If you’re a connoisseur of entertainingly shitty cinema, you owe it to yourself to check out the 1999 Neil Jordan opus In Dreams. I don’t have time to give it a full-on illustrated write-up, but trust me, my friends — it is indeed quality cheese.
Ashley rented it on VHS ten years ago and, thanks to an unfortunate circumstance involving a sick sister and a lack of televisions and VCRs in her family home, never got to watch it all the way through. Today we rented it on DVD, and brother am I ever glad we did.
Why? Oh, let me count the ways.
There’s Annette Bening, playing a psychic children’s book author (I think), who discovers she is psychically linked to a serial killer, dreaming vivid premonitions of his crimes. She’s a tortured character who comes to the edge of insanity, a transformation Bening chooses to communicate to the audience by pulling wacky faces and screaming.
There’s Stephen Rea trading in his natural Irish accent for a cartoony Brooklyn one as the psychiatrist trying to understand and help Annette’s problem, reminding us that, hey, actors have bills to pay, too.
And most crucially of all, there is Robert Downey Jr., in his final performance before being sent up the river on drug charges, showing up in the last half-hour to shitcan the entire movie up to this point and just doing whatever the hell he wants. The film is overwrought and preposterous before Downey shows up playing a child-killer named Vivian, but once he hits the scene, forget about it. Within a few minutes he’s cracking Bening in the skull with a can of soup and explaining to a little girl he’s abducted that “sometimes Mommy and Daddy fight, and it’s a good thing.”
Sound like fun? And I didn’t even mention the scene of Downey racing through the woods after Bening, screaming and waving a scythe around like Natty Bumpo.
This is good bad shit.