I tend not to review big-studio flicks, not because I don’t enjoy them but because everybody knows about ’em, and I like to point people at stuff they might not ordinarily see. But in the case of Dreamcatcher, I think that’s kinda what I’m doing.
I was poking around on Netflix streaming the other day, in the mood to watch something flashy and mainstream-y, and I stumbled across Dreamcatcher. Hmm, I thought. Haven’t seen a Stephen King movie in awhile… Now, you and I both know there’s a reason I haven’t watched any Stephen King movies recently, and that reason is that the damn things don’t tend to be very good. But look at the pedigree this one sports: directed by Lawrence Kasdan (writer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, director of Body Heat, The Big Chill and Silverado), screenplay by Kasdan and William Goldman (writer of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, and The Princess Bride, among many others), starring Thomas Jane, Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis (“Dick Winters” in Band of Brothers), Tom Sizemore and Morgan Freeman. How can you blame me?
Not too far into the movie, I began reaching — slowly, mind you — for the remote, figuring I’d turn it off and watch The Towering Inferno instead. Then the farting started. Normally, you’d think that would be enough to get me to move on over to Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, yes? But this was so absurd — and heaped atop the absurdity that had already been piled high — that I decided to stick with it. And I’m glad I did.
Because I’m here to tell you, Dreamcatcher is, without doubt, the most screwed-up, absolutely retarded big-studio movie I’ve ever seen.
No, even more so than Battlefield Earth.
I won’t try to describe the plot too much — I’m not sure I’d know how — other than to say that Jane, Olyphant, Lewis and Lee play a group of lifelong pals who were somehow given a mysterious “gift” by another kid: the ability to read minds. Or… know stuff. Or something, I’m not quite sure because the movie is such a muddle — but Timothy Olyphant knows where a chick left her car keys and Thomas Jane knows that a fat guy is eating himself to death over guilt. And stuff.
Anyway, they all decide to go to a cabin out in the snowy woods where they drink a toast to their old buddy and banter back and forth in some of the goofiest goddamn dialogue I’ve ever heard in a movie. Then Thomas Jane and Timothy Olyphant drive off to buy some beer and a tubby guy shows up at the cabin, farting his brains out. Well, not brains, exactly.
All of that farting leads to one of the most out-of-control, purely effed up sequences I’ve ever seen in a monster movie. And for some reason, in the midst of this scene, toothpicks seem very important to Jason Lee. Why? To get his butt off the toilet lid. You’ll see what I mean.
Eventually Thomas Jane and Timothy Olyphant run across a farter of their own and more bizarre dialogue is spouted before another effed up sequence occurs.
Oh yeah, and Morgan Freeman is an apeshit-crazy military guy who doesn’t like extraterrestrials. But John Wayne gave him a cool gun once.
All of this — including the little kid who gave our heroes their “gift” — comes together in utterly fruit-tastic fashion as the movie careens toward its conclusion, which seems to involve some kind of space humping. And let’s not forget the inexplicable British accent of Damian Lewis’ character (Lewis is actually British but plays an American, and something happens that causes him to speak in a British accent — why? Uh…). Plus there’s the helicopter-gunships-vs-scurrying-aliens scene, wherein Morgan Freeman grumbles and gripes like a nuthouse Nick Fury.
I realize I’m being sort of coy here, but I truly don’t want to give too much away. This thing is such a complete mess you really need to discover it for yourself. There’s a huge amount of talent involved, both in front of and behind the camera, but seriously — if someone had given Ed Wood 68 million dollars and turned him loose to a make a movie, I think that movie might’ve been similar to Dreamcatcher. And I don’t bandy about the name “Ed Wood” lightly.
Highly, highly recommended.
For more funky movie reviews, check out my book Unsafe On Any Screen:
And you might dig my new novel, Squirrel Eyes (a story of lust, movies and more):
Not to mention my collection of short stories, Tales of Misery and Imagination: