Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top 5 Dream Sequences

"I feel like I've been in a coma for the past twenty years. And I'm just now waking up."
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) The Big Lebowski (1998)
We're entering the Dude's world, as the dream starts. Saddam's handing the bowling shoes, Julianne Moore's in a naughty warrior suit and the Dude is shaking his ass to the rhythm. Dozens of feathered Busby Berkeley dancers are lining up along the bowling aisle, and the Dude's hovering below their skirts, with a stupid smile on his face. And then it turns to a nightmare, when the evil little red people want to cut off his fingers. Funny and amazingly executed, it fits perfectly to the wacky attitude of the film. The Dude abides.

4) An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Our young sight-seeing leading man has just been molested by a wild animal and watched his best friend die. This kind of stuff is meant to haunt you in your dreams. But one would naturally expect a werewolf in our hero's nightmares. And this is the actual trick. When Nazis with terrifying masks and 12inch knives and Uzis come barging through the door, you believe it's the real thing, and you mouth a repeated "what-the-fuck" monologue, just as our twisted hero wakes up. And then "holy crap" becomes your current obsession, since the curtains rapidly open to reveal a Nazi attempting to slit the beautiful nurse's neck. No, wait, it's just another dream...

3) American Beauty (1999)
Watch Lester Burnham, a simple, middle-aged, depressed man whose highlight-of-the-day is masturbating in the shower. He has been asleep for most of his life, but now he's awake. So, where's the harm in daydreaming about your 16-year-old daughter's cheerleader friend, unzipping her top and exposing her rosepetal-shooting breasts. Or even better, giving your dangerously under-aged object of your fantasies a flowery bath, her being so dirty and all... I bet Lester's highlight-of-the-day ain't masturbating anymore...

2) Trainspotting (1996)
Going cold-turkey from the junkie's eyes. We actually don't know if it's a nightmare or a hallucination, but it doesn't even matter. We watch in awe as Renton gets a visit from his not-so-close friends, from his under-aged one night stand, to a ceiling-walking dead baby. It's not about getting out of drugs, it's about standing up to your sins and facing your guilty past. It's a way of cleaning up your soul, and Danny Boyle makes it quite clear that it takes pain and suffering for his front man to find redemption.

1) Brazil (1985)
Jonathan Pryce experiences the same dream again and again, only each time it turns out in a different way. So, we watch as our witless protagonist Sam Lowry becomes a hero in his dreams, where he flies with his wings above fields and kisses the pretty girl. Just like the threatening and nightmarish portrayal of the future bureaucratic world of Terry Gilliam, the dreams become nightmares as the mood of the film swings. When the winged, sword yielding hero faces a giant Samurai, in order to free the slaves and his loved one, it's one of the best inner-battles ever captured on screen. Truly unique dream sequences in a style only one man can direct, Terry Gilliam is the definition of personal cinema.

Only daydreaming and hallucinations count, not visions and dark thoughts, cause the list would be endless. Carrie, Friday the 13th, The Cell, The Descent, they didn't make it. Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has too many to remember, and there are too many to mention from the horror genre. In Donnie Darko, Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr. you can't quite tell what's a dream and what's not. Waking Life, Vanilla Sky's lucid dream and Alien 3's chestbursting scene came close. Flatliners' amazing capture of near-death experiences came 6th, Rosemary's Baby devilish rape came in 7th, Spellbound came in 8th. Movies like the Matrix, Fight Club and Ghostbusters would fill in the top 20.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Top 5 Christmas Proposals

"Merry Christmas, Bitches!"
Here are the finest five of them all.

5) Braincell-killing Christmas Comedies
Either you'll rent them for your children, or they'll be on TV. It's inevitable, so just deal with it. How much Tim Allen can you handle? Cause if your offsprings watch a couple of Santa Clauses, they'll be draggin' you to the nearest multiplex for the latest sequel. Even so, it's much better than watching Arnie Jingle All Da Way, or wasting 90 minutes of your life experiencing Christmas with the Kranks. It's either this, or spending more time with your in-laws. So why not in fact taking your little rascals to the nearest multiplex? It's a lose-lose situation, so just look at the bright side : Easter is four months away, you'll have just enough time to recover from your holiday traumas.

4) Old-fashioned Family Flicks
I guess watching It's a Wonderful Life for the fifteenth time is much like hearing Wham yelling about their Last Christmas : while they should push you one step closer to commiting suicide, they don't! It's a Christmas miracle! So, if watching the Seventh Seal on Christmas time ain't exactly your cupcake, watch Will Ferrell in tights and wonder why Elf was so adorable, or see how Macaulay Culkin was once successful. Oh, nevermind, there's always Die Hard...

3) Touchy-Feely Musicals
If you're not a fan of the all-singing, all-dancing stuff of the movie world, this is not your thing. But this one beats the crap out of the neighbour's karaoke sing-along get-together. Avoid any musical containing open heart-surgery, it's a bit out of the christmas spirit. And leave any sweet transvestites from outer space for the Halloween season. Let's start with Fame and A Chorus Line, and work our way up the cheerful chain. Watch Moulin Rouge until your retinas detach, mainly for all the red. Continue with "I feel pretty, oh so pretty" West Side Story, and "Over the Rainbow" Wizard Of Oz. Listen to Sally Bowles' yapping about a girl named Elsie, and then witness Billy Flynn do the Razzle Dazzle. Finally, if you're more of a Frank Sinatra type-of-guy (or gal) rather than a David Bowie one, then watch Gene Kelly as he jumps in and out of little water ponds, or lip sing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and the hills will come alive with the sound of Julie Andrews.

2) Politically-incorrect Christmas laugh-fests
Christmas wouldn't be the same without some gift-wrapped, stop-motion skulls or some malicious little green monsters that reproduce with a touch of water. Introduce your children to a world without Smurfs, and make them watch the Grinch, as he steals all the presents from Whoville. Sing along with Jack Skellington, as he discovers Christmastown in the Nightmare Before Christmas. Admire how British Johnny Depp looks as pale Edward Scissorhands, and be careful not to feed your adorable Mogwai after midnight. Watch Bill Murray as he gets a visit by the Christmas Spirit, and wonder how this holy season would be like if Billy Bob Thornton was Saint Nick. Finally, cherish the little pleasures in life, like watching Chevy Chase being savagely molested by a raccoon in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

1) A Richard Curtis Marathon
Welcome to the world of Richard Curtis. A world where three centrefold girls hit on you when you step into a bar, a world where the bookstore owner always gets the rich and famous girl. It doesn't matter if the movie isn't Christmas related. In the time of year where depression kicks in, and usually kicks in hard, we need a strong dose of corny. On Christmas Eve, start off with Mr Bean and Blackadder's Christmas Carol, just to get in the mood. Continue with Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral, and you have successfully prepared the ground for the big day. As an appetiser, serve Bridget's Jones Diary to the estrogen barring guests, and for the main course let the man mesmerize you with Love Actually. If at the end of the day you feel all mushy and warm inside, you have survived yet another Christmas period, all thanks to the rom com king.