Jump to content
Welcome to the new Earwolf Forums! Read more... ×
Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 38 The Singing Detective

Recommended Posts

It’s the kind of movie that makes you ask yourself, “Should I rewind that?” but you never actually do.

 

We watched:

 

singingdetective1.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

This was the definition of insanity. I had to pause it at 83 minutes in thinking "This must be near the end. It's been four hours already!" Nope! Still had 20+ minutes to go. I admit I liked the rest more. It picked up once I'd paused it. Guess I should have paused it sooner. :-)

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, there was definitely something there in that Third Act that helped the movie coalesce for me. I think, up to that point, I was resistant to everything that was going on. I hated Dan Dark and I really couldn't be bothered with him. However, kind of like Hustle & Flow, despite how much I didn't care for him, all of the I sudden started rooting for him. Ultimately, I'd say I admired the movie more than I enjoyed it.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I also hated Dan Dark at the beginning, but I wonder if that's the movie expecting us to just jump into this story head first and just understand everything that's going on immediately. But it was reeeeaaaallllyyyy hard to watch any of the scenes in the hospital because they just insisted on having such an extreme closeup on that disgusting makeup. Very upsetting. Do not recommend.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I had a hard time following what was going on in this movie, mostly because I was exhausted and kept zoning out at points, forcing me to rewind. But RDJ was super charismatic and I was curious as to where this fell in his life timeline. Wikipedia actually credits this movie for getting him back into the movie game.

 

Downey was able to return to the big screen after Mel Gibson, who had been a close friend to Downey since both had co-starred in Air America, paid Downey's insurance bond for the 2003 film The Singing Detective.[58] Gibson's gamble paved the way for Downey's comeback and Downey returned to mainstream films in the mid-2000s with Gothika, for which producer Joel Silver withheld 40% of his salary until after production wrapped as insurance against his addictive behavior. Similar clauses have become standard in his contracts since.[59] Silver, who was getting closer to Downey as he dated his assistant Susan Levin, also got the actor the leading role in the comedy thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the directorial debut of screenwriter Shane Black.[60]

 

So thanks to this movie we got Iron Man?

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

So thanks to this movie we got Iron Man?

Speaking of, for the first half hour I just kept thinking to myself, "This is just Tony Stark 15 years younger..."

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Speaking of, for the first half hour I just kept thinking to myself, "This is just Tony Stark 15 years younger..."

 

The scene where he and Robin Wright are eating yogurt and chatting, I thought 'this could be a scene from Iron Man with Pepper Potts'

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

So thanks to this movie we got Iron Man?

I really liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. As soon as he said it in the movie I had to look up which movie came first. This one won.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Since this was an Icon production Mel Gibson must have used the profits to make his passion project the next year. Oh, wait...

 

 

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

 

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,324, 26 October 2003, Limited Release

 

Gross USA:

$336,456, 1 February 2004

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I can't say I enjoyed watching this, but I was fascinated by how fucking weird it is, from the half-assed musical numbers with lip syncing to Mel Gibson to the surreal flashbacks/hallucinations.

 

I watched the last third of the movie twice, but I'm still not sure if I understand it? Are we to believe that the sessions with Dr Gibbons was the cure to Dan Dark's psoriatic arthritis? As if his condition was psychogenic?

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

I watched the last third of the movie twice, but I'm still not sure if I understand it? Are we to believe that the sessions with Dr Gibbons was the cure to Dan Dark's psoriatic arthritis? As if his condition was psychogenic?

I assumed it was him finally accepting medical help as well. Alfre Woodard mentions something about "take the pills" but I thought at first it was just for the pain but now I'm wondering if he refused all medications until he actually started talking to Mel Gibson. Like maybe Katie Holmes jerking him off was the cure this whole time. (Gross.)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Jesus, this movie ...

 

I had REEEALLY vivid dreams last night for the first time that I can remember in a while and I think it's because I watched this movie right before I went to bed. They involved lots of long hallways and close-up faces.

 

[shudder]

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Jesus, this movie ...

 

I had REEEALLY vivid dreams last night for the first time that I can remember in a while and I think it's because I watched this movie right before I went to bed. They involved lots of long hallways and close-up faces.

 

[shudder]

 

Go on...

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

So his mother. I get that she had an affair with one of her husband's coworkers. Dan Dark witnessed this and told his father about it, his father beat both, and Dan and his mother left. What I'm not sure about is the repeated scene where his father hits a car with a dented wrench. Is this supposed to mean he beat them with the wrench? and then when Dan Dark's mother couldn't find a job, she turned to prostitution, right? Was it stated that she was killed by one of the Johns? And why was she one of the dames in the noir fantasy?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

So why the lip-syncing? RDJ can actually sing and apparently so can Katie Holmes (I say apparently because she was on Broadway but honestly I'm not sure that is an actual piece of evidence that this woman can sing). I understand that the hospital hallucinations were not them really singing, but every time RDJ performs he should be actually singing because it makes no sense that he wouldn't be able to. Also the lips were never actually matching up with the pronunciation of the words so it was really really distracting.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Since I think I'm one of the only people here who has seen the BBC miniseries, I do have to say it goes into far greater detail and depth into the characters, especially Dan Dark. The hospital narrative and the Singing Detective noir narrative coalesce much better and reflect back on Dark's psychological and psychosomatic problems. So having seen that as a base, I'm able to fill in the gaps that the movie really has a hard time getting across. Granted, this doesn't excuse this movie as a piece in and of itself, since all movies should stand on their own, but it helps me enjoy this movie and not be revolted by it. And make no mistake, Dan Dark is hella unlikable in the miniseries, but he still very engaging like so many of the later American middle-aged male anti-heroes that would come to populate US television a decade later.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Since I think I'm one of the only people here who has seen the BBC miniseries, I do have to say it goes into far greater detail and depth into the characters, especially Dan Dark. The hospital narrative and the Singing Detective noir narrative coalesce much better and reflect back on Dark's psychological and psychosomatic problems. So having seen that as a base, I'm able to fill in the gaps that the movie really has a hard time getting across. Granted, this doesn't excuse this movie as a piece in and of itself, since all movies should stand on their own, but it helps me enjoy this movie and not be revolted by it. And make no mistake, Dan Dark is hella unlikable in the miniseries, but he still very engaging like so many of the later American middle-aged male anti-heroes that would come to populate US television a decade later.

I've seen the miniseries but it's been years and only remember it in very broad strokes. Everything Quasar says is correct as I recall but I still had trouble figuring it all out. I'll blame that on myself and lack of interest by episode three.

 

A couple things I found notably different:

 

I think Dark comes across as an even bigger asshole in the miniseries. Partly, it's three times longer and you really get to sit with Dark being a piece of shit longer. Gambon is just a better actor in the role.

 

The makeup in the miniseries looked truly painful. I don't know what this kind of psoriasis looks like but, man, I could feel my body itching watching the miniseries. The movie just looked Freddy Kruger-ish.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

So... I watched it....

513QZoh.gif

 

My favorite part was the sex scenes. They were disturbing, sad, unsexy and - best of all - way too long.

 

So why the lip-syncing? RDJ can actually sing and apparently so can Katie Holmes (I say apparently because she was on Broadway but honestly I'm not sure that is an actual piece of evidence that this woman can sing). I understand that the hospital hallucinations were not them really singing, but every time RDJ performs he should be actually singing because it makes no sense that he wouldn't be able to. Also the lips were never actually matching up with the pronunciation of the words so it was really really distracting.

 

Yeah... I wondered about this too. If this were made now it seems like they would actually be singing, right? I guess it stylistically is more of a break from reality. It was odd though... like an episode of Saved by the bell.

I guess it was probably cheaper to do it that way? RDJ et al could have just rehearsed that lipsync for a few hours before they shot the scene, whereas if they actually sang there would have been rehearsal, recording, mixing, editing etc...

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with Cameron and Cinco that the last third is a great improvement and I can't tell if that is because of being use to Dan Dark, hearing his tragic story, or just the elements and themes finally coming together. There were moments in which he was fantasizing about people in his life (his agent and wife trying to dupe him out of the screenplay) and then moments when his characters came into the real world. They mention at the start hallucinations but it wasn't until the third act that this really started to happen.

 

Also, the two feds/hoods were they guys he saw on the bus for real or is that him putting his characters from his mind into the memory?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

So why the lip-syncing? RDJ can actually sing and apparently so can Katie Holmes (I say apparently because she was on Broadway but honestly I'm not sure that is an actual piece of evidence that this woman can sing). I understand that the hospital hallucinations were not them really singing, but every time RDJ performs he should be actually singing because it makes no sense that he wouldn't be able to. Also the lips were never actually matching up with the pronunciation of the words so it was really really distracting.

 

So get this, according to imdb, RDJ sings In My Dreams, the end credits song!

 

In My Dreams

Written by Bernice Bedwell

Used by Permission of Song Productions (BMI)

Performed by Robert Downey Jr.

Produced and Arranged by Ryan Rehm & Jonathan Elias

 

And here's some kind of music video?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmKIF6UtbdY

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

So his mother. I get that she had an affair with one of her husband's coworkers. Dan Dark witnessed this and told his father about it, his father beat both, and Dan and his mother left. What I'm not sure about is the repeated scene where his father hits a car with a dented wrench. Is this supposed to mean he beat them with the wrench? and then when Dan Dark's mother couldn't find a job, she turned to prostitution, right? Was it stated that she was killed by one of the Johns? And why was she one of the dames in the noir fantasy?

I kinda want to watch that part again because I am of two minds about the wrench. One one hand I think it's just showing that his father was angry at his wife and a possible resentment and distrust of women which Dan Dark displays later on. The boiling rage simmering beneath the surface rising to the top. I don't know if he beat them with it though. She left with Dan Dark but her lover wasn't there and the dad seemed upset with them leaving. So him hitting her and that being the final straw would make sense too.

 

As far as his mom and her death goes I think you are right about her death but no idea why she is just a random lady of the evening in his fantasy. Surely it would have made more sense for her to be the one that is murdered and dumped. That would play into the whole "my noir world is a metaphor for my past and all the characters are stand ins for real people and events and feelings that I try to repress" a whole lot more.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Here's my (admittedly half-formed) take on the lip-syncing thing.

 

A big part of the movie is that Dan doesn't realize that the characters are subconsciously based on people from his own life. As he comes to terms with this fact, he also starts to realize that he is, in fact, the hero of his own story. The way I viewed it was that TSD was Dan Dark's aspirational self. He was sexy and smooth and didn't take any shit from anybody. Conversely, Dan feels like a monster and that the whole world is shitting on him. Even though we see that RDJ is playing both parts, Dan Dark doesn't see it. He can't fathom that he might actually be The Singing Detective, and because of that, TSD doesn't have Dan Dark's voice. He has a different voice - a "better" voice.

 

It's also important to note that RDJ - as Dan Dark - does sing in his own voice at one point. And, not only that, when he does sing, it's pretty good. As he comes to terms with who he could be, his recovery follows suit. This continues on until the very end of the movie where the "monstrous" Dan Dark is transformed (killed off) so that he can literally become TSD.

 

(I'm not sure if any of that made any sense...LOL)

 

Maybe I can illustrate my point a different way. It's been awhile since I've seen it, but there's this movie called Mumford which- as I recall - is (kind of) about a small town psychologist. In it, there's this character that comes to see him every so often who always describes these kind of noir-ish, sex fantasies. Now, the patient himself is this kind of overweight, middle-aged, balding dude, but in his fantasies, he's this completely ripped, young, and sexy hunk. At one point, the psychologist guy (I want to call him Mumford, but that might be the name of the town) says, "I want [this guy] to be able to see himself in his own fantasies." I feel like Dan Dark is kind of like that. He's so busy feeling sorry for himself that he can't even see himself for what he already is.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

Also, the two feds/hoods were they guys he saw on the bus for real or is that him putting his characters from his mind into the memory?

 

This is was my take. I think that there were based on real people, but their role in his life/story is more based on the fact that they were present during a significant moment in his life rather than any real significance in and of themselves. For example, Dan Dark can't even remember if they were present on the bus ride to or from his father's service station, but he still remembers them. They are the tiny details that stick out in your memory that really don't mean anything. Consequently, in his book, they are these kind of amorphous, poorly defined characters. He feels like they are important, when in fact, they really aren't.

 

As for an answer provided in the movie, I'd say they are just there to be an enigma. A thing for us to question, but never get an answer. Or as Dark puts it, "All solutions and no clues, right? 'Cause that's what the dumbheads want. They want a serious novel, right? Plus descriptions of the goddamn sky. I want it the other way around. All clues, no solutions, 'cause that's the way things are."

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

As far as his mom and her death goes I think you are right about her death but no idea why she is just a random lady of the evening in his fantasy. Surely it would have made more sense for her to be the one that is murdered and dumped. That would play into the whole "my noir world is a metaphor for my past and all the characters are stand ins for real people and events and feelings that I try to repress" a whole lot more.

I also feel like having his mother in that spot in the noir fantasy sheds a bit of a light onto an Oedipal complex. I think it just really shows how effected he was by seeing/hearing his mother have sex at such an early age that he puts her into a former lover category in his story.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post

(I want to call him Mumford, but that might be the name of the town)

Was it Mumford's son?

 

 

I'll see myself out

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×