Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dreamer (1979)


This sports drama features one of the most undercooked scripts in a genre known for undercooked scripts, to the point that easily half a dozen significant subplots are introduced and abandoned with no explanation or resolution. So, if you’re looking for a movie with satisfying storytelling, move along. That said, there are minor consolations: With the roguishly charming Tim Matheson playing one of his few leads and reliable character actor Jack Warden providing support, Dreamer explores the world of high-stakes bowling, which has not been the subject of many feature films. So theres that. Matheson, fresh off his supporting turn in Animal House (1978), stars as Dreamer (yes, everyone in the movie really calls him by that name), a promising amateur trying to get into the Professional Bowlers Association. He works as a jack-of-all-trades in a small-town bowling alley, he’s involved in a tempestuous romantic relationship with Karen (Susan Blakely), and he has a loving father figure in Harry (Warden), a man who once dreamed of becoming a pro but now focuses on training his protégé. Given this set-up, you know the drill: Dreamer fights to get taken seriously by the PBA, Dreamer works through his relationship with Karen, and Dreamer overcomes personal hardship to win the big game. Dreamer is so lightweight that it nearly evaporates, but the actors are watchable; Matheson goes for a cocksure/vulnerable balance, though it’s hard to understand why his character is so angsty, and Warden provides gravitas, though the climax of his character’s storyline makes very little sense. As for Blakeley, she’s a bit on the whiny side, and promising supporting characters played by Matt Clark, Richard B. Shull, and Barbara Stuart are wasted. Inexplicably, the movie features its overly emphatic theme song three times; for most viewers, soft-rock band Pablo Cruise’s tune “Reach for the Top” will wear out its welcome the first time. The same, sadly, can be said of Dreamer, though watching the movie is tolerable if one has affinity for the leading actors.

Dreamer: LAME

1 comment:

Hal Horn said...

Also notable as one of the very few film appearances for 1975 Playboy Playmate Azizi Johari, playing a pool hustler. Worth catching for her five minutes on film (she's stunning, as always) but Warden is completely wasted.