Back by popular demand: a One Movie, One Philly selection that is set and filmed in the city, like the two overwhelming favorites from The Inquirer’s quarantine movie club, Witness and Rocky. (In that order of popularity.)
This week’s pick is the surprise 1999 box office smash that reestablished Philadelphia as a prime location for moviemaking: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense.
Watch it anytime this weekend, and weigh in here with your comments. (It’s currently in heavy rotation on Showtime, and it’s easy to find on streaming.) Then on Monday at 5 p.m., join us for The Inquirer’s livestream discussion with Sixth Sense first assistant director John Rusk.
Leave your questions for him here, along with your thoughts on the movie, and we’ll highlight the best ones in our talk.
Rusk will give us a behind-the-scenes view of the making of the movie, and we’ll talk about the elements that contributed to the stunning word-of-mouth success of The Sixth Sense, the story of a troubled boy (Haley Joel Osment) who’s afraid to tell his mother (Toni Collette) that he sees ghosts, a fact he discloses to his therapist (Bruce Willis), whose own marriage (to Olivia Williams) is on the rocks.
Rusk has worked on nearly a dozen movies with Shyamalan — and also Dead Poets Society, Avalon, and 12 Monkeys, among others. His latest credit, Blood and Money, will be released next month.
Joining Rusk and me will be The Inquirer’s own Elizabeth Wellington, who’ll bring her own rabid fan knowledge and ghost-story enthusiasm to the discussion.
This will include, by the way, discussion of the movie’s infamous shocker of an ending, so if you don’t know how it ends and don’t want to know, WATCH IT FIRST or for the love of God, don’t watch the livestream or read the comments section.
We can discuss the statute of limitations on spoilers at another time.
BTW, the discussion of the surprise ending may also loop in Fight Club (released at virtually the same time), so if you don’t know how that movie ends, and you don’t want to know, same cautions apply.
Some topics to consider for your comments on The Sixth Sense:
Why does the ending work so well?
In a movie full of great acting — Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment — who gives the best performance. The most underrated?
Where does Osment’s work rank in the annals of child performances? Where does this movie rank in the filmed-in-Philly canon?
And here’s something relevant to our age of cooperative social distancing: Are we surprised that so many people in 1999 abided by the tacit rule to preserve the movie’s surprises for others? Could that happen today?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section or email me at email@example.com by midnight Sunday. Then join us Monday afternoon, and we’ll hash it all out.