The Number 23

FEBRUARY 13, 2007


I nearly shat myself when I first heard about The Number 23 (which was a few years back, actually). You see kids, for nigh on a decade I have been obsessed with the frequency of the number 23 in movies. It was pointed out to me by a friend, but over time I became much more interested than he was, I think. Some examples: The villain’s floor in Toy Story 2 is 23 (and the floor number is bigger and brighter than the others), the character of Johnny 23 in Con Air, the number of Brill’s in the phone book in Enemy of the State, the number of years the Jeepers Creepers monster sleeps before awakening for… 23 days, etc. It’s pretty interesting, to me anyway.

So the fact that an entire movie based around the concept was being made was pretty exciting to me. Sort of like, made me think I wasn’t batshit insane (at least in that department). Unfortunately, the film would be directed by Joel Schumacher, so any chance that the film would actually be GOOD went right out the window. Schumacher, much like John Carpenter, decided years ago that making a good film was no longer a valid option for him, and now just churns out a never ending series of shitty films. Oh well.

The film isn’t QUITE as bad as it could have been; its crime is that it’s nowhere near as good as it SHOULD have been. I was hoping for a Da Vinci Code style grand conspiracy, instead it’s a movie about a guy who forgot that he killed someone and spent a while in a nuthouse. The amount of “please just accept this” revelations in the film’s conclusion is far beyond any other film I have ever seen.

The other problem is that there is never any real danger in the film. Carrey goes a little nuts, but there is no “villain” per se, other than the number itself. But it’s not like a 23 is going to come out and stab him (which would have been AMAZING, for the record).

And Christ almighty the guy is a slow reader! It takes him almost the whole movie to read what looks like 150 pages, tops. You would think, if he was so obsessed with the book and the number, that he might, I dunno, take the time to read the whole book ASAP. But instead he treats it like a model kit, allowing himself one tiny bit per day. I know when I become obsessed with something, I read everything I can, as soon as I can.

Either way, the film is worth watching for this line, which Virginia Madsen says near the end, in an attempt to mock Carrey who is contemplating a murder: “Look around at all the beautiful 23s! You wouldn’t want to disappoint them!” Amazing.

I saw this at the film's premiere, at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA. Now of course, no one ever goes downtown unless they absolutely HAVE to, or if there is a free premiere. But this theater is the absolute most uncomfortable in the entire world. I highly recommend never setting foot in it.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. And the way they come up with all the 23s? Sometimes adding. Or subtracting. Or multiplying, etc. I think you can cross-logic your way into that with any number you want.

    Was there a square root in there?

    And Jim was a good ole Smithfield Virginia ham in this.


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