Lionsgate // 1989 // 114 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 13th, 2004
With dreams like these, who needs reality?
Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Remember those two? Bastions of 1980s and early '90s teen celluloid that they were, be it peeling out the first night with their driver's license, giving Nicole Eggert a solid boinkin', or stabbing Bill S. Preston Esq. with a wooden stake, Corey and Corey were surely staples of many a junior high locker -- before, of course, their drug-soaked descent into the realm of Bottom-Shelf Celebrity Land.
With Dream A Little Dream, Artisan offers another entry into the Corey Canon, for historians of these Wonder Twins to peruse, while sipping wine, dining on cheese and trading their favorite National Lampoon's Last Resort lines and Tiger Beat anecdotes. But, methinks, unlike said wine or cheese, Dream A Little Dream does not age well...
Alright, bear with me. This film presented one of the more obtuse plots that I can remember. Old fart Coleman Ettinger (Jason Robards) is determined to maintain his vitality, seeking his own personal fountain of youth. His tactic comes in the form of dream experimentation; he theorizes that gaining access to the dreamscape will allow a person to exist in a state of permanent youth, grasping, perhaps, the fabled grail of immortality. Coleman doesn't appear to be much of a scientist -- the entirety of his research is apparently limited to some scrawling on a blackboard. To facilitate this transdimensional hopscotch, Coleman employs some kind of zany-looking meditation ritual, not unlike the rigmarole Daniel-san uses prior to karate-chopping a bunch of ice blocks in The Karate Kid II.
Peripheral to Coleman's diversions, Bobby (Corey Feldman) and Dinger (Corey Haim) are a couple of underachieving high-schoolers, alienated by their parents and generally exuding the disenfranchised angst so prevalent in '80s teen movies. They strum their air-guitars, lather mousse (by the metric ton) into their hair, and crack Freddy Krueger jokes.
Bobby finds he's in love with the beautiful Lainie (Meredith Salenger) who happens to be going out with the bipolar Joel. Joel's a friend of Bobby and Dinger's but still prone to fits of envy-fueled violence.
Coleman and Bobby's lives intersect one night, when Coleman and his wife begin doing the dream meditation and, simultaneously Bobby collides with Lainie. Inexplicably, Coleman gets sucked into Bobby's body, and Bobby is relegated to the dream-o-sphere. Now Coleman must find a way back to reality, discover the whereabouts of his wife, and stabilize Bobby's life, all while dealing with a homicidal Joel and the brain-numbing observations by Corey Haim, er, I mean "Dinger."
I've recently come to a realization about the 1980s. They were $%*#ing crazy. Not all of it, but most pop-culture from back in the day was seriously deranged. I had this epiphany one day while watching an old episode of The Smurfs on Cartoon Network.
As a kid, I dug the Smurfs, like everyone else. Yet while watching the adventures of Gargamel and company, it dawned on me that I must have been out of mind as a child. None of it made sense! As I thought about it, none of the other crap I watched made sense either. What about Jabberjaw, a quasi-bipedal Great White Shark yukking it up with some Scooby-Doo clones?! Or He-Man, cavorting around with a guy named Ram-Man?! And did anyone catch Teen Car, a cartoon about a kid who changed into a red convertible when he broke a sweat? Insanity I tell you, but we kids sniffed it up like a bunch of execs doing lines of coke at a company Christmas party and didn't ask questions. Why didn't we care? Who knows? Too much lead paint? Or maybe we just fell prey to network marketing blitzes. Now I'm not going to decry the forces of corporate America (I'm a full-blown capitalist, through and through) but Hollywood, too, had a brand they could foist upon a legions of adolescents who in turn sucked it down: it was called Corey Feldman and Corey Haim.
As such, these two were surrounded by dreck (really, tell the truth, did Lost Boys, as great as it was, make an abundance of sense?) and yet they would continue to find work. Well, okay, to some point until rehab came calling.
Anyway, all of this editorializing is just to bring me to this one point:
Dream A Little Dream DOESN'T MAKE ONE IOTA OF FRIGGIN' SENSE!
The plot is an incoherent mess, held together by a relentlessly loud soundtrack of easy-listening favorites and phlegm. The editing is probably the worst I have ever seen and the dialogue bites, even when compared to other films in the genre. Heck, the worst episode of Saved by the Bell sports dialogue that sounds Shakespearean compared to this drivel.
Corey Feldman and Corey Haim act like Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, which is to say the same way they act like Corey Feldman and Corey Haim in every single Corey Feldman and Corey Haim movie.
This is especially embarrassing for Feldman who, as Bobby, is supposed to be an old man trapped in a teenager. Instead the audience gets a moron trapped in a teenager's body, which is not a far stretch from the real character of Bobby anyway.
Adding to this steaming cauldron of poopoo, director Marc Rocco attempts to interweave serious issues of parental estrangement and gun violence, but you'd glean more about these themes from an episode of 21 Jump Street.
Jason Robards, though he has top billing, is almost a guest star. The same holds true for Piper Laurie, as his wife. But anyone paying money to see this movie is not going to be entirely distraught over this.
'80s Girl 1: Like, I'm totally pissed that Jason Robards was barely in it!
'80s Girl 2: You're so right! That sucks! Hey, let's watch Tora! Tora! Tora! again! He just totally rules as General Walter Short!
No, the true stars back then were Corey x2, and the main draw, I suspect, for viewers these days would be to take a stroll down Memory Lane (you know that street, where they sell acid-washed jeans and faux-Western velour jackets.)
Be warned. It's a painful jaunt, and what lies at the end is the realization that almost two hours of your precious time was stolen from you.
The only thing more expendable than this film is its presentation by Artisan. The picture is absolutely horrid. The colors are faded, and when scenes get darker it's almost impossible to discern who's who. A joke.
The sound is an ear-shredding, piss-poor mono track that just blasts its soundtrack into your frontal lobe. For the first few loops, it offered a nice little shot of nostalgia, but after 114 minutes of power ballads I yearned to jam two flathead screwdrivers into my ears.
Looking for extras?
Go away, there is nothing for you here.
I will admit this much: Dream A Little Dream is almost like a handbook for '80s fashion. There's even a sequence with Bobby and Dinger getting dressed for school that plays like a clothing manual. I'd go so far as to say it's like a little time capsule. A time capsule filled with human waste, but a time capsule nonetheless.
For a movie that makes zero sense, Dream A Little Dream also sucks. It may be fun to point and laugh at the Adidas high-tops and the legwarmers for a bit, but trust me you'll soon be doing yard work or something else a lot more fun that enduring this blast (of gas) from the past.
Corey and Corey are hereby sentenced to mediocre acting careers for the rest of their lives, and are mandated to make occasional appearances on E! True Hollywood Story and maybe a soft-core porno once in awhile -- oh, wait...
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13