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YMMV / Jacob's Ladder

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  • Award Snub: No Academy Award nominations for Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Maurice Jarre's score or Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay.
  • Awesome Music: Maurice Jarre's haunting score.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: There is a deleted scene just before the end where Jezzie makes a major reveal to Jacob. Jezzie is revealed to be a facsimile of Jacob himself, and Jezzie was a coping mechanism to deal with all the trauma Jacob was dealing with in his life. This content resolves the relationship between Jacob and Jezzie, and it's notable that Silent Hill 2 has a similar reveal.
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  • Genius Bonus: The film's premise seems to have been strongly influenced by Ambrose Bierce's story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.
  • It Was His Sled: The twist in this movie is only slightly less well-known that the similar one in The Sixth Sense.
  • Moment of Awesome: Louis' subdued Big Damn Heroes moment when he marches into the hospital demanding to see Jacob, calling out the staff for their harsh treatment of his patient and going so far as to threaten them with a crutch before wheeling Jacob out of the hospital for his gentler treatment. Doubly so if you accept the "Louis is an angel" theory, as he's doing this to demons or other harsher angels by siding with a man who's dying and needs to let go.
    • Additionally, the scene where Jacob manages to beat up the two government goons sent to intimidate him and his friends into silence before escaping from the car.
  • Narm: Right at the end of the movie, when we see Jacob spasm on in the hospital tent in Vietnam before dying, there's a guy at a typewriter who looks up, sees this, then kind of shrugs and continues typing. His nonchalant reaction makes this quite comical.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The eyeless surgeon only appears on screen for a few seconds, but still manages to be the image that sticks in people's minds the most, and even appears on some of the promotional material for the film, mainly due to how freaky he looks.
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    • Technically two scenes, but Louis "Louie" Denardo due in part for Danny Aiello’s comforting performance providing relief from the horror as well as being the one who says the movies important Arc Words.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Macaulay Culkin has an uncredited role as Jacob's son.
    • How about Lewis Black showing up for three seconds as the doctor who comes to help when Jacob has his mortally high fever?
    • Eriq La Salle and Ving Rhames play two of Jacob's fellow veterans, before either of their actors had those roles.
    • Jason Alexander also has a small role as the lawyer.
    • When Jacob is running a high fever and freaking out, Kyle Gass helps fill his tub with ice.
    • One of the partygoers is comedian Reggie McFadden.
    • The palm-reader at the party is S. Epatha Merkerson.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Countless movies have taken their inspiration from the theme, visuals, mood and dialogue of Jacob's Ladder. The "blurry face" undercranking effect has almost become a cliché. The final twist has been ripped off by every two-bit Fanfic and Wild Mass Guessing on the internet.
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  • Visual Effects of Awesome. There are no post-production effects in the movie. The very horrifying use of the undercrank is done by shooting an actor slowly waving their head at 4fps, so when played normally, would produce the now infamous effect.
  • The Woobie: Jacob is nothing more but a decent man who went to serve Vietnam and dealing with the trauma of the death of his son. And then he dies in war and the entire film plays off his Dying Dream of torment by angels/demons who are trying to help him pass on. It makes him reuniting with his son a big case of Earn Your Happy Ending considering he deserves peace for what he struggled with.

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