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  The Number 23 is a Bad Movie Years ago, I moved into a…

Psychotropic Ink


"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." ~ Denis Diderot

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  The Number 23 is a Bad Movie

Years ago, I moved into a new apartment with a friend of mine. It just so happened that it was Apartment #23 at this particular location, and I mentioned to my roommate that “That’s a William Burroughs thing, you know.”

No, she didn’t know, but when mail began showing up addressed to “The Nova Kid” – also a William Burroughs reference – I felt vindicated.

The Beat novelist William Burroughs was, you know, nuts. The 23 conspiracy was originally his thing. If it weren’t for Burroughs 23 conspiracy, though, Pink Floyd would have never written the song “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.” Regardless, when the writer Robert Anton Wilson got his hands on the idea a few years later, it began to make more sense, or at least take more shape.

Wilson – who died back in January of this year – used the 23 conspiracy as grist for his anarchist philosophy mill. It was one of the centerpieces to his theorum that all disciplines are bunk and that once you start thinking too much about something, you’ll find support for it everywhere around you, be it a political philosophy or the idea that aliens from the Sirius Galaxy are sending radio transmissions into your head (yep, “Sirius Satellite Radio” is also a Wilson reference…).

Oh, wait. This is was supposed to be a movie review, huh?  

Yeah, well, the movie sucked. Jim Carrey, in serious actor mode, starts to read a book his wife finds at a used book store.  The book is called “The Number 23,” and sure enough, Carrey starts to see 23’s everywhere – when he adds up the value of the letters in his name, the dates in his birthday, everything. Only this is supposed to be a moderately shocking notion. Seriously! 


The movie thinks it is hip, and even drops little details to clue insiders in to the fact that the screenwriter probably read Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger once.  One character’s name, for instance, is “Dr. Sirius Leary,” a hodgepodge of Wilson references in itself.  There are even references to the year 2012, which is a Mayan/Terrence McKenna/Wilson thing.


But it’s one terrible movie.  The movie is as silly as the 23 conspiracy itself, with corny dialogue, hysterically stylized footage of JIM CARREY… WITH TATTOOS… HANDCUFFING HIS GIRLFRIEND…TO THE BED.  Yes, Ace Ventura is quite the perv. It’s not convincing. It's not that I'm opposed to Carrey in a serious role -- in fact the only movie I've ever liked the guy in, really, was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and he was serious in that.  The thing was, he had a really good screenwriter and director.

In the case of this film, I know I was the only one in the theater who was catching the inside references, and I still found it unwatchable. How is that even possible?

As I was driving home, I called my brother regarding the truly wretched nature of this film.  He got online and reported, “Well Jer, it was directed by Joel Schumacher.”

Who is Joel Schumacher, you ask?


Joel Schumacher directed the Val Kilmer Batman movie.  Yep. The worst movie in movie history.  Don’t agree?  Joel Schumacher also directed the George Clooney Batman movie.  You know, the one with the current governor of California.  He also directed Flatliners, 8mm, two John Grisham movies, and 2004’s version of Phantom of the Opera.


Joel Schumacher directs really, really bad movies.  The Number 23 is another of them. 


If you feel the need to go to a movie theater in the next few weeks, go see Pan’s Labyrinth.  Even if you’ve already seen it – go again.  Anything's better than a Joel Schumacher film. 

  • I'de like to see Joel Schumaker and David Lynch fight a no-holds barred cage match to the death. No matter who loses, we win.
    • You blaspheme.

      David Lynch is divinely inspired.

      • Divinely inspired the same way the fall of the Heavenly Host was divinely inspired. David Lynch is random crappy dream imagery that makes stupid people feel intelligent when they "interpret" the bullshit Lynch puts on the screen. Hes lauded as brilliant by those who lack the capability of perceiving brilliance.

        To put it bluntly: his works are without merit.
        • David Lynch

          I generally like dream logic in films. And I've always wanted to like David Lynch.

          OK, every time I read an article about david Lynch, it makes me want to give him another try.

          But I'll be damned if it's not the same result, every time I try. Oh well...
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