Dream Scenario

Nicolas Cage has managed an enviable career toggling between drama (Leaving Las Vegas), action (Face/Off) and comedy. In the latter genre he has excelled in films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Valley Girl, Moonstruck and Raising Arizona. Into that latter genre we can now add Dream Scenario.

Cage plays Paul Matthews a schlubby professor (of which there seem to be many on screen this year) who finds that not only his daughter, but his students see him passively involved in their dreams.

When a former girlfriend bumps into Paul and his wife Janet (played well by Julianne Nicholson) the ex-girlfriend explains she has also seen Paul in her dreams even though she hasn’t seen Paul in years. In her dreams Paul is only playing a passive role. She writes an article about the phenomenon, and all of a sudden everyone seems to be seeing Paul in their dreams.

He is somewhat bemused at all the attention as he has no control over this phenomenon, especially over people he has never met.

There is an amusing scene in his classroom when Paul goes around the class and various students offer up his role in their dreams. The dreams are loopy, as dreams tend to be, but in each case, Paul wanders into the dream and stands by idly while rather bizarre events occur.

Without spoiling too much of the action, suffice to say that the plot turns when his appearances in dreams become more violent. His students refuse to attend class and the school places Paul on leave.

I completely enjoyed this part of the film, as it suddenly makes a dig at all the academic efforts of protecting snowflake students with safe spaces, etc. Don’t worry, I can take any expected comments, I teach at several colleges.

In a bit of coincidental and certainly unanticipated cross-promotion, we are treated to an appearance of David Bryne’s Big Suit from the reissued Stop Making Sense concert film. What’s not to like?

The clever screenplay was written and ably directed by relative newcomer Kristoffer Borgli.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.