Not A Review Of “Birdman”

So over the last week or so we watched the film “Birdman“, in which Michael Keaton plays a washed-up actor who used to play an avian-themed superhero named Batman Birdman.

Birdman

Not “Batman”. Also not “Jackie Brown”. Also not “The Paper”. Also not …

We watched “Birdman” in 15-20 minute chunks because it kept putting my wife to sleep in about that length of time. Most times, when we started it up again after a day or two (including a two-day time-out to watch “A Girl Walks Home At Night“, which reminded me of “Let The Right One In” with sand instead of snow, and which kept my wife awake for almost 45 minutes), she didn’t really remember what movie “Birdman” was:

Wife: “What’s this?”
Me: “This is ‘Birdman.'”
Wife: “What’s it about again?”
Me: “Michael Keaton trying to put on a play.”
Wife: “Who’s Michael Keaton?”

Now, when a movie puts my wife to sleep in 15 minutes, it usually means she’s not paying any attention to it at all. But towards the end of “Birdman” she surprised me with this:

Wife: “This reminds me of that other movie.”
Me: “What other movie?”
Wife: “That weird one you like.”
Me (pause): “Well that narrows it down.”
Wife: “You know! It’s one of your favorites.”
Me: “Oh, the one with the guy who does the stuff.”
Wife (laughing): “Yes, that one.”
Me: “‘Baron Munchausen?'”
Wife: “No ….”
Me: “Well who’s in it? What happens?”
Wife: “The guy is mentally ill and he sees monsters?”
Me: “‘The Fisher King?’ ‘Brazil?'”
Wife: “No! The monsters turn out to be real and turn up in his kitchen?”
Me: “‘Ink?'”
Wife: “No! Although I do like that one. There’s an accident?  Something falls through the house?”
Me: “Oh! ‘Donnie Darko!’ A jet engine falls on the house.  You’re right, that is one of my favorite movies.”*
Wife: “Yes! This reminds me of ‘Donnie Darko.'”

So there you have it! My wife paid enough attention to “Birdman” to draw parallels between it and “Donnie Darko”, a movie I wouldn’t have expected her to even remember, despite the presence of Jake Gyllenhaal in it. But it did keep putting her to sleep in 20 minutes. There’s a mixed review if I’ve ever seen one.

Oh, and to those in the “Wow, who knew Michael Keaton could act?” camp, I have three words: “Clean and Sober.”

*The original theatrical version, not the Director’s Cut, which spells out a bit too much of what the hell is going on. Also the original version has a few better musical selections.

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