4/29/14: Jacobs Ladder (1990)


[Awakened Screaming] “AH!! Sorry. Took me by surprise. I fell asleep. I was Dreaming” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUasl3aA4Do

“It’s all a Dream we Dreamed one afternoon, long ago!” “Have any of you ever fallen asleep on a train & missed your station? It happened to us. When you wake up, you don’t know if you’re awake or Dreaming. So you’re awake & don’t know if you’re Dreaming; yet when you’re Dreaming, it seems real, right?” The time we fell asleep & missed our station, I got off without Cindy, and a Man of Knowledge had to stick his cane in the door just before it closed in order for me to get back on with her. “Any of you ever read Carlos Castaneda? Cc1962.JPG How did you ever get through your teens without reading Carlos? It was a hippie requirement in the ‘70s. You know what he said? That Dreams are 1. Carlos; as is your perception under the influence of hallucinogenic plants & drugs. The only reason that those things aren’t real is there’s a part of you that won’t let go of your explanation life: Your memories; your attachments. Dream & drugs burn ’em all away. They Stop the World. They free your soul. See, according to Carlos, maybe you’re already dead. Or maybe it’s all been a Dream,” “a Dream we Dreamed one afternoon, long ago.” “Maybe you’re thinkin’ ‘This is not a Dream! This is my life!’ Dream on! If Dreams aren’t real, why do people try to control them? Why do we try to fly & hover like a helicopter? Why do we try to fall asleep & Dream while we’re already Dreaming” like in the movie Inception? Why do people do LSD? To experience The Deep Unreal? Or for A Separate Reality? A Journey to Ixtlan 2. Ixtlan? Why did so many people go to the Grateful Dead for all those years? 3. Jer Oh ya, him. But remember, his nickname wasn’t Captain Trips for nothin’! “Perhaps we have Another Body: A Dreaming/ Tripping/Separate Reality/Ixtlan Body…THE DOUBLE!!!4. DOUBLEAnd Dreams & drugs & meditation & music & religion & prayer & yoga & sex & all are just Paths With a Heart to The Other One!” To me, all these things are all mixed up together: Dreams; Carlos & The Teachings of Don Juan 5. Teachings; LSD6. LSD; and…oh yeah…him 7. Jerry. “Always…no, sometimes think it’s me… But you know…I know when it’s a Dream. I think I know…I mean, uh, YES…but it’s all wrong…That is…I think I disagree.”


It’s a good thing too. Otherwise, I may never have wanted to screen & discuss Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, a disturbing, surrealistic, existential & confusing masterpiece starring Tim Robbins as Jacob Singer , a Vietnam War vet a few years after his Honorable Discharge, who’s haunted by the 10/6/71 Mekong Delta battle he was in. He lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend, Jezebel – who likes to be called Jezzie (Elizabeth Peńa , who died on 10/14/14 of cirrhosis of the liver). She can never remember the names of Jacob’s three sons that he had with his estranged wife Sarah (Patricia Kalember): Jed (Bryan Larkin); Eli (B.J. Donaldson); or Gabe (9 year old Macaulay Culkin in a critical uncredited role) . Gabe died before Jake went to ‘Nam. Jake’s best friend is his chiropractor Louis (Danny Aiello). 

The title is a triple entendre referencing the Biblical story Ladder - Bible, the protagonist’s name, and something writer Bruce Joel Rubin made up. A little known fact about  the film is its alternate tile, Dante’s Inferno  Ladder - Dante.Having received no Oscar or Golden Globe nominations, it’s biggest accolades are its cult following & its influence on many newer psychological dramas, including M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense Ladder - Sixth, Alan Parker’s Angel Heart Angel Heart Poster, and Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others Ladder - Others. When you watch motion pictures, pay attention to the props & items you see, particularly in complex films like  in Jacob’s Ladder. They help reveal the subtext, or implicit meaning and main theme of the film. Two important symbols in the movie are the characters Louis & Jezebel. Who or what are they? And what the Hell is happening to Tim Robbins in Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder? Is his paradoxical world a dream or a separate reality? Separate/multiple realities & parallel universes are borne out by physics, specifically quantum mechanics: The study of subatomic particles. In 1935 Einstein’s EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen) Paradox Thought Experiment was followed by Schrödinger’s Cat Thought Experiment. Both discuss through thought experimentation – the theoretical result of a physically impossible, unethical or illegal experiment to it’s logical conceptual conclusion – the existence of paradoxical realities: The EPR Paradox states that exceeding the speed of light is both physically impossible & possible; and Schrödinger’s Cat states that a cat (or other living being) can be simultaneously alive & dead. Do we really know if we’re alive now? How do we know that what I see as red is not what you see as blue? A Separate Reality 1. Carlos is Carlos Castaneda’s second book. In his first, one of the main themes is observation of the world as a crow aided by smoking a psychotropic plant mixture based largely on Mexican Magic Mushrooms Psilocybe.mexicana.la.primavera.jpg (Psilocybe Mexicana). The book is a commercial presentation of his UCLA doctoral thesis for which he received a PhD in Anthropology.

Watch the Trailer below, then add Jacob’s Ladder to your Netflix Queue. You won’t regret it! Well, yes you will. It will haunt you for days! Or maybe, if you’re like me, for weeks, years, decades…The Active Side of Infinity . 4 Stars!


3 thoughts on “4/29/14: Jacobs Ladder (1990)

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