10 Reasons ‘Black Swan’ And ‘Birdman’ Are Actually The Same Movie

black-swan-birdmanBirdman is one the year’s most critically beloved films. It features brilliant performances, breathtaking filmmaking, an off-the-beaten-path score, and unfolds in one long unbroken take (but not really).

And how about the story? Well, on a narrative level, it’s pretty much the same movie as Black Swan, which is why I admire the film but can’t get fully on board the Birdman train as so many critics have.

Don’t believe me? Below are 10 irrefutable reasons why Black Swan and Birdman are practically the same movie.

(Massive spoilers for both films ahead.)

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Hero To Zero: Keaton Returns In ‘Birdman’

_AF_6405.CR2What has Michael Keaton been up to lately?

I don’t know the answer to that. I know he’s appeared in a handful of movies I haven’t seen (and have no desire to see) such as RoboCop and Need For Speed. He voiced the hilarious Ken doll in Toy Story 3, a fairly recent blockbuster. I still think he’s the big screen’s Batman, in the big screen’s best Batman movies.

But on the whole, it doesn’t seem like Keaton’s been on the Hollywood radar since the late 90s. Thus Birdman feels like something of a comeback, even though I acknowledge that Michael Keaton never exactly went anywhere. (He always knew where he was, even if the rest of us didn’t.) At least Keaton’s still getting paid, which makes him better off than Riggan Thompson, the character he plays in Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance). Thompson and Keaton are both famous for playing superheroes named after flying animals, so it’s hard not to feel like this is a little autobiographical. But the superhero connection is hopefully all these two have in common… because Riggan Thompson is nuts.

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Don’t Do Anything: Life Gets Easier Thanks To DVR

Don-Knotts-Pleasantville-tobey-maguire (Flashback Friday: The danger in writing about something “cutting edge” is that you will soon sound ridiculous. So I’ve learned upon reexamining my old columns, such as this one about the dawning of DVR and how it changed our television viewing processes forever. Of course, this was well before streaming changed the game even further; at this point, it was still rather mesmerizing just to choose when you watched any given program. This piece was first published in INsite Boston in March 2007.)

Architects and screenwriters know equally well: structure is important. Without it, stories come crumbling down.

The same is true in life. Without a schedule, we’re bound to idle away hours chatting online, playing Guitar Hero, contributing nothing to the world at large. To remedy this, many have looked to work or school to dictate how they spend their time.

Me? I looked to television.

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Tempo Tantrum: J.K. Simmons Drums Up A Terrifying Case Of ‘Whiplash’

Whiplash-5547.cr2Annabelle. Gone Girl. Ouija.

It’s no accident that such films are released in October. That’s when audiences are most in the mood to be thrilled and chilled, perhaps even killed, at the movies.

Most Octobers come and go without adding a truly classic villain to the repertoire — a Jason, a Ghost Face, a Freddy Kreuger. Yet this October, there is a new big screen baddie coming to a theater near you. A twisted psychopath who preys on guileless teenagers, who strikes fear into the hearts of all who invoke his name. You see him coming, you run the other way; but usually, by the time he’s set his sights on you, it’s already too late. He’s a monster.

Michael Myers and Leatherface, meet your new contemporary: Terence Fletcher.

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‘Gone Girl’ Wild: Marriage And Media Are The Real Killers In Fincher’s Latest

gone-girl-rosamund-pike-amy-dunne-pen-twistMarriage is a contract. We select one person we love and trust, and pledge to continue loving and trusting them until our dying breath. We give them equal stake in all our assets. We promise to be with them and them only. We will eat, sleep, and travel with this person. Their friends become our friends. Our friends become their friends. Their interests become our interests, and vice versa. Words like “we” and “us” replace “I” and “me.” They will have more influence over us than any other person we have ever known — our parents, our best friends, our siblings — even if we have known this person for only a couple of years. We refer to that person as a “partner.”

And, when you think about it… isn’t that a pretty fucking insane agreement to enter into?

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Here’s Looking At You, Kids: Passing The Baton To Generation MySpace

sandra-bullock-the-net-computer-mozarts-ghost(Throwback Thursday: Today we’re flashing back to October 2006. It’s hard to imagine that news about social media was once a novel and somewhat shocking thing. This piece reflects the moment that social networking stopped being just a college thing and started making national headlines; a time when “web series” wasn’t really a thing. It seemed ridiculous at the time. This piece was first published in INsite Boston.)

Close your eyes. Imagine a bizarre futuristic world in which words like “yahoo” and “google” dominate the global lexicon. Where “podcasting” and “blogging” are daily occurrences. Where “Add me!” has replaced “Call me!”

Now open your eyes. That future is here.

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