Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I love dreams. I have always had weird, cool, crazy, memorable dreams and the ones of the past few days got me thinking about movie and book dream sequences. I tend to have issues with fiction's dreams, as they never seem anything like real life dreams. Dreams, particularly in books, always seem to have Import with a capital I. In fiction, dreams seem mostly contrived to further the plot. Dreams seem to always mean something. Characters follow dream portents to reach goals in their fictionalized lives. My dreams may be pretty darned awesome, but they've never led me on a quest or given me any great truths about life. Unfortunately. :-D I have gotten story ideas out of some of them, but that's the extent of it. And all those fictional dreams-with-meaning miss out on the sheer wild beauty of the reality of dreams.

Once upon a time, I read some article on one theory that dreams were simply the brain's way of clearing out the mental trash. A mental garbage dump, so to speak. That stuck with me as it always seemed to fit a little better than theories trying to give real meaning to dreams. I mean, if you look hard enough, you can assign meaning to just about anything. I prefer thinking my dreams are simply the product of my brain cleaning house at the end of the day. I also have my own pet fictional theory on dreams that I've been trying to turn into a novella but have yet to find the right story to go with the idea. One of these days!

I was trying to think of movie dream sequences and couldn't really come up with many, though I know there's really a lot out there. Most just don't stick in my head, because, again, they're not representative of the dreams I have. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are in Murder, My Sweet, though it's drug-induced, so I'm not sure it quite counts. The Marrying Kind has a really funny one that I rather like because it does display some of the sheer randomness of dreams. And I loved Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World. I always wanted one of those dream recording devices!

But probably my favorite dream sequence of all is from Vertigo. Now, that one, to me, hits everything right. It's got the right sense of disconnect, hits some of the things that are bothering Jimmy Stewart's character at that time but doesn't try to make sense of them or Scotty, it just is. Add in Bernard Hermann's score and that makes it truly nightmarish.


  1. I used to keep a pen and pad of paper at my bedside so that I could write down my dreams. The problem was I never went back to sleep - but I usually had some interesting story ideas when I woke up :0

  2. I used to do that too, keep a notebook handy for the real cool ones, because if I didn't jot them down immediately, most of them would fade so darned fast I'd only have pieces left later.

  3. I used to do that too (the notebook by the bed thing), and my best novel actually came from a dream. :)

    I always have vivid, memorable ones too...maybe writers are actually just better dreamers than everybody else. ;)

    VERTIGO -- any time that movie's on, I always think, "Gee, I hope I haven't missed the dream sequence yet..."

    That's where it really gets good, anyway. :)