Your Subconscious’s latest dream, Your Teeth Are Falling Out (premiering Sunday night, set for re-broadcast next week), is yet another in a long line of clichéd and unimaginative efforts from a director prone to surreal, silly misfires such as You’re Back in High School Again and You’ve Shown up to Work Naked.
In Teeth, like much of Your Subconscious’s catalog, the viewer rightly has the impression that he or she has seen this before, and chances are the viewer will see this drivel again one night soon. These dreams strive for some deep metaphorical meaning–for example, when your teeth are falling out, Your Subconscious is trying to say that this isn’t really about teeth at all. But that deeper meaning is only a sideshow, because what makes Teeth memorable, if anything at all, is cheap, visceral thrills.
It’s all the more insulting that Your Subconscious favors action over plot, yet still tries to portray its work as being intellectual. In Someone Is Chasing You, we are watching a dream about a stalker chasing you through the streets, yet Your Subconscious wants it to be a metaphor for shirking parental responsibility. It’s as if you are watching Friday the 13th touting itself as Hitchcockian. Your Subconscious, even at its most effective, is more Texas Chainsaw Massacre than it is Psycho.
Poor direction and dreadful production standards drag down any hope for clarity in Your Subconscious’s catalog. In Teeth, the character of your wife laughs nonchalantly at your concerns over your teeth falling out. In real life, your wife is a caring, sympathetic individual who pushes you to go to the doctor even when you don’t want to. In the dream, she not only lacks sympathy, but is also inexplicably annoyed by your panic.
The fact that she would be laughing doesn’t jump out at you as being wrong while you’re seeing it, but in retrospect that aspect rings terribly false. The acting performance of your wife is spot on in that it looks just like her, but the acting is more an imitation than an embodiment, and aspects of the character are so over the top that you might think you are watching the love child of John Lithgow and Jim Carrey after graduating from the Nicholas Cage School of Subtlety.
Then there’s the confusing set design. In Teeth, you are in your house, but it is not what your house looks like in real life. Parts of the house seem to change, such as in one scene where a door is there one second, then gone the next. Your Subconscious shows a clock, but each time you see the clock, the time has changed.
The storylines of most of Subconscious’s efforts have gaping plot holes that are never resolved.
In one of Your Subconscious’s most famous efforts, You Have a Report Due in Three Hours but Haven’t Done It Yet, you are in the office on a Sunday. Your grandfather shows up in several dreams, even though he has been dead for years. Your Subconscious is so overconfident in its own poignancy and relevance that it doesn’t waste time with a lot of explanation or exposition. The end result is a lack of any real narrative and an often-forgettable product.
Your Subconscious certainly has its apologists, with many viewers touting its work as thrilling or interesting. But most of the time, when you explain the plot of the dreams to people, the quality of the work is quickly exposed.
Oftentimes, you don’t even remember the dream you have just seen the previous night, although, in fairness, pieces of the more forgettable dreams slip back into your memory when something triggers it. The people you tell of your dream are always visibly bored. You may find that though there seems to be a plotline in your head, when discussing the plot aloud, the cohesive narrative comes unglued.
At Your Subconscious’s worst, it is a bearded, tight-jeaned Williamsburg hipster making some French arthouse wannabe film. The cinematography of the untitled dream I call Artique is some of Your Subconscious’s best: quiet, dark and almost colorless.
The plot involves you at an amusement park getting into an argument with the Ferris wheel operator, who later transmorphs inexplicably into your old friend Murph. Then, you are with your ex-girlfriend. Something happens that you don’t remember, and the dream concludes with you running away from a group of people alongside your college roommate. You have a pillow and a jacket in your hands. Next thing you know, your roommate is on an ATV. He reaches out but is only able to grab the jacket before he speeds away and leaves you running alone.
In Artique, there are too, too many plotlines and no unified narrative. And the ex-girlfriend is thrown in as a Hollywood-style romantic subplot which never develops into anything of substance. A lack of substance, when all is said and done, is the only aspect that links all of Your Subconscious’s lackluster catalog.
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