As an early adopter, I found myself waiting in line at NYC Midtown Nike store in February for the Nike Fuel Band. I previous gave my general thoughts when I first got it but knew a true review wouldn’t come until some real use (or lack of, more on that later).
From my previous post:
“The Nike Fuel Band is a bracelet that logs any physical activity - from making food to running a marathon - into units of “Fuel”. It gathers the data to your iPhone (via an app) or their website, where you can keep track of your progress.
The Technology: The band measures movement via a 3-axis accelerometer, then uses algorithms to calculate exactly what type of movements you are doing. These multipliers were developed at Nike labs where subjects were tested doing different activities.”
After 6 months, the verdict?
As a tool to promote and track activity, it’s useless.
As a minimalist watch, it’s great. (And this is what I use it for now.)
As someone that trained crossfit for a good year, moving onto doing Olympic lifts and training on my own, Nike’s Fuel metric is too general to be useful.
The band doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know after a couple weeks of use (my non-gym days would log about 2200 fuel points, gym days 3500 fuel points consistently).
It fails for realistic measurements of activity. According to the mechanics of the band, vigorously drawing while I’m sitting at a desk counts more than doing pull ups at the gym since there’s no accelerated hand movements during a pullup.
At the most basic level, someone that is looking for motivation to move would still be better off even using Nike+ (which has some faults as well). The advantage of Nike+ is you are given metrics (pace & distance) which you can look to improve on.
Apps like Myfitnesspal and MyWOD (which is what I use) are free and help me keep track of vital things: calories, nutrition intake, weights and reps. While it does take more work, it will provide better results. If you are looking for general motivation to get active, I’d suggest finding a workout/fitness partner that is much more motivated than you. The problem I see with people trying to get in shape is they pair up with a friend that is at the same level at them and feel comfortable. But this would be like learning a language with someone that speaks as much as you do. You’re not going to get far.
Buy used as a watch, skip it for anything else.
You can read my review from last night here
After sleeping on it, I realized that the notion that the entire movie from the start was a dream (with the only non-dream part being the very end when his eyes open) is a more harmonious interpretation.
I didn’t like this explanation at first because I always feel like “It was all a dream” stories are such a cop out. While it was easier to accept that the movie was only partially a dream, this didn’t explain Sofia’s voice appearing at the very start of the film on his radio. If you were to follow the basic explanation given by the film (that he is indeed frozen), the waking sequence in the beginning is pre-Sofia no matter what.
The dream from the start interpretation solves the problem of the fantastical nature of the cryostasis storyline.
Aames re-examining his life through a piecing of his memory in a dream. The movie begins with Aames plucking a grey hair out in horror. In the iconic ghost town Time Square sequence (which in itself is a commentary on wealth and emptiness) hes driving a Vintage 1962 Ferrari GTO, much more expensive than the Mustang (which has a registration sticker date of 2/30/01, a date that doesn’t exist) he’s seen in the rest of the film. Even in his dreams, he wants to be wealthier and better looking.
He sees the photos on Sofia’s fridge and proclaims he likes her life. At first it seems like a ploy to score some points. But the look on his face reveals the truth. She has photos with her and her parents. All he has is a gigantic painting of his father and the original Monet his mother once bought that are worthless to him. Sofia’s character is there to help him see what he really wants.
But it’s not that easy. He is shown the results of his life focus when he decides to get in the car with Julie (who is presented as a bad choice that constantly follows him. His stalker.) It sucks him in again and he goes to her. The result destroys his number one weapon, his vanity.
His savior Sofia returns and gives it to him straight. He has to pull it the fuck together because anything good he has coming to him can leave him in an instant.
Aames begins to be aware that he is dreaming as the film progresses, which I think what we do in our sleep. Have you ever started to realize you were dreaming before you wake? I know I have. It also explains the jumping off the building to wake himself up. We’ve all experienced a dream where we’re jolted from our sleep.
This leaves us with a more hopeful story, where Aames can still change his life in the present and be with Sofia. But now we are left with the question, is Sofia actually real? How about Brian?
Tech Support told us he created idealized relationships from music, movies and images that impacted him. If one is to assume that his psychiatrist is completely fictional, we could also assume Brian and Sofia are too.
Brian appears as the less confident other half of Aames. And this seems to hint that Brian is actually the egoless version of Aames. They’re part of the same person.
Brian tells Aames that Aames owns him because he’s paying him to write. Aames responds by saying that it’s untrue, and that Brian is brilliant and doesn’t see it yet. (As Aames owns the company, he does indeed pay himself. Brian represents his lack of confidence of continuing his father’s legacy.)
Brian gets upset that the superego Aames stole Sofia from him, something that doesn’t seem all that surprisig. (Brian also calls Julie his dream girl in the beginning car sequence.)
When things get positive Brian doesn’t mind being the 3rd wheel. In a bar scene, Brian is video taping the two love birds without explanation as to why he has a camera. Is he trying to separate himself and observe his change? The lines begins to blur between the two as Brian bails him out of jail, now dressed in fancier clothes. Brian throughout the movie proclaims that he is Aames’ only friend.
We are shown Sofia’s mannerisms were taken from films he watched. There is a possibility that her voice is merely the pre-recorded message for his alarm, which explains why it appears in the beginning of the film. A clue being him scolding Julie for recording over it, mocking his alarm clock message. You also notice that Sofia’s parents look nothing like her in the photos and near the end he begins to remember that it was, in fact, Julie’s photos. In the nightclub scene, Sofia is wearing a shirt that says St. Rose, who happens to be the Patron Saint of Vanity.
Finally, on the rooftop scene he wills the characters of his dream to appear. McCabe, then Brian, then Sofia. (We can assume that Julie is real as she does not appear.)
Before he takes the leap to wake up he makes peace with the fact that when he wakes, Sofia will no longer exist.
“I’ll see you in another life, when we’re both cats.”
SPOILER ALERT: I talk about the movie a lot, if you haven’t seen it, don’t read this. It’s on Netflix, go watch it.
I was 18 when I first watched Vanilla Sky. It had the distinction of being the first movie I ever watched living on my own.
I remember hating it with a passion, particularly the end sequences when we’re treated to Aames, played by Tom Cruise, yelling for tech support. I thought was silly. It became a running joke with my friends to yell for tech support whenever we ran into a problem.
It wasn’t until tonight, with my girlfriend out of town and Netflix’s recent film update did I decide to give it another chance.
I can only blame my youth, as my original analysis of the film was purely superficial. Cruz or Diaz? That mask looks stupid. Why is he so unhappy? He’s rich!
But now give a guy some heartaches and roadbumps and 11 years, the film is the same but I am a much different person.
Director Cameron Crowe gave five possible explanations for the ending of the film.
I like to go with the most basic. That is, that the ending is true, and that it is 150 years into the future and Aames has been frozen.
(EDIT: Click here to read my review of my review in which I decide it was actually all a dream)
I felt truly heartbroken for Aames, I really did. Wash away the playboy persona of Aames and sci-fi loops Cameron Crowe makes you jump through, and you have a person dealing with defining happiness. A reoccurring question that Aames is literally asked by characters at pivotal moments in the life he assumes he is living.
He struggles with the scars that are left from leading a life that’s less than admirable, so he hides behind a mask. The world he knew is crumbling down.
And yet, when he finally opens his eyes and “lives life” again with Sofia, everything begins to sort out. Miraculously the doctors can fix his face. He is happy, albeit until his dream begins to glitch.
Watching these sequences I realized that he actually didn’t get his face fixed. His internal re-framing of happiness and vanity were the real doctors. The surgery was merely his mind creating a scenario to explain how he sees himself. And as his mind starts to unravel the happy life that the lucid dreaming created, he begins to wear the mask again, with his scars appearing and disappearing beyond his control.
Aames faces a constant struggle with what it means to be happy and the guilt of the past. Tech Support tells him his mind created idealized relationships from pop culture. A Bob Dylan album cover here. An Atticus Finch like father figure there.
The older Peter now really understands Vanilla Sky. The song lyric we hear. The happy movie love story. Those things can haunt us. The yearning for an ideal is painful, especially if we believe that we were so close to getting it like Aames was with Sofia. We create masks, barriers and facades, that we think will help us but only shut us off.
And like Aames, we must face our fears, take a leap to wake up and “live a real life”.
Open your eyes.
What’s happiness to you?