11 June 2016



I've always loved this film. I know that it was fashionable at one point to snigger at Tom Cruise because he once jumped manically up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch declaring his undying love for Katie Holmes, but I love him in this movie. He's bloody brilliant in it.

He plays David Aames, a handsome rich playboy who inherits his father's magazine empire when both his parents die in an accident. The words 'handsome' and 'rich' just about sum him up. You know what Tom Cruise looks like. Love him or hate him, he's flippin' gorgeous. He's got great hair, great skin and a million-dollar smile. Which is apt, because that's how much he probably spent to get his pearly-whites to look like that...!

Anyway, David doesn't take life too seriously. As a billionaire playboy, he probably doesn't have to. He spends his time snowboarding (I'm not too sure what that is. Is it like surfing and ski-ing mashed together? Answers on a postcard, please!) and bedding beautiful women and 'forgetting' to call 'em afterwards. I guess he figures that there are a lot of beautiful women in the world, so why limit yourself to just one...?

There are two beautiful women in particular in David's life. Cameron Diaz plays Julie Gianni, the 'fuck-buddy' who loves the bones of David. She has to pretend, however, that she's just as reluctant as he is to settle down, or he might stop seeing her. As long as she makes out that she's happy to keep things casual the way he likes it, they can continue to 'hang out.' Trust me, I've been there. Never again...!

And, by the way, 'just hanging out' is a pretty insulting way for David to describe what they do together. It might be 'just hanging out' to a guy but to a woman it's something different. It's something more. Call me preachy but it is...!

Penelope Cruz, the woman who's so gorgeous it's actually unfair to other women, plays Sofia Serrano. Sofia is brought to David's birthday party by David's best friend Brian, played by Jason MY NAME IS EARL Lee. Even though it's obvious that Brian met Sofia first and is hugely into her, there's an instant attraction between David and the 'clever little girl in the big silly coat.'

David and Sofia spend a magical night together. In the morning, however, a devastated Julie Gianni is waiting for David when he comes out of Sofia's apartment. David, who is spectacularly uncaring of the pain he's caused Julie, agrees to a booty call. They drive off into the quiet early morning together. It's a journey that will turn David's entire life upside-down forever...

When I introduced my best mate to this film, she famously remarked: 'Well, there'd better not be any flashbacks, flash-forwards, dream, fantasy or coma sequences or scenes of altered reality in this film because I'm not in the mood for any of that malarkey.' I'm not saying anything. Can you guys guess what happened...? (Winky face...!)

I'll always have a special place in my heart for this film. Back in early 2002 when it was released, it helped me to get over the worst break-up of my life. Those were the good old days when movies lingered in the cinema for a good month or more, unlike now when you can just about count on a film staying there for one week. For six or even seven weeks in a row, I went to see VANILLA SKY in the cinema after a writing class I was taking at the time.

Armed with my strawberry bonbons, I'd lose myself for two hours in the surreal plot and fabulous soundtrack. Needless to say, I bought the CD of the soundtrack and listened to it until I could sing it backwards. It includes artists like: REM, the Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Todd Rundgren, the Monkees, the Beach Boys, Afrika Bambaata, Cameron Diaz herself and an Oscar-nominated title song from Paul McCartney. The music was definitely part of what kept drawing me back week after week after week.

I loved the plot too. The science fiction part went over my head a bit but the love triangle was right up my street. The notion that there can be serious consequences to sleeping with someone and then treating that person 'carelessly' is one that always sells films. Just look at FATAL ATTRACTION and its stabby forerunner, PLAY MISTY FOR ME. 

VANILLA SKY is a film that shows you the possible consequences of this sort of action and it makes for compulsive viewing. As always, this kind of thing probably makes guys deeply uncomfortable and maybe even a little guilty, while women are nodding grimly at each other saying: 'Yeah, that's what guys do all right...!'

Everyone is great in their respective roles. Scenes to watch out for include Tom Cruises's frantic running across an eerily empty Times Square; the party scene and 'the saddest girl to ever hold a martini'; Benny the dog on Conan O'Brien; the nightclub scene- 'I'll tell you in another life, when we are both cats!'; Tommy Tipp at the police station with the police photo of Sofia; and Kurt Russell and Tom Cruise in the Life Extension building. All the scenes are terrific. And I can quote the dialogue upside-down and inside-out! It's a shame there's no prize for that.

Incidentally, I prefer this version of the film to the original movie on which it's based, Alejandro Amenabar's and Mateo Gil's ABRE LOS OJOS, or OPEN YOUR EYES. The original film also stars Penelope Cruz (speaking fast Spanish in her sexy-as-hell accent!) and it's pretty good, but for once I prefer the big glitzy Hollywood production. 

This erotic sci-fi psychological thriller just fantastic and it's one of my favourite films of all time. I was gutted when I turned up at the cinema one dreary afternoon in February 2002 to find that it had been replaced by SPY GAME starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. I'm sorry, but that just wasn't the same...!

Tom Cruise's bare muscular chest is pure poetry to view and the Cruiser and La Cruz have great sexual chemistry together. They even dated for a while around the time of the film's release, I do believe. Was I jealous? I won't tell you that now, if you don't mind.

'I'll tell you in another life, when we are both cats...!'


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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