Friday, December 12, 2014

The 10 best films of 2014: No 1 – Under the Skin | Film | The Guardian


The 10 best films of 2014: No 1 – Under the Skin

By turns breathtaking, hilarious and disturbing, Jonathan Glazer's extraordinary, erotic film achieves a rare blend of fantasy and realism 'Very erotic, very scary' – read Peter Bradshaw's review of Under the Skin Interview: Scarlett Johansson discusses her role in Under the Skin


Terminally tempting: Scarlett Johansson in Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin
Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is a film about a beautiful, scary alien that is itself beautiful and scary and alien: it's an entirely extraordinary, outrageously sensual film that Glazer's previous excellent work had really only hinted at, partially and indistinctly. His Sexy Beast (2000) was a visually accomplished, exciting and intelligent crime thriller that was way ahead of the woeful mockney-geezer mode of the time. Birth (2004) had Kubrickian ingenuity and chill, with some remarkable moments; it was a movie that deserves cult-classic status but has yet to achieve it. Then a decade went by, and it seemed that Glazer might be a stylist for whom a sustained cinema career would perhaps not be achievable (and heaven knows, it can happen to the most talented).
But when he gave us his long-gestating free adaptation of Michel Faber's novel Under the Skin, the result really was gasp-inducing: hilarious, disturbing, audacious. No less an A-lister than Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in human form who roams the streets and shopping malls of Glasgow. Perfectly genuine footage of real-life passersby is shown as the incognito Johansson impassively sizes up these earthlings for their calorific value. Then actors will step out of the crowd for their scenes with the great seducer. She takes them back to her place: a mysterious dark cavern in which, in an erotic trance, they submit to being imprisoned and farmed for their meat – and perhaps, who knows, for their very soul.



Glazer surely took something, again, from Kubrick, especially in the scene in which his alien is born in some dimensionless otherworld. He took something from Nic Roeg and The Man Who Fell to Earth and a little, perhaps, from David Lynch – of which, more in a moment. But alongside the sci-fi exoticism he brought the grit and sinew of contemporary realism, calling to mind the work of film-makers like Ken Loach, or even Abbas Kiarostami and the opening of his The Taste of Cherry, in which a desperately unhappy man drives around the itinerant labour markets of Teheran looking for someone to help him. These fantastic alien forms are scuffed with ordinariness and even bathos. The scene in which the alien uncomprehendingly watches Tommy Cooper on television is a masterpiece of tonal suspense.

Watching Under the Skin again brought to mind another comparison: Orson Welles – the Welles who succeeded in creating a hoax martian invasion on the radio and who, in F for Fake (1975), got his partner Oja Kodar to walk around the streets in a miniskirt, secretly filming the lascivious expressions of the non-actor guys looking at her.

Out there ... Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin Photograph: Allstar/FILM4/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar


The most staggering scene is, of course, that in which the alien picks up a young man with the facial condition neurofibromatosis, played by Adam Pearson. Glazer brings to this scene an utter fearlessness and unsentimentality, perhaps a variation on a theme from David Lynch's The Elephant Man. The alien does not essentially distinguish between his looks and those of her other victims, but her encounter with him – an encounter of two aliens? – triggers a crisis in which she becomes the prey rather than the hunter.

Under the Skin is just so visually free and uninhibited that there is an intense dark, destructive sexiness in everything about it – quite apart from the hilarious, bizarre, mesmeric eroticism of the film itself. It is a work of subcutaneous potency. It gets under your skin.

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Need More Proof That The Music Industry Is Fake? Here You Go.

I'm amazed that this report states the auto-tune and lip-syncing is a secret...singers have been doing this for decades...


If You Think We Are Alone In The Universe – You Might Want To See This | Collective-Evolution


If You Think We Are Alone In The Universe – You Might Want To See This

One of the most popular questions today is "are we alone in the universe?" Believe it or not, you're in the minority if you believe that absolutely no intelligent life exists in the universe. In the United States alone, at least half of all Americans say that we're not alone in the universe. Fifty percent of Americans already believe that there is some form of life on other planets, while only seventeen percent think that there isn't. A quarter of Americans believe that intelligent extraterrestrial visitors have already come to Earth and have been doing so for a long time. (source)

Here's one of them:

"Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time." (source) (source) – Apollo 14 Astronaut, Air Force Captain and Founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Edgar Mitchell

There are multiple reasons why the extraterrestrial question continues to gain popularity. People are starting to ask questions about the world around them, utilizing critical thinking and investigation. After thoroughly investigating this topic your conclusions will be similar to the conclusions of the majority, we are not alone, and we are being visited.

1. The Size of the Universe

How often do you look up into the night sky and wonder just how many stars, planets, galaxies and more are out there? Space has been a high area of interest that has always fascinated scientists, philosophers, musicians and pretty much just about everyone. What is it about deep space that grabs our attention so much? To think about just how big the universe is can really put things into perspective.

Counting the stars in the universe  is like trying to count the number of sand grains on a beach , not possible. Although estimates vary among different experts, the general consensus is that there are at least between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Think about that for a moment, and now throw in billions of stars in each galaxy! (source) This number could very easily be in the trillions for all we know.

Take the Milky Way Galaxy for example, which measures to about 120,000 light years across (it would take light that many years to travel across the galaxy), and contains up to 400 billion stars. Again, that's billions of galaxies that contain billions of stars. (source)

Scientists estimate that at least 10 billion habitable Earth-sized planets exist in the milky way alone ( one galaxy out of billions), but it's important to keep an open mind as to what type of conditions and environments some unknown extraterrestrial like forms could thrive in. They all don't necessarily have to be Earth-like.

Given our estimation of the size of the universe, or multiverse (whatever you want to call it), odds are we are not alone.

2. Whistle Blowers

The past few years have seen a surge of whistle-blowers that've come out and said some remarkable things. Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have received the most attention, but the reality is that there are hundreds of whistle blowers who have come forward with verified credentials and backgrounds. Mass survelience and the security state is not the only thing shocking people around the world, it's the fact that many of these whistle blowers claim that we are not alone in the universe. It wouldn't be so hard to ignore if it wasn't for the backgrounds these people have in their respected fields. 

The first one that comes to mind is Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defence Minister, the man responsible for unifying the Canadian Air Force, Army and the Navy into one united force now known as the Canadian Forces. For someone with such a background to come out and make these extraordinary claims definitely grabbed the attention of many people.

"Decades ago, visitors from other planets warned us about the direction we were heading and offered to help. Instead, some of us interpreted their visits as a threat, and decided to shoot first and ask questions after. Trillions of dollars have been spent on black projects which both congress and the commander in chief have deliberately been kept in the dark." (source)

Read more about "black projects" HERE.

"In one of the cases during the cold war, 1961, there were about 50 UFOs in formation flying South from Russia across Europe. The supreme allied commander was very concerned and was about ready to press the panic button when they turned around and went back over the North Pole. They decided to do an investigation and they investigated for three years and they decided that with absolute certainty that four different species, at least, have been visiting this planet for thousands of years. There's been a lot more activity in the past two decades, especially since we invented the atomic bomb." (source)

Paul Hellyer isn't the only one making extraordinary statements, at least a dozen NASA astronauts have done the same. Just like Dr. Edgar Mitchell's quote, other astronauts have said some remarkable things. Let's take a look at a few (out of many) examples.

"There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been monitoring us for a very long time. That their appearance is bizarre from any type of traditional materialistic western point of view. That these visitors use the technologies of consciousness, they use toroids, they use co-rotating magnetic disks for their propulsion systems, that seems to be a common denominator of the UFO phenomenon" (source) – Dr. Brian O'leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor

"In my opinion I think they were worried that it would panic the public so they started telling lies about it. And then I think they had to tell another lie to cover their first lie, now they don't know how to get out of it. Now it's going to be so embarrassing to admit that all these administrations have told so many untruths, it would be embarrassing getting out of it. There are a number of extraterrestrial vehicles out there cruising around." (source) – Gordon Cooper, Former NASA Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer and test pilot. One of the seven original Astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States

The list goes on and on, the latest in NASA Astronaut statements about UFOs came from the 2005 International Space Station (ISS) Commander, Leroy Chiao. You can read more about that HERE.

Here is a video of John Podesta who was recently appointed as councillor to Barack Obama supporting UFO disclosure.

Some of the most extraordinary statements about UFOs and extraterrestrials come from persons who have held some of the highest positions known. Those who would be in a position to 'know' about possible extraterrestrial encounters.

"Behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense" Former head of CIA, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, 1960 (source)

"There is a serious possibility that we are being visited and have been visited for many years by people from outer space, by other civilizations. Who they are, where they are from, and what they want should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation and not be the subject of 'rubishing' by tabloid newspapers." (source) – Lord Admiral Hill-Norton, Former Chief of Defence Staff, 5 Star Admiral of the Royal Navy, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

Everything is in a process of investigation both in the United States and in Spain, as well as the rest of the world. The nations of the world are currently working together in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon. There is an international exchange of data." – General Carlos Castro Cavero (1979). From "UFOs and the National Security State, Volume 2″, Written by Richard Dolan

The list of military whistle blowers is huge, there are hundreds of them and hundreds of quotes to choose from. To view military whistleblowers (with verified backgrounds) give a press conference at The National Press Club about UFOs deactivating nuclear weapons, click HERE. You can also look up Dr. Steven Greer and the disclosure project.

The list of quotes from all fields, from many people is outstanding. I could literally fill pages upon pages so I'll stop here, I think you get the picture. These quotes by whistleblowers and people with prestigious backgrounds leads perfectly into the next point as to why almost everybody knows that we are not alone in the universe.

"There is another way whether it's wormholes or warping space, there's got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they're here shows us that they found a way." (source- Jack Kasher, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Nebraska.

In this clip, it seems he (Dr. Jack Kasher)  is referring to FREE ENERGY. 

"This thing has gotten so highly-classified…it is just impossible to get anything on it. I have no idea who controls the flow of need-to-know because, frankly, I was told in such an emphatic way that it was none of my business that I've never tried to make it to be my business since. I have been interested in this subject for a long time and I do know that whatever the Air Force has on the subject is going to remain highly classified" – Senator Barry GoldwaterChairman of the Senate intelligence committee (source)

3. The Evidence of UFOs

Within the past few years, dozens of governments admitted to allocating resources and having programs to study the UFO phenomenon. For instance, in Canada the RCMP, Transport Canada, and the Department of National Defence recently admitted to tracking UFOs and investigating them. (source) They've been doing it for years, accumulating thousands upon thousands of UFO related documents. Many of these documents have since been officially released.

HERE is the latest batch of UFO files released from the United Kingdom.

Documents released by the National Security Agency (NSA) reveal what is recorded when a UFO is being tracked on radar. HERE is one example. HERE is a four page U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and NSA report describing a particular encounter in great detail.

"As the F-4 approached a range of 25 nautical miles it lost all instrumentation and communications. When the F-4 turned away from the object and apparently was no longer a threat to it, the aircraft regained all instrumentation and communications. Another brightly lighted object came out of the original object. The second object headed straight toward the F4. "

You can read more about the radar tracking of UFOs HERE. 

HERE is a Wikileak cable that describes how some politicians already know we are not alone in the universe. You can read more about that HERE.

Again the list goes on and on and thousands upon thousands of UFO related documents are now available in the public domain. For a summary of more documents that have been declassified and made available, a video done by UFO Richard Dolan does a great one in 10 minutes. To watch it click HERE.  and see what type of information is out there.

4. Mass Mainstream Media Attention

Media outlets of all kind are covering the topic, almost every movie that comes out these days has something to do with space or some kind of extraterrestrial intelligence. We've been bombarded with the topic for a while now so it's not hard to see how it's on the minds of many.

The most recent case of mainstream extraterrestrial 'noise' was made when scientists recently spoke to the house Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Dan Werthimer of the SETI Research Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, recently called for more funding to be allocated to the search for extraterrestrial life since he is "close to 100 percent" certain that we are not alone. (source)

In mid 2013, the same committee held a hearing about exoplanet discoveries, but perhaps one of the largest UFO/extraterrestrial hearings came at the National Press Club, which also took place in Mid-2013.  At this event, hundreds of researchers, activists and military/agency/political witnesses representing ten countries gave UFO/extraterrestrial testimony to six former members of the United States Congress about events and evidence indicating an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), and 2008 presidential candidate said that there is "an extraterrestrial influence that is investigating our planet. Something is monitoring the planet and they are monitoring it very cautiously." You can learn more about the citizens hearing here.

Apart from these events, UFOs are constantly a topic of interest in today's mainstream news. Unfortunately, most mainstream media outlets that cover the topic seek out to ridicule it rather than investigating it properly.

 To view military whistleblowers (with verified backgrounds) give a press conference at The National Press Club about UFOs deactivating nuclear weapons, click HERE.

HERE is a clip on the same topic on CBC news.

5. Personal Experience and Video Footage

There are millions of people out there claiming to have contact with extraterrestrial beings. This has played a large role in spreading the influence of extraterrestrial interest across the world. All of us seem to be naturally fascinated with the unknown, especially when it comes to space. It seems  like human nature.

Neuroscience can now explain what happens to our body when we meditate, but it's something we all knew to be beneficial before the science. Is extraterrestrial life similar? Is it something we all feel deep down inside, something we don't need proof for? (Even though the proof is there).

Besides the thousands of videos available on YouTube, there is some very fascinating officially documented UFO footage available for us to see. Click HERE to see raw footage of a UFO showing up in Norway for scientists at their observatory.

Click HERE to see film from the 1991 NASA STS-48 Discovery Space Shuttle mission. It's some of the best, officially documented UFO footage that's out there today.

HERE  is a video that made headlines once released. It came from straight front the Mexican Air Force. Do a quick UFO search on youtube and you'll see many fakes, but many real videos of unknown aerial objects.

Final Thoughts

A few years ago the question was "Do UFOs exist?" Today that question has been answered, and the presence of UFOs performing maneuvers that defy our laws of physics has been well documented. The question has more so shifted to, "Is that an extraterrestrial space craft?"

It's nothing to fear, in my opinion they've been around forever. They have been aware of us long before we have been aware of them. As speculated with our ancient civilizations in Earth's brief past, perhaps they will one day interact with humanity again. I guess we will see.

Perhaps some groups are concerned about our planet, and come here further pushing the idea that we need to start changing the way we are doing things here. Perhaps one day soon we will find out.

I definitely believe that a good chunk of these UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin. I also believe that many of these crafts are "ours."

For more CE article on this topic, please click HERE. 

Check Out This Documentary

There's a new film out right now called Origins and to celebrate its release the filmmakers are having a 10 day free screening. This is a great documentary that you will really want to check out.

The film explores both the simplest and most profound explanation of why the current health crisis is happening and the answers are offered by some of the brightest minds in human and environmental health, for why we're more fat, sick and tired than we should be – and how we can reclaim the health and vitality that once came to us naturally.

Watch it now for free and pass it on to spread the word!

Click Here to Watch


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Why It Took Me Until My 50s To Feel OK About Masturbation | Erica Jagger


Why It Took Me Until My 50s To Feel OK About Masturbation

I started masturbating when I was five.

Before I fell asleep, I would lie in bed on my stomach, my yellow cloth doll between my legs. I'd grind on the head of the doll, fantasizing about a giant ice cream cone (really), until a mysterious, magical feeling radiated up and out from my core, warming my entire body.

In my sepia-toned memories, I recall masturbating every night, but I don't know if that was the case. I do know, however, that at five, I already felt shame about my nocturnal ritual. I remember freezing on top of my doll, feigning sleep when my mother peeked in through the door. I grew up in a religious household and was told I shouldn't touch myself. Not that I shouldn't touch myself in public. But that I shouldn't touch myself, period.

The doll -- whose name was Daffodil -- developed a head perpetually squashed and frayed from my nightly ministrations. When the seams would split open, and her face would hang loose, my mother would stitch her up. This went on for years, with my mother laughing about how much I loved Daffodil because I squeezed her stuffing out, and me, blinking innocently.

Daffodil and I continued our evening rendezvous until I left for college, at which point I swapped her out for T-shirts and sheets.

I'd heard about vibrators, but never imagined getting one. It seemed that they were intended for tawdry women, and besides, I'd have to go into a sex shop -- a sex shop!! --to get one.

Eventually, I did. When I was in my late 20s, a friend dragged me to The Pleasure Chest. She was stunned that I'd never used a vibrator and took it upon herself to remedy the situation. I assiduously avoided eye contact with everyone in the store, gazing uneasily up at walls of latex suits, chains and floggers. Finally, I found myself in an aisle lined with vibrators and dildos in various sizes, shapes and colors. To my deep chagrin, my friend chatted up the salesperson, explaining -- loudly -- that I was getting my very first vibrator ever, and we needed to know which one did what.

I left with a large, flesh-colored vibrator. I used it immediately when I got home and was amazed by the intensity of my orgasm. It was almost like losing my virginity. I discovered a new position (on my back) for masturbating, and a new way of touching myself. I discovered what it was like to penetrate myself, as a lover would do. My years of self-pleasuring with Daffodil and T-shirts paled in comparison to five minutes with a vibrator.

I became so fond of my battery-operated phallus that I found myself passing it around the table after one too many Mimosas during a girl's brunch at my home, where it was handled with equal parts bemusement and reverence.

Unlike my friend, who often used her vibrator with her husband, I never dreamed of introducing mine to my partner. Because my ex-husband and I were never able to communicate about our sexual desires, we remained methodically vanilla in bed. The raw, primitive side of my sexuality only emerged in private, when I removed my vibrator from the back of my lingerie drawer. I have no idea if my ex ever discovered my secret. Together for almost twenty years, we remained barely more than strangers.

Only after I left my marriage was I able to fully explore my sexuality. And so I found myself a few months later in yet another sex shop -- this time with a new lover. My beloved phallus had stopped working, so the man I was dating took me to find a replacement. I left with a sleek, ridged, purple wand and showed him how I used it that night. That relationship is long over, but the purple wand is not. I keep it in a red and black brocade box, along with an assortment of lube, on the top shelf in my closet.

Now I can't fathom why any woman wouldn't have at least one vibrator. And while I've used one with lovers, I prefer using mine by myself. I love luxuriating in my private ritual, the same one that began almost five decades ago in my childhood bed. My sexuality has evolved through masturbation. I no longer feel shame when I lie back on my pillows for an electronic interlude. I no longer feel that I'm betraying my mother when I touch myself. I know now, at 52, that masturbation shouldn't be a guilty pleasure, but rather a regular part of self-care.

My journey through masturbation has taught me to take care of my own needs. It's allowed me to celebrate my exodus from repression. And it's enabled me to understand and claim my sexuality, in all its fierce, raw, and sensual wonder.

Photography by Nick Holmes

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2015 Horoscope. OMG so accurate! | Hunto.com Viral Videos

SAGITTARIUS – The Promiscuous One (November 22 to December 21)
Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found. Loves being in long relationships. NOT... So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away.TOTALLY... Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it, feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones with all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed!!!

2015 Horoscope. OMG so accurate!

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AN ACCURATE HOROSCOPE!!!!!
This is the real deal. Try ignoring it, and the first thing you'll notice is having a horrible day starting tomorrow morning, and it only gets worse from there.
AQUARIUS – Does It in the Water (January 20 to February 18)
Trustworthy. Attractive. Great kisser. One of a kind. Loves being in long-term relationships. Tries hard. Will take on any project. Proud of themselves in whatever they do. Messy and unorganized. Procrastinators. Great lovers, when they're not sleeping. Extreme thinkers. Loves their pets usually more than their family. Can be VERY irritating to others when they try to explain or tell a story. Unpredictable. Will exceed your expectations. Not a fighter, but will knock your lights out. 2 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
PISCES – The Partner for Life (February 19 to March 20)
Caring and kind. Smart. Likes to be the center of attention. Very organized. High appeal to opposite sex. Likes to have the last word. Good to find, but hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. VERY caring. They always try to do the right thing and sometimes get the short end of the stick. They sometimes get used by others and get hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good sense of humor!! Thoughtful. Loves to joke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to others but needs to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be. 5 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
ARIES – The Aggressive (March 21 to April 19)
Outgoing. Lovable. Spontaneous. Not one to mess with. Funny… Excellent kisser. EXTREMELY adorable. Loves relationships, and family is very important to an Aries. Aries are known for being generous and giving. Addictive. Loud. Always has the need to be 'Right'. Aries will argue to prove their point for hours and hours. Aries are some of the most wonderful people in the world. 16 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
TAURUS – The Tramp (April 20 to May 20)
Aggressive. Loves being in long relationships. Likes to give a good fight. Fight for what they want. Can be annoying at times, but for the love of attention. Extremely outgoing. Loves to help people in times of need. Good kisser. Good personality. Stubborn. A caring person. They can be self-centered and if they want something they will do anything to get it. They love to sleep and can be lazy. One of a kind. Not one to mess with. Are the most attractive people on earth! 15 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
GEMINI – The Twin (May 21 to June 20)
Nice. Love is one of a kind. Great listeners. Very good at confusing people. Lover not a fighter, but will still knock you out. Geminis will not take any crap from anyone. Geminis like to tell people what they should do and get offended easily. They are great at losing things and are forgetful. Geminis can be very sarcastic and childish at times and are very nosy. Trustworthy. Always happy. VERY Loud. Talkative. Outgoing. VERY FORGIVING. Loves to make out. Has a beautiful smile. Generous. Strong. THE MOST IRRESISTIBLE. 9 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
CANCER – The Beauty (June 21 to July 22)
MOST AMAZING KISSER. Very high appeal. A Cancer's love is one of a kind… Very romantic. Most caring person you will ever meet in your life. Entirely creative person, most are artists and insane, respectfully speaking. They perfected sex and do it often. Extremely random. An ultimate freak. Extremely funny and is usually the life of the party. Most Cancers will take you under their wing and into their hearts where you will remain forever. Cancers make love with a passion beyond compare. Spontaneous. Not a fighter, but will kick your ass good if it comes down to it. Someone you should hold on to! 12 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
LEO – The Lion (July 23 to August 22)
Great talker. Attractive and passionate. Laid back. Usually happy but when unhappy tend to be grouchy and childish. A Leo's problem becomes everyone's problem. Most Leos are very predictable and tend to be monotonous. Knows how to have fun. Is really good at almost anything. Great kisser. Very predictable. Outgoing. Down to earth. Addictive. Attractive. Loud. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Not one to mess with. Rare to find. Good when found. 7 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
VIRGO – The One that Waits (August 23 to September 22)
Dominant in relationships. Someone loves them right now. Always wants the last word. Caring. Smart. Loud. Loyal. Easy to talk to. Everything you ever wanted. Easy to please. A pushover. Loves to gamble and take chances. Needs to have the last say in everything. They think they know everything and usually do. Respectful to others but you will quickly lose their respect if you do something untrustworthy towards them and never regain respect. They do not forgive and never forget. The one and only. 7 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
LIBRA – The Lame One (September 23 to October 22)
Nice to everyone they meet. Their love is one of a kind. Silly, funny and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! However, not the kind of person you want to mess with… you might end up crying. Libras can cause as much havoc as they can prevent. Faithful friends to the end. Can hold a grudge for years. Libras are someone you want on your side. Usually great at sports and are extreme sports fanatics. Very creative. A hopeless romantic. 9 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
SCORPIO – The Addict (October 23 to November 21)
EXTREMELY adorable. Loves to joke. Very good sense of humor. Will try almost anything once. Loves to be pampered. Energetic. Predictable. GREAT kisser. Always get what they want. Attractive. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Loves to party but at times to the extreme. Loves the smell and feel of money and is good at making it but just as good at spending it! Very protective over loved ones. HARD workers. Can be a good friend but if is disrespected by a friend, the friendship will end. Romantic. Caring. 4 years of bad Luck if you do not share this post.
SAGITTARIUS – The Promiscuous One (November 22 to December 21)
Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found. Loves being in long relationships. So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away. Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it, feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones with all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed!!! Not the kind of person you want to mess with- you might end up crying. 4 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.
CAPRICORN – The Passionate Lover (December 22 to January 19)
Love to bust. Nice. Sassy. Intelligent. Sexy. Grouchy at times and annoying to some. Lazy and love to take it easy, but when they find a job or something they like to do they put their all into it. Proud, understanding and sweet. Irresistible. Loves being in long relationships. Great talker. Always gets what he or she wants. Cool. Loves to win against other signs in sports, especially Gemini's. Likes to cook but would rather go out
To eat at good restaurants. Extremely fun. Loves to joke. Smart. 24 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

when someone saw more to the story » Lauren Casper Online


when someone saw more to the story

I was tired, hurried, frustrated, and ready to just go home. John was pushing Mareto in the cart just as fast as he could to leave the store before the melt down got worse. We were frantically trying to open up a cereal bar  in an effort to stem the tears. Arsema was strapped to my chest in the ergo carrier watching it all through wide eyes. Sweat beads were forming on my forehead, caused in part by my embarrassment, but mostly from the heat and amount of energy I was exerting by running through Trader Joe's with my 18 pound baby strapped to my chest and my toddler year old screaming behind me.
I sure didn't feel like I was going to be in the running for any mom of the year awards. I felt like a hot mess. In fact, I was sincerely hoping that no one was looking at us too closely… that somehow we were invisible to the people bustling around us. It was chaotic, exhausting, and an unfortunately all too common experience for us.
Our family doesn't exactly blend in with the wall paper. Not only are we two white parents with a brown son and daughter (something that causes enough stares and questions all by itself), but our son has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors caused by his autism, and our daughter has physical differences with her missing and webbed digits. In other words, when we all go out together we stand out. Usually I don't mind, and often I love it. My children are beautiful and so is our story.
Sometimes though, on the days when we are very far from having it together, I do mind. Those days I just want to blend in with the crowd and hide far away from the curious stares. Some days I get tired of it all and just want to be a family. Not the adoptive family. Not the family with special needs children. Not the unique family… just a family. This was one of those days.
I was close to tears myself as John took Mareto to put the cart away. I rushed through the doors with Arsema on my chest to get to the car as quickly as possible when a voice behind me slowed my steps.
"Ma'am!!" She called out. I slowed, hoping and praying she wasn't talking to me.
"Ma'am!"  I stopped and turned to find a young woman rushing toward me. A bright smile covered her face and I immediately noticed her beautiful black curls, just like the black curls snuggled on my chest, tickling my chin. Recognizing her shirt, I realized that she worked there and assumed I must have dropped something. I looked at her, holding back my tears, waiting.
"I just wanted you to have this bouquet…" and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…
"I was adopted as a baby and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours." I stared at her, stunned. Hadn't she seen what a disaster we were in the store? Didn't she see that we were barely able to keep it together? Didn't she see what I felt were all my failures as a mom?
As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and tried to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful, and walked back into the store.
My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and tears that had spilled over onto my cheeks. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… she did.  But she didn't see what I assumed everyone was seeing. She didn't think what I assumed everyone was thinking. She saw beauty and love and hope and family. She thought we were wonderful and it made her smile.
I wish I had thought to get her name. I wish I could go back and tell her, two years later, what her gift continues to mean to me today. To the beautiful young woman in the parking lot of Trader Joe's … thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure.
If you want to be a part of spreading little bits of happy everywhere you go click here!) 

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Power Failures in Northern California as Storm Rolls In - NYTimes.com


Power Failures in Northern California as Storm Rolls In

By CAROL POGASHDEC. 11, 2014

Continue reading the main story Slide Show
Slide Show5 Photos

Severe Storm Lashes Northern California

Severe Storm Lashes Northern California

CreditEric Risberg/Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Bay Area residents, bedeviled by water restrictions and arid farmland after three consecutive years of drought, had a different problem Thursday as a major rainstorm pushed across Northern California, flooding roads and towns, toppling trees and knocking out power to tens of thousands of houses and businesses.

The storm, one of the windiest and rainiest in five years, was expected to last at least through the night.

Diana Henderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said the storm was inching along. "That's part of the problem," she said. "The rain is over one spot for a prolonged period."

The Bay Area Rapid Transit station at Montgomery Street, which serves the financial district, was shut down this morning. A spokesman for the transit authority said an electrical transformer appeared to have malfunctioned. High winds canceled some ferry service east of San Francisco.

In Woodacre, north of San Francisco, the National Weather Service reported two inches of rain by midmorning. A flash flood warning was issued for Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Drains in some communities were backing up. Tree branches clattered onto roofs and wind chimes belled as outdoor holiday decorations took a beating in the high winds.

Schools in San Francisco, Oakland and Marin counties shut down Thursday before the heaviest rainfall began, with administrators fearing that students heading to school could be endangered.

At San Francisco International Airport, where winds were measured at 48 miles an hour Thursday morning, more than 200 flights were canceled.

United States Coast Guard officials warned people living near water to take precautions.

Pacific Gas & Electric substation was knocked out in San Francisco, causing 80,000 customers to lose power. Most are expected to be back online later Thursday a company spokesman said. Over 5,000 homes were dark in the town of Sebastopol.

As the storm took shape Wednesday night, advocates for the homeless scoured the streets downtown, coaxing people to come inside. St. Anthony's Dining Room, which serves 3,000 meals a day to the homeless, housed a hundred people overnight.

The California Highway Patrol warned motorists in Marin County, north of San Francisco, to stay off the roads. The National Weather Service reported major flash flooding on Interstate 280, the main artery between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

While California's reservoirs are depleted, the problem is that ground here is saturated from recent storms. With high winds, trees with shallow roots could topple, and the rains may bring on mudslides.

Last year, San Francisco received a total of 12.54 inches of rain, or 56 percent of its average annual total. By yesterday afternoon, downtown San Francisco had received 7.19 inches in the period that began July 1. But despite this drenching rainfall, drought conditions may persist. Four years of arid weather have left farmers with fallow fields, and suburban residents have been asked to cut back on car washing and toilet flushing. Hard as it may be for Bay Area residents to fathom, the drought may not be over, said Ms. Henderson of the National Weather Service.

"You can't judge the rest of the season by one weather system," she said.

The storm is expected to later pound parts of Southern California before weakening and moving east through Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico. The states could get rain and snow, but nothing like what California is expected to experience, forecasters say.


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The Hidden (And Not So Hidden) Messages in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" (pt. I) - The Vigilant Citizen


The Hidden (And Not So Hidden) Messages in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" (pt. I)

Jul 8th, 2013 | Category: Featured, Movies and TV |434 Comments

"Eyes Wide Shut" was promoted as a steamy, suspenseful movie starring the "It" couple of the day: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. While the actors were prominently featured in the movie, it is everything around them that told the true story of "Eyes Wide Shut". Stanley Kubrick's attention to detail and symbolism gave the movie an entire other dimension – one that cannot be seen by those who have their eyes wide shut. This multiple-part series will look at the hidden symbolism of Kubrick's final film.

I remember when I first watched Eyes Wide Shut, back in 1999. Boy, did I hate it. I hated how slow everything was, I hated how Nicole Kidman tried to sound drunk or high and I hated seeing Tom Cruise walk around New York looking concerned. I guess I reacted the same way critics did at the time the movie came out and thought: "This movie is boring and there is nothing hot about it." More than a decade later, equipped with a little more knowledge and patience, I re-watched the movie … and it blew my mind. In fact, like most Stanley Kubrick films, an entire book could be written about the movie and the concepts it addresses. Eyes Wide Shut is indeed not simply about a relationship, it is about all of the outside forces and influences that define that relationship. It is about the eternal back-and-forth between the male and female principles in a confused and decadent modern world. Also, more importantly, it is about the group that rules this modern world – a secret elite that channels this struggle between the male and female principles in a specific and esoteric matter. The movie however does not spell out anything. Like all great art, messages are communicated through subtle symbols and mysterious riddles.

Stanley Kubrick unexpectedly died only five days after submitting the final cut of the movie to Warner Bros, making Eyes Wide Shut his swan song. Considering the fact that Eyes Wide Shut is about an occult secret society that eliminates those who cross its path, some theories arose about Kubrick's death and its suspicious nature. Did he reveal to the public too much, too soon? Maybe.

Let's look at the main themes of Kubrick's last creation.

The Modern Couple

The stars of Eyes Wide Shut were the "It" couple of 1999: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Those who were expecting the movie to be a sort of voyeuristic experience showing hot scenes of the couple were probably very disappointed. The audience rather got a cold, egoistic and profoundly unsatisfied couple, one that seems to be tied together not by pure love, but by other factors, like convenience and appearances. While the couple is very "modern" and "upper-class", the forces that keep it together are the result of basic, primal and almost animalistic behavior. If we look at the instinctive behavior of humans and animals, males primarily look for females that have good child-bearing qualities while females look for a strong provider. Remnants of this behavior still exist today as males tend to display wealth and power to attract females while females showcase their beauty to attract males. In Eyes Wide Shut, the couple perfectly follows that instinctive script.

Tom Cruise's character is called Dr. Bill … as in dollar bill. Several times during the movie, Dr. Bill either waves his money or his "doctor badge" at people to get them to do what he wants. Bill is part of the upper class and his dealings with people of the lower class are often resolved with money.

In order to get this taxi driver to wait for him in front of the elite mansion, Dr. Bill tears up a hundred dollar bill and promises him to give him the other half when he comes back. Dr. Bill's motto is probably "Everybody has a price". Does his own wife have a price?

Played by Nicole Kidman, Alice lost her job in the art world and is now fully supported by her husband's salary. While she lives very comfortably, Alice appears to be extremely bored with her life as a stay at home mother. The name Alice is most likely a reference to the main character of Alice in Wonderland – a fairy tale about a privileged girl who is bored with her life and who goes "through the looking glass" to end up in Wonderland. In Eyes Wide Shut, Alice is often shown staring at the looking glass – grooming herself or … maybe looking for something more to life.

Alice is often shown in front of the mirror and making herself pretty. At the beginning of the movie, almost everyone who talk to her mention her appearance. Her daughter Helena (maybe named after Helena of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world) follows in her footsteps.

Promotional images for the movie feature Alice kissing Bill but looking at herself in the mirror, almost as if she was seeing an alternate reality.

While the couple shows signs of fatigue, Bill and Alice put on their "happy masks" when it is time to attend social events. Like the elite people they socialize with, there is a big difference between the facade they put on and reality.

Brushing With the Elite

Bill and Alice go to a classy party given by Victor Ziegler, one of Bill's wealthy patients. Judging from Victor's house, he is not simply rich, he is part of the ultra-elite. While his party is very elegant and is attended by highly cultured people, it doesn't take long for the viewers to realize that this facade hides a disgusting dark side. Also, small details inserted by Kubrick hint to a link between the party and the occult ritual that occurs later in the movie.

When entering the party, the first thing we see is this peculiar Christmas decoration. This eight-pointed star is found throughout the house.

The star at Zeigler's house is nearly identical to the ancient symbol of the star of Ishtar.

Knowing Kubrick's attention to detail, the inclusion of the star of Ishtar in this party is not an accident. Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war and, mostly, sexuality. Her cult involved sacred prostitution and ritual acts – two elements we clearly see later in the movie.

"Babylonians gave Ishtar offerings of food and drink on Saturday. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar's favor on the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness."
– Goddess Ishtar, Anita Revel

Ishtar herself was considered to be the "courtesan of the gods" and had many lovers. While inspired in bed, she was also cruel to the men that got attached to her. These concepts will constantly reappear in the movie, especially with Alice.

During the party, Bill and Alice go their separate ways and are both faced with temptation. Alice meets a man named Sandor Szavost who asks her about Ovid's Art of Love. This series of books, written during the times of Ancient Rome, was essentially a "How to Cheat on Your Partner" guide, and was popular with the elite of the time. The first book opens with an invocation to Venus – the planet esoterically associated with lust. Interestingly enough, Ishtar (and her equivalents in other Semetic cultures) was considered to be the personification of Venus.

Sandor drinks from Alice's glass. This trick is taken right out of  Ovid's The Art of Love. It sends Alice a message that is not very subliminal: "I want to exchange fluids with you".

Sandor's name might be a reference to the founder of the Church of Satan: Anton Szandor Lavey. Is this Kubrick's way of saying that this man, who urges Alice to cheat on her husband, is a part of the occult elite and its decadent ways? The Hungarian man is apparently skilled in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as he nearly hypnotizes Alice with well calculated phrases about the futility of married life and the necessity of pursuing pleasure.

Meanwhile, Bill is discussing with two flirtatious models who tell him that they want to take him to "where the rainbow ends". While the meaning of this enigmatic phrase is never explicitly explained in the movie, symbols talk for themselves.

Rainbows Everywhere

Rainbows and multicolored lights appear throughout the movie, from the beginning to the end.

The name of the store where Bill rents his costume is called "Rainbow". The name of the store under it: "Under the Rainbow". Kubrick is trying to tell us something…Something involving rainbows.

As if to emphasize the theme of multicolored rainbows, almost every scene in the movie contains multicolored Christmas lights, giving most sets a hazy, dreamy glow.

Almost every time Bill enters a room, the first things we see are multicolored Christmas lights.

Sometimes Christmas lights are the focal point of attention.

These lights tie together most scenes of the movie, making them part of the same reality. There are however a few select scenes where there are absolutely no Christmas lights. The main one is Somerton palace – the place where the secret society ritual takes place.

Sharply contrasting with the rest of the movie, Sommerton  is completely devoid of multicolored lights. Everything about this place is in sharp opposition with the "outside world".

In Eyes Wide Shut, there are therefore two worlds: The Christmas lights-filled "rainbow world", where the masses wander around, trying to make ends meet and the other world… "where the rainbow ends"-  where the elite gathers and performs its rituals. The contrast between the two world give a sense of an almost insurmountable divide between them. Later, the movie will clearly show us how those from the "rainbow world" cannot enter the other world.

So, when the models ask Bill the go "where the rainbow ends", they probably refer to going "where the elite gathers and performs rituals". It might also be about them being dissociated Beta Programming slaves. There are several references to Monarch mind control (read this article for more information) in the movie. Women who take part in elite rituals are often products of Illuminati mind control. In MK Ultra vocabulary, "going over the rainbow" means dissociating from reality and entering another persona (more on this in the next article).

The models ask Bill to leave the "rainbow world" (there's a Christmas tree right behind them) to indulge in the debaucherous rituals of the occult elite.

Behind the Curtain

Bill's flirting with the models is interrupted when Ziegler calls him to his bathroom. There, we get a first glance of "where the rainbow ends" – the dark truth about the elite.

Bill meets Ziegler in his gigantic bathroom. The man is dressing up and is with a naked unconscious woman…who is not his wife.

If we rewind a little, when Bill and Alice first entered the party, they were welcomed by Ziegler and his wife in a room filled with Christmas lights. We saw two respectable couples talking about respectable things in room full of enchanting lights. But when Bill goes "where the rainbow ends" (notice there are no Christmas lights in the bathroom) we see reality: Ziegler with a Beta programming slave who overdosed on goofballs. When the woman gains consciousness, Ziegler talks to her in an odd, paternal matter, highlighting the fact that he's the master and she's the slave. The luxurious setting of this scene is Kubrick's way of saying that extreme wealth does not necessary equal high morals.

Ziegler then urges Bill to keep everything he just saw a secret. The world "where the rainbow ends" must never be revealed to the outside world. It operates in its own space, has its own rules and depends on the masses' ignorance.

Questioning Marriage

While Alice ultimately rejected Sandor's advances, she was nevertheless enticed by them. The next day, Alice tells Bill that she could have cheated on him at the party. When Bill tells his wife that he loves and trusts her, she completely loses it. She then proceeds to tell him a story about how she was once ready to cheat on him with a naval officer she met in a hotel. This cruel story highlights the "Ishtar" side of Alice as she brings up in her husband feelings of jealousy, insecurity, betrayal and even humiliation. In short, Alice purposely summoned everything that is negative in relationships to pop Bill's "love bubble". This wake-up call prompts Bill to embark in a strange journey around New-York city, one that has multiple level of meanings. That strange night will ultimately lead him to the exact opposite of a monogamous relationship: Anonymous, masked copulation with strangers in a ritual setting. Bill's journey will be further analyzed in the second part of this series of articles.

Conclusion of Part One

The first part of this series about Eyes Wide Shut took a broad look at Bill and Alice, a modern couple that has the "privilege" of brushing with the upper-echelon of New York. While everything appears great on the surface, Kubrick quickly tells the viewers to not be deceived by appearances and to not be impressed by exhibitions of wealth. Because, behind the "rainbow world", exists a dark and disturbing reality, one that Kubrick exposes in many subtle ways throughout the movie.

While Bill and Alice are simply "guests" in the elite circle, they are nevertheless fascinated and attracted by it. They see in this lifestyle a way of fulfilling their dark and secret needs. In the next part of this series, we'll look at the occult meaning of Bill's journey – a story told by subtle symbols peppered throughout the movie.

Read part II of the series —>


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Eyes Wide Shut at 15: Inside the Epic, Secretive Film Shoot that Pushe | Vanity Fair


Eyes Wide Shut at 15: Inside the Epic, Secretive Film Shoot that Pushed Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to Their Limits

On July 16, 1999, Stanley Kubrick's final film opened in theaters. The legendary director of The Shining and Lolita had teamed up with the most famous married couple in Hollywood, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, for a film that probed insecurities about fidelity, sex, and marriage itself. It was a huge story even before an extended production schedule and rumors of on-set frustration made it seem that the master director was merely torturing two of the world's biggest stars. In this adaptation from her book, Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor, Amy Nicholson looks at the film itself, as well as its production, and the many ways that Eyes Wide Shut pushed Cruise and Kidman—as actors and as a couple—to the breaking point. July 18, 2014 1:02 pm
From Everett Collection.

Kubrick's obsession with secrecy so infected his cast and crew that no one has ever spoken about it in detail. The day-to-day life on set can only be inferred from facts and hints. The most major fact: Eyes Wide Shut was exhausting. Kubrick had asked Cruise and Kidman to commit to six months. When they landed in London in the fall of 1996, the couple fully expected to return to Hollywood by spring. Instead, they stayed on through the summer, fall, and another Christmas. Filming wrapped in January of 1998, but in May they were summoned back for more months of reshoots. Altogether they'd spend 15 months on Eyes Wide Shut, the Guinness World Record for the longest continual film shoot.

"Stanley had figured out a way to work in England for a fraction of what we pay here," explained Sydney Pollack, who joined the cast as the corrosive tycoon Victor Ziegler after the extended shooting forced original actor Harvey Keitel to cry uncle and drop out. "While the rest of us poor bastards are able to get 16 weeks of filming for $70 million with a $20 million star, Stanley could get 45 weeks of shooting for $65 million." Though every six months Cruise spent in London cost him another $20 million film he wasn't making—plus he had the fledgling Cruise/Wagner production company to oversee—he swore to the press he had no qualms about his extended art house sabbatical.

"I remember talking to Stanley and I said, 'Look, I don't care how long it takes, but I have to know: are we going to finish in six months?'" said Cruise. "People were waiting and writers were waiting. I'd say, 'Stanley, I don't care—tell me it's going to be two years.'"

Kubrick is legendary for his perfectionism—to reconstruct Greenwich Village in London, he sent a designer to New York to measure the exact width of the streets and the distance between newspaper vending machines. But his approach to character and performance was the opposite. Instead of knowing what he wanted on the set, he waited for the actors to seize upon it themselves. His process: repeated takes designed to break down the idea of performance altogether. The theory was that once his actors bottomed-out in exhaustion and forgot about the cameras, they could rebuild and discover something that neither he nor they expected. During The Shining, he'd put Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall through 50 takes to figure out what he wanted, causing Duvall to have a nervous breakdown. For Eyes Wide Shut, given his stars' extreme pliancy and eagerness to please, Kubrick went further, once insisting that Cruise do 95 takes of walking through a door.

"In times when we couldn't get it, it was just like, 'Fuck!'" admitted Cruise. "I'd bring it upon myself because I demand a lot of myself." But what he never asked—at least, not openly in the press—was if there was an "it" Kubrick wanted him to get. After all, a director who demands 95 takes could be exacting—or conversely, he could be ill-prepared and uncommunicative. Cruise's overpreparation had served him well in the past. Not here. He got an ulcer, and tried to keep the news from Kubrick. At its core, the Cruise/Kubrick combination seems cruel: an over-achieving actor desperate to please a never-satisfied auteur. The power balance was firmly shifted to Kubrick, yet to his credit, Cruise has never complained.

Kubrick defenders—Cruise included—insist the legend was fully in command. "He was not indulgent," Cruise insisted to the press. "You know you are not going to leave that shot until it's right." Yet it's hard not to see indulgence when even small roles demanded prolonged commitment, like starlet Vinessa Shaw's one-scene cameo as a prostitute, which was meant to take two weeks and ended up wasting two months. Adding to the peril, Kubrick also refused to screen dailies, a practice Cruise relied on. "Making a movie is like stabbing in the dark," the actor explained. "If I get a sense of the overall picture, then I'm better for the film." Cruise couldn't watch and adjust his performance to find his character's through line—a problem exacerbated by the amount of footage the director filmed. For most of the cast, who appeared only in one or two moments, they had only to match the timbre of their character's big moment. But Cruise alone is in nearly every scene and had to spend the shoot playing a guessing game. Not knowing which of his mind-melting number of takes would wind up in the film, he still had to figure out how to shape a consistent character from scene to scene. Given Kubrick's withholding direction and the exponential number of combinations that could be created from his raw footage, it's understandable if the forever-prepared actor found himself adrift.

Adding to the actor's peril was the part's personal and emotional risk. Kubrick decided to find his story through psychoanalyzing his stars, prodding Cruise and Kidman to confess their fears about marriage and commitment to their director in conversations that the three vowed to keep secret. "Tom would hear things that he didn't want to hear," admitted Kidman. "It wasn't like therapy, because you didn't have anyone to say, 'And how do you feel about that?' It was honest, and brutally honest at times." The line between reality and fiction was deliberately blurred. The couple slept in their characters' bedroom, chose the colors of the curtains, strewed their clothes on the floor, and even left pocket change on the bedside table just as Cruise did at home.

"As an actor, you set up: there's reality, and there's pretend," explained Kidman. "And those lines get crossed, and it happens when you're working with a director that allows that to happen. It's a very exciting thing to happen; it's a very dangerous thing to happen." Added Cruise, "I wanted this to work, but you're playing with dynamite when you act. Emotions kick up." At least the two actors had an auditory cue to distinguish fact from fiction: on camera, Kidman changed her Australian accent to American. But there was also external tension pressing down on their performances as both actors—especially Cruise—were media savvy enough to recognize that audiences would project Bill and Alice's unhappiness on their own marriage, which was already a source of tabloid fodder. Even during the course of filming, the couple had to successfully sue Star magazine for writing that they hired sex therapists to coach them.

Kubrick's on-set wall of secrecy even divided Cruise and Kidman. To exaggerate the distrust between their fictional husband and wife, Kubrick would direct each actor separately and forbid them to share notes. In one painful example, for just one minute of final footage where Alice makes love to a handsome naval officer—an imaginary affair that haunts Bill over the course of the film—Kubrick demanded that Kidman shoot six days of naked sex scenes with a male model. Not only did he ask the pair to pose in over 50 erotic positions, he banned Cruise from the set and forbade Kidman to assuage her husband's tension by telling him what happened during the shoot.

Co-star Vinessa Shaw would eventually admit Kubrick had exhausted the once-indefatigable actor, confessing that compared to Cruise's "gung ho" first months of shooting, by the end, "He was still into it, but not as energetic." Still, when gossip columnist Liz Smith wrote that the Eyes Wide Shut set was miserable, Cruise quickly fired back a letter insisting that his and Kidman's relationship with Kubrick was "impeccable and extraordinary. […] Both Nic and I love him." Added actor and director Todd Field, on set for six months to play the pivotal role of the piano player Nick Nightingale, "You've never seen two actors more completely subservient and prostrate themselves at the feet of a director." However, Cruise's devotion to Kubrick's massive mystery masterpiece would prove damaging to his screen image.

Good vs. Right

It's hard to love Cruise's character, Dr. Bill Harford. He's closed off and slippery, a cipher whose choices don't make consistent sense. What personal history screenwriter Frederic Raphael had included in the original drafts—Harford's strained relationship with his father, his guilt over his prurient interest in female anatomy—Kubrick had purged from the script, leaving Cruise to play a shallow voyager who only serves to lead the audience on an odyssey of sexual temptation. Also on the page but deleted from the final film is Bill's explanatory voice-over that invited the audience to understand his feelings. Worse, Kubrick deliberately shunned including the Tom Cruise charisma fans expected in his performance, raising the question of why he cast Cruise at all. Why ask the biggest star in the world to carry your film and then hide his face under a mask for 20 minutes?

Though this is a story of sexual frustration—an emotion Cruise had played with conviction in Born on the Fourth of July—and jealousy, which is just the darker twin of Cruise's signature competitive streak, his performance in Eyes Wide Shut feels flat. He'd done vulnerability better in Jerry Maguire and had captured neutered paralysis a decade and a half before in Risky Business. Yet in nearly all of Eyes Wide Shut's key emotional moments—his wife confessing to her first and second psychological "betrayals," his patient's daughter professing her love over her father's corpse, nearly kissing a call girl's corpse in the morgue, being unmasked at the orgy—Cruise's face is stiff and visibly unfeeling, almost as if he never took the mask off at all.

Cruise's blankness makes Eyes Wide Shut take on an element of kabuki theater, the art form where emotional perception—not projection—is key. The whole film feels like an exercise in theatricality, as though Dr. Bill is not a person but a prop. This isn't a movie about a human possessed with distrust and jealousy—it's a movie about distrust and jealousy that simply uses a human as its conduit. With Cruise hidden in a mask and robe, the intention is to hide his individuality in the service of a larger ritualistic machine. Even in his scene with the impossibly sweet prostitute played by Vinessa Shaw, their conversation about how much cash for which physical acts doesn't spark with lust but limps along like the characters themselves are merely performers recognizing that this is the negotiation that is supposed to take place. "Do you suppose we should talk about money?" he asks—it's as if their whole conversation is in air quotes.

To critique Tom Cruise's performance in Eyes Wide Shut, it's important to distinguish between good and right. Measured against any of his previous screen roles, his acting reads as terrible. It's artificial, distant, and unrelatable. However, the terribleness of his performance translates into a tricky logic puzzle. On-screen, we're given only one take of the 95 attempts that Cruise shot. If Kubrick was a perfectionist who demanded Cruise repeat himself 95 times on the set, and in the editing room rejected 94 of those takes, then the "terrible" take Kubrick chose must be the take that Kubrick wanted. What feels flat to the audience must have felt correct to the director, so even though it's hard to appreciate Cruise's performance, at least one person must have thought the chosen take was perfect: Stanley Kubrick. And for Cruise, a perfectionist himself who was determined to make his master happy, we're forced to defend the "badness" of his performance by recognizing him as an excellent soldier following orders.

Yet critics under the sway of thinking that the great Kubrick could do no wrong and Cruise, the popcorn hero, could do little right, blamed the actor for the director's choices and groaned that "Our forever boyish star just can't deliver." The irony, however, is that in 45 years of filmmaking, Kubrick had never asked his actors to deliver. His films had earned Oscar nominations for their acting only twice: Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Peter Ustinov in Spartacus (1960). In his much shorter career, Cruise himself had earned as many Oscar nods. That fact alone speaks to the limited value the director placed on acting—to Kubrick, his cast was merely a tool for his vision and individual performances subservient to his intimidating authorial style. Kubrick's disinterest in actors is evident even in Eyes Wide Shut's credits, which despite including two directors (Pollack and Field) and two great character actors (Alan Cumming and Rade Serbedzija) filled the rest of its cast with new faces and 10th-billed TV actors. As much as Cruise wanted Eyes Wide Shut to prove, yet again, that he could act, Kubrick clearly had scant interest in giving him the opportunity.

Cruise made himself vulnerable before Kubrick and his devotees, but instead of being rewarded for his emotional and financial sacrifice, audiences dismissed his performance as callow. He couldn't even ask his by-then dead-and-buried director for support. Eyes Wide Shut's fallout wasn't flattering: he was blamed for the film's failure, and the tabloids took a savage interest in his marriage, which would last only two more years. Yet Cruise continues to defend his two years of hard work. "I didn't like playing Dr. Bill. I didn't like him. It was unpleasant," admitted Cruise a year later in the only public criticism he's ever given. "But I would have absolutely kicked myself if I hadn't done this."

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