A couple years back, I read a review of a documentary. The documentary was about how people can watch a movie over and over and divine some kind of hidden message or agenda from the director that has nothing to do with the plot or story. The documentary details five different theories about Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” I’m a fan of Kubrick’s work, and I like “The Shining,” so I read the review with interest and watched some clips detailing the obsession of one viewer who believes that Kubrick was really trying to tell viewers, through clues and visuals and references, that during the production of “2001: A Space Odyssey” he was paid by the US Government to “produce” the Apollo moon landing, that the landing was a fake, and Kubrick was enlisted to make it look real on TV. This is kind of a controversial stance, I am thinking, but I have heard of conspiracy theorists who think that this actually happened, and as I watched clips from “The Shining” with this theorist’s voice explaining the clues and visuals and references, I have to admit I was fascinated. When the kid in the movie is playing with some toy cars on a section of carpeting that has shapes similar to the launch site, as viewed from the sky, and then he stands up and he is wearing a sweater with the Apollo 11 rocket ship sewn on the front, it’s kind of eerie. When the theorist postulates that the sentence that Jack Nicholson’s character types over and over again while writing his “novel”: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy;” that “All” is really “A 1 1” (Apollo 11), it makes you wonder.
I always like to add my own unique twist on conspiracy theories, though. In this case, I watched the clips and read the review on my laptop, and then I switched on the TV, and a rerun of Seinfeld was just starting, and I love Seinfeld, so I turned it up to watch, and Jerry starts out the show with a clip from a stand-up routine, and he starts with, “You know, I don’t think we ever should have landed a man on the moon.”
NOW I believe. Kubrick was sending me a message from the Great Beyond.
The next coincidence episode happened shortly thereafter, during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. On a Saturday night, I watched the movie “Heat,” which stars Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, and, among others, Ashley Judd. Sunday morning I was driving one of my kids somewhere, and we were listening to “Car Talk” on NPR, and Ashley Judd actually called into the show. She wanted Tom and Ray to help settle a dispute between her and her husband Dario Franchitti, the race car driver. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that’s weird. I just watched her in a movie.” Later that day, we were watching one of the NCAA tournament games, involving Kentucky, and they were INTERVIEWING ASHLEY JUDD. She was everywhere! Apparently she is a Kentucky Alumnus, and she was at the game, so hey, why not interview her? To cap it off, that evening I flipped through channels and settled on the movie, “A Time To Kill,” which I’d never watched but always wanted to. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L Jackson, Sandra Bullock, and – you guessed it – Ashley Judd. I wasn’t even surprised at this point. I immediately got on Twitter and started following Ms. Judd, who, as it turns out, it quite a prodigious tweeter. “Ashley Judd” is now a code term in our household for strange coincidences. “Apollo 11” may replace it.
Kubrick has passed on, of course (probably rubbed out by NASA), so there’s no chance of Ms. Judd showing up in one of his movies, but if anyone ever decides to make a movie about the Kubrick/fake moon landing conspiracy theory, and Ms. Judd is cast as his wife (who supposedly tried to get him to separate himself from the sordid task), I might just freak out.