‘Dream Scenario’ Review – A24 Continues To Sniff Its Own Farts In Latest Nicolas Cage Flick
If there’s one film studio that’s become my mortal enemy over the last few years, it’s A24 — producing a lot of pretentious snuff films such as Everything Everywhere All at Once, Bodies Bodies Bodies and, perhaps the worst film ever made, Dicks: the Musical. That leads us to Dream Scenario — our latest ‘black comedy’ from A24.
While films such as Hereditary and Uncut Gems certainly deserve to be on those years’ Top 10 lists more recently, those two are the exception and not the norm.
Dream Scenario, believe it or not, is the sixth Nicolas Cage film to be released in 2023. In this film, he plays a schlubby, mild-mannered biology professor named Paul Matthews; a typical balding beta male who barely has a loving relationship with his wife, and gets even less respect from his kids.
A weird phenomenon happens throughout the entire world, where everyone seemingly has Paul showing up in their dreams. With no explanation for this phenomenon, Paul essentially becomes a worldwide celebrity — garnering attention and fame, seemingly out of nowhere, for doing mostly nothing.
However, as Paul tries to turn his newfound fame into a venture for his latest book, the world slowly turns on him when his dream version seemingly begins attacking and killing people a la Freddy Krueger. A once loved figure is suddenly public enemy number one, through no fault of his own, Paul now has to deal with the ups and the downs of newfound fame; one that makes him the hero and villain simultaneously.
Hollywood has released a lot of films over the last several years which they labeled ‘satire.’ The problem is Hollywood’s idea of satire are usually the smuggest and most pretentious films of the entire year. The fatal flaw of this whole thing is that Hollywood believes that they’re in a position, in and of themselves, to even make a commentary about anything, especially on the topic of what’s morally wrong with society.
So what you have here is a film that works on two planes. The first one is the film that tries to speak on the downfall and the dangers of fame in today’s society. The second one has a more political bent about our political enemies, essentially coming up with their own enemies in their mind.
Dream Scenario gets off to a good start by creating a mystery around what is actually happening around our protagonist. Nicolas Cage plays a man who’s basically a ghost to his own family, so it’s understandable why he would be so desperate for fame and affection, especially when it comes from the whole world. However, in 2023, to believe that this film is somehow going to open the doors and exposing the dangers of fame is a little ridiculous.
Hollywood always finds a way of talking about current day hypersensitivity, online culture, and cancel culture without somehow managing to find a way to exalt themselves from any of the blame of how we got to this situation in the first place.
As Nicolas Cage becomes its avatar for just how hypersensitive Americans can be, Hollywood would never look in the mirror and realize they’re part of the reason why we live in a hyper sensitive culture today. Dream Scenario gets even more ridiculous when it tries to point the finger at right-wing ‘conspiracy theorists’ like Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, and tries to blame them for the social trend of finding enemies that only exist in people’s heads.
While pointing their finger at others, Hollywood proceeds to pat itself on the back by bringing ‘awareness’ to issues of racism, misogyny, and LGBTQ issues as well as shining a light at enemies that only exist within the Hollywood bubble.
Dream Scenario is a textbook example of a film that is going to be loved by critics, but pretty much hated by everyone else. A movie that gets off to a good start, but then fumbles its way through the second half mostly due to the fact that A24 films have become the cinematic equivalent of smelling your own farts.