Schrodinger’s Inception [Warning: SPOILERS]

In Marc Horne on August 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’m on Schrödinger’s plane, over the Pacific. I’m locked in a box in an unobserved state with a dangerous element and when I arrive – in L.A. – I will find out if I am alive or dead. Looking at the low-down clouds, I wonder why it is that Schrödinger’s work is one of the few pieces of modern Quantum physics that artists have latched onto. Perhaps it is because of the cat that usually is trapped in this state: lonely creative types in sad little apartments, not even smelling the cat litter anymore, dreaming of other worlds and the possibility that, despite all appearances to the contrary… they are not dead.

I flip through the movie selection on the screen in the little pod I rest in. The pod is great but it only makes me surprised that I can’t watch any movie in the history of mankind. Why just this selection? Why would you have Caddyshack 2, for example, and NOT Caddyshack ‘1’?

I go with Total Recall, although I know that I will be asleep before the end of it. Quaid goes to Mars. That gross mutant guy is talking to him. It gets to the end. It’s dark on this plane. I look around me. Why was I just dreaming about a plane? My mates are looking at me funny “Watch the bloody film!” they say. Arnie’s on the top of the mountain now, with the woman who is less attractive than Sharon Stone karate kicking you in aerobic wear, but not bad. I feel the closure of a long narrative arc surrounding us, warming my narrative gonads. Then woah… what is this, it’s fading out. NO… not a last minute plot fuck! I don’t want to leave the top of the Martian mountain like this. This is as close as I will ever get to the top of that Martian mountain and I don’t want you to take it away from me.

Oh thank you. It was just a tease. They are Really On Mars. Then it ends. But I am immune to the sudden black shutter. I don’t freak out. I have my closure now. I don’t mind being back in the crummy seats with my mates who also have crumbs all over them.

Except my mates never turned up did they? But they were here? Well that was years ago, when we used to go to the cinema all the time and thereby, although we didn’t know it at the time, sort of dodged becoming glueys and then going to jail.

I leave the movie theater, as I now call it after years living with Americans and having Japanese businessmen insist that I teach them real US English. I pass through the lobby of the Odeon, and I note with some regret that my life is now so full of hot dogs that the smell of the pink, rolling tubes is no longer as exciting to me as Sinbad’s greatest adventure. I go outside and look at my watch. 30 minutes before the lads turn up. I could either sniff glue or get a pint.

I think about Begbie throwing that pint glass over his shoulder. Maybe it was a bad idea to go and watch Trainspotting before my first night back in the old town. I know that I used to know how to not get bottled, but I have spent three years where the greatest risk was someone with a shoe fetish stealing your footwear from the rack and having away with it. Or a tremendous earthquake pulverizing you, I suppose. The movie is stuck all over me as I inch my way to that triangular pub on the corner. It is sticking out in the dark, not in the pit of light in the middle of The Town. I think that makes it safer. I’m thinking about whether it has a pool table with big heavy pool cues around it. I am inside now and I see that it does. Big heavy pointy clubs, racked like a knight’s armory. But I also see a goth girl drinking a cider and a young man in a wooly jumper. Looks like this place turned into a student pub. We have a university now, I remember. I go to the lavvie. It is smeared with shit everywhere, because of that waxy paper that is for making brownies on really, I think, and there was a natural but regrettable mix-up when every pub in England ordered a boatload of it.

I look down in the bowl. I really got that movie stuck on me.

I reach for some nice soft toilet paper. Not that waxy stuff like at school. Why was I thinking about that? I have heard that at secondary school I will have my head stuck down the toilet. I think just once, but I should ask people. Just once might be okay.

Downstairs they have started the film, but Dad is messing with the tracking. The wire on the remote control is not quite long enough so he needs to lean forward to do it. He is holding the controller with two hands: it will not bite him.

We watch Blade Runner. Not since Star Trek the Motion Picture have I felt like this, like I am drifting out of my body. I am in this weird Blade Runner city and I can taste the stuff he is eating at that food stand. Where is this? Is this what America is like? I might ask Dad if this is what Tokyo is like… when the film ends.

Did this film come from the future? No of course it didn’t. Time goes one way.

Woah! He just shot that woman, and she is all naked in plastic and there is white cream coming out of her. And the tracking is really bad and the city has rain going sideways as well as up and down. Just down, I mean.

As she wriggles, I look out of the corner of my eye at my parents. They look anxiously at each other. Are they about to have a VHS mishap? They have been quite careful about it. I am still unsure how it is that I saw so much of Don’t Look Now at our Auntie’s house. I feel like I really did watch it by twisting backwards. Did they just make us face the other way? Unlikely.

The music goes on. The scene changes. Flying cars are uncontroversial. The music. Is it Hans Zimmer?

Hans Zimmer! Hans Zimmer! We’re laughing about Hans Zimmer’s name because a lad at school is obsessed with films and noticed it after we went to see Die Hard the second time. I imagine Hans Zimmer as a dour man with a moustache as heavy as a walrus, skulking around Austria wishing everything would blow up.

Years later, the Internet arrives and I find out I am close enough. Close enough.

There is no way that I could have known about Hans Zimmer when I was watching Blade Runner!!! Or Johnny Marr, who is now on my mind. Johnny Marr. Plays. Guitar.

It’s a dream. Or something like a dream. My mind is in multiple times at once.

I look up at the peculiar, half-present beard on Leonardo DiCaprio’s chin. Enormous, of course. His head, for most of us, is an enormous thing that looms over us.

I am in California… but I did not get here on that plane. I came the other way, I think. But That doesn’t matter. Times are overlapping. Hologramming. The cinema seats are the same dandruffed red. The smell is still half-animal, half-chemical. I am watching a scene in Inception where someone is questioning DiCaprio about whether everything is really as he thinks. Is it really plausible that he – his character – is so important that armed men chase him in the streets? They are asking him about his wife… my mind is trapped in a déjà-vu loop. In horror, I wonder if I have killed my wife. No… I haven’t… they say his name Dom Cobb. An obscene name that you just can’t easily say: it makes your lips move like a plunger working a u-bend. It’s a bullshit name that you make up for some other reason… like it’s an anagram. Like Andrew Laeddis! Like in Shutter Island!

The time loop flops apart. This is not Shutter Island, which I accidentally watched last week… the interference pattern collapses and I am just watching Inception not that other is-it-all-real-oh-my-dead-wife Leonardo DiCaprio film that I am done with. This is Dom Cobb. This is Inception. In a shitty cinema that could never show 3d, I am watching in 4d and floating through my own life as I ride the porcelain light of Christopher Nolan.

The movie is over. I don’t leave, because I am crying a bit. Probably because he got his kids again and the movie didn’t rip that away from me, just teased that there might be one more dream. Of course, if they had ripped it away from me, then he would have got his wife and his kids back, I realize as I walk away. And I wonder if it is okay to have a genuine emotional reaction to a $200m entertainment product.

Then I reflect that – for me – it is a $6 entertainment product and I am okay with it. I come out and find my car among palm trees and my wife and I drive away along a pale Pacific.

  1. Y’know, Total Recall is a lot smarter than people give it credit for. Check out the scene where the doctor comes to the hotel room in Mars. No reflection in the mirror for Quaid, and the walls of reality will come crashing in…and then the hotel walls do just that. Verhoven is a master.

    As for Inception, the meaning is all in the hair.


  2. It hurt me a little to read this, because it took my mind back to Commodore 64s and that time I went to Thorpe Park, and then being on a plane and getting off the plane and sitting outside the 7/11 in the parking lot on warm nights snorting ephedrine asthma pills off a skateboard because there was nowhere else to be.

    I hate you a little for that strange pain, but this story of yours is stunning.

  3. […] wrote a movie thing for !Gupter Puncher! I wrote a short review/reaction to the film “Inception” for !Gupter Puncher Magazine’s! […]

  4. “I wonder why it is that Schrödinger’s work is one of the few pieces of modern Quantum physics that artists have latched onto.”

    I find myself wondering about this a lot lately. If I see one more novel, poem or indie film about that fucking cat, I’m going to go on a kitty-killing spree.

  5. I thoroughly immersed myself in this (most times I read too fast because I’m bored). Enthralling stuff.

  6. […] about Predators for his zine, Gupter Puncher. It was too far a drive to watch Predators so I did Inception instead. This turned out to be the most directly autobiographical thing I have ever written. It was […]

  7. “An obscene name that you just can’t easily say: it makes your lips move like a plunger working a u-bend.” 😀 and

    “Perhaps it is because of the cat that usually is trapped in this state: lonely creative types in sad little apartments, not even smelling the cat litter anymore, dreaming of other worlds and the possibility that, despite all appearances to the contrary… they are not dead.”

    I liked this little story and your reflction on film.

    You make a 6 million dollar feeling sound like a 200 million dollar feeling. And Leo. Yum.

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