Sunday, 4 July 2010


“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.” - Benjamin Franklin

We watched a really trashy movie at the weekend and I can’t make up my mind whether it was a complete waste of time or whether we were entertained. I’d be inclined to say the former… The film was the 2003 Lawrence Kasdan adaptation of Stephen King’s “Dreamcatcher”. If you know nothing about this book or movie, it is an odd bird, part thriller, part sci-fi, part fantasy, part drama, part I-don’t-know-what. Although the production values are typically Hollywood and one can see that a lot of money was spent on the movie, the basic storyline is bilge that has been trawled up from the depths of bathos.

The title relates to the Ojibway American Indian tradition, who would tie sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame and hang this “dreamcatcher” as a charm to protect sleeping children from nightmares. Their legend relates that the bad dreams will get caught in the web, while good dreams will pass through it. Traditionally, Native American dreamcatchers are small (only a few centimetres across) and made of bent wood and sinew string with a feather hanging from the netting. Nowadays, they are made larger, with sturdier string and more decorations, obviously meant to last longer and appeal to the market.

The significance of the dreamcatcher in the film is obscure but trust me, that is not the only thing that is obscure. There is much pop culture and urban myth wound up in the plot but also lots of contemporary (colourful) language and the recurrent SSDD acronym that (innocent me) had to look up (not having read the novel). The acronym sets the tone for the movie and stands for “Same Shit Different Day”. Wow, that’s deep!

The plot centres on four childhood friends, Jonesy, Pete, Beaver and Henry who are now grown up and have kept close because of a special power they share – they can read minds. Once a year, they go on a hunting trip to the Jefferson Tract in winter. They find a sick man wandering through the forest in the middle of a blizzard. The man has red marks on his face and a bloated belly. And then the aliens come in! The man is harbouring an alien life form in his innards. A paramilitary force led by a slightly crazy veteran soldier (Morgan Freeman! How did he ever sign up for this movie) attempts to quarantine the area. It runs out that this commander has long experience with alien invasions and will stop at nothing to destroy the aliens (even kill a few hundred or thousands of civilians if he must). The four friends have to stop the aliens and the mad commander before they die themselves. Oh, and there is Duddits who is an intellectually disabled child with special powers who has a special bond with the four friends. Will they save the world and destroy the aliens? You have three guesses!

The alien life forms are quite horrid things with a complex life-cycle, but they are egg laying and go through a nasty larval phase with the adult forms not looking terribly beautiful either. This is a B grade (maybe F grade?) movie, which we nevertheless watched to the end. However, it left a bad aftertaste in ones mouth and yes, it was a bit of a waste of time. Watch only if you are really desperate…


  1. It has been playing on cable TV recently, and, yes, I was desperate for a time suck, I guess. SSDD could apply to much TV programming, couldn't it?

    I went through a period of reading several King novels and found that few of them have been successfully converted to film.

    Seeing a film review on Monday opens my yahoo memory bin. Good to see you continue your prolific journaling. Always a good read.

  2. Good to see you on Blogger, Cris! There are a few Yahoo 360 people around, although they are not blogging much.
    Thank you for your comment and hoppe to see you around here now and then!

  3. Oh yes, I hated this film when I saw it and woulnt recommend it for anybody to see!!!

  4. Sounds like one to avoid...

  5. ooooooh come on i looooove this movie