Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Question for the Week of Jan 21-27: Favorite Dream Sequence

What's your favorite dream sequence in a film?
The dream sequence is a favorite tool of film-makers. On the one hand, you can make impossible things happen, kill characters, and break most every rule of traditional narrative and dialogue. Often these moments are used to scare the audience, or to have the dreaming character realize something...

I wish I could be more sophisticated about this. I wish I could go with the dreams that Salvador Dali designed for Hitchcock's Spellbound. The dreams in Coen films like Raising Arizona or The Hudsucker Proxy. Or the horrifying vision of bike destruction in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Or even more obvious recent options, like Inception or Dreamscape. Huge swaths of each take place in the mind.

Or I could stick with my horror leanings and note some dream sequence from at least 3 entries in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. Those would work great, right?

But no, I have to say that the scene from 1985's Fletch still takes the top spot for me. It's funny, appropriately absurd, fits the character, and it's beautifully brief, like the best humor:


  1. I'm a big fan of the dream sequence in Vertigo:


    But, while it might be sacrilege, I think my favorite use of dream sequences belongs to the Season 2 Finale of the Sopranos:


    In those sequences, we see Tony confronted with a problem--who's the informer in his organization? The dreams show us that Tony already knows the answer, something his subconscious tries to tell him in ways that are subtle, then increasingly not subtle.

  2. Nothing is coming to mind that would top that, I'm afraid. It truly defines grace under pressure.

  3. Nice one, DJ! Yes, Vertigo does have a fine dream sequence, even if I prefer the one in Spellbound. I do remember that Sopranos episode - I stopped watching maybe partway through the following season - and while it was fine, it's still TV, so it can't come into play here. It was, however, an exceptional use of dreams and was beautifully-incorporated into the plot...

    I agree, Dylan! It grabs the opponent by the forearm, then bites down hard!


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