Dream a Little Dream (PG-13)
IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia
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This came out in 1989. I have no recollection of having heard of it, at the time, though I find it unlikely that I didn't. Not impossible, but... unlikely. But whether or not I had heard of it, I'm not surprised that I don't remember hearing of it. I watched it on DVD in 2018, and the only reason for that is because in 2017, I happened to buy a used copy of a DVD that contained two movies. One was a TV movie called Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs, which I vaguely remembered having possibly seen when it aired in 1988. The other was a quasi-sequel to this movie. So I figured I should probably watch this before watching the sequel. So I eventually got the DVD of the original movie. Before I watched it, I read some bad things about it, like the fact that it has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (Although I always think, that doesn't mean everyone who reviewed a movie thought it had zero quality, just that everyone who reviewed it thought its quality was less than a passing grade.) So I was kind of apprehensive about watching it, but not completely certain that it would be terrible. But the very start of the movie really wasn't very good. I still tried to have some hope that it would improve... and it did. Sort of. Throughout my watching of the movie, my guesses about how I would rate it fluctuated somewhat, between "meh and a half", "meh and three quarters", and one smiley... the latter of which is how I finally rated it. I want to be clear, there are surely things I have seen that I rate "one smiley" (aka "kinda liked") that are better than this movie. And furthermore, I think to like the movie at all, you have to be looking at it in the proper frame of mind. You have to be expecting it to make little (if any) sense, and try to enjoy it on that level. Try to think of it as a B movie. That's my advice.
It begins, in snippet scenes interspersed with the opening credits, with a teenager named Dinger (Corey Haim) sleeping over at the house of his friend Bobby Keller (Corey Feldman). The two of them converse about things... most notably the fact that Bobby has decided he's in love with a girl named Lainie Diamond (Meredith Salenger). Dinger tries to dissuade Bobby of this notion, because Lainie is dating a guy named Joel. At first, I got the impression that Joel must be some bully who was, like, a nemesis of Bobby and Dinger. But it turns out he's actually a friend of theirs. Sort of. Actually, it was kind of impossible for me to develop a strong sense of who the various teen guys were in this movie. There's a guy named Dumas, who seems to be the leader of a group of punks who were enemies of both Bobby and Joel. But there's another guy who was apparently Joel's sidekick, I'm going to say he was named Derek. And there are points in the movie when Bobby is being victimized, when I was not quite sure if it was by Joel, or Derek, or Dumas, or... what.
Anyway... there's also an elderly couple named Coleman (Jason Robards) and Gena (Piper Laurie) Ettinger. Coleman is obsessed with a "scientific experiment" about entering a dream state, or whatever. Like, in a physical sense. Literally finding the intersection between dreams and reality. And he gets Gena to go along with it, though she doesn't really believe in it. Meanwhile, there's a scene one night, while the Ettingers are doing their thing, and Lainie is riding her bike, and Bobby is running, and it's obvious that the kids are going to run into each other, but it takes a ridiculous amount of time for that to actually happen. And when it does, they both fall unconscious, which I can't quite understand, but I'm willing to go with it. And then, later... Bobby wakes up at home, with his parents (played by Victoria Jackson, whom I know from Saturday Night Live, and Alex Rocco, whom I know from The Famous Teddy Z) standing over his bed, along with Dinger. But it turns out Bobby isn't Bobby... he's been possessed by Coleman, who is totally freaked out to be in this kid's body. And he's desperate to find his wife.
Well... he soon finds that both he and Gena, at least their bodies, have disappeared. And Gena's mind or soul or whatever is inside Lainie, but Lainie isn't aware of it. She's apparently lost some of her memories and gained some of Gena's tendencies, but she's still mostly Lainie. And Coleman can't really explain the situation to her, without sounding crazy. He does eventually convince his friend Ike of the situation, and gets some help from him. But mostly he has to just pretend to be Bobby. Which is complicated. Oh, and Bobby actually has a girlfriend named Shelley, though she's of little importance to the plot. I'm really not sure at all why she liked Bobby, but he was probably just using her to do homework for him. (Which I'm not even sure what the point is, because he was failing his classes even with her help.) Meanwhile, Lainie's mother is very upset about Lainie becoming more interested in Bobby than Joel, since Joel obviously has greater prospects than Bobby. Although Joel is definitely an asshole, as becomes increasingly clear throughout the movie. A lot of the time he seems pretty clueless, but... he does see Lainie as his "property."
Anyway, um, so like... whenever Coleman goes to sleep, he gets to be himself, and he has conversations with the real Bobby, who is apparently trapped in the dream. And he sees Gena in their house, but he can't reach her or talk with her. And later on, he sees Lainie in the house with Gena. And all he wants to do is get back to his own body in real life, and back to Gena. But that requires him to keep playing Bobby, and try to establish a relationship between Bobby and Lainie. And, ack! It's all complicated and confusing and weird and nonsensical. But... whatever. I don't really like the writing, but I like the actors. And there's a decent soundtrack. And, you know, it's possible to appreciate the general weirdness of it all. I guess.