0:02:02 With the comet plunging to earth and a man in his tighty whities, two tails begin the film.
0:05:57 Michael Keaton is Riggan Thomson, the director (and lead actor and adapter) of a Broadway play. After Riggan looks up at the stage lights, one falls and strikes the actor Riggan doesn’t like. Both the actor and the light black out.
0:06:16 Riggan tells the producer (and attorney and best friend), Jake (Zach Galifianakis), that they have to cancel the first preview. The show must go on later.
0:06:44 Riggan confesses to Jake that he made the light fall. Jake thinks Riggan is a little light in the head.
0:07:56 In Riggan’s dressing room, the poster behind him speaks to him. The poster is of himself as Birdman, a super hero in a film years earlier.
Birdman poster: That clown [Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman] doesn’t have half your talent and he’s making a fortune in that tin man getup. We were the real thing, Riggan. We had it all. We gave it away. We handed these poseurs the keys to the kingdom.
0:12:36 Lesley, Naomi Watts as an actress in the play, tells Riggan and Jake that Mike Shiner (“we share a vagina” – I’m assuming this is a hetero thing) is available as a replacement actor for the bloke who was knocked on the head.
Brandon: Ask me if he sells tickets.
Riggan: Fine, does he still tickets?
Brandon: He sells a shitload of tickets. Now ask me if the theatre critics love him.
Riggan: Do theatre critics love him?
Brandon: They want to spooge on him.
Lesley: Right on his face.
It would seem as though I’ve missed my calling.
0:13:32 Edward Norton plays Mike, a theatre actor who is as serious as genital warts.
0:14:38 I like the idea of people with super powers who don’t want to become super heroes. Reminds me of me.
0:17:06 Emma Stone is Sam, Riggan’s daughter but also his secretary. Even I might consider spawning if it meant I could have a live-in assistant.
0:17:42 Mike compliments Sam’s ass-et. This could be problematic considering his girlfriend is in the play and Sam’s father is the director. #DumbAss
0:18:02 Al K Hall nudity alert (if Al was gay). Ed Norton isn’t an ass but he has one, and here’s the ass he rode in on.
Larry [Michael Siberry, talking about the wardrobe]: Everything’s too small.
Sam [watching Mike undress]: No kidding.
0:20:42 Andrea Riseborough is Laura, Riggan’s apparent GF. She’s missed her last two periods, and I don’t think she’s taking about a football match.
0:22:42 The play inside of the film is based on the short story “What we talk about when we talk about love”, by Raymond Carver, whom I admire hopelessly. (I’m not alone in my cult; Robert Altman made the film Short Cuts based on several of Carver’s works.) When I begin feeling superior whilst reading the Internet, I read Carver to humble back down.
0:25:04 In the middle of a performance, a drunk Mike goes off script and calls Riggan out for replacing the gin in his stage drink with water. Then he criticizes the audience for their disapproval. If this happened more in the theatre, I’d see more plays.
0:28:06 Riggan’s ex (Amy Ryan as Sylvia) arrives backstage. We learn that Sam was in rehab and that Riggan is meant to be watching over her somewhat. This is when super powers would come in handy.
0:29:14 Riggan wants to mortgage a house that’s intended for his daughter to finance the play. In case you were wondering where he stands on the old ‘being a good father’ thing.
Mike: I wanna know something. Why Raymond Carver?
Riggan: I was a kid in high school doing a play in Syracuse and he was in the audience. And he sent this back afterwards…
[Riggan unfolds a piece of paper he keeps in his wallet and hands it to Mike]
Mike [reading the note]: ‘Thank you for an honest performance, Ray Carver’. Yeah?
Riggan: That’s why I knew I was going to be an actor. Right there.
Riggan: What’s so funny?
Mike: Nothing, it’s just on a cocktail napkin.
Riggan: Yeah, so?
Mike: He was fucking drunk, man.
Maybe I’m not alcoholic enough to be a good writer.
0:37:48 The soundtrack sounds like the soundtrack to Whiplash. Lots of jazz percussion. Maybe they couldn’t afford all of the instruments.
0:39:53 The tattoo on her left arm is “The wound is the place where the light enters you” by Rumi.
0:39:08 Riggan and Sam fight because he discovers she’s been smoking marijuana. #EmmaStoner The dispute ends with her saying,
You hate bloggers, you mock Twitter, you don’t even have a Facebook page. You’re the one who doesn’t exist. You’re doing this [play] because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter. And you know what? You’re right, you don’t. It’s not important. You’re not important. Get used to it.
0:41:06 Emma Stone rocks.
0:43:33 When Mike and Leslie are in bed on stage, he nearly rapes her simulating a sex scene and then parades about on stage with a tent in his underpants.
0:46:22 Leslie breaks up with Mike after that stunt.
Leslie: Why don’t I have any self respect ?
Laura: You’re an actress, honey.
0:48:36 Laura and Leslie begin ‘lip syncing’ in the dressing room. #LGBT
0:54:44 Laura’s not pregnant and she’s upset because Riggan is superficial. Maybe, but at least he didn’t claim to be pregnant when he wasn’t.
0:56:41 Ed Norton in a speedo. Wow, I wish I had his body. In a box in my bedroom.
0:58:22 Mike and Riggan wrestle because Mike stole Riggan’s Carver story and gave it to the press as his own. #Play-gerism
1:00:26 The voice in his head is Birdman, telling him he should stop posing as an artist and do another superhero film.
Riggan: Look at me. I look like a turkey with leukaemia!
I don’t think I know what this means.
1:00:17 The year he mentions being Birdman is in 1992. Coincidentally, this is also the year Michael Keaton filmed his second and last Batman film: Batman Returns. Coincidentally.
Riggan: I’m Riggan fucking Thompson.!
Birdman: No, you’re Birdman, because without me, all that’s left is you.
1:05:34 Fair warning, if Mike and Sam sleep together, I’m deducting points for predictability.
Mike: Hey, tell me something. What is the worst thing that he did to you? Seriously.
Sam: He was never around.
Mike: Yeah…? I mean, so what? That was it?
Sam: No, it was how he tried to make up for it by constantly trying to convince me that I was special.
WTF!? First world daughters.
1:07:48 Sam continuously ridicules Mike and kisses him after telling him how bad his declaration of affection was. It’s so WTF and so normal that it’s trite. Why can’t this film have the magic that Riggan has?
1:09:56 Apparently Mike is not as impotent as he claims. Did Sam forget her lines? Because Mike is feeding her his cue.
1:14:14 Riggan gets locked out of the theatre during a cigarette break and has to walk down Broadway in his underwear. This is for those of you who don’t believe smoking is bad for you.
[Note the cameos…Riggan will be meeting them all again later]
1:22:47 A pretentious New York intellectual theatre critic (Lindsay Duncan as Tabitha) informs Riggan that she will close his play by writing the harshest review she has ever written. She knows this even before she’s seen the play. I hate critics. #selfloathing
Riggan: Wow, what has to happen in a person’s life that they have to become a critic, anyway?
A mixture of heartbreak, ridicule and lavage.
1:28:58 Riggan wakes up passed out on a stoop and Birdman appears, telling him to give up. More an arch-enemy play than a superhero save.
1:32:05 Riggan atop a building takes the leap of faith and flies away. More magic than realism, yet not enough of either.
1:37:54 Riggan reminisces with Sylvia (his ex wife) about a romantic story in which he bedded another woman the night of their anniversary party (WTF!?) and then he tells he loves her, tying in the name of the play (‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love ‘) to his life.
1:38:44 Keaton does a bang up job on his monologue but is one monologue enough for an Oscar? Here he talks about what a shit he was with his ex and his daughter, and one wonders why he uses the past tense: he was a shit with his daughter just a few hours ago.
1:39:54 He prepares a real, loaded gun for the final scene of the play and opens the door magically with one finger. I’m not impressed, I’ve met hundreds of people with magic fingers.
1:42:54 The standing ovation is such that the critic storms off in a huff, knowing she cannot pan the play, because it will be Number 1 with a bullet.
Riggan hallucinates the characters he passed in front of the theatre.
1:45:16 In the hospital room:
Sylvia [to Brandon about a rave review from their nemesis]: You’re happy about this?
Brandon: Happy? I’m fucking euphoric! This is the kind of review that turns people into living legends.
Sylvia: He shot the nose off his face!
Brandon: He’s got a new nose! And if he doesn’t like that one, we’ll get him a new one. We’ll use Meg Ryan’s guy, who gives a shit?
1:48:02 Sam visits and snaps a photo of him for the Twitter page she created for him that morning. How can it have taken so long for the Birdman to tweet?
1:51:02 After taking off the bandages and seeing his new nose, Riggan opens a hospital window in what is a very high room (WTF worthy, as hospital windows are blocked shut for safety).
1:52:14 Sam returns with a vase and panics to find her father isn’t there. After first checking the ground, she looks up to find him flying about with the pigeons, perhaps taking a crap on the people below. Which might just be a perfect metaphor for this film.
- WTF!?’s: 3 on the wing
- When to Follow: When you enrol in film school and have to study the technical aspects of movie making.
- Where’s This Found: Technically, this film is perfection. Alejandro González Iñárritu truly merited his Best Director Oscar. The style is engaging with only 16 cuts in the entire film – the longest scene being a full seven minutes – meaning the viewer is brought into the film as though we were following the characters about. Unfortunately, this extreme focus didn’t make it into the script. The film is like an acquaintance’s slide show of the Grand Canyon: it’s the story of uninteresting characters obsessed with their own trip. Out of a possible 10, I have 5 F’s to give
- What To Feedback: How would you have voted if you were a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Prints suitable for reposting!
WTF!? did they say?
WTF!? do you meme?
What to Follow Up
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