“Inception”: What’s Your Favorite Mind-Bending Movie?

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The most successful movie to open this weekend is all about dreaming a little dream and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with Corey Feldman or Mama Cass. What began with an uber-mysterious “teaser” advertising campaign (that’s when commercials deliberately leave key details out to whet everyone’s appetite, while “rumors” about the plot gurgle up from the internet) has finally opened nationwide. And very profitably. Now, when I went to see  Inception I had absolutely zero idea what it was about, but figured any movie featuring at least 6 actors who’d been nominated for – or won – Oscars (DiCaprio, Page, Watanabe, Caine, Berenger, Cotillard) that was also directed by the man behind The Dark Knight and Memento, had to be worth watching.  Did I watch? You bet. Did I understand?  Well, I understood enough to think it was an astonishing film. Go see it. You’ll get it. And what everyone is saying – that it bears repeat viewings – is absolutely true. Without giving anything away,  I’ll say simply that Leonardo DiCaprio (at the top of his game) is a professional thief whose area of expertise involves the human psyche. Add savvy Ellen Page (who asks the questions we want answered – although if it had been up to me she could have asked a few more), gorgeous Marion Cotillard, the ever -dependable Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and we’re off to the races. Um, the races that exist on the film’s terrestrial plane are in Paris, Los Angeles, Africa, and Kyoto – there are plenty of other showdowns that don’t seem to require gravity. The thing is unbelievable, and I hope all of you will see it and let us know what you think. Quite honestly, I struggle with most films that challenge the mind in non-linear ways, and fool around with time and space. I have left many movies confused, having focused on all the wrong elements. I kept wondering when the kid in Rushmore was going to pull it together and get his grades up. I had to make a few phone calls after finishing The Sixth Sense to determine exactly what was so shocking. I walked out of Being John Malkovich because, well, I think when you put Cameron Diaz in a cage – with messy hair, no less—is when you cease to be entertaining.  Of course everyone but me loved it,  and they all hold that one up as a paragon of brain-puzzley goodness. I don’t think so, but I do think Inception is truly first rate. No way will it be ignored come Oscar time, either. No way. So with this in mind, let’s examine some of the more popular mind-bending movies of the last twenty years or so, and see what you all have enjoyed most. I surveyed a number of people and visited many of  those ubiquitous internet lists (awful lot of people making  lists out there). I came up with a top ten  group of great mind benders. Right off the bat we have  Donnie Darko, The Game, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synechdoche,  NY,  Vanilla Sky, and A Beautiful Mind. Now, voice your choice in  today’s featured poll and tell us which of these four mind-bending films is your favorite:

1) The Matrix

2) Memento

3) 12 Monkeys

4) Total Recall

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