by Steven Stehle
Earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorists—these are some of the things that worry people from day to day. It’s scary stuff. Then you have the falling dollar, vastly overpriced gasoline, disappearing Social Security. Some people are even afraid of gay marriage.
Not to worry, my friend. Universal Pictures has the answer.
The new movie “White Noise” teaches us the valuable lesson that the thing we should fear the most is television.
See, apparently the dead are trying to contact you through household appliances. Pretty cool, huh? But some of these dead folks—let’s call them the breathing-disadvantaged so as not to irritate—some of these B.D.’s are kind of irked with us breathing-abled people and are looking for ways to disadvantage us.
This movie is really just poorly-acted, well-photographed tripe, probably written in crayon on the back of a mental institution’s release form. However, allow me to give you a synopsis of what’s passing for a plot here and perhaps you can make your own informed decision about how to waste—I mean spend—your entertainment dollar.
Michael Keaton very woodenly plays Jonathan Rivers, a 50-plus year-old architect married to a much younger, very pretty, successful novelist (already my suspension of disbelief is gone) who just found out she is pregnant with their first child—which is, of course, a death sentence in any psychological thriller.
Predictably the novelist-wife dies. Enter the character of Raymond Price who begins by following Keaton’s character around so that he may tell him that his wife has been trying to get a hold of him through—you guessed it—the television.
Keaton, skeptical for 10 or 11 seconds, eventually builds an entire room full of TVs and VCRs in his new apartment through which his wife eventually starts talking to him.
Unfortunately, his wife isn’t the only breathing-disadvantaged person on the line. Spooky, huh?
Do they just throw a bunch of plots into a blender these days? Is it me? Didn’t M. Night Sham-a-lama-ding-dong already make this movie? It’s as if someone in Hollywood is just randomly picking kooky occult beliefs out of the Skeptic’s Dictionary and trying to make movies out of them.
Speaking of the Skeptic’s Dictionary, you should check out what they have on “Electronic Voice Phenomena” to find the kook notion that provides the backdrop for this lump of fried celluloid gold. According to the dictionary, EVPs are generally explainable natural phenomena that people misperceive because they are convinced that something should be there. Kind of like the “face” on the Martian surface or an image of the Virgin Mary burned into a tortilla.
This is not a movie written by geniuses, obviously. The screenwriter doesn’t even know the difference between upstream and downstream. Keaton’s wife’s body somehow is found upstream from where she fell in the river.
I guess my point here is this: If you have an extra $8.75 laying around and are thinking about going to see this movie, send the money to a Tsunami relief fund and get some entertainment out of your friends and family instead. But whatever you do, don’t turn on the TV.