Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review- Running On Empty Dreams (DVD)

Running On Empty Dreams (DVD)
May 12, 2009

Sydney has played the part of a devoted wife to her husband for years, but her world is shattered when she meets Jane and is instantly attracted to her. She is quickly overwhelmed with the intensity of her love for Jane and the lustful passion that they share. Now Sydney is faced with a choice between the forbidden love that she craves and the undying love of her husband.

I have three words for how I experienced this film. What The Fuck. Seriously, WTF was that? This has to be thee worst film I’ve seen in years: bad acting, totally disjointed story line with all kinds of conflicting issues, plus weird social/political/ religious statements thrown in. There were some good points, but they don’t make up for the train wreck that was most of this film, which is too bad since it could have been really good.

This is going to be a long review, sorry. Basically I’m telling you the whole story since it was all over the place.

It starts out with Sydney and her husband Corey moving to Phoenix, Arizona for a better life. Apparently he will now be able to stay home instead of traveling for his job as a private investigator for a huge firm. Unfortunately, Sydney's been having hand tremors and when she finally collapses, it’s discovered that she has thyroid cancer, a perfectly treatable cancer except for they have NO money. And for some reason the Dr. who tells her this is the coldest prick out there, telling her matter-of-factly that she has to come up with the money or she’ll die, which I didn’t get. Why would she even go back to that turd?

Seriously… I don’t even know where to continue on this review because at this point I find myself wondering what to focus on. This movie was all over the place.

Right away we see that there’s trouble in their marriage that moving and making more money won’t fix. Corey was a marine, a decorated marine, a hero. He’s missing the glory days of that and is constantly looking for constant ego validation that he’s still a hero, and part of that is being able to provide for his family. That sounds great, but he’s wound up a little too tight if you know what I mean and I feared at every turn he would go postal on everyone’s ass.

It doesn’t help that Sydney bitches that he’s never home. But in order to have the money they need, he needs to travel for his job. It's a no-win situation. Unfortunately, for him it’s all about him and Sydney’s dreams of becoming a screenwriter are treated as trivial. Oh and he talks to her like this, “Sydney, you’re going to die, of course I’m thinking of what a waste it is for you to dream about being a writer.” WTF?! To say Sydney’s unhappy is an understatement.

In the meantime, Sydney hooks up with the single mom (Jane) who lives across the street and who’s guy is in jail, to do play dates with their kids. The dialogue between the two is stilted and weird, with Jane saying things like, “you’re not like anyone I know” with her eyes sort of saying, like you know, special….and other weird things that seemed out of place. They carry on a typical platonic girlfriend relationship for a while.

Meanwhile, Sydney and Corey are fighting non-stop. But Sydney does get her cancer taken care of and has to take thyroid medication for the rest of her life now, something she balks and acts incredulous about. WTF?

One day, out of the blue with no lead up, no warning, no close ups of lingering eyes or desires or any indication of Sydney’s growing feelings, without any connection really, she runs over to Jane’s all anxious and bursts out that she’s wanted to kiss her from day one and that she’s going insane with want of her. Jane’s all mellow hippie, Arizona sunshine on the surface, “oh wow, oh cool, like really?”Not shocked at all, but not biting either.

Out of nowhere though comes the classic stereotypical butch lesbian walking by who happens to give an ominous warning to Sydney that she’ll be sorry. This before Sydney and Jane even fully get it on.

Being lonely because Corey is away again, Sydney hangs out with Jane over night and things happen. Like they go for it. After that Sydney goes to the priest to confess that she’s committed adultery. The priest says he can’t help her. WTF? She needs to go to a counselor. She goes home, smashes the bathroom mirror with over acting emo angst, then decides to stop taking her thyroid pills, which will kill her. WTF?

Onto the next WTF? This lesbian shows up again when Sydney and Jane are outside talking about their love, warning them again that they are on the wrong path. When Sydney tells this lesbian---- who’s always dressed like a guy, head band on, sporting tattoos, grabbing her crotch, smoking and talking like John Travolta in Welcome Back Kotter---- to blow it out her ass, this lesbian goes all emo on them, talking tough… “yeah, I’ve fucked women, lots of bitches, I know what it’s all about. I had one, (inhales smoke) but she broke my heart, left my ass, then I found Jesus. He’s the man. He’s the one I give my heart and love to.” OK, W.T.F? All the sudden religion is brought into this? And it just happens to be a lesbian who, “god no, I’d never be with a disgusting man, but I chose to give my life to Jesus,” who gets all judgmental on them? Then she gives Sydney a card to come to church with her to see what a bad, evil thing she’s doing and Sydney goes, “OK.” While Jane laughs it off. WTF?

Sydney goes to this church, which has a congregation of like 2 people, with a female preacher who talks about when you follow God’s plan, you are doing right. Sydney then argues with the lesbian all the way home about what bullshit the church is and how can what she's feeling be so wrong?

So was that whole thing thrown in there to give someone a chance to diss the church’s stance on homosexuality? I tell you, I was getting so many mixed messages from this film. At that point I was starting to feel like this was a thinly disguised homophobic film even though it was about two women falling in love.

In the meantime, Corey is alternately smashing things and or sitting on a pile of steaming rage with controlled stares at the wall because HIS wife left him. He goes over to Jane’s trying to find her, but Jane, twat that she is, laughs in his face and tells him he’s an idiot. OK, first of all, the guy’s about to blow shit up and you’re egging him on? WTF?

Sydney moves in with Jane and they have a nice relationship for about a week. Then Sydney says she got an offer on her script and she needs to go to Sedona, alone, to write this script.

Spoiler about the ending**********************

I’m going to tell you the ending because I can’t imagine anyone would spend a dime or two minutes to watch this film. Sydney goes to Sedona and we see clips of her hanging out, being in nature, happy, content, and then the next thing she’s in a coffin dead. OK, W. T. F! Apparently she never took her pills again and chose to die instead, leaving all her insurance to her husband and kid. OMG.

Then at the funeral, the husband makes a huge scene when Jane shows up. But Jane tells the husband that it was her who saved Sydney that first night when she collapsed on the road, but didn’t say anything because she wanted Sydney to love her without feeling debt. What? OK, so all along Jane was seducing Sydney? She didn’t even know Sydney. Ugh… this movie pissed me off so much at how stupid it was.

End Spoiler***********************

I just didn’t get what this film was trying to say. You supporting gay love? You dissing it?

This is what was shown at the end of the film:

“It’s estimated that 18% - 35% of lesbians in the US were ever married, based on several research studies” –Amity Pierce Buxton, PhD, founder of Straight Spouse Network

“Which are you?”

What? Which am I what? A cheating spouse who’s become a lesbian? A straight chick who’s become a lesbian? A divorced woman who’s now a lesbian? A spouse of a turned gay person?That’s such a weird thing to have at the end of a film. It makes me feel like there’s something subversive going on.

I checked out this site, yes, it does exist, and it’s a group to support spouses and partners of people who “turn” gay or are bisexual and it seems to be pro GLBT in that they don’t advocate trying to change the GLBT partner who has come out. But it’s just weird to see that at the end of a film that sends out mixed messages about the rightness or wrongness of suddenly falling in love with someone of the same sex while being married.

The good parts. Yes there were some good parts. I thought how the women were together was very nice. Very natural once they got together. And it did feel real. If only the acting weren’t so melodramatic or disjointed, this could have been a beautiful film about two women who fall in love. Oh well.

I can’t recommend this film to anyone. Not unless you get off on train wrecks of awfulness.

Heat level: 2. Some nudity, some lesbian kissing.

Grade: D-


Cathy in AK said...

I hope you only rented this one and didn't buy it : P

It sounds like either someone was trying to be somewhat artsy to make some sort of point, whatever it was, or lots and lots of stuff got left on the cutting room floor.

Thanks for the warning.

LVLM(Leah) said...

Cathy-- you know what's weird? I checked Youtube because I thought if there was a clip of the best part, then I'd post it.

There were a few trailers. I clicked one that apparently had been used to get more financial backing or something, and there were scenes in it that didn't make it in the movie. But those few scenes were far better.

So whomever edited this film missed the mark.

And it was just lousy acting. I've not seen cheesy acting like that in a long time.

But I think you are right, the director/writer was trying for something more poignant I'm sure.

Cathy in AK said...

I can forgive cheesy acting if the story and characters are interesting. This sounds like the trifecta of bad: confusing/implausible plot, characters you want to shove in front of a bus, and cheesy acting.

Phoebe said...

Hi I just finished watching the film. I know you watched it a year ago, you probably forgot the rage already, lol. I just want to say, that I totally agree with your review. plus I don't get why they get so violent all the time. And the continuity/ a serious scene is shown, and then they are all happy and giddy together in the next scene. the scoring sucks too.

LVLM(Leah) said...

Phoebe- I remember. LOL It was that bad. Glad though that I wasn't the only one who thought so. There are so many good films portraying lesbian love. Too bad this one missed.