Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: Sphere (1998)

This review series really is compelling. Not in any sort of pleasant way, more as if we’re standing here rubbernecking at a car crash. I’ve never seen such a list of absolute garbage in a series before (and I’m the mug doing video game adaptations) with nary a break from the cycle of depression.

Poor old Just Pillow Talk clearly now has what can only be described as battered reviewer syndrome. He’s almost passed through every stage of grief and is now circling in a sort of dull, weary acceptance with only the thought that “This time it will be better” to console him. Except, sadly, this time it’s 1998 platinum stinker Sphere, a film that I would unquestionably Orangutan of Doom.

Having read the review, I seriously think we need to get him some medical help. Or some quality drugs.

Enough preamble, let the agony commence! (Wait until you see the pictures. Fucking brilliant)


Dustin Hoffman. Sharon Stone. Samuel L. Jackson. Liev Schreiber. Queen Latifah. Okay, strike that last name, but a pretty decent cast at first glance, yes? I’ve never seen the entire movie. Until now. Why must the day of my birth forsaken me so???? The Eagle seems oh-so-very-far-away…..

What the fuck?

An alien spacecraft has been discovered deep down in the ocean. They have discovered that it landed over 300 years ago and it is half a mile long. It’s decided that they will gather a group of scientists (hello star cast from above) and send them down to board the spacecraft and check it out to see if there are any aliens. We know they are smarty pants scientists because they’ll say stuff like “venom from land creatures is nothing compared to some of the creatures down here”. We even get a conversation where three of the party all have graduated from M.I.T, Liev saying he got all 3 PHD’s from there, while Samuel says he got his first one when he was 18. Liev’s response: “Damn, beat me by one year.”

Seriously, what the fuck??

So anyway, they make their way to the spacecraft, board it, and decide to split up to poke around. Dustin and Sharon pair up (some history there, oh boy!), and discover a decayed human body, data long entries from the future it appears, English words, etc. Dustin says he believes they are on an American spaceship.

Not joking now, WHAT THE FUCK???

They then discover THE SPHERE.

That's it. Do we need to send for the men in the white coats ????

They decide the spacecraft came from the future and got sucked into a black hole and deposited 300 years ago in its present location. Samuel comes to the conclusion that they will all die since if that craft came from the future, they would tell everyone that space travel is possible, so ‘they’ would know that a black hole would be there and avoid it. But since they didn’t, and it arrived in the past, the team doesn’t make it, hence dead. Next thing you know, Sammy decides to go visit THE SPHERE even though they have been required to go back topside because a serious storm is on the way. He gets sucked into THE SPHERE and then spit back out in a manner of speaking. They bring him back to the infirmary, and when he’s alone, opens his eyes. And then CRAZY stuff happens: a bunch of numbers fill up some computer screens and jelly fish attack Queen while she’s outside going to change the camera tapes. The Queen gets zapped dead, and while Sharon is peeling off some of the jelly fish, she declares these are not God’s creation. Meanwhile we learn that Sharon was Dustin’s patient at one time and tried to commit suicide. Could be a pro-o-o-o-blem a thousand feet down….just say’in. Well, Sammy is up and about and seemingly normal. They discover that it’s actually code that is scrolling down their monitors, and that what is an alien presence is conversing with them (name of Jerry according to their decoding work).

Maybe they can bring a wheelbarrow?????

Next we find Sammy reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and another crew member is found crushed outside. While recovering the body, hundreds of squid eggs come raining down on them. Hmmm….calamari. The sonar is going off the charts with something big coming at them…and then it just disappears. Back on board, Sammy is dreaming and the giant squid is back tearing the place apart. But just as quickly as things are going to shit, it stops. Then a fire breaks out and Jerry declares that “I will kill you all”. The captain gets crushed by a door and Liev gets burned to a crisp. Then the fire ends just as soon as it started.

Do you think they need to be reminded not to forget the coat with the arms that wrap twice around the body?????

Now with just the three of them left, it gets re-e-e-e-ally boring. More shit acting follows, with Sammy continuing his disinterested bit, Sharon trying her crying bit to ill effect, and Dustin being quite annoying with his “why, why, why, why Jerry, why, why, why”. I wish jelly fish or a giant squid would take Dustin away. They come to realize that Jerry is really Sammy and THE SPHERE is projecting Sammy’s thoughts and manifesting them into real nightmares.

I've booked his room in "the hotel", and even made sure that they've put his special wallpaper up. Because I'm nice like that.

It turns out all of them “entered” THE SPHERE and are manifesting the worst thoughts and confusing reality with their shit dreams. Sharon, in her fucked up dreaming state of mind, activates some bombs and creates the necessary plot device for them to high tail it out of there in the mini sub. Once topside, they come to the conclusion that they still have the ‘power’, and instead of keeping it or sharing it with others to abuse like they have, they agree to gather around in a circle, hold hands, and…forget. THE SPHERE was not destroyed by the enormous explosion and flies away. They no longer remember the events and the end.

What a fucking shit movie. First, not one fucking actor is even trying in this movie, with every single performance being more drab than the next. Secondly the movie itself is boring as hell. There are no thrills, there is no interesting character interaction, it’s blah. And the fucking ending…they agree to forget? Fuck me. And fuck Crichton. I’ve never read the book and I don’t know how closely it follows the book, but I still blame Crichton for this. If he didn’t write the book, I wouldn’t have had to watch this fucking movie for my birthday series. Actually, Crichton was a producer for this film, so fuck off you big douche bag.

So let’s just hold hands now and agree to forget about giving this movie a rating…..

Next up: Mr. Wrong

Pillow out

The Nightmare so far…

1973 The World’s Greatest Athlete 1 / 4

1974 Deranged 0.5 / 4

1975 Shampoo 1.5 / 4

1976 Taxi Driver 3 / 4

1977 Black Samurai 1.5 / 4

1978 The Betsy 0 / 4

1979 Quintet 0 / 4

1980 Hero at Large 2/4

1981 Dogs of War 2.5/4

1982 The Beast Within 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom

1983 King of Comedy 3/4

1984 Blame it on Rio 0.5/4

1985 Lost in America 0/4

1986 Quicksilver 1/ 4

1987 84 Charing Cross Road 1/ 4

1988 Shoot to Kill 1/4

1989 The Mighty Quinn 2/4

1990 Revenge 2/4

1991 The Silence of the Lambs 4/4

1992 Wayne’s World 2.5/4

1993 The Temp 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom

1994 Blank Check 1/4

1995 Heavyweights 0.5/4

1996 ?

1997 ?

1998 Sphere 0/4

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

35 responses to “Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: Sphere (1998)”

  1. Jarv says :

    Christ this is funny.

    I’m worried about you now, though.

  2. ThereWolf says :

    I like the production design and the score, plus some elements of the story (ship from the future in particular).

    I like Liev in this and Sharon, who I don’t fancy at all, I find her really attractive here. I don’t know what Hoffman’s doing, Jackson neither here nor there. Coyote’s good.

    They needed to do something with the end. When I knew it was going to be a film I thought ‘they will have to change the end, no one’s gonna accept these folk just forget…’ All of it works better on the page.

    By the way, all the pictures are wrong. None of those are from ‘Sphere’.

  3. Jarv says :

    His average is sinking down towards 1.25 again- and his three remaining films from the 90’s contain TWO 0 chang ratings. He’s going to go into the 21st Century with roughly an average (depending on blast from the past) of 1.2

    I reckon he’s going to end up with an overall average of roughly half a chang less than mine and half of Droid’s. If Droid ever returns.

    Has he been kidnapped by Sand People?

    • just pillow talk says :

      I can’t even torpedo the low rating with an uncalled ‘great’ rating because there films are really just so damn dire.

      Depending upon if I get the next shit film in time or not today, I may have to review The Beach since that’s available instantly.

      C’mon, even the sand people aren’t that desperate.

  4. Bartleby says :

    Is that first pic Deep Star Six? Man, one of us should do the ‘Seafood’ series dealing with monster movies at sea. There’s quite a few of them, and with the exception of this one and Endless Descent, most of them are at least worth a few laughs.

    And it would give me/whoever does it an excuse to watch Lords of the Deep and Intruder Within.

    As for this, what a POS. Pillows, in his delirium, glosses over the most egregious thing about this movie (which allegedly had a monstrous budget) and that’s the fact it doesn’t show the giant squid. I mean you miht see the side of a tentacle or something but no squid. At least in the book they had the squid.

    The premise of the story is interesting, but Crichton bungles it on page with the ending and the whole subconscious desires thing. They just make it worse here. Can’t believe Barry Levinson did this. What a useless waste of science fiction. This came out back in Jan or Feb of 1998, when there was a different, easily forgotten genre pic each week. I remember seeing this one in between Fallen, Deep Rising and Dark City, which only made it look that much worse.

    • ThereWolf says :

      The film is interesting until somebody goes in the ‘Sphere’. From then on it blows polecats.

      The giant squid should have been on screen, no doubt about that.

      ‘Deep Star Six’ is ace.

    • just pillow talk says :

      Yup Jonah, most definitely Deep Star Six. I prefer Leviathan myself.
      Regarding the squid, all you do get to see is a tentacle through a window.

      • Bartleby says :

        Leviathan is the better movie, but I think the crab design, especially when it hoists itsef onto the water, was marginally better. Leviathan was a bit too much of a hodgepodge to be a memorable creature. But Leviathan has Weller decking Meg (crazy eyes) Foster, so it wins.

        Deep Rising trumps them both. And does anyone remember Lords of the Deep? Saw it in between Leviathan and Abyss. I think it involved manta ray alens trying to protect us from the apocalypse. Yes, I know that sounds like the Abyss.

      • just pillow talk says :

        True about the creature, but like you said, it’s got Weller. Good characters enjoying themselves will always trump the creature.

        I knew I should have included another picture, and that would be from Deep Rising. I never saw Lords of the Deep, but now I”m going to have to see if it’s available on netflix.

      • just pillow talk says :

        Did Lords of the Deep go by another name Jonah? It doesn’t pop up in either netflix or imdb.

      • Bartleby says :

        JPT: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097781/

        I saw this when I was in fifth grade, and it sounds pretty crappy actually. Makes me want to rewatch it, just for the badness factor. I’d say, currently, you have enough badness to go round with your birthday series.

  5. Bartleby says :

    And yes the pics are awesome. Good job JPT. You will need movie rehab after this damn thing. What are the question marks for 96 and 97? Is that Mr. Wrong and That Darn Cat? Son of a bitch, you really don’t get a break.

  6. kloipy says :

    Great review Pillow- this movie is bad. I even saw this tripe in theaters when it came out. It can almost have an interesting premise to it, but it all falls apart so easily. I do however like the jellyfish

  7. MORBIUS says :

    Well done JPT.
    The pics were a nice touch.

    After the second one I was anticipating the
    *tentacle* scene from the Abyss, but alas . . .

    • just pillow talk says :

      Thanks Morbius. I figured I’d spread around the pics instead of just filling up the review with The Abyss pics. Too bad that wasn’t released in February…

  8. Col. Tigh-Fighter says :

    I thought it was crap too.

    The jelly fish scene was quite cool, so I’d give it 0.5 chang for the filmic equivilent of a bong hit or two. But thats it!

  9. Xiphos0311 says :

    I know I saw this but can’t remember one damn thing about it, which sounds like a good thing.

  10. Droid says :

    Yep, this is an absolute stinker. I’d give it the Angry Ape.

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