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YMMV / Jacob's Ladder

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  • Award Snub: No Oscar noms for Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello, Maurice Jarre's score or Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay.
  • Awesome Music: Maurice Jarre's haunting score.
  • 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 other angels by siding with a man who's dying and needs to let go.
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  • 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.
  • 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 (ER's Dr. Benton) 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.
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  • Rewatch Bonus: When the horror becomes less shocking, the poignancy and sadness take over. There's a reason the film is a favorite at hospices.
  • "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.
  • Uncanny Valley: A lot of the demons, entirely deliberately.
  • 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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