Thursday 20 February 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 review – Number 94 Dream Well

Hungary has a rich and powerful movie making tradition, that we have enjoyed across the world for decades. More Oscar winners hail out of the Hungarian meadows than probably any other nation on earth. Right? Or is that somewhere else. This was my first Hungarian movie ever, and if it is any kind of guide, my very short love affair with the Hungarian cinematic contribution is effectively over. Please join me in the colorful world that is...
Dream Well (or À as the original title is) (2009)

The pinks and purples were a bad omen. 

Generally about the movie
Let me say right off the bat, that I could not find subtitles for this movie, so I had to watch it as is. This basically meant 93 glorious minutes of incomprehensible dialogue. Luckily the plot wasn't too hard to follow, despite understanding precisely fuck all. So we'll be ok I think. It might even be a benefit, because not worrying about the usually intricate plot these movies have, enabled me to fully appreciate other lesser apparent things, like sublime make up or beautiful locations. This movie didn't really supply me with much to spend my focus on, so it was kind of lose/lose. But that's just the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.
So tonight it's all about reviewing a movie based on the visuals alone. Which was fun, if by fun I mean pretty boring. And it just so happens that I do. I read a few reviews of this, meaning a paragraph or so about why it sucked. Some people, assumingly Hungarians, had watched it, and commented on the fact, that it seemed pretty high budget and had at least one or two relatively famous Hungarian comedians involved. Nobody understood why it happened to exist. Much like I don't. I have a theory or two, but we'll get to that later.

This picture sums up the whole movie well. If you look closely at it, you won't have to watch the movie. 

What the fuck is it about even?
Ok, again, this play-by-play is based solely on what I think was going on. Since the whole thing played out like a fairly standard American high school movie, following what was going on went alright. But it's pretty much the age old tale of a ditsy blond girl (Regina) who is a hotshot cheerleader at a local school, when her parents, in an unprecedented moment of clarity, decides she needs to class the fuck up, and sends her to a conservative (in the least literal sense of the word) private school. Of course at this new school, she clashes with the reigning queen girl thing. Things get heated in a big way.
Regina lives in a huge house, with her sister who doesn't like Regina much. Her sister seems to be the polar opposite, gothy, black haired and, apparently, not doing anything but loaf about the house rolling her eyes so much I think she could've sprained them. There is also a smaller sibling, but she doesn't have any real impact, and is thus left out of screen most of the time. Regina's mom is this lady that does health treatment almost every time we see her, and looks like the kind of woman who probably thinks she's quite a bit younger than she is. The dad being a busy businessman type, and several other elements, made me think, that this movie had lifted a lot of its premises from the rather enjoyable Clueless.

Telling the young neighbor studs to quiet down, is a lot easier if you're nearly naked.

Also at the new school is Regina's neighbor and his band who also, I think, play on the basketball team. Reginas old boyfriend is on the basketball team at her old school, and with Regina starting up a new cheer leading team at the new school, the problem list pretty much writes itself. We're looking at fights between the guys, shouting matches between the girls, and all the while Regina is getting weird secretive messages on her computer, through a site called There was quite a bit of text on screen, and I Google translated a few of the messages she got/sent, but it was drivel, so I just figured it was peripheral to what was going on. Nothing but a little extra context.
There are a lot of really stupid sounding scenes in the movie. I mean, almost nothing but. Some of them, however, were extra stupid. Of course, I couldn't understand what they were saying, but everything just seemed completely loopy. It's the kind of story, where everybody is a self entitled dick. Regina is supposed, I guess, to go through a transition from complete airhead to somewhat sensitive and perceptive in the end, She has a little speech at a podium in the end, where she has a few profound words of wisdom for us, and then she totally makes up with her sister and gets with the guy, whom her old boyfriend had been beating up before he, the old boyfriend, made a very half assed attempt at semi-raping Regina. I say half assed not in the sense where I think it's too bad he didn't succeed. But half assed in the way that I'm surprised he didn't actually give more of a fuck.

You Google translate that, and see if you think this was a piece of cake. 

I realize you have, after reading this, absolutely no clue as to what actually happens in this movie. Just trust me on this, I have a vague clue, but articulating the plot when my clue is just barely clear enough for me to get it, is difficult. You can watch it, by all means, but it might suffice to just read this walkthrough. If you do find subtitles, I guess I'd be interested, just for the hell of it.

Somebody was giggling inanely during this scene. I couldn't tell if it was a crew member, or part of the movie. 

Is it actually that bad, or are you just an asshole?
It's pretty much just lots of, in the eyes of society, hot girls and semi good looking guys being caricatures of teenagers. Regina, I am quite certain, has had breast implants (the actress at least. Possibly the character). Her hair is platinum blond, and always sits perfectly on her head, even right after waking up. We are treated, if you want to call it that, to lots of shots of her body, even in situations where they are completely necessary, and she flaunts lots of it (not too much, mind. This is Hungary after all) left and right. The same goes for all the other women in the movie. It's pretty stupid. But I guess it works well enough.

Movie ends with the bully ex-boyfriend throwing a cake at the half naked former girlfriend of Regina, now arch nemesis. Sense? Not on my shift. 

The story is, as expected, quite lofty. Ludicrous even. It plays out quite like a movie would, if it was written by somebody who doesn't have any experience either writing a movie or with any of the stuff the movie is concerned with. If high schools in Hungary are anything, anything at all, like this movie portrays them to be, things are pretty fucking crazy down there. I am going to have to assume they aren't, because otherwise... sheesh.
I don't know if it would have been better, had I been able to understand the dialogue. I suppose one could argue, that lots of little subtleties are lost in the non existant translation. But I don't think this movie really had much in terms of subtleties. It seemed to be exactly what it said on the tin. Regina is a former super popular girl, and now has to make new friends at a new school. Doesn't get more straight forward than that.

Like any feud, the girls settled this one on the tracks. Like adults. 

Why is this something that exists?
Presumably because somebody had a lot of money, and setting fire to it seemed only slightly worse. Also, the movie has a lot of people whose only purpose in life is to look good. There was one, and just one, girl in this movie who was anything but magazine cover styled, and while I would never go so far as to call her fat or chubby, her few lines were goofy and silly, and it was pretty clear that she was the weird sidekick to all these beautiful girls. I don't know who made this movie (or rather, I do superficially, but I've no clue what this guy stands for), so I can't really offer any insights. Whoever is behind it, wanted some eye candy and a story that appeared to make sense, but didn't. In all honesty, it seemed like a porno movie with all the sexual stuff removed. Kind of like that pirate spoof they did, where the director dude thought it was so awesomely done, that he released it to the mainstream market, with the sex scenes removed. Turned out, not a whole lot of people in the mainstream market agreed with him. And he realized that the porn consumers are easy to please.

Cheerleading is a big thing in Hungary. Especially when the crowd at the same counted 25 people at the most. 

I have a hard time believing anybody would be making this movie and thinking, in the process, that it was pretty awesome. It doesn't really seem to hit the mark in either of the categories it tries for; teen comedy, teen drama or high school sports movie. The final showdown with basketball is completely stupid, and the cheer leader dance routines are laughable at best. I wasn't ever a cheerleader, and while I'm not saying everybody could do it, it's not something that takes a rocket scientist. Still these girls were doing dance routines that I could emulate with one or two trial runs. The fight scenes were worthy of amateur dramatics shit on youtube.

The ex gets intimate. He took her to a boat. How she didn't see this coming, I don't know. 

You certainly have a lot of hate. Could you do better?
Nah, I could not. First off, there are quite a lot of people involved in this movie. Actresses and actors en masse. It has high production value and it appears to have a lot of effort put into it. More effort, probably, than most of the other movies I've seen so far combined. I don't know what I'd have to do, to pull off something like this. But I doubt I'd be able to swing the enthusiasm, given the source material. Nobody who read this, could think: aye! Where do I sign?
Then again, 100 movies on this list tells me, there are always somebody willing to sign that dotted line. Hell, even the new Robocop movie, that I watched and found pretty fucking boring, has lots of high profile names. So if that attracts people, then why wouldn't Dream Well be able to do the same. In Hungary. After all everything is relative. Except that last sentence. And that one.

As a sign of my love, I present to you this cupcake. Please accept. 

Not a single goddamn thing about this is awesome?
Not much. I got tired of every single character pretty fast. Regina and everybody around her, are one dimensional bigtime. She's all looks, and so are most of the girls. The guys are all brawns and oafish behavior, except for a few, who are obviously the good crowd. But even so, they are assholes. It's kind of hilarious, to me anyway, that the characters we are supposed to feel antipathy towards at first, are all blond (a hair color not indigenous to that particular region), while those people wronged are dark haired. But the blonds come around and redeem themselves in the end, and beat the darkies. So there's that if nothing else.

Gothy band. The track they played was somewhat decent. Not that they actually played it or anything. But still. 

Besides this, we do see all the clichés we've come to know and expect out of a teen dramedy. Ditsy blond with a good heart, new girl in school trying to find her footing, cheerleading feuds between pissy women, weird parents, angry sister, bully boyfriend who doesn't respect women, band members that are really good guys, wimpy neighbor dude who falls in love with the most popular girl in school, upbeat music that clearly indicates what to feel and when, blond protagonist that comes around in the end, and realizes life is more than [insert whatever superficiality the characters enjoy here].
This wasn't by far the worst of the bunch. I had kind of dreaded it, because I couldn't find those damn subs. And for a while there, about 40 minutes into the movie, I thought here I sit, alone, watching a 93 minute Hungarian movie without understanding a word of the dialogue. What has my life come to? Besides this review, I don't think I'll really ever have an answer to that question. 

Look at this goofy bastard in the back. What is he supposed to be even?


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