Dream with the Fishes

Bomb Rating: 

Given that this is a convention-defying independent film,it ends with the requisite cathartic ritual.

Independent filmmakers are always gushing like mob victims with sliced carotids about how "real-life" they are. Hollywood, they whine, is just fantasy and explosions and special effects; to see "real-life," you need to watch independent films. While the assessment of Hollywood as a cesspool of cheap carnival thrills may indeed be accurate, the independents' claim to have cornered the market on reality is just another form of B.S.

If Forrest Gump or Ian Malcolm is the mainstream everyman then Terry (David Arquette), a voyeur who's about to jump off a bridge, is your run-of-the-mill struggling artist. During his pre-suicide ritual, Terry meets Nick (Brad Hunt). Nick convinces him there are better, more effective ways to die. Nick is revealed to be sick and the two strike a bargain: If Terry helps Nick live out some of his fantasies, Nick will kill Terry. What realism!

In an attempt to imply a sense of subversion and realism, director Finn Taylor sets his movie in San Francisco instead of Los Angeles. While the distinction between the two is supposed to mean something to Californians, the rest of us will tell you that if you've met one Californian you've pretty much met them all. Californians and reality go together like Charles Manson and cuddling.

Given that this is a convention-defying independent film, it ends with the requisite cathartic ritual in which Terry and Nick learn lots of stuff about life. In the end, though, I gained little more than the same treacly platitudes I gleaned from watching "The Brady Bunch" when I was a kid.

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