Why 'Eyes Wide Shut' Isn't The Erotic ‘90s Thriller You Remember As A Kid
For those of us who grew up in the '90s, the decade remains a cultural touchstone — especially when it comes to movies. My favorite movie is Forrest Gump, and it's highly unlikely that any movie will ever dethrone it in my mind. Not because I don't think anything will ever be as good, but because the nostalgia associated with it is too strong. Most people still get nostalgic for the movies they loved as a kid, but there's also another type of childhood movie nostalgia. The kind associated with the movies you wanted to see but didn't. The white whale type of movie. Eyes Wide Shut is one of those films.
I was 14 years old in 1999 when the film premiered, and I still remember the commercials. It looked like a big, nudity-filled sex romp with weird masks and cults and it just looked unlike anything I'd ever seen. It also starred real-life married couple (at the time) Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, which gave it the allure that whatever sex was happening in the film (and it had to be a lot) might even be real. But here's the catch: When you finally watch Eyes Wide Shut, especially as an adult, you discover it's not the erotic journey you pictured in your youth.
This revelation is discussed at length by Bustle's Kelsea Stahler, Katie Cropper Klein, and Christine DiStasio in the latest episode of Bustle's '90s movie podcast, Be Kind Rewind. The main topic of discussion is how everyone, like me, imagined this crazy sex fest in their mind when they would see the "sexy hugging" VHS cover, only to later discover that the movie features very little sex. It's actually incredibly long, clocking in at two hours and 45 minutes, and there are lengthy stretches where it seems like nothing happens. You can hear their full opinions by listening to the episode below.
Nostalgia can work in many different ways. Sometimes it can give you a warm fuzzy feeling when you're watching a movie from your childhood (see: Me when I watch Forrest Gump ), while other times it can trick you into watching what you thought was the pinnacle of adult entertainment only to end up spending nearly three hours on a film where basically nothing happens. Oh what could have been, Eyes Wide Shut.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy