I was at a dinner party recently, and the conversation turned to movies. Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut (1999) came up, accompanied by the usual groans of disapproval and boredom. I felt obligated to say what I usually say in such situations, to say something that results in shock and disbelief: that Eyes Wide Shut is the best movie I've seen since I have been a professional movie critic.
The initial responses to Eyes Wide Shut revolved around the following: 1) The MPAA, their threat of an NC-17 rating and Warner Bros' decision to alter the offending scene by censoring it with "digital figures." 2) Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's marriage and how it was affected by the filming. 3) Kubrick's death in March of 1999 and whether or not the released film was as he intended. 4) The fact that the film was set, but not shot in New York City and didn't look at all like the real thing; that Kubrick was an exile who hadn't actually been to New York for more than three decades. There were other rumors, and specific complaints about certain scenes that colored nearly everyone's opinion, but none of these had anything to do with the movie itself, as it actually exists.