This one takes us waaaay back to our childhood. But does anyone ELSE remember it?
It’s hard to believe this swashbuckling tale of intrigue, political thriller, horror and sci-fi seems to have been lost to time, especially considering it stars a young Dennis Quaid, Kate Capshaw, Max Von Sydow, and Christopher Plummer – to whom we are paying tribute this week. Listen in to see if this rings any bells.
Episode #251, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd and I’m Craig. Well, this week, we’re back after a bit of an absence. Thank you all so much for your patience. I had some things to do, and I was out of town for a couple of weeks. And so here we are. Back again, doing a tribute episode for another actor who has died recently, the late and great Christopher Plummer.
My goodness, this man very recognizable has had a long and illustrious career in Hollywood, Canadian actor born in. I believe born in Toronto, grew up in Quebec and just started off right out at the gate. I read that he got interested in acting in high school and went on from there. Studied, never went to university, which was something that he regretted the rest of his life, apparently.
But, uh, I don’t know if you can have too many regrets about this life. He’s well-known for the sound of music playing, um, captain Von Trapp in that one. Which ironically is a role that he didn’t care for too much. Uh, he just felt it was very one note and, uh, he didn’t really like it. He didn’t feel he had much to contribute to it.
I think he never even referred to that movie by its full name. Whenever he talked about it, he just thought it was sappy and, and, uh, sentimental stuff. Although he enjoyed working with Julie Andrews and I think it later on in life, he kinda came around and recognized it for what it was and said that he was honored to be involved in that, in that movie, which when it was released, I think it gone with the wind out as the most successful film of all time at that time.
Yeah. And I think it held that position for quite a while. So yeah. I mean, undoubtedly. Made him even more famous than he already was, but he had already had a long career, uh, in, in television start out television and like move straight into movies. And, uh, was one of those actors who could kind of go between stage and film and television quite successfully, 217 credits to his name on INDB as an actor.
And I think the last film that he did was knives out if I’m not mistaken, which was great,
Craig: at least. Yeah, I really enjoyed it. And I liked him minute. I, uh, I read that he started on stage and the, um, move to screen was actually kind of a struggle for him. There is I haven’t, I I’ve done next to no on camera work, anything I’ve done has been on stage, but I know that there is a distinct difference between performing on stage and performing for it.
Camera. I mean, they’re two totally different things. And I guess apparently a little early in his career, he kind of struggled with that, but obviously eventually it’s something that he overcame and he was, well-recognized all kinds of awards. Tony’s Emmy’s just right. yeah. Uh, very well, well established and respected actor.
I mean, in my view, very much a man’s man, you know, tall, good looking stern, you know, commanding presence that carried throughout all of the roles that I’ve. Seen him in, uh, which is quite a few because he works a lot.
Todd: Yeah. Like every year he’s has two or three projects coming out. It seems like it’s crazy up to the, yeah.
Craig: very illustrious career. So, you know, it’s, it’s sad that he’s gone, but, uh, he had a very full life, so, and we can just kind of celebrate. His work. Well,
Todd: I have to recommend before we dive into this week’s movie, which is dreamscape, which came out in 1984, I have to recommend that if you have not seen murder by decree, Oh God, this is a fantastic movie.
And we’ve done a couple of Bob Clark’s movies on here. And I think I’ve even referenced a murder by decree once or twice, just because I love that film so much directed by Bob Clark and starring Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes. If you’re into Sherlock Holmes and who isn’t, you’ve got to give that movie a look.
It is fantastic. It’s just one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies out there. And fun fact, he is, I think the second cousin to British actor, Nigel Bruce, which if you’re into Sherlock Holmes, like I am, you know, Nigel Bruce played a Watson in the long running radio series, which sounds so nerdy when I say this, but I have like.
Hundreds of these episodes on MP3. And I listened to them. I used to fall asleep to them, listening to them, uh, going to bed. I just, nothing like those old Sherlock Holmes radio shows and Nigel Bruce was a great Watson in those. But yeah. Anyway, coming back to Christopher Plummer and this week’s episode dreamscape from 1984, also starring a very young and fresh Dennis Quaid, which was a joy to see on the screen being such a.
Cocky jerky sort of, but also lovable guy. Okay. In the title role for me, the movie does bring back memories because this was a film that I remember very distinctly from childhood. We must have either taped it off a TV or taped it off of a rental tape or something because my sisters and I watched this quite a bit and I was really anxious to see if it lived up to my memories because I hadn’t seen it since my childhood.
It’s surprisingly not a well remembered movie. I think people don’t talk much about it and going into this, I was a little concerned like how data would be, or maybe my memories didn’t really hold up as well. It’s an interesting film. I would say it spans a number of genres, horror being one of them. It’s like a Saifai movie.
It’s a horror movie. It’s like a political thriller. There’s some romance in there. I mean, it’s. Got a little bit of everything. It’s almost like I’m trying to be a little bit more of like a scifi, Indiana Jones thing. You know, where the adventures happen in the dreams. I don’t know that I thought about that because his character struck me as a young Harrison Ford ish type thing.
And this movie came out in 1984. Uh, the same year, I believe Indiana Jones and the temple of doom came out and both films also CoStar the absolutely Kate Capshaw. I know. Right.
Craig: I think all of us were in love with her when we were kids. I mean, from, I don’t think that this had the widespread appeal of temple of doom, but hardcore Indiana Jones fans kind of viewed temple of doom as one of the redheaded stepchildren of the franchise.
Like I think that it was the bastard child before that stupid alien one came out. Oh
Todd: God .
Craig: But temple of doom was always my favorite. I just thought that it was so fun. Fun and exciting and funny. And she was just absolutely great in that movie. I loved her in that movie. She was also in space camp, which is another great movie.
She was married to Steven Spielberg there for
Todd: awhile. It is. She’s not anymore. Maybe she
Craig: is. I don’t know. I don’t remember. But, um, she was very beautiful of course, but she also just had a really. Bunkie and I’m sure she still does a very spunky personality that made her really fun to watch on screen. And she has a relatively small part in this movie, but I still enjoyed seeing her.
And, and you’re right. You know, this is young Dennis Quaid and somehow Dennis Quaid was. Involved in this movie kind of from its inception. And they wrote this role with him in mind and he was really the only choice to play it because he was so enthusiastic about it and bringing it to fruition. And I liked Dennis Quaid.
I still liked Dennis Quaid. He’s handsome. He’s funny. He seems very down to earth, but in this movie, he is very young, very handsome. You’re right. He’s got kind of that cocky attitude about him. It’s, it’s charming. It’s endearing. Um, and, and this really, I mean, he’s a baby in this. The other thing that I remember him from, especially from when I was a kid was Innerspace with him and Brian.
Oh my God. And I loved that movie. And this is even before that, He’s a little, he’s a little baby, but a very handsome and charming and, and good in this role. I would love the
Todd: excuse to do interspace on this show. We can’t really call it a horror movie, but man, that’s another movie you’ve got to go out and see that, you know, it still holds up.
I was actually guested on another podcast that was done by some friends of mine years ago. And the, we did interspace there and I remember us just loving that movie. It was so good even today. So I’m at this movie. I think this movie is kind of ripe for a remake. I feel like it’s dated. And it’s not terrible.
It’s just dated. Maybe that’s just the best way to put it. And I feel like you could take this whole concept, um, changed almost nothing about it and just update it for modern times. And, uh, it would be great. I think someone needs to do this. It’s really interesting. If you look at the poster for this movie, it is like a rip off of the Indiana Jones posters.
They’re really trying to make this look like this Indiana Jones, this type globe trotting thing with the poster art, it looks just like the temple of doom and the Raiders. Exactly. Poster art. I mean, obviously that’s intentional and then I have some really cool Italian poster art that I’m going to put up on when I, when we post this on the website, that’s hilarious.
Craig: know that Italian stuff is crazy. Some of it doesn’t even make it easy. Like, did they even see this?
Todd: But in somehow that’s kind of in the spirit of this movie, because again, the movie is a little bit all over the place in what it tries to be in the genre that it is it’s, it has a surreal elements to it.
It has very down to earth elements to it has some corny elements to it. Some touching parts, somehow it still kind of works. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I mean, the movie is dated and it, I, you know, it had its issues, but the only real issue I had with the movie was the film score. I felt like the music, it didn’t deserve this music.
I don’t know. Maybe you feel differently. Uh, well kind
Craig: of just because I know having looked into it, that it was very intentional now. I don’t remember who the composer
Todd: was. W no, first you got the composers, Maurice JaRay who is a very
Craig: famous, Oh
Todd: yeah. Lawrence of Arabia, doctorate of Wago, you know? Right.
Craig: Like these huge classic films,
Todd: ghost dead poet’s society, gorillas in the mist. I mean, all of the, I mean, massive, massive films and really beautiful scores that this guy can write, just not in this movie.
Craig: Well, they wanted him to do an orchestral score like he normally did, and he specifically did not want to, he wanted to do a scent score because he felt like a synth score would.
Highlight the dream-like nature of everything that’s going on, both in the dreams and in the real world, because even in the real world, it’s all very mad cap like this, this movie is action packed. It’s not terribly long, but as I always say, you know, I take notes and I have like two pages of plot notes.
Like it’s always moving things happening all the time. It’s very plot driven, the scifi fantasy stuff with the dream stuff, which we’ll get into, which is. Important, but even outside of that, it really is very much a political thriller. And so, yeah, there’s lots of chases and investigation and tension and, and it’s good.
It all works, works together though. The score of does of course seem very dated. It’s very eighties. I feel like I get what he was going for, especially in some scenes, like the first time that we. Enter into dreams with our main character, Alex, Dennis Quaid, the synthetic score makes it feel very surreal and dreamlike.
And of course they do stuff with the cinematography that also today looks very dated. It takes you out of reality. It doesn’t look real. There’s something off about it. There’s something off about the way it looks and there’s something off about the way it sounds. And I thought it was effective. And I get what you’re saying.
I understand the criticism, especially from a modern perspective. I think if you take a young audience and put them in front of this, they’re going to roll their eyes and Oh my God, that’s so eighties and yeah, it is, but I don’t know. It was on point for that time, you know, it was. It was innovative at the time.
Todd: mean, I understand the reason he made that choice and I can imagine that, you know, maybe make that same choice if I were him, but I kind of disagree on this. I feel like it, look, I love since scores and I don’t mind that dated quality. Heck you know, we talk about this all the time about how sometimes that’s, you know, that takes us back and we liked that, but I feel like it was a miscalculation in this movie because I felt like the synth score seemed thin and I felt like it cheap under the movie a bit, the film that’s trying to be this sort of a, not globetrotting, but like you said, this like political thriller, that’s always moving and there’s tons of action and there’s intrigue in this stuff.
It deserved. Something a little more orchestral and suspenseful. And somehow I just don’t feel like the synthesized score that he came up with rises to that occasion. It just bothered me. It bothered me while watching it. And I mean, I get it and it’s fine. And, and it works in the dream sequences, I think.
But then in the rest of the movie with the chase scenes and that stuff, I don’t know. It just, wasn’t what I normally expect in a film like this. And, and not that it always has to follow these rules, but in this case it just took me out of it a little bit. And I was disappointed enough. Anyway.
Craig: I mean, I feel like we, we can’t go through every plot point.
The, the, the podcast would be two hours long. So we’re going to have to kind of do the CliffsNotes version, but I feel like we should at least get into it. The first thing we see turns out to be a dream sequence. It’s this woman running away from what looks like devastation, and it’s all very like color saturated and reds.
It. Looks dreamlike, but of course, this is the very first thing we’re seeing. So we’re not sure exactly what’s going on and this woman’s running down the road. And then behind her seemingly a nuclear explosion happens. Um, and she ends up getting an isolated or whatever, and this guy wakes up, this was his dream.
And it turns out that this guy is the president of the United States played by Eddie.
Craig: Yeah. For three
Todd: natures. Yeah. Right. I mean, I know he’s been in a lot of other stuff, but I just think of them. Oh, that’s the green acres guy.
Craig: I didn’t even realize that’s what he was from. But as soon as you said it, I’m like, Oh yeah, that guy.
And so he’s being troubled by these dreams. Then we find out that there are these people who are doing dream studies and it’s, uh, Kate Capshaw who plays a lady named Jane . And Dr. Paul Novotny played by max Von CEDAW and max Von seed out of course is huge, you know, around the world and in Hollywood.
Right? And he and Christopher Plummer, their paths crossed many times. Uh, they, they worked together several times. They were up for the same roles and it makes sense. They have a similar demeanor. So it makes sense. Anyway, they’re working on this dream project. Novotny talks about how he wants to get this kid that he worked with before that it goes to them named Alex, who was like played by Dennis Quaid, who was the most successful or, or talented, um, psychic that he had ever worked with.
But right in the middle of their work together, Alex had had just split, like he had just disappeared. And then we meet Alex and he’s a scamp. Like he’s a lovable scamp. I love it. He uses his psychic abilities to place winning bets at the race track with, yeah. Why the hell? Not
Todd: exactly what I would do if I were psychic, finally, we see something true to life in one of these movies was psychics.
But. It’s a little unclear, right? Like the extent of his abilities, because although he’s able to like predict the winning of the racetrack, it’s not like he reads minds so much in this movie, but he also apparently can move things with his mind. Or at least when he was being researched was, was able to do some of that.
We see in some footage later on or earlier on when they’re kind of talking about this guy right
Craig: later, we see that classic like psychic test where there’s two people sitting on opposite sides of the table and one person is drawing up cards and then, you know, he can get, it’s a red triangle, it’s a green circle.
And he gets it right every single time. Who knows if that’s really a thing, but, and he really
Todd: was in Ghostbusters Ghostbusters. That must be
well, that was that’s right. When he, they bring him back because he’s being chased. Uh, and at first he’s being chased, uh, at the, at this racetrack, by some guys who, who basically want to use him. Right. They want their onto them and then they want to cut and all that. And he he’s pretty good at escaping and getting the slip on them.
But then he gets taken at his home. A couple
Craig: of heavies show up at his door. Yeah.
Todd: Heavies from the university. From the university. Yeah. It’s hilarious that this university professor. They’re sending out
Craig: these right. He’s very compliant with them at first because the other guys, the racetrack guys are after him.
So basically these heavies are getting him away from the other heavies. And so he goes with them. But when he’s kind of in the clear, away from the guys who are chasing him, he’s like, Oh, okay
Todd: guys, Hey,
Todd: listen, guys, I’ve thought this over and
Craig: I’m not really interested once you just let me
Todd: out for the last Sienna.
You okay? I know this is going to sound a bit
Craig: sinister Mr. Gardner, but, uh, we have instructions to bring you back with us. I mean, I’m being kidnapped. Well, there are some people up at Thornhill
Craig: are anxious to meet with you. Yeah. Well, what would you do if I just opened the door and jumped?
Todd: Huh? In both
Craig: of these guys who play these crony type guys, both familiar.
I’ve seen them both in. Things as this type of character several times, but anyway, they ended up taking him to the university. You know, it’s a little suspenseful because he’s not really going, if it’s freewill, you don’t really know what’s going on, but when he gets there, you know, it’s Novotny and they know each other, they have a relationship, you know, he’s not, doesn’t appear that he’s in terrible danger or anything, but he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.
He just wants to go back to his life and do his own thing. And Novotny basically blackmails him and says, listen, I know what you’re doing. You know, with all these racetrack winnings and stuff, it would really suck if the IRS or to get wind of that. So Alex gets pulled into this and what they’re doing, and I love this premise.
I think it’s a great premise. They are doing therapy by psychically linking people and allowing the psychics to enter the unconscious dream state of. Patients and in doing that, they’re supposed to be able to help them overcome their fears, deal with whatever issues that they are working with or whatever.
It’s interesting because this movie came out, I think the same year or just one year before a nightmare on Elm street. And they’re very similar that idea of going into other people’s dreams. In fact, somebody involved in this movie, was it the writer? I think Chuck
Todd: Russell, one of the writers of the screenplays.
Craig: He wrote nightmare on Elm street three. Yeah. So there major, major connections, which is kind of interesting that nightmare on Elm street went on to become such a huge franchise. And this one is seemingly forgotten because I think this movie compared to the original nightmare on Elm street in terms of quality, very similar, and they’re both very
Todd: competent brain scan, I think came out the year before this.
So there was a little slew here of, of jumping into people’s dreams, movies. Now I’m curious when I was a kid, my impression of this whole thing was that it’s this machinery, this technology that they’re using that allows people to enter dreams. And the fact that he’s psychic just makes it easier for him.
Like it, like somehow he’s more easily able to like adapt to the process or, you know, cause it does require some mental capacity as well. That has to be sort of trained. And some people are better at it than others. And they figure that these psychics or whatever are better at it. Right. Or is it really are the machines that they’re hooked up to kind of just monitoring their vital signs of what’s.
Do you know, is there a difference I’m
Craig: with you in that growing up? I thought that the machine, because it looks like their heads are connected by wires. They’re both, both subjects are sitting in these like. Recline chairs, something comfortable that they could sleep in, obviously. And then there’s a big machine between them and they’re both, they both got like some kind of like skull cap on, and then also things that are monitoring them.
I thought the machinery had something to do with it as well. Like you, I haven’t seen this. And at least a couple of decades, but watching it again this time, I wasn’t really sure, sure. What the machinery was other than monitor bring them because you find out later in the movie that the psychics, and we only see psychics do this.
If anybody can do it, we don’t see anybody else do it. Right. We only see psychics do it. We find out later in the movie that they can do it without the machinery. I don’t know if the machinery just, you know, AIDS in monitoring them or sedating them or what I mean, they, they are keeping, they’re monitoring them closely.
They’ve got cameras on their eyes so that they can see when they go into REM sleep, they’re monitoring their heart rates and all that kind of stuff, which is important because in the dreams, if something is going on, that’s threatening, you know, which they. Can tell by advanced heart rate and stuff, then they wake them up.
But I don’t know. I think really the machines are there to,
Todd: well, he makes a funny comment earlier when he first sees it, she got here, who’s your decorator, Darth Vader. So
Craig: funny. It is. It’s funny. So he gets, he gets blackmailed into doing it. Then we see them, you know, they do a little bit of training or whatever, but they basically just throw them right in. We also see before this, before he even knows what’s going in, he walks in on them doing this with somebody else, a little boy and another male psychic who we don’t.
No, we’re never introduced to, um, but something goes wrong and we see that the male psychic is catatonic in the wake of it. Like they take him away, strapped into a chair and a van and we never see him again, something went terribly wrong. So we know that the stakes are potentially high, but Alex wants to get right in there is like, let’s do it.
So they throw him in with this guy. Who’s a construction worker. In his dream there at the top of this construction site, it’s all shot. You know, I don’t, you would be better able to describe the cinematography style than I, but it is very dreamlike. And, you know, as it turns out, there’s like an accident on the site.
It’s just the two men in the dream, but the guy who’s dreaming, like falls over the edge and is hanging off a beam. And Alex has to like jump onto the beam to try to save him. And the score is very intense and eventually Alex falls and he, he wakes up right before he hits the ground, which is significant because later we find out that, that old theory that if you die in your dream, you die in real life.
Again, another connection to like nightmare on Elm street. But we get, I just thought that this was a really good scene to establish for us what’s going on. Yeah. Like you’re in the dream, you’re an active participant in the dream. Um, and things can happen. You can help each other out, but you also can
Todd: be harmed exactly.
And the way, you know, the way these were shot, I think it kind of goes in this movie’s favor unintentionally, or maybe intentionally is that what we get as a lot of special effects work that much of it looks dated. Now it’s like rear projection screen or blue screen kind of stuff, but also intentionally fantastic backgrounds and things as well.
And I’m willing to give it all a bit of a pass because these are supposed to be dreams. So I feel like even the filmmakers themselves, we’re not that concerned with this looking hyper realistic because they were looking for a surreal quality to the dreams. So absolutely
Craig: this one. Is the least surreal of them.
All the colors are kind of oddly changed and stuff. And like, you can tell that somehow, you know, the sky above them, the clouds moving faster. Right, right. Unnaturally fast. So it is very dreamlike, but of all of them, this is the most realistic later they become. Abstract and surreal
Todd: nightmares basically. I mean, they’re all nightmares.
And it’s funny. I actually saw an interview with Dennis Quaid, where he was talking about shooting this and they were up on the top of the tallest building in LA at the time I was like 50 stories and he says he distinctly remember shooting it because they were, they were up there pretty high. And he said, they basically just had nets underneath of that just to keep them from falling too far.
And he said, I’m not sure that would fly today.
Craig: can you imagine? I can’t. And it’s funny because the way that it looks on screen, that seems totally unnecessary. Yeah. I
Todd: take really full advantage of that. Did they? Yeah.
Craig: Alex is excited because it worked and he can do it and he gets how it goes now.
Todd: Oh. And that other guy, uh, then he meets another guy, right.
Who comes into his
Craig: Rami. Tommy. And Tommy is the villain. Tommy establishes himself as the villain, right from the beginning. And he’s laid by a guy named David, Patrick Kelly, who was in some other things. He was in the warriors and he was in any always from what I read, because I recognize them. But mostly from this movie, he just has a very, weasely look about him and to his credit, he plays that.
Weasley guy very well. Um, you know, he seems like somebody, you would know and you’d be like, Oh, that guy
Todd: with the BDS eyes and the sharp pointed nose and all that like poor guy. But this is the really interesting thing about this movie. And this is where I think if I were to update this, you know, I would change it is that there’s never really any question who the bad people are and the sinister things that are going on.
You know, the movie doesn’t really hold its cards close to its chest. It really just kind of lays all this out for you openly and in the beginning. And just, uh, you know, your job is just to kind of follow the ride and see where it leads because after he meets him in his room and picks up a saxophone and annoyingly honks on it, does all, you know, kind of like basically he’s jealous of Alex’s first time, quick success in this,
You know, Alex is the new bright shining star, whereas before Tommy had been the superstar. And so he’s all about telling Alex, you know, it’s cute that you’re good at this or whatever, but I’m the top dog and don’t forget it, stay in your lane. Exactly. You know, he’s marking his territory. Like this is my deal.
And he does it in a very smarmy way. I mean, if you want to get all analytical about it, I guess if I were in Tommy’s position, I’d be kind of pissed too. You know, I’ve been working on this for a while. I’ve been the superstar, and now here comes in this new hot shot who everybody’s all excited about. I’d be irritated too.
But like he, he, he obviously is on kind of a power trip. Um, and it just establishes his character, frankly. He plays a very small role too. But they introduce him here early so that we know that he’s there and that he’s a threat.
Todd: Yeah. How his character comes in early and so sinister in the very beginning and then seems to just disappear for a while until about three quarters of the way through or two thirds of the way through when the previous stuff is, is getting resolved.
And now we have this other danger that’s gotta happen. You know, it’s a very much, I mean, this movie is very much three-act structured. I think it’s very clear. I think it’s shortly after this meeting that then we meet Bob Blair who we’d seen a little bit earlier, but, and then he just goes right up to Alex and he’s like, Hey, congratulations.
By the way, this is a government project. Mike, congratulations
Craig: to you. They told me about your successful dream league. Well done. This is only the beginning. You know, we all feel that the possibilities for our program are tremendously exciting, but we’ve got to see that you don’t jeopardize the wonderful work you’ve already done.
I don’t follow you, Bob. You have been playing it’s a little fast and loose since you got here. That was unauthorized visits to the dream chamber. For instance, that’s
Todd: a bit
Craig: sneaky. I loved this scene only because even though Alex has already. Done this dream jump. Once they’re still doing testing on him and they’re doing like a cat scan or an MRI or something.
Um, so he’s just coming out of the machine and he strapped down and Bob Blair played by Christopher Plummer. He’s high-level government. And that’s kind of like, we all, you really know. Yeah. You don’t need the specifics. He’s just really, really important in the government. Right? A lot of Paul has a lot of sway and he comes in and he’s talking to Alex and Alex is strapped down to the table and, and Alex says, you know, can, can you unstrap me?
Can you let me up? And Bob’s like, no,
I’m just going to have this conversation with you, with you strapped down to the slab. Exactly. I just felt like it really, it’s such an easy way of establishing the dynamic. Like I’m in charge
Todd: and he’s super sinister about it too, you know, just the same kind of deal, like okay. Government project.
Craig: Got it.
Stretches this out, but I feel like we don’t need to. Um, Bob is, is, uh, a confidant of the president. They seem to be on very friendly terms and the president has. Told Bob Blair that he’s having these dream problems. And Blair is like, well, you know, I know about this project. Maybe I can help you. But in that same conversation, the president tells him what his dreams are about, about all this, because the president has several dreams throughout the movie and they’re all the same.
They’re all the aftermath of this terrible nuclear fallout. He feels that that’s something that could happen. And if it does, he’s responsible for it. So he confides in Blair that he’s going to meet with the leaders of, I don’t remember if it was the Soviet union or Russia at the time, but whichever he was going to meet with them and try to come to some sort of peace accord where they would do a complete disarmament, but Blair doesn’t like that.
And so it’s obvious from the beginning, basically what. Blair is setting up, you know, he’s going to somehow get the president into this dream study. It’s not necessarily evident exactly what he’s going to do, but he’s going to use this dream. Thing to try to prevent the president from doing this a
Craig: disarmament treaty.
Yeah. There’s no sense in drawing it out. As it turns out he is planning on assassinating the president and asleep because he thinks that he can get away with it. You know, nobody would believe it. They can cover it up. They can just make it look like he died naturally and asleep. He’s just very sinister from the beginning.
Like you said, they, they, the movie lays its cards out, you know, it’s, it’s not trying to keep anything from you really, even though it is suspenseful because it moves at such a quick pace. Right,
Todd: right. And ultimately, this, this is another aspect of it. Like I said, I would change because. Oh, it goes all the way to the top, you know, it’s like, yeah,
Craig: the president doesn’t even have a name.
It’s just Mr. President. That’s right.
Todd: Hilariously high, you know, for this little study, that’s kind of being conduct. I mean, groundbreaking don’t get me wrong. You know, study book that has all these potential implications and could be weaponized in so many different ways and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But first we’re going to use it to assassinate the president.
Craig: And of course, you know, very unrealistically, but as it always happens in these types of movies, the people who are working on the project, it’s like they never considered that it could be used for these nefarious purposes. Like when they find out that. It might be used for these nefarious purposes.
They’re shocked and appalled like, Oh my God, what have we done?
Todd: Come on.
Craig: this leads up to again, another the dream sequences are for me, the most exciting, the action stuff is exciting too. Don’t get me wrong. There are great like car slash horse slash motorcycle flash, like airplane chases, like all that’s great. I very much enjoyed it, but the, the stuff that was my cup of tea was the dream stuff.
And I had mentioned earlier that psychic, who had gone into a dream and something had gone terribly wrong and he had ended up catatonic and gotten. Sent away. Well, the person’s whose dream he had gone into had been this little boy named buddy. Of course, this little boy is suffering from these terrible, terrible, debilitating nightmares that are caused, you know, his physical health is deteriorating because of them.
Alex takes a liking to him in part because Jane Kate Capshaw is working with a little boy. And he’s also trying to get closer to Jane. There’s a romance side plot too. There’s one part of that that I want to talk about when we get to it, but really it’s just the eighties romance subplot, which is fine.
They’re both sexy people. Watch them flirt with each other, right? Whatever Alex gets kind of attached to this little boy and he wants to help him. So he tells Novotny. I want to go in to this kid’s dream. And the Valley’s like, absolutely not. I already lost one guy to this. You’re too valuable. I can’t risk it.
And Alex says, well, we do it. Or I’m out, you know, Novotny is hesitant, but Alex is,
Todd: it’s hilarious that Nevani conveniently forgets that he’s still blackmailing him, that he can just go back. Well, you can’t get out cause the IRS, so no, you’re not going to do it. Then that’s the end
Craig: of that. I didn’t even really thought about that.
I imagine the truth of the matter is Nevani probably is very curious and interested to see what Alex can do. I do think that he’s trying to protect his investment. But ultimately he wants to see if it can work out. And so they do, I mean, this all happened so fast. Like it’s, it’s Alex in Nevada Annie’s office saying, look, I’m doing it or I’m out and about he’s like, no, you can’t.
Okay, fine then boom. We’re in the lab.
Todd: And this was actually my favorite dream sequence. I’d forgotten. Really good. It’s it’s special effects heavy and it’s great. There’s stop motion animation. And they’re, they’re these elaborate sets. Um, everything is kind of off kilter the boys just in real. Yeah. It’s just kind of like in a haunted house and it, and they basically ended up getting chased by this what the snake man he’s been drawing pictures of it and all kinds of stuff, but there’s this, you know, villain in his dreams basically that is this giant snake.
Man. Yeah, it’s just like a giant snake creature chases them through the house and they go down this crazy staircase and they end up in the basement and then Alex fights with it in the dream. And there’s a nice mix of great makeup effects and stop motion and the sets and everything. It’s just, it’s just a lot of fun.
Craig: And on the blue Ray release of this, there are behind the scenes interviews and they talk to, um, some of the special effects, people who worked on this. And, and like you said, it is a mix. There is a guy in a suit, but a lot of it is also done with stop motion, like Claymation. And it does look. Dated, but anybody who’s ever listened to this show before knows that I am a huge fan of stuff of practical effects.
It just it’s artistry. It’s craftmanship. And that’s not to say that CGI isn’t. I know that there are. Artists behind those keyboards, putting that CGI together. I get it, but it’s just different to me. And I just so much appreciate this. That’s why, when you said it’s rife for a remake, I agree with you because I think there’s so much potential that I feel like
Todd: you’re going to fuck it up with, uh, with CGI.
Craig: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s just going to all be CGI. It’s all going to be effects driven. I feel like that they will neglect a lot of the story in favor of spectacle, which is okay. That’s fine. There’s certainly an audience for that. In fact, it’ll probably draw, you give, bringing more money in if that’s what you focus on.
I just, uh, I, I do worry and I would be totally down if they made a remake, I would watch it hands down, but I just feel like something would be lost. But the, the, the whole snake man thing is very scary, but the cool part about it is. To me is that Alex can’t defeat the snake man on his own. In fact, he gets wounded, um, in the dream and, and he’s tussling one-on-one with this giant, I don’t know, it’s gotta be nine, 10 feet tall.
At least snake guy, buddy has to be the one. To defeat it. Any is any chops, its head off and its head goes falling down into some like enormous fantastical spiral staircase or something looks great. And they both wake up and buddy is ecstatic. You know, we did it, we beat it. You know, now that he’s beaten it in his dreams, I guess it’s not going to be a threatening more.
I don’t think we ever see buddy again, but I felt like it was an important part of the movie to show what is possible there, but also that snake man freaked, Alex, the crack out.
And there’s a scene where he’s, I don’t know, in the cafeteria, the library, something on this campus and he’s, he’s sketching it. And Tommy comes up behind him and sees it and he’s like, Oh, I guess that really freaks you out. Huh? And he’s like, yeah, even in the moment you’re thinking, okay, there’s is going to be significant later.
Tommy knows. What Alex is afraid of. Yep.
Todd: It’s great. It’s is it C it’s also very Indiana Jones, right? Snakes. Why did have to be snakes? So many parallels? There’s more coming too funny. I’m just trying to get Jane to go out a budge and there’s a bunch of that crap. And then he goes to a bar. There’s a bar that they’ve been in a couple of times.
There’s a guy there named Charlie played by George went, you know, from cheers. Yeah. And this bit I thought was just totally unnecessary because we know sinister stuff is going on. We don’t need this character here to just hammer that point home. Yeah. But here he is. And so he’s a horror writer. He’s clearly modeled after Stephen King or something, you know, and he says, Hey, I know you’re involved in this project and I’ve got to tell you like their ulterior motives here, I’m investigating this as material for my next book or something like that.
Right. And then there’s shady guys there who kind of chase him out and it’s like, okay, this, this part
Craig: was dumb. It’s funny because in the movie it didn’t bother me. Like there’s even some exciting parts where they start getting followed by these thugs. And they end up in this big crowd of students that like a pep rally or something.
And George wind’s character ends up getting killed. Right. You know, in this big crowd, but there’s so much commotion going on that nobody even notices. Like it didn’t bother me in the moment. But as we’re sitting here talking about the movie, I’m looking at Jordan picture. On IMD and the cast list. And I’m like, Oh God, how do we work that in?
Like, it’s so unnecessary. Like he’s just there to alert Alex to the fact that there is something shady going on. That’s it, that’s his only purpose. And it’s unnecessary. Cause he could have figured it out on his own or it could have been revealed in some other ways, some other way,
Todd: but it’s gotta be like this super famous writer who gets murdered.
Like, I mean, again, like it’s like, I guess this movie it’s like go big or go home. Right. It’s not just anybody investigating this. It’s like the Stephen King of the movie world who then is going to get shot, which would surely cause big
Craig: issues. Yeah. Everything happens so quickly after that, that I don’t even know that there would be time for it to be a big issue.
He tells him he’s after the president or something and Alex like what? And then the thugs show up and they shoot the author guy and immediately. They catch Alex, throw him in a car with Blair who says, yeah, we’re doing this. You can either get on board or we’re going to kill you. That’s it
just lays it out. Alex. It’s very simple.
Todd: Either you work for me or die,
Craig: but he gets away. And that’s when there’s a great, big, fun chasing, like back at the racetrack where he had been before and he’s on a motorcycle and they’re on the horse track and they’re chasing him in cars and it’s fun. It is fun. I liked it stupid, but it’s fun.
So at that point he knows what’s going on and yeah. And then it’s time to, you know, foil Blair’s plan. We skipped one thing that I, yeah, I know pursuit of Jane, which is totally fine and cute. She basically says to him, look, I’m into YouTube, but I also know that you’re a huge womanizer, which he is, we’ve seen it and she’s like, you know, we’re working together.
I’m not just going to be another one of your conquests or whatever. And, and she basically shuts them down. Despite the fact that she says I get it, I’m into YouTube. So they, they separate. And then. He comes to her office and she’s asleep on her couch and he sits down in the chair next to her and closes his eyes.
It’s obvious what he’s doing. He’s trying to get into her dream. And he does. And this scene, at least parts of it were censored from some releases because there’s a sex scene. Uh, a very mild with absolutely no nudity. Sex scene. Yeah, but after the theatrical release, I think on the initial video release, it was censored.
And then even on some subsequence, subsequent releases, it’s been censored. We saw it. It’s very tame. It’s totally within the realm of PG 13 coming at it from a 20, 21 perspective. I was like, okay, you know, like this is fun. It’s a fun, it’s cool that he can get into the dreams without needing the machinery.
This is the first time that we, I learned that and in the wake of what happens, he reminds her of that. And they’re both in awe of it as well. In my notes, I wrote and he enters her dream without her knowledge or her consent.
Todd: Right. Like, it’s not
Craig: okay. He is consciously aware of what’s going on and she’s not, she just thinks she’s dreaming and they bone, and then she wakes up and she’s like, how dare you?
But, and then whatever, like
Todd: a little rapey it is. And it’s funny how they do address it a little bit. Like she is pretty pissed off about it, but then like, you’re like, yeah. Okay. Well, you know, whatever it definitely nowadays, this is a, actually again, you remake this movie, that would be a really interesting aspect of this whole concept.
I mean, you could explore it, right. I mean, it’s.
Craig: Yeah, that would be a much bigger issue than apparently it was in 1984.
Todd: Oh yeah. It would be treated totally differently. It was a different time. We were
Craig: rapier. No, and it didn’t. I know isn’t that so bizarre. Like it didn’t, it never even crossed my mind in 1980.
Todd: well, not as a kid either.
Craig: Well, uh, true. And, but even then I think had I been an adult, I thought, well, it was just a dream, you know, it’s not like, it’s not like there were any fluids exchanged or anything, no harm, no foul, but today I’m like, Ooh,
Todd: that’s pushing it a little bit. Another thing, there was apparently another sex scene between them at some point in the movie.
Oh really? I didn’t know that it was taken out and it’s sort of the last sex scene because supposedly it contained nudity. Supposedly was it was not taken out in Europe, but it was taken out in the U S and it was in one release. Wasn’t in another release. No, the sex scene supposedly was shot, but nobody’s ever found it.
Like, it’s, it hasn’t really shown up anywhere nowadays where it’s concrete and he photos of it or anything like that. So it’s, it’s a little bit of a mystery around the movie of Cape Cod capshaw’s, you know, boobies were in this at some point or another. Anyway. I mean,
Craig: I wouldn’t have been sad to see it.
They’re both. Very attractive people. I’m sure they looked great.
Todd: Oh, and you know, just like in like half of his movies, his ass is in this movie several times, right?
Craig: I mean, he’s in little, he’s in little tiny briefs, a lot, which is fine. I mean, if he just wanted to wear that all the time, that’d be all right.
Dennis Quaid is in his seventies. Now, and he’s still super
vulnerable. Oh my God. And he only, he recently within the last couple of years got remarried. He’s been married several times. He was married to Meg Ryan for quite a long time. And, um, their marriage ended, I think because, um, she had an affair with Russell Crowe, which was unfortunate because they were such a cute couple.
I just loved them. But he’s, I think been married a couple of times since then. I think I could be wrong. I didn’t look this up, but I do know that within the past couple of years, he remarried a much younger, very beautiful woman. And from everything I’ve seen, they’re very happy, so good for him. And good for him for still being hot in the
This is, this is becoming our Dennis Quaid tribute episode, a parent listen, uh,
Craig: Christopher Plummer was hot too. I, you know, I don’t, I don’t think of him in that way. He’s more of a, like a fatherly kind of figure in my mind, but that’s a different how other people could get down with it.
Todd: It’s a different kind of fantasy maybe.
Craig: man. Okay. So this, it comes down to the final showdown where. Alex and Jane are aware of what’s going on. They make Novacki aware of it. And, uh, maximum on CEDAW and Christopher Plummer have a scene together where the body’s like, I’ll never let you get away with this. And Blair is like, okay, bye. My men are waiting in the hall to shoot you.
They do. And he’s dead and gets thrown in the trunk of a car. The plan is they’ve got the president there for this sleep treatment or whatever it is. And Blair, Christopher Plummer goes out of his way to make sure that the president is in this particular room. And as it turns out, it’s because he’s going to have Tommy in the adjoining room and he’s going to have Tommy go into his dream and assassinate him.
But Alex and Jane are on onto them. And Jane’s office conveniently is immediately below. The room that the president is sleeping in. So Alex goes into, and Alex actually gets there first and he gets there. And it’s the dream that we’ve seen. It’s on a train now, but it’s still, you know, just this train going through this post-apocalyptic hellscape Alex tells the president, this is who I am.
This is why I’m here. They’re sending somebody in here to kill you and they can do it. And it’s Blair and he’s against you. And the president’s like what, okay,
Todd: not the sharpest knife in the drawer of this president, you know,
Craig: whatever. But then Tommy shows up and I have to give David Patrick Kelly who plays Tommy credit. He’s great. In this scene, he is very. Intimidating and frightening. And what’s most frightening about him is that because he’s been doing this for longer than Alex, he’s a pro at it.
We failed to mention that we had seen that he had killed somebody in a dream previously. We didn’t actually witness it happen. We saw it happen from the outside, but Alex put two and two together that he had killed this woman in her sleep.
Todd: Also, Alex had broke it into the doctor’s office and pulled out the file on Tommy.
And it turned out that there’s a classic newspaper clipping that’s self-proclaimed psychic murders father with a
Craig: photograph of the dead father with bullet holes all throughout his body. I’m glad you remembered. Cause that is very significant, um, in this last scene, but this last scene, you know, it’s all a dream and Tommy has realized from his experience that he can do anything in.
A dream, you know, it’s all subconscious, so he can do whatever he wants. He can be whatever he wants. He can, if he wants to be a Ninja and uses nunchucks in the subway, he can. And, and it’s great. It’s a great scene. I actually read that, that nunchucks scene, which I think is really fun. And actually David, Patrick Kelly studied martial arts.
So he was showing off some of his own skills. It had to be cut in the UK because they had like a ban on nunchucks. Like why
it’s unfortunate. Cause he was really good with the nunchucks.
Todd: Wrong in this word has none shuts also sort of like kind of star Wars, the light Sabrie as well.
Craig: They’re kind of dream glowing. I don’t know it was fun, but like it’s a whole big chase. Like he’s chasing them through different places, different scenes.
And because it’s a dream, they can go through a door in a train car and then ended up in the subway and then open up another door and ended up in some underground layer, like, which is cool. And it is all very surreal and it feels very much like the end of a nightmare on Elm street movie, where they typically end up in some sort of Freddy hellscape, you know what I mean?
That’s what it felt very much.
Todd: And also this contains the one. Seem that I remember more than anything else about this movie that I just completely connected to. And that’s when he there’s like a policeman who comes in and in the dreams like, Hey, what’s going on here? And, uh, Tommy grabs him and displays his fingers, which are now has have blades on the top of each of his fingers, plunges it into this guy’s chest and pulls out a stillbirth.
Now we’ve already been talking about nightmare on Elm street, came out this year for the first time. That’s like an obvious type Freddy type thing. What a coincidence, right? Yeah. And then the second thing that also this year, Indiana Jones and the temple of doom and what happens right in front of Kate Capshaw in that movie too, is a dude gets his heart taken out.
You know, I mean, it’s, it’s crazy. These, these connections right in this movie
Craig: really genuinely seemed to be coincidence, right? It’s, it’s wild, it’s a big showdown and it’s fun, you know, and there are like held dogs and all kinds of crazy things going on there in this big underground place, fire, you know, Mostly reds, you know, in the color scheme.
And Alex is trying to get the president away, but eventually they come to a dead end. Tommy catches up with them, Tommy and Alex fight a little bit. But then Tommy says, I know what you’re really afraid of. And he turns into the snake man, and they fight a little more and he throws Alex a way. He throws him off to the side and Alex is kind of injured.
And then Tommy starts to go for the president behind Tommy’s back. Alex stands up and it’s like, not that he realizes that he can be whatever he wants, but he’s just never done it before. So it takes him a second to kind of figure it out. But he transforms himself into the image of Tommy’s dead father, complete with bullet holes and everything.
And he starts talking to Tommy and Tommy is obviously affected and moved. You know, he’s like, mm. Daddy. If he weren’t such a psychopath, bad guy, you’d feel a little bad for him, but he is. So you don’t and the president stabs him from behind. Everybody wakes up. Well, not everybody, uh, Tommy doesn’t it he’s dead.
Uh, Blair watches him, convulsing die in his bed, but everybody else wakes up and the president comes out to be greeted by Blair. And the president is basically like, I know what you did. And Blair’s like, okay, well, good luck proving to anybody else. Right. They’re just going to say you’re crazy. So whatever.
Um, and it seems like. You know, what are they going to do? And Alex is trying to run away because people are still after him. And he runs into the president and the president, thanks him and offers him protection or whatnot. But Alex is talking to Jane and he’s like, you know, I have to take care of this.
So the next thing we see is Blair walking in what appears to be a government building. I don’t know, some fancy building. He’s walking down this big, Holly comes to an elevator. He pushes the button and the elevator opens and it’s Alex just standing there. And, you know, I guess it depends on where your mind is at the time, but really at this point, I wasn’t sure what was going on.
As it turns out Alex’s entered Blair stream and he kills him
Todd: at a party fake monster or whatever in there and leaps out at them. And then I think the next thing is like, everything’s fine. Um, the girl and the boy are in the train and they’re starting to leave. And at this point, the ticket guy comes into there.
Carriage room. And it’s the same ticket guy that was in that sexy dream that he entered and they kind of look at each other and then go off into the sunset. So is this supposed to be like an implication that maybe that was a little bit of a dream too? I
Craig: don’t know. That always kind of blew my mind as a kid.
Like, because they, they look at each other like, Whoa,
Todd: what is
Craig: it that the same guy from the dream? And then there’s like, ah, whatever, and they start making out and then the camera pans out and it pans out on the train as it’s going away. And then. Score is very pretty and it’s romantic and exciting. And it’s ambiguous.
I liked, I liked the ambiguity of it. Maybe it is a dream. I mean, especially now the Alex knows that he can control the dreams. Why not just go on sexy train rides every day,
Todd: sexual dream tourism. Yeah, that would be, well, this just means down tap. If I had a coupon or
Todd: you prefer Dennis Quaid, uh, to be the one taking care of these. Yeah, definitely. Well, it reminded me a little bit of the end of, uh, the final scene and total recall, you know, it also plays with your mind a little bit like that, you know, it’s very similarly, although this one in a less profound, but just kind of cute way.
I think. Yeah, like we said, I thought the movie was fun and you know, it was dated for sure. In many ways, it’s a little silly and over the top and some of these other ways. Ultimately would be a great movie to be remade. And I’m still kind of surprised that most people don’t really remember this film. I mean, in the internet age, everybody eventually remembers all this obscure stuff.
But up until recently, nobody was talking about this again. You know, we grew up with it, watching it a ton on VHS, but, uh, I never really met anybody
Craig: else who had, and on cable it played on cable a lot, I think. Yeah, we didn’t have it on VHS, but I remember watching it a bunch of times. And so I think that it played like on USA or some of those other cable channels.
So it had a bit of a life. It did, but you’re you’re right. It’s a, I just don’t see people talking about it very often anywhere. I like it. It’s a fun movie. It’s entertaining. It’s fast paced. It’s it’s action. Heavy it’s well acted for what it is. I mean, it’s not, you know, a serious movie, but. Everybody in the movie is very competent.
You’ve got some very, very prestigious actors in here. It is surprising that it’s not better known. I don’t know if movies that came after it were directly inspired by it. Like, like you said, there were other movies that were tackling similar things like going into dreams and stuff, but I read. You know, like a list of several movies that came after it, that seem to have been inspired by one of the ones that stood out to me.
The only one that I can remember is the cell, which is another movie that I think that people don’t talk about very much. It was, uh, Jennifer Lopez was in that movie. We need to do that movie because it’s kind of over, it’s kind of overlooked. And I really liked it. Like I thought it was really good. And it was about the same premise.
Is this movie going into people’s dreams, you know, for therapeutic. Purposes. But anyway, all I’m saying is it does seem to have had some lasting influence. I can’t say for certain that, you know, there’s a direct tie, but people who made those movies that came out later, I can only imagine like us, we’re probably around our age, we’re at least familiar with this movie and maybe there was some influence there overall.
I would recommend it. You know, it it’s PG 13. It was only the second PG 13 movie ever. Um, once that was, uh, established as a rating and it’s got a lot to offer. Yes, there are the horror elements. And I think the horror elements are scary, but it’s also got, you know, like we said, political thriller going stuff, going on, action stuff going on, comedy.
Romance. There’s, there’s really a little bit of everything. And I think that a lot of people could get on board with this, even if they’re not typically mainstream horror
Todd: fans. Yeah. I totally agree with you. It was critically well reviewed. It was a box office success, you know, it made 12 million against a $6 million budget.
It still has a 77% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes. And Roger, he really liked it. So, um, you know, I think this is probably why is because it just spans some genres and does it so well anyway. All right. So coming back to Christopher Plummer, of course, we reviewed this movie because we wanted to pay tribute to him.
This was one of the few horror movies that he was in and he’s good. He’s great.
Craig: He’s got a small role, but he’s good in it. He has such a commanding presence. I believe him a hundred percent as this villainous powerful character. I mean, he’s, he’s great. And you know, I’m not going to pretend to be like a, like a big, you know, Christopher Plummer, Stan, or anything, you know, I like the sound of music.
It’s fine. I like him in that. I loved him and knives out. I thought he was a lot of fun in that. I’ve seen him in other things. He’s a solid actor, a solid performer. I’ve never seen him in anything where I thought, Oh man, that sucked. No, no. I mean, he’s, he’s good. He’s a craftsman. And uh, I’m glad that we are able to pay tribute to him.
Todd: All right. Well, thank you so much for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. You can search for us online. Just look up two guys and a chainsaw podcast and find our website or Facebook page or YouTube channel a subscribe to us there and send us a message. Let us know what you thought of this episode and this movie and let us know what you would like us to review in the future until then I’m Todd with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.
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