Thousands and thousands of films are made every year. And while some of them are destined for Oscar glory and widespread Metacritic acclaim, others wind up scraping the barrel on the IMDB Bottom 100. What makes these films so universally despised? Are they all really that bad? And, seriously, what’s the deal with From Justin to Kelly? We’ll answer all these questions (and hopefully more) with “Scraping the Barrel,” in which we review the ENTIRETY of the bottom 100, in order.
In today’s installment, Ryan Poynter takes a closer look (when he’s able to uncover his eyes) at #92, 2009′s Dream Well.
(Editor Note: We realize the Bottom 100 has changed slightly since we began this series. Our master list was frozen on July 17th.)
Regina, a manufacturer-recalled Barbie lookalike, acts out some Bring It On fanfiction and spends a lot of time in her underwear in this hard-to-find foreign film.
Those Who Shall Be Held Responsible: Written and Directed by Gábor Forgács
IMDB Stats: #92, 2.4 rating
The Straight Dirt:
Dream Well almost doesn’t exist. There’s nothing about it on Netflix, and Googling the title yields only the IMDB page, a lackluster Wikipedia entry, then some neat info on a retired racehorse by the same name and an apparently pretty popular hypnotist in Texas. Not much to go on. Amazon was also no help, but they did offer to sell me a trading card from a Magic: The Gathering collection, 216 ounces of soy milk, and a therapeutic sleep mask based on my search. Then eBay asks me, “Did you mean: ‘dream wall’?” (Because that’s definitely a thing).
Even searching for “Álom.net,” Dream Well’s original Hungarian title, produced only one substantial result: a listing for a sealed copy of the film shipped straight from Hungary for the low, low price of $31.50 USD. Probably a steal for something so rare, if there were any collector’s market for this kind of movie (Spoiler: there isn’t). Imagine a copy of Dream Well showing up for sale in an episode of Pawn Stars.
Eventually, I did manage to find the movie available for stream on some foreign website littered by popup ads that decided to auto-play about once every 30 minutes as I was watching. Considering all it took to get to that point, though, I should probably feel privileged to have even had a chance to watch the film at all.
But I really don’t. I’m not totally sure what I feel, but I know it isn’t that. The version of Dream Well I got to see was voiced entirely in Hungarian with no English subtitles, which means I had to rely on set pieces, visual cues from the actors, and the film’s soundtrack to follow plot progression and figure out how I was supposed to react. This worked out better than I expected it to. Here’s a short synopsis of the movie as best as I could interpret it:
Regina (pronounce the G like in “go”), the film’s leading lady, is a bitchy blonde with an enormous sense of entitlement and an underwear collection she likes to model for her neighbors. She is the captain of her cheerleading team and the most popular girl in her high school until, as fate would have it, she is abruptly transferred across town to a much more conservative rival school despite lots of screaming I couldn’t translate and plenty of awkward fake tears.
As one might expect, Regina immediately becomes an outcast amongst her new classmates, save for one nerdy-but-charming boy who instantly sees past her haughty exterior and falls in love with whatever is beneath it (since I don’t speak Hungarian, all I saw was the underwear).
The rest of the film chronicles her rags-to-riches transformation from private school reject back to cheer captain and homecoming queen. Along the way, Regina manages to somehow win the affections of her teachers, the school’s principal, and (surprise) even Lívia, her dark-haired archenemy and the school’s second-most popular girl — all of whom hate her initially.
In the middle of all that, there’s a shopping montage where all the girls on Regina’s cheering team get haircuts that all look worse than the ones they had before (maybe some kind of hazing ritual?) and a weird go-karting sequence full of dashboard close-up shots and split-screen edits straight out of Speed Racer, except really bad. Finally, the plot reaches its peak near the end during a bumbling squad vs. squad dance-off against Regina’s old cheer team during halftime of the most unconvincing game of basketball I’ve ever seen. This is all backed by a soundtrack from what sounds like a crappy Hungarian Kidz Bop cover band.
Just in case you were thinking of pulling the trigger on that $31.50 copy on eBay, here’s your warning: I’m about to spoil the ending for you. Sorry. The good guys win the game on a last second shot. They celebrate by starting a fist fight between the two teams, which looked to me more like a group of 15 drunk dudes all trying to hug each other without using their arms. Her old cheerleading friends and spiky-haired douche of an ex-boyfriend are all super embarrassed. Regina eventually comes to her senses and decides to love the nerdy guy back. She, her new boyfriend and all her friends cap off the greatest day of their young lives at a magical homecoming dance, where she is voted queen. That’s it. Credits roll, and Dream Well crawls back into the hole I spent far too much time coaxing it out of.
Consensus: There’s a reason it’s so damn hard to find.
Should be IMDB Score: nulla
Couldn’t tell ya…