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I remember this movie that begins with a guy brought to a mental institution by the police because he was doing some weird things in a park. He explains to the doctor that god send him patterns and he has to make special gestures so the world keeps going OK.

The doctor does not believe him at first but the doctor's wife is in an airplane that starts getting a lot of turbulence. The patient is drugged so he sleeps and since the patient is no longer doing the gestures when the doctor leaves the building a lot of crazy things are happening like a security guard shooting people and the fire fighters putting fire in a car.

The doctor runs back and wakes the patient and asks what is the gesture for airplanes not fall, the patient explains and the doctor repeats so his wife plane is alright then. The movie ends with the patient saying something like "now you are the guy" because the patient is now free and the doctor has taken his task.

This is certainly over 20 years old, probably < 2000.

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  • For some reason I thought I would also direct you to (the original) Man Facing South-East, enjoy!
    – Fattie
    Jul 2, 2023 at 23:02
  • Interesting. I've never seen this movie, but from personal experience this sounds very much like it's inspired by OCD. It's similar to a thing I did as a kid--I didn't understand my OCD at the time, so 5-year-old me came up with the idea that the reason I had to do these weird specific gestures and noises was to stop some unspecified disaster.
    – Hearth
    Jul 3, 2023 at 16:14
  • I just visited the IMDB for Man Facing South-East and instantly it reminded me of the movie K-PAX. I'll watch to see if it really is similar as it is mentioned there that the Argentinian director tried a lawuit. Jul 4, 2023 at 0:21

2 Answers 2

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This is "Patterns/Voices" (2002), S01E13 of the TV series, Night Visions.

The episode contains two roughly 20-minute-long stories. The first one, "Patterns," is the one you're looking for.

A psychiatrist evaluates a patient who claims that the world will end unless he does endless little rituals each day.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Dan Critchley, arrives at the mental health hospital he works at and is informed by his secretary that his wife's plane flight is due to arrive at six-thirty p.m. She also tells him that there's a police officer waiting in his office with a new patient, Martin, who was arrested the day prior for attacking a man in a park.

When Dan sits down in his office with Martin, he notices that he keeps indulging in what appear to be various obsessive compulsive tics, such as repeatedly folding and unfolding a piece of paper or repeatedly touching his right ear lobe.

After some discussion, Martin explains that he has a contract with God and that he has to perform these rituals in order to prevent bad things from happening. Each ritual must be performed a specific number of times for a specific purpose; for example, one keeps fish in the sea while another prevents planes from crashing. Martin see patterns all around him that let him know which ritual needs to be performed at which time, and believes that through the sum total of his rituals, he's holding the world together. However, he's had to devote more and more time to these rituals over the years, at great cost to his personal and professional life.

Having seen no proof, Dan doesn't believe any of this, and insists he can cure Martin of his compulsions through a combination of behavioural therapy and medication; he plans to start medicating him right away. When Martin hears this, he becomes agitated, so Dan calls in a couple of orderlies to restrain him, injects him with a drug to calm him down, and has him placed in isolation.

Later, Dan has finished work for the day, but as he's heading out of the building it becomes increasingly apparently that things around him are going haywire. A car in the parking lot is upside down, fish are falling from the sky, and people are doing bizarre things, including killing people and setting cars alight. Dan realises that Martin was telling the truth, and that if he doesn't resume his rituals quickly, the plane Dan's wife is due to arrive in will crash.

Dan rushes to the cell Martin is being held in and tries to get him to resume the rituals, but Martin is still high on the drug he was injected with and doesn't care anymore. Dan frantically attempts to perform the ritual that prevents planes from crashing himself, asking Martin if he's doing it right; he then receives a call from his wife, who informs him that her plane almost crashed but that everything's okay now. He tells her to stay at the airport when her plane lands, and as he's leaving the cell to meet her, Martin smiles and says:

Doctor, you have the contract now.

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    This was pretty fast, thanks a lot. The last sentence was "You have the contract now". I thought it was a movie at first. Jul 2, 2023 at 16:15
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    Was this based on a story - seems familiar
    – Andrew
    Jul 2, 2023 at 19:06
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    @Andrew - The credits in the episode say that it was written by Philip Levens. His IMDB page describes him as a "TV writer, producer, and show runner," which suggests this was probably written for TV. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the plot was inspired by one or more short stories, though. When I read the description given in the question, it certainly sounded like the plot of a short story to me, which is why I quickly started looking for TV episodes rather than movies. Jul 2, 2023 at 19:19
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    @tbrookside - As noted in my answer, Martin was arrested the day prior for attacking a man in a park (for sitting on the 'wrong' bench). The whole reason he was brought to the hospital was to assess whether he was a danger to himself or others. And he was getting pretty agitated, in a way that could be construed as aggressive, at the point that Dan called the orderlies in to restrain him. Which is understandable, since he knew that if he was drugged, he wouldn't be able to continue the rituals upon which the safety of the world depended. Jul 2, 2023 at 23:23
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    Warners Bros asked me to meet with the producers, and they asked me to write an episode. It was inspired by my own OCD that I had as a boy. Philip Dec 1, 2023 at 20:15
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I wonder if there's a connection to "The Curious Case of Edgar Witherspoon", an episode of the 1980's version of ''The Twilight Zone''.

Harry Morgan's character is building a huge mobile in his basement, at the direction of a mysterious voice. ("I don't think it was God. I think God would have a deeper voice.") He tells his psychiatrist that adding bits and pieces to it keeps the world "from going poof". The first time he doesn't add something in time, a small Pacific island is destroyed by a tidal wave. It ends with Edgar retiring from the job, and the psychiatrist getting instructions from the voice.

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