Dream a Little Dream
Artisan // PG-13 // $14.98 // October 21, 2003
Review by Don Houston | posted December 14, 2003
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Movie: The 1980's produced a lot of teenage movies that appealed to moviegoers by virtue of their soundtrack and stars, not much different than recent movies in fact. In those glory years of music and film, audiences were treated to a host of movies that centered on a mind swap between generations. Be it Big with Tom Hanks, 18 Again, or any of a dozen other copies of this age old idea (heck, I remember when the original Freaky Friday came out). The idea was to show that the generation gap was mostly in our heads and that empathy for one another makes more sense than drawing lines in the sand as we all tend to do. The subject of this review, Dream A Little Dream, was widely considered the worst of the batch by everyone except the kids it was designed for and here's my take on it.

The movie looked at a young guy in high school, Bobby (Corey Feldman) who gets into an accident and has his mind replaced by a crotchety old neighbor, Coleman (Jason Robards), by means of some sort of transcendental meditation voodoo. His real mind is trapped in limbo, able to communicate to Coleman via dreams. As he stumbles through the high school life of his irresponsible young neighbor, Bobby tells Coleman that he'll switch only if the old man will help him get his life in order. If this sounds confused, you should check out the actual movie, which was probably made just before half the younger cast were sent to rehab. The director, Marc Rocco, probably felt the need to do as the stars told him since there was rarely any sign of direction going on here.

Now, if that sounds like the movie had absolutely no redeeming qualities, you'd be mistaken. The cast was goofy enough that sucking down a couple shots of hard liquor will improve it tremendously and the soundtrack was a lot of fun to listen to as well. It's just sad that an isolated score wasn't present on the DVD to improve its value for fans. Further, the missing songs from earlier versions appear to have been put back into the movie and that's something to be happy about. The content of the movie aside for a moment (if you like it, no amount of logic and reason will change your mind at this stage in the game), the technical issues were not pleasant. The picture was as bad as syndicated cable showings have been over the years and the movie looked darker than I remember it in the theatre (it was a date movie 15 years ago and I saw it with a friend).

I'm going to rate this one as a Skip It for anyone but a true fan of the cast, particularly the Corey duo. I wanted it to be better but even if I completely disregarded the content, the technical failings were such that anything else would be wrong. Don't expect any extras and while it needed a remastered picture, the company probably figured it wouldn't get many people buying it since the soundtrack can be found online.

Picture: The picture was presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85: 1 ratio as it was originally shot. The movie came out about 15 years ago and the print used for this DVD sure looked its age. The focus was soft for most of the show, there was a lot of grain, and the compression artifacts were plentiful throughout the flick. There was a lot of video noise to compliment the other problems and it was not a shining moment in DVD history.

Sound: The audio was presented in Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 English with no subtitles (it has closed captions for the hearing impaired if you have the right equipment). The sound was a lot better than the picture in terms of quality but it was by no means better than passable. The good news for fans of the movie is that the soundtrack appeared to be restored from the older tape and cable versions (Timbuk 3's song was there as were the Van Morrison song and a few others that had been cut previously).

Extras: There were no extras.

Final Thoughts: I've always liked the movie's soundtrack and it was a cute little piece of fluff with no redeeming qualities many years ago but this DVD release lacked in too many ways to make it worth your hard earned money. With all the televised interviews the cast gave when this came out, all the cool extras that could've been added, and even the current ability to fix picture flaws that didn't take place, made this one a low budget disaster.

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