I went to see "Inception" the other night, and dozed off. My nap was brief, so I never got to my REM sleep and missed the chance to see if, in that environment, my dreams would become more interesting than usual. Among the many questions I was trying to answer when I did wake up and finish watching the movie, the biggest one was this: Who has dreams like that?
I know from reading People magazine that Hollywood stars and creative types are different than we are. They live life in a different way, on a higher (or lower) plane, don't worry about money like we do or clip coupons to do their grocery shopping, or wonder if they'll have enough money to make the mortgage payment or send their kid to college.
But my dreams don't even come close to the grandiosity of those on the big screen the other night. I don't worry that the streets of Paris are going to fold up and make a sandwich of my Citroen. Or that I'll be stuck on the frozen tundra in a camouflage jumpsuit that perfectly matches the snowy scenery, being shot at by gunmen similarly dressed who are out to get me. Or that I will be walking through a history of my life, with all the grand homes and apartments I've lived in partially submerged, Katrina-style, on some watery Main Street that looks like a cross between Venice and Versailles.
Sadly my dreams usually center on something I forgot to do, or am afraid I won't do very well. I forgot to lock the door, or turn off the iron. I've been reading a bit about dreams after seeing this film and have learned that there are dream groups, like book clubs, where people get together to discuss or reveal their dreams. If Christopher Nolan showed up one week, I'm sure he'd have the floor, and that would be it.
Boy, that guy's got some imagination and I'm totally impressed. Even if I had the 160 million it took to make the movie, I don't think I could have come up with a fraction of the stuff he put together on the screen. But oddly, for me, I found myself spending so much time trying to figure out what the heck was going on, or how in the world he did it, that I didn't really care at all about the characters. While watching Joseph Gordon Levitt floating handsomely through rooms and hallways, I kept trying to count just how many people he had tied together and how it must have felt to float like that. And was he ready for a space flight now?
A recent LAT column by Patrick Goldstein posited that there are two camps on either side of "Inception." The older generation doesn't get it. The younger generation, the ones who love video games, loves it.
But in the end, if I don't find some small moment to cry about in a movie — a touch, a look, a memory — the experience falls short. I love the movies, but I have to feel something. As my kids love to say; "Mom cries at the trailers." I emerged totally tearless when "Inception" was over. My friend said she'd like to see it again to try to understand it better. Me, I came home and put "Love, Actually," on the TV and had a good cry.
Ah, that felt good.