Sally Ann Howes, but who wouldn’t? Have you ever seen such an angelic face before in your life?

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In her true snoody, upper-class manner, Truly Scrumptious marches Jeremy and Jemima back to Caractacus to blow the whistle on their evil, hooky-playing deeds. We experience some awkward romantic tension while Truly chases Caractacus around, complaining that he doesn’t manage his children well enough, while Caractacus fires back that she should keep her nose out of other people’s business. Insert the next cliché of “Beautiful Woman and Outlandish Man Start Out on the Wrong Foot, But Inevitably Fall in Love.” While this awkward argument occurs, Caractacus leads Truly around his…laboratory? Invention room? Factory?

Interjection: There is something I really admire about Truly Scrumptious. I know the movie is trying to introduce her as being a snoody bitch, but I personally think she’s just a smart, independent woman. A 1910s beauty with her very own motorcar, a newfangled mind, and a free-thinking attitude? 

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Anywho, after that intense introduction, and Truly storms off, Caractacus finds himself down in the dumps over how he’s going to be able to afford this sloppy jalopy for his ungrateful, hooky-playin’ children. And so we enter the scariest frame in the entire movie (which is really saying something)- the family dog takes one of Caractacus’ failed inventions- a piece of candy- and starts blowing through it like a flute in the still of the night.

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NIGHTMARE. FUEL. Seriously, is that a dude in a dog costume? My eyes cannot unsee this. That’s not a dog, that’s the f*cking Abominable Snowman. 

And so the seed is planted in Caractacus’ head! He can package up these sweets, market them to a major company as “Toot Sweets”- the magical candy you can also use as a musical instrument, and make some big bucks. All thanks to a terrifying dog who somehow became self-aware of the gift of music!

The following day, Caractacus and his two (hookying again?) children embark on a journey to a prestigious sweets factory, where Caractacus tries mercilessly to sell his idea to the CEO, Lord Scrumptious. And low and behold, Lord Scrumptious is no other than Truly’s dad.

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In the midst of Caractacus excitement about his candy, and maybe to add some filler in the movie, we’re interrupted by a catchy dance and song number in the factory. The friendship between Truly and Caractacus continues to blossom, and Lord Scrumptious is so close to giving in to Toot Sweets when of course, disaster strikes. The sound of the candy’s whistle causes a pack of dogs to go crazy and infiltrate the candy factory, and Caractacus loses his chance. By the way, none of this is really relevant to the plot at all yet, but we’re getting there.

Back in the depths of despair, and unsure how he’s going to buy this LOAD of CRAP for his children, Caractatus sadly watches the sunset on rural England while a windmill slowly spins behind him. And that’s when we see it- a carnival, far in the distance, and Caractacus’ next chance to make some fast cash money. He breaks into the carnival and decides to disguise himself as a barber, of all things, using yet another one of his inventions as a hair cutting tool. Are you surprised when his hair-cutter turns this poor guy into Kevin Malone? Because I’m sure not.

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In a fast-paced chase, Caractacus escapes the rightfully angry customer and hides himself in a random carnival tent. This tent happens to be a song-and-dance act, which Caractacus nearly perfectly performs on the spot, and of course, we have another musical intervention: The ‘Ol Bamboo. Not gonna lie, The ‘Ol Bamboo is kind of a bop.

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Finally, finally, after charming the audience with his sexy Van-Dykiness, Caractacus raises enough tips to pay for that burnt huck of shi-cough, I’m sorry, I mean the race car at the junk garage. He purchases the car, drives it into his secluded barn, and spends many days and nights bringing the car back to life. And so, after an undisclosed amount of time and about 4,384 irrelevant plot points, we are introduced to…this sexy piece of metal. Uh, I mean, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For those of you who are confused, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” refers to to the sound the car makes as it drives. And yes, it does have its own musical number.

Finally, the plot of the movie begins.

Caractacus, Jeremy, Jemima, Truly all pile into Chitty on their first trip in the new car- a trip to the beach. It’s here that Caractacus and Truly start to get a ‘lil bit more friendly, and we even see some weird 1910s variations of flirting…

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While relaxing in the car, Caractacus begins to tell a fictional story to Truly and the children about an evil tyrant named Baron Bomburst, his country, Vulgaria, and Bomburst’s imperious quest to steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Why the tyrant ruler of a fictional country would want a loud car from  rural England is a mystery to me, but oh well, it’s a fictional story, right?

Maybe.

Okay, this is when things in the story start to get kind of weird, in a sense that reality starts to merge with fantasy. Because while Caractacus is telling this story about Donald Tru-*COUGH*, uh, I mean, Baron Bomburst, things take an unexpected turn, and the car is suddenly surrounded by water. And who is that we see looming in the distance on an evil pirate ship? None other than Baron Bomburst himself!

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So okay, if you’ve gotten this far, we’ve accepted that we are now in the story. Which means that this evil tyrant is really gonna try to sail on over and steal Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So Chitty does what any average vehicle would do- it automatically deploys huge flotation devices and transforms itself into a power boat. Chitty and her passengers swiftly return to shore and narrowly escape Baron Bomburst, who then proceeds to send out two spies after the car.

This movie really sounds like a madlib, doesn’t it? I promise you, it’s real film that I genuinely enjoy.

So let’s recap: Caractacus Potts renovates a dilapidated race car and turns it into a glorious chitty-chitty-chonking machine with automatic flotation pads. And somehow, Ford was the leading car manufacturer instead of this guy?!

Anyway, the spies. Oh, the spies. They’re the classic buddy duo that every comedy (and musical) needs. The entire movie is pretty much comic relief, but these guys are pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Predictably, they’re pretty shitty at their job, and accidentally kidnap Grandpa Potts instead of Caractacus. Remember him?

Okay, hold on. Weren’t they trying to take the car? Why did they decide to take Potts captive instead?

And they don’t just take Grandpa Potts captive. That would be far too mundane. Instead, they attach a hook to his weird little shack and transport him to Vulgaria via giant blimp. That’s not inconspicuous, right?

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Of course, as Caractacus, Truly, and the kids are driving down the road in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, they see ‘ole Grandpa Potts being airlifted away in a giant blimp. So what’s the best course of action? Drive after the blimp!

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And then, during the chase that was doomed anyway, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang accidentally flies off a cliff!

No, seriously, the car flies. The fucking car sprouts magical wings and propellers and shoots off into the sky after the blimp. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

The journey takes about a nice, based on evidence that the sun sets and rises, but eventually, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lands in the fictional country of Vulgaria. It’s not actually disclosed why Caractacus Potts knows to go to Vulgaria, but hey, movie magic, right?

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Now, if you were confused by the title of my article, it might start to make sense from here on out. Like I said, we had to cover a lot of fluff first to actually get to the plot of the movie. As they land in Vulgaria, Caractacus, Truly, and the kiddos find themselves in this quaint-looking little village. There’s no sign of any civilization, and there certainly isn’t sign of Grandpa Potts and the giant, evil blimp. Confused and probably freaking the fuck out, the quartet is taken in by a toymaker, who spills the piping tea on the magical land of Vulgaria. Essentially, it is illegal for children to be in Vulgaria, and if any are detected, the Baroness Bomburst will abhor and imprison them. All the remaining children are hiding underground in tunnels and safety camps, where the kind-hearted toymaker goes to bring them food and clothes.

A shunned population of people, hiding from the government in underground camps and tunnels…interesting. Oh, did I mention that everyone in Vulgaria speaks with a thick German accent?

Because Jeremy and Jemima are children and thus at risk for being imprisoned by Baroness Bomburst, the toy catcher hides them underneath the floor in a secret lair while Caractacus and Truly go off to find some food. Considering most of the movie so far was light-hearted and kind of goofy, this weird, anti-semitism hinting allusion comes off as quite a shocker. And it’s not just me who figured out this allusion- I’ll link some other articles about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with similar points below.

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Anyway, back in Baron Bomburst’s castle, Grandpa Potts is stressing big time because this evil tyrant thinks he is Caractacus Potts, and expects him to build a flying car. Alas, to avoid being executed, Grandpa Potts goes along with the whole weird situation but continuously bluffs his abilities. This brings us onto our next song and dance number: a group of old man prisoners singing about rising up from their terrible fate and trying to build a car that none of them know how to build. And, yet again, it’s truly a bop, and truly some movie magic filler.

Back in the village, Baron Bomburst and his raiders have seized Chitty, and this terrifying dude named the CHILD CATCHER seizes Jeremy and Jemima. Seriously, where the fuck did this guy come from?

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Yes, once Baroness Bomburst hears a whiff that there are children in the village, she sends out this terrifying dude to lure them into a trap by using the classic “hey, I have candy!” line. Sure enough, Jeremy and Jemima fall for it, and Truly Scrumptious gets to see them being snatched away in a giant cage. Surprisingly, this scene doesn’t include a musical number, though I hear Robert Helpmann is an excellent dancer.

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With Jeremy and Jemima kidnapped, and Grandpa Potts on the verge of being executed, Caractacus and Truly put their heads together and plan to secretly infiltrate the Baron’s castle. The toymaker brings them to an underground grotto, where all of the village’s remaining children are hungrily hiding together (again, with the allusions to Jews hiding from the Nazis, you might be getting the picture a little clearer now). After hanging out with the hiding children and hearing about their experiences, Caractacus declares he is going to rescue all the children and free them from the Baron. The children, in turn, agree to help him rescue his family. And rescue Chitty, for that matter.

Oh yeah, remember Chitty? The car that this entire movie is named after?

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This upcoming little tidbit is actually my favorite part in the entire movie. The toymaker sneaks Caractacus and Truly into the castle disguised as life-sized dolls, the former as a puppet, and the latter as a doll on a music box. They each perform their own little routines- Caractacus dances around does a pretty convincing job pretending to be a giant puppet, and Truly performs a lovely little song as a doll spinning on the music box. If you watch interviews with Sally Ann Howes, you know that this scene was incredibly difficult and required a lot of concentration on her part to remain robot-like at all times. Somehow, she managed to pull it off in one take, which makes the scene even more magical. You really see the chemistry between Caractacus and Truly go as well, especially when he starts singing about how much he loves her in sync with her music box song. It’s hard to describe, but if you watch the scene, it makes more sense and it’s extremely adorable.

After charming Baron Bomburst into thinking he’s a puppet, Caractacus pulls a wild one and attaches the Baron to a giant pulley hook when he’s not looking. And so, while Baron Bomburst is flying around in the air attached to a giant rope, hundreds of children infiltrate the castle and wreak havoc. They capture the Baron and the Baroness, and the child catcher, and the evil tyranny of Vulgaria appears to be over now. With Chitty Chitty Bang Bang back in their hands, Caractacus, Truly, Jeremy, and Jemima begin the long flight home.

In the next scene, we’re back on the beach in England, and Caractacus is finishing his story. Oh yeah, remember that 75% of this film is a fictional story being told on a beach?

As Caractacus drops Truly off at the Scrumptious Manor, she asks him if he could envision the two of them having a future together. Then Caractacus kind of fucks up and says nah, probably not, and Truly basically accuses him of being a snobby loser.

Later, when Caractacus arrives home with his children, he discovers that Lord Scrumptious (Truly’s dad) is waiting for him with news that he wants to buy the Toot Sweets, and use them as…dog treats.

Nonetheless, Caractacus and his family are ecstatic with the news that they’re now super rich. Caractacus runs off to tell Truly the news, and apologizes for being a dick, and then…he asks her to marry him!

Aww. But didn’t they just meet, like, yesterday?

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The film closes with Caractacus and Truly riding off in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, who takes off into the air again. As the car rides off into the sunset, Caractacus discusses the importance of pragmatism, and the movie ends.

So! Here’s my general analysis of the movie, which I’ll try my best to keep short and sweet. I think the overall theme of the movie is pretty innocent and enthusiastic: an energetic, quirky family musical, about a flying car and a wild adventure. On the surface, it is a pretty tame movie. But beyond that, if you analyze the subplot, there is a deeper meaning. At least, in my (and my other) opinions, there is.

Allegedly, though I haven’t found proof of this, Chitty screenplay writer Roald Dahl was supposedly anti-jew. I read another article about this issue, published on a Tumblr page called “Sometimes I lie awake at night…”. I can’t find an author name, but I’ll link the article at the bottom of the page. One of the most interesting paragraphs goes as so…


“Ian Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with the fascist militarism of Prussia and Nazi Germany in mind. Vulgaria’s elite are characterized by overwrought Germanic stereotypes – the accents and costuming gives it away. Having children is illegal in Vulgaria. Cognizant of that terrible policy, the lederhosen-wearing parents that we encounter in Vulgaria hide their children in a subterranean cave and the toymaker helps hide Jeremy and Jemima knowing full well the Child Catcher will do anything to root any children out. Some of the language the Child Catcher uses refers to certain pests and equates the children to these savage, animalistic terms. The Child Catcher and his de facto Gestapo are a force even the adults fear with all of their funny moustaches and comically crooked noses. The Holocaust-tinged allegory is too obvious to ignore. All of this history will easily escape children but, for adults, it comes off as the most sanitized treatment of such horrific issues. Co-screenwriters Roald Dahl (yes, that Roald Dahl) and director Ken Hughes preserved Fleming’s metaphors and illustrations. Again, keep in mind who this film is intended for.”


The Child Catcher does indeed have a quote alluding to Jews hiding to escape the Nazis. In the scene before he takes Jeremy and Jemima, he says to the toymaker, “You have to know where to look. Like cockroaches, they get under the floors, in the cracks in the walls, in the woodwork…” If that’s not a Holocaust metaphor, I don’t know what is.

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Furthermore, when the Child Catcher introduces a caged Jeremy and Jemima to the Baron, he describes them as “Unique Specimens.”

Although the toymaker is unable to protect Jeremy and Jemima, he is definitely something of a hero- hiding all the abandoned village children in underground cellars and grottos. It’s definitely an interesting plot point, but I find it somewhat distasteful that the writers decided to weave an anti-semitic allusion into a family. It’s just a little weird to me.

Besides that, however, I really do enjoy this movie. And maybe that is because I grew up on the film and it forever holds a soft spot in my heart. And though I’ve hammered on and on about the odd themes in the movie, it is just a family film on the surface. It’s one I continue to find intriguing, interesting, and forever classic. 8/10 from me!

Further reading and sources: https://pome-mag.com/chitty-chitty-bang-bang-and-the-weird-antisemitic-subplot/

http://dweemeister.tumblr.com/post/89821726976

Movie trivia about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062803/trivia

Picture Credits: https://hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2010/08/family-flicks-film-series-chitty-chitty-bang-bang/

http://dgbhjhgjyft.blogspot.com/2013/03/if-you-wanted-to-see-most-similar-races.html

(And LOTS of YouTube screenshots)

Coming up next: Winter Reading List: What I’m Reading Right Now

Once again, I present you with a tag that literally nobody asked for!

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Actually, this one is a little bit justified. I’m going to be starting another mini series for the month of February, now that Fashion History Friday has ended. This time, it’s Movie Meaning Monday, and you guessed it…I’m going to be discussing movies! This particular movie tag is from a blog called Young OFW, so I give all credit for the questions to them. Without further adieu, let’s jump in.

(Disclaimer: I hardly ever see new movies, so most of these will probably be pretty old.)

How often do you watch a movie?

I’m not really a big movie person, because most of the time, I just feel like watching the office. So I probably watch a movie about twice a month.

What movie genre are you particularly fond of?  

Generally, I like to stick to comedies and horror/thrillers. I find action and romance movies to be extremely unappealing.

What was the last movie that you’ve watched and liked?  

My mom made me watch Scrooged with her over winter break, and now I have the world’s biggest crush on Bill Murray. Not ashamed to admit it, either.

What was the last movie that you’ve watched and hated?  

You know, I’m really not sure off the top of my head. Like I said, I don’t watch a ton of new movies, so I’ll have to think about that one.

What is your most favorite movie of all time?  Your most favorite guilty pleasure movie?

It changes every couple years or so, but right now, my favorite movie is Monsters Inc. It’s such a pure, sweet, nostalgic film. On the other end of the spectrum, I also really enjoy The Shining, and re-watch it every couple months or so.

What movie/movies you have watched a million times already?  

The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Edward Scissorhands, and Ever After. My parents gave me those four movies together as a Christmas gift, and to this day, they’re still my favorites.

Are you the type who watch movie on its first day of showing?  

Oh, hell no. I haven’t visited a movie theater in years.

Do you use fandango or do you pre-booked movie tickets?

I probably have in the past, but I like I said, I don’t really like to go out to movie theaters anymore. I find going to the movies to be really boring.

Movie house, blu-ray, or download?  

Uhhh, I guess none. I really just watch Netflix and Hulu.

How often do you go to a movie house to watch a movie?  

Eh, I aim for never.

What are the movies that made you cry?  

The Iron Giant makes me bawl like a baby. Without fail. Every time.

Do you watch foreign films?

Generally not; the only non-English-speaking films I’ve seen are Pan’s Labyrinth and Verónica. The latter, by the way, did not really scare me at all. Then again, I watched it while I was on a Tinder date with a guy I was really not into, so I spent most of my focus and energy that night hoping he wouldn’t try to put his hand on my knee (and he did try a few times).

What’s your favorite foreign films?

Pan’s Labyrinth. See story above for reference.

Who are favorite directors?  

Brad Bird, Rob Reiner, and Tim Burton are some of my favorites. And I know John Lasseter is kind of sketchy, but I do like his work a lot.

Are you particular with movie scores, soundtracks, and musics?  

Am I particular with them? What does that even mean? I guess I generally enjoy them, as long as they make sense for the movie.

What movie soundtrack can be found in your ipod?  

The Village, The Truman Show, Man on Wire, and Inception are a few of my favorites.

Have you ever watch a movie alone on a movie house?

I definitely have, but I don’t remember off the top of my head what movie it could have been.

What is the best chick-flick for you?

Mean Girls is a CLASSIC that will never get old!

Is there any movie that has changed your perspective in life?

Man on Wire is a documentary about Philippe Petit’s wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974, and that movie means a lot to me. The story is a combination of adventure, mischief, self-discovery, and edge-of-your-seat excitement. I actually wrote a letter to Philippe Petit about how much I loved his story, and he wrote a letter back to me!

Your favorite comic book movie?  

I’ve never been into comic books, so I wouldn’t be able to pick one.

DC or Marvel movies?

See answer above.

What are the movies in the top 10 in IMDB that you have watched?

Uhh, let’s see. Probably not a lot. I’ve seen Inception and Fight Club, but that’s all I’ve seen on the list.

Do you read movie critic reviews before watching a film?  

Occasionally I will, but mostly, I try to go into watching films unbiased.

What is the best movie adapted from a book?

Coraline is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen. Henry Selick did a stellar job preserving the tone of the story and transferring it to the screen.

Watch the movie before reading the book or vice versa?  

It depends on how long ago the book came out in relation to the movie. I’m already a pretty dedicated book worm, so the chances are, I’ve almost always read the book before I’ve seen the movie.

What is your most favorite comedy movie?

There are so many comedies I love, but off the top of my head, my favorites are Mean Girls, The Internship, Monty Python, and The Princess Bride.

Drama movie?  

My favorite drama film to date is The Truman Show. It really strikes a chord in me that I can’t really explain, but it makes me emotional. I also really enjoy the movie October Sky, because the relationship between Homer and his father reminds me a lot of me and my own dad.

Western movie?  

Western films aren’t really my cup of tea, but when I was little, my favorite western film was The Apple Dumpling Game.

Romantic comedy film?

One of my favorite movies growing up was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I still watch it occasionally to recreate that feeling of nostalgia, and have a good laugh.

Horror film?  

Like I said, The Shining is one of my favorite films of all time. I love the unique and off-putting aesthetic of the entire movie, and the voyeuristic role we take on as viewers.

Sports movies?  

I don’t really watch very many sports movies, but I loved Cool Runnings and its laugh-out-loud humor.

Sci-fi?  

I really enjoy alien movies, so my favorite sci-fi films are Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Contact, and E.T.

Action movies?  

Action movies are not really interesting to me, and neither are war movies. I’ll edit something in here if a movie comes to mind, though.

War movies?  

See answer above.

Who is your most favorite movie couple?

Mike Wazowski and Celia for the win.   

Any movie character you can relate to?  

I relate to a lot of INFJ characters, such as Amélie, Jay Gatsby, and Nitta Sayuri.

If you are to only watch five movies for the rest of your life, what would the movies be?  

That’s nearly impossible to pick, but I would have to say The Shining, The Iron Giant, Coraline, E.L.F, and The Ring.

Your least favorite movie all time?  

There aren’t a lot of movies that I “hate”, but I really didn’t enjoy the Harry Potter franchise. I think I got about halfway through the first movie, got bored, and never went back to it.

Have you ever watched a movie based on the lead actor/actress only?

Probably not. I could care less which actor or actress is in a movie, because the plot is most important to me. That being said, I am interested in watching Lost in Translation mostly because I have an enormous crush on Bill Murray.

What movie you expected and wanted to be good but failed you?

You know, I really, really wanted to like the first Amityville Horror film, but it just…wasn’t scary? And the plot was going nowhere? And the ending was extremely anticlimactic?

Favorite movie character of all time?  

Could never pick a favorite. I love Truman Burbank, Danielle de Barbarac, Fezzik, and Ivy Walker.

Favorite movie villain?  

Preminger from The Princess and the Pauper, but that’s mostly because his song is catchy.

Any movie sequel you are still waiting.

Can we PLEASE get another WALL-E? I need to see what happens after the fat people return to Earth!

Ever made a movie review?  

Not yet… 😉

Star Wars or Star Trek?  

Star Wars ALL THE WAY. Those movies were my childhood.

Right now, think of any movie, what comes first? “I would if I could…bitch.” –Whore

Favorite movie lines?  “Mike Wazowski!” -Boo, Monsters Inc.

TV series, books, computer games, or movies in order of interest? TV series, then books, then computer games, then movies. I actually just posted an article yesterday about the psychology of The Sims, so go check that out!

Lastly, if your life story is to be made into a movie, who would you like to portray you?

I would enjoy seeing a movie about my entire high school career, so preferably, the actress would have to be close in age to me. Maybe Chloë Grace Moretz?

Who should be directing it and what would be the title?

I’m writing an autobiographical novel right now, titled The Girl in the Dust, so I’d probably name it that. As for the director, I would love for Bo Burnham to direct a movie about me.

Wow, congrats to anyone who got through that entire list. It was super fun to do, and hopefully, you had a fun time reading it and getting to know me better.

Coming up next: Movie Meaning Monday: Was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang an Allusion to Nazi Germany?