Perchance To Dream
THERAPIST: Would you like to talk about why you’re feeling so guilty, Ms. Tucker?
ME: It won’t be easy, Doctor, but here goes. I was dreaming about Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, my favorite movie about obsession, when my husband nudged me and said, “Open your eyes.”
THERAPIST: Why did he want you to wake up?
ME: Well, that’s part of the problem. We were in a movie theater, and I was supposed to be paying attention to Vanilla Sky, a thriller starring Tom Cruise.
THERAPIST: You closed your eyes on Tom Cruise?
ME: I realize that’s a “no-no,” but my dream was so much better than his new film. And I found it painful to watch him overact in practically every scene.
THERAPIST: What did he do that caused such a negative reaction?
ME: I think it started with those fake smiles during the first part of the movie. He grins so broadly at everyone, I thought his face would crack. Ironically, that comes later. He plays a wealthy businessman who becomes paranoid after losing his good looks in an auto accident.
THERAPIST: And the smiling stopped then?
ME: Yes. But that’s when he started mumbling through a latex mask.
THERAPIST: Didn’t you find the film intriguing despite Mr. Cruise’s acting problems?
ME: I wanted to. You know how much I usually enjoy thrillers, and I had high expectations for this remake of Abres los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). But it was a jumbled mess. Too many dream sequences and too much repetition annoyed me. I may be curious about life-extension, psychology, and cryogenics --- some of the ideas here, but I prefer them presented more rationally.
THERAPIST: I sense you’re avoiding a more serious problem. Shouldn’t we be doing some work on your “Penelope Cruz “ phobia?
ME: Do we have to? She probably had to be in this movie. After all, she also starred in the Spanish version.
THERAPIST: Good point. But I wonder if her co-starring role in Vanilla Sky might be the real reason your subconscious objected to this film.
ME: Maybe you’re right, Doc. Only I can’t blame my subconscious entirely. I just don’t understand how such an uncharismatic actress gets so many movie assignments. This year I’ve seen her in Blow, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and now she’s Tom Cruise’s love obsession in Vanilla Sky (in real life, too, I’ve heard). As a film critic, I can’t avoid her. I need help.
THERAPIST: Here’s a tip. Think of something she does well.
ME: I’ll try. Umm. Okay, she can dance. Maybe I’d like her in a musical.
THERAPIST: That’s a start. Now, what else is bothering you about Vanilla Sky?
ME: All that dream stuff, and the stupid ending.
THERAPIST: But “dream stuff” has great dramatic and psychological potential, don’t you agree?
ME: Yes, I know. I remember how well the dream world came across in films like Spellbound and The Wizard of Oz. And sometimes my dreams frighten me because they’re so real. Still, in Vanilla Sky the whole thing becomes quite tiresome.
MR. TUCKER: Hey, Sleepyhead. Time to wake up. Your breakfast is getting cold.
ME: I can’t believe this! Another stupid ending.
(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated “R” for sexuality and strong language.)