Movies with incomprehensible plots

Last week I made it through the Sean Connery “classic”(?) Zardoz, and can honestly say that after two hours I had no idea what was going on. Then I looked into it and found I was not alone, that this film is known for having a plot that may take several viewings to understand. Even after I read an explanation of the plot, I still didn’t get it. Can anyone else add any films that are supposed to have an understandable plot (not like last night’s Flix feature presentation, Louis Malle’s Black Moon, or David Lynch films, which may or may not have an actual plot in there somewhere), but the presentation is such that understanding becomes impossible? On a lesser scale, two film noirs come to mind, **Out of the Past ** and the original The Big Sleep- great films, but hard to understand who killed who and why sometimes.

Feh. For incomprehenibility, I give you (and you can have it) Last Year at Marienbad. Compared to which Zardoz is as transparent as a pane of glass.

The Agony Booth review of Zardoz has one of my all-time favorite deflations of pompous babble (re the “explanatory” floating-head intro):

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me several viewings to figure out what The Matrix was about. Most of the self-indulgent masturbatory stuff like I (heart) Huckabees is just so much babble.

It usually takes people a couple of viewings to figure out Memento, but I think that’s due more to the way the story is told rather than the story itself.

When, after several viewings, I realized that ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai’ actually had a plot that made perfect sense, I was stunned.

The ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey made no sense to me until I read Arthur C. Clarke’s novelization.

Which in this case was more or less point surely?

Er, slight hijack, but:

It’s (a) your standard post-apocalyptic wasteland, complete with the usual (b) enclave of scholars walled off from the savages, preserving culture and history and literature and science until the time is right.

Except, with the twist many a junior-high student has added to such an arrangement, that enclave has become stagnant and bored and dreary and dull. And due to their futuristic tech, they can’t even suicide.

Anyhow, there’s also your typical sentient-computer-made-of-light-and-mind governing this enclave according to its programming; it doesn’t much like how wrong things have gotten, but, hey, what can it do?

Plenty, actually.

The enclave has a manipulative go-to guy who ensures their steady supply of food; he manipulates the barbarians, so that they’ll (a) work the fields for the false god he cons 'em into worshipping, and (b) kill one another at his command, to keep the population at whatever size he pleases.

This guy, as bored as the rest, gets an idea: bring a manly savage into the enclave, where his sheer damn manliness will fascinate the womenfolk long enough for him to eventually get a shot at conquering the computer’s mind with his manly consciousness. Which he does.

The manly savage then brings down the enclave’s various defenses, barbarians soon start killing the grateful denizens – and so it all worked just as planned, since that’s the whole reason why the computer put that idea in the head of the manipulative guy.

There’s a lot going on, sure – but each bit of it pretty straightforward, right?

I think I understand the plot of Zardoz, unless I’m missing something. It goes like this :

Before the impending apocalypse a group of scientists made themselves immortal, in order to preserve the human race. Several hundred years later they are all incredibly tired of living and long for death, but are unable to die. Even if they kill themselves, the machine recreates them. So one of them hatches a plan. He creates a religion around a giant flying head. Then he selects a particularly bright member of the cult. He allows Sean connery to discover how to read, then lets him find a copy of The wiZARD of OZ So Sean Connery figures out the religion is a fake, and rebels. He hitches a ride on the flying head back to the scientists colony. He makes some friends there, and learns all about them, before destroying the machine. This means the colony are able to die, which is what they want. Brief celebrations follow, before they all get slaughtered by members of the cult. A happy ending, from a certain point of view. Sean Connery escapes with his new girlfriend and they grow old together and raise a child before dying of old age.

Now, can anyone explain what’s going on in Close Encounters?

Sadly, the two old threads about the horror that was Kiss Her Goodbye seem to have been eaten by the hamsters.

I have nothing to add about the movie itself, but when I clicked on the link with the number of windows I had open the IMDB window came up under the name “Kiss Her Goo”.

What’s not to get about Huckabees? Beyond the philosphical debate plot there’s actually a nuts and bolts real world plot about big business and enviornmentalism.

Lost Highway made no sense (well it made “sense” if you never asked WHY any of this was happening and just went along with it) and is a waste of time except for the nudity and to watch Robert Loggia and William Blake go crazy on screen.

I’ve never read Chandler’s original novel, but the 1946 film version of The Big Sleep pretty much makes no sense at all. Wonderful movie, but just enjoy the ride- and do yourself a favor: anytime they refer to events of the past, or characters that don’t appear onscreen, just ignore it. All you have do know is that Bogart is bad-ass and cool and that Bacall is a total hottie.

I’ve no cite for this story and it may well be untrue, but I had heard that while shooting this film Howard Hawks just got so confused trying to make sense of it that he called Faulkner to ask him to clarify certain parts of the screenplay. Faulkner basically said, I have no idea, I was just paid to write the damn thing, you’re the director, it’s your job to make sense out of it!

The Day After Tomorrow- What hell was the father going to do once he reached his kid? He didn’t come with a bus or a ration of food or a radio or one of those sqeezy-hot-pack things you get from Walgreens or even a couple of fucking corn dogs.

“Gee, dad, it’s nice you showed up, but you didn’t bring anything of any use whatsoever, and we’re not really prepared to entertain, so how about you go ahead and hit the road so we don’t have to split the meat from this single dead wolf among even more people.”

Primer. Fantastic movie. I have no idea what the hell was going on. When I try to think too hard about it, my head hurts.

A non-native farm worker is harvesting some plants when he is separated from the rest of his crew by a scheduling mishap. Since he wasn’t properly vaccinated before entering the U.S., he begins to fall ill and is unable to properly contribute to society. He is eventually captured by the INS and some children break him free, which doesn’t make the INS look too good. He is eventually able to join back up with his group and returns to his country of origin.

Now, how about Blue Velvet?

Ding ding ding. That movie made Donnie Darko look like Dick and Jane. Not the movie, the book.

No mention yet of Syriana? This is not an invitation to have the film “explained” to me but the use of the “hyperlink” format which was also used in Traffic and Crash, for me didn’t work here. The difference is that the characters in those two movies are instantly recognized and you have no trouble remembering where you had been left off. Not so in Syriana which is still an overall decent flick.

Count me in with the crowd who drew a big :confused: when watching Brazil.

Psssst, Ethilrist, that’s ET.