Just Like Heaven

Coma patients

In the movie If I Stay, Chloe Grace Moretz plays a teenage girl who winds up in a coma when she’s in a car accident with her family. As her body lies in a hospital bed, her consciousness stands to the side, able to observe what’s going on in the room. She can watch her loved ones visit, see her boyfriend play her a song. And she also flashes back to past events while contemplating whether or not she should wake up and stay alive. Her choice, apparently. Do comatose patients actually have out-of-body experiences? Some claim so, but OBEs are not really scientifically recognized, at least not as anything other than a dream. Movies aren’t subject to the rules of accepted science, though, and that goes for depictions of comas in general. In 2006, a doctor conducted a study of 30 movies featuring comatose persons (not including Liz Garbus‘s solid HBO doc Coma, made after the study) and concluded that only two of them were accurately portrayed: Reversal of Fortune and The Dreamlife of Angels (the study is published in the medical journal “Neurology”, which you can pay to read here; but you can download the data-supplement list of movie titles here). That was mainly for what comas are like externally and for the patient afterward, however. There’s not really much to go on as far as what it’s like internally from the perspective of the person in the coma. So, this week’s edition of The Movies Tell Us is only briefly focused on […]


Just Like Heaven

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; 100% medically accurate. Because Salisbury has staked the reputation of his chubby little column on my abilities to pen something that will be even in the same neighborhood as his consistently hilarious musings on bad movies and bad food, I will honor him in the only way I know how – by writing about a romantic comedy that centers on a lady in a coma and the dude who loves her. You’re regretting your decision now, aren’t you, Briguy? TOO LATE. I’ve hijacked your precious little column and we’re going straight to the most glorious reaches of heaven above (with a wee detour along the way). What’s the plan? Well, it’s the usual plan. I’m going to roast a terrible film over the coals of a hellfire, gently turning it on a devil-approved spit, and dance around all that horrific burning while the screams stretch up through eight other levels of Hell, said bad film begging for mercy and forgiveness. Then, we’re just totally going to skip Purgatory, because it’s super-boring, but then and only then will I shower the film with love, tickling it gently with little white feathers, with a brief pause to run through a sunlit meadow while a blonde lady plays a harp nearby. Then we’re all going to eat cake. Please open the pearly gates for Just Like Heaven.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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