WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Well, after Good Will Hunting it was time for a bad Robin Williams movie. We went with What Dreams May Come and that might confuse you, because maybe you think it’s a good movie. And while I understand your confusion, I’m sorry to say that What Dreams May Come is not a good movie. It is, in fact, a very, very, very bad movie. This is going to be a long one.

Robin Williams plays Chris, a comically perfect pediatrician. Chris is married to Annie (Annabella Sciorra), who does something vague with an art gallery, and they have two kids, Marie and and Ian.

Also present at Chris and Annie’s meet-cute: terrible wigs.
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After some images of the family being perfect together, which includes a sequence of them squirting water at each other in slow motion, Chris reveals to us that Marie and Ian have been killed, but we get no other details (about 3/4 of the way in, we find out it was a car crash). Four years pass, and as he drives home from work one night during a storm, Chris gets out of his car to help a woman in a car crash. Even though traffic all around him is stopped, Chris turns around and literally sees a car flying through the air toward him. It lands on him and kills him. When he dies, he still interacts with Annie, even possessing her at one point to make her write a note that he still exists, until he’s finally convinced by this blurry image that is obviously Cuba Gooding, Jr. that he probably shouldn’t keep fucking with her because Annie gets increasingly freaked out by her dead husband haunting her. Once Chris quits that, he’s officially in heaven and officially with Cuba Gooding, Jr., who plays Albert, an old friend Chris knew when he was a student. Albert shows him around heaven until he breaks the news that Annie has killed herself and she’s in hell. Even though NO ONE HAS EVER DONE IT, Chris decides to go to hell to bring Annie back up to heaven, and Albert hooks him up with a tracker (Max von Sydow) to help, even though it’s never been done so you would think no one would know what to do in this situation. The tracker helps bring Chris to hell, where he finally finds Annie and after some boring scenes she’s back in heaven with him, they decide to reincarnate themselves as little kids, the end.

HAHA, except I am SO far from done. The movie with only the above plot might be sort of okay. But luckily, there is so much more to What Dreams May Come.

Chris and Annie do not give a shit about their kids and we are given multiple pieces of evidence of this. The first red flag, to me, was that once Chris accepted he was dead and in heaven he didn’t immediately want to see his kids again. One would think that a father who has been grieving the last 4 years of his life would really jump at that kind of opportunity, but nah. But the way he finally does see his daughter should have been enough to make everyone walk out of the theater when they saw this movie.

Chris meets Leona, an Asian woman he doesn’t recognize with a flight attendant name tag. He meets her in her part of heaven, which I guess means she decorated it because it’s never really clear what it means when someone “has” their own heaven, considering it’s obviously connected with everyone else’s heavens. Then it’s revealed that people in heaven can essentially take on whatever form they want, and Leona chose her form because her “daddy” once met an Asian flight attendant named Leona and concluded that Asian women were “the loveliest.” Now, while I was in shock and hoping what I thought was about to happen wasn’t going to happen, Robin Williams is crying. Why? Because in a split second, Leona transforms into Marie and it’s confirmed that Marie decided to disguise herself as a sexy Asian woman because her father thinks Asian women are sexy. WHAT. THE. FUCK. What’s even crazier is that she’s only revealed as Marie for a second, then goes right back to being Leona. So even once Marie tells her dad that she’s his daughter, she still decides to go back to being the lady her dad wants to fuck, and her dad is totally okay with that, and that is totally fucked up.

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Yeah, Leona goes from the above to the below with one camera swipe. And then even once Chris knows who she is, she still goes back to being Leona because, you know, she’s sexy:

Gross.

Ohhhhhhh but did you think that was the only reveal? Haha, as it turns out, Albert is actually Ian because Ian knew Albert was the only one Chris ever listened to. So, let me clarify: Chris’ son, Ian, chose to show himself to Chris for this entire time as Albert, because Ian knew that Chris would not listen to him as Ian, only as Albert. So, that’s kind of fucked up, right? And just like Marie, even though Cuba Gooding, Jr. is standing in front of Chris telling him that he’s his son, they never show him to actually be Ian. Marie at least got a flash of her looking like herself; Ian just gets stuck with being Cuba Gooding, Jr. forever.

Still not giving a shit about their kids, Chris at one point decides he will stay in hell with Annie because he doesn’t think he’ll be able to bring her back. That’s all well and good, but did Chris forget that his kids are in heaven, waiting for him? I understand wanting to be with his wife, but it also seems weird to just blow off your dead, newly-discovered-as-spirits kids. To tie up the whole idea that Chris and Annie don’t give a shit about their kids, in the end, after all of that shit to bring Annie back to heaven, presumably so the family can be together again, Chris and Annie decide to get reincarnated instead, and the movie ends with them meeting again as children. Sooo I guess their kids just get to hang out in heaven without them while they go off and have lives? Because the kids are killed in the beginning of the movie, because Chris doesn’t care about seeing his kids in heaven, because both kids have to hide their identities from Chris, because Chris and Annie leave the kids in the end anyway . . . all lead me to believe that the children function only to make What Dreams May Come sadder. Their roles literally did not add anything else. And one more thing:
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Marie looks like a dude. End of story.

So I’ve already talked about how the first person Chris meets in heaven, Albert, is not actually Albert, but his son, Ian. And the second person Chris meets in heaven, Leona, is not actually Leona but his daughter, Marie. Now, there’s one more person that I’ve mentioned that Chris meets in heaven, and it’s the only other person he meets, so if you’re wondering if maybe the tracker isn’t really the tracker . . . haha, you’re right! The tracker, aka Max von Sydow is not actually the tracker but . . .Albert, the real Albert, Chris’ friend from before. So, in case you’re lost, that means when we see Cuba Gooding Jr., he’s actually Chris’ son, and when we see Max von Sydow, he’s actually Cuba Gooding Jr. WAY TO BE POINTLESSLY AND COMICALLY CONFUSING, MOVIE.

Another big issue with this movie are rules. The afterlife apparently has no rules . . . except when the plot needs rules. See, Albert/Ian tells us that there actually is no judgement in the afterlife, and no rules . . . but oh yeah, we learn later that there’s a hell. So, an afterlife with no judgement and no rules, but it has heaven and hell? If there’s no judgement, what determines who goes where? Which leads me to my next big issue: do only suicides go to hell? Albert/Ian tells us when Annie kills herself she went to hell because everyone who commits suicide goes to hell, because they’ve disrupted some kind of natural order. But since there’s no judgement, does that mean only suicides go to tell? So Annie is in hell with Hitler, while Ted Bundy is in heaven with Chris and his children and it’s only because both Annie and Hitler killed themselves? I’m sorry, but that seems way off. If there’s truly no judgement, then maybe there needs to be some. It severely bothers me that in this afterlife, everyone has this super sweet eternity waiting for them, except for people who have killed themselves and could very well have been suffering the most in life, who get to spend eternity in hell instead. First of all, that sounds like a very Christian view on suicide, second of all, that really fucking sucks. The movie clearly tries to be open to “all” religions (meaning they mention reincarnation a few times) without being squarely Christian, but there is definitely religion involved because one of the first things Chris asks Albert/Ian is “Where’s God?” and Albert/Ian says that he’s around us, which is a very similar answer to what’s told to people on Earth, which should be a red flag in the first place. Why not just make the movie’s afterlife totally absent of religion then? That would make more sense as a whole, but probably would have been too much work while also not being confusing enough for this movie.

It’s a shame how bad and stupid this movie is. I think the concept is really interesting and the book is probably worth reading, as it doesn’t have most of the plot points that the movie has. But What Dreams May Come pretty much exists just to be sad. It doesn’t really say anything else or do anything else. Any legitimate interest comes from the fact that it looks very beautiful. A quick reminder: this movie has a man’s pre-teen daughter transform into a sexy Asian lady because that man thinks Asian women are sexy. His daughter.

Okay, I’m done. Please don’t bother with this movie. You might hear otherwise, but no, What Dreams May Come is shitty.

Christopher (spoilers! but who really gives a shit with this movie)
This movie is terrible and I loved watching every minute of it. I first saw this with my family ten plus years ago and all I remembered about it was how over-the-top sad it was. And how stupid it was that Robin Williams’ kids didn’t look like themselves in heaven. And I watched this when everything scared me, especially death. For these reasons and a few others I was pretty confident that this was the bad Robin Williams movie we should watch to go along with Good Will Hunting and I think we made the right decisions.

This review might upset some because I was reminded about this movie based off what people were saying about Robin Williams’ death and it really surprised me how many people listed What Dreams May Come as their favorite Robin Williams movie . . .is it really? Have you actually seen it since it came out?

The story of this movie is about a perfect family, mother, father, and two kids (boy and girl) and how they all die and some of them end up in heaven. However the biggest thing that stuck out to me, watching this as an adult is how much the parents in this film don’t give a fuck about their kids. It kind of reminded me of the coach in The Blind Side. The parents’ disregard for the kids is so apparent to me it almost seemed like a weird joke?

Robin William dies and goes to heaven. He meets Cuba Gooding, Jr., which is great ‘cause they’re long friends!!! Cuba shows Robin around Robin’s “Heaven” which is one of his wife’s paintings. One day Cuba has to go off on other heavenly business so he sends this Asian bombshell to show Robin some more moves. The Asian lady is so nice to Robin and talks about the way she looks. She says that her DADDY saw that lady on a flight to Hawaii or something and said that Asian women were so beautiful. So when she got to heaven she could finally look like something her father liked . . .a hot Asian lady? So right after she says this Robin immediately knows who she’s talking about (I mean he did masturbate to this woman the night he saw her on that plane) and the Asian lady turns into his daughter. They just smile at each other and are happy that they found each other. Whut? There are so many things wrong with this scene to me. They are just happy but don’t even hug with his daughter as herself? And what the fuck? If you have terrible parent issues in the real world they follow you over into heaven? That’s pretty shitty. So later you find out that Cuba is actually the son and Max von Sydow shows up who is actually Cuba Gooding, Jr.? It gets confusing for no reason and each time it’s a big reveal of who the person actually is. You would think Robin Williams would have just assumed after his daughter showed up looking like someone else, but maybe being dead was too much on his mind.

Robin Williams has to find his wife who killed herself. He has to go into hell to save her which apparently no one has ever done. He goes down to hell, finds her within minutes, and it becomes apparent that she’s too crazy. Robin Williams then decides he should just stay with her. He does not worry about being with both his kids in heaven. He would rather go crazy and be with his wife in hell than spend another moment with those meddling kids. However the wife realizes who Robin is and is cured enough to escape and ascend into heaven. At this point all the kids show up to see their mom. The kids look like themselves, finally. I love this part because it makes it seem like they only had a problem with their dad and not their mom. Their whole family is there happy to spend eternity in heaven!!!! Although Robin and Annabella decide that they want to live life again and go get reincarnated as children and leave their kids behind in heaven. THE END.

This movie has a lot more wrong with it but all the drama around the kids is easily the highlight to me. This movie is really not good and if you say you love it but haven’t seen it since it came out, I would recommend checking it out again.

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2 thoughts on “WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998)

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