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Dreamscape (1984)

Dreamscape (1984)Watch the trailer!

Our second episode in our pairing looking at 80s mind-based science fiction moves ahead one year to 1984 and, this time, focuses on the subconscious and unconscious mind in director Joseph Ruben's sci-fi/political thriller/romance film "Dreamscape!" Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a talented psychic whose abilities include telepathy, telekinesis, and precognition. After disappearing as a teenager, he's sought out by one-time mentor Doctor Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) to work with him again, this time on a new technology that allows a psychic to project their consciousness into another person's dreams! After being essentially kidnapped and brought to the location of the project, he meets Dr. Novotny's associate Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw) as well as his government "handler" Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer). Once Alex agrees to join the project, he also meets Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly), the current lead psychic and the most successful dream-walker. As Alex learns how to enter other people's dreams, Tommy Ray is learning to finer points of dream manipulation, resulting in a showdown between the Novotny-Gardner side and the Blair-Glatman side, and a battle for control of the project takes place in the subconscious of none other than the President of the United States (Eddie Albert)! Plus, Buddy reveals which two Chinese action-dramas the trio are reviewing next!

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Brainstorm (1983)

Brainstorm (1983)Watch the trailer!

It's back to the 80s we go, with a pairing Buddy nicknamed "MindFi," which translates to mind-based science fiction! First up, what if you could not only share all five senses of an experience with someone else, but you could record it and play it back at your leisure, feeling everything the original "experiencer" felt? That's the topic of our first film, directed by special effects genius Douglas Trumball, 1983's "Brainstorm!" Starring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood (in her last big-screen role before her untimely death) as Michael and Karen Brace, a couple in the process of separating. The cause of their marital rift is the amount of time Michael has spent working on a project codenamed "Brainstorm" with project lead scientist Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher), but they've finally had a breakthrough: They can record all five human senses while a subject experiences something, and when it's played back for someone else, they experience it as if they had originally gone through the event! Cheered on by their boss, Alex Terson (Cliff Robertson), they begin experimenting with various experiences, including sexual ones, to see exactly what this technology is capable of. But when one of the team splices a particular experience into a loop, they see that there's a danger as well, and then when another records the moment of their death... things quickly steamroll into a battle between the scientists and the military as to who will control the tech! Also featuring Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, and Joe Dorsey in strong supporting roles!

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Shattered Glass (2003)

Shattered Glass (2003)Watch the trailer!

Week two of our focus on real-life scandals brings us forward to the 1990s and the lengths one young writer will go to in order to be seen as successful by his peers. In 2003's "Shattered Glass," director Billy Ray brings us the story of Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen), the youngest write on-staff at the New Republic magazine. The editor of the magazine, Michael Kelly (Hank Azaria), is loved by everyone on-staff, but his constant head-butting with the owner Marty Peretz (Ted Kotcheff) sees him let go, replaced by Charles 'Chuck' Lane (Peter Sarsgaard), who Stephen views as a rival. After reporters for Forbes Adam Penenberg (Steve Zahn) and Andy Fox (Rosario Dawson) do a follow-up on one of Stephen's stories, 'Hack Heaven." After discovering that they can confirm no facts, locations, persons, or companies mentioned in the article, they contact the New Republic and begin a series of meetings that ultimately result in the revelation that Glass has been fabricating story after story for years, something that, somehow, the extensive fact-checking system at the New Republic failed to uncover. The film also stars Chloe Sevigny, Melanie Lynskey, and Mark Blum. Plus, the trio unveil two 80s science fiction films they've dreamed up for the next pairing!

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Quiz Show (1994)

Quiz Show (1994)Watch the trailer!

Scandals are the fixed-point for this pairing of films about real-life instances of dishonorable behavior! First up is the Robert Redford-directed tale of how American gameshow audiences lost their innocence in the late 1950s in 1994's "Quiz Show!" The film follows Herbie Stempel (John Turturro), an everyman from Queens, New York, who has a run of victories on the NBC quiz show "21." Unfortunately for him, however, along comes dashing and handsome Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) who the producers of the show, Dan Enright (David Paymer) and Albert Freedman (Hank Azaria), think will be more popular with audiences. Stempel, who has been receiving the answers from the producers before actually competing on the game show, is told to lose to allow Van Doren to become the new champion, an instruction he is not happy to receive. As Van Doren becomes the new television sweetheart, also winning with answers provided ahead of time from the producers, Stempel tries to blow the whistle on the program. Along comes Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow), who works as a Congressional investigator, and believes that Stempel's claims are true. Also appearing are Paul Scofield, Christopher McDonald, Elizabeth Wilson, and Mira Sorvino!

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The Pelican Brief (1993)

The Pelican Brief (1993)Watch the trailer!

The second part of our pairing focusing on the Supreme Court of the United States leaps straight into a horror the likes of which we have not seen. Directed by veteran Alan J. Pakula, the film follows law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) as she navigates both her classes and her relationship with her teacher Thomas Callahan (Sam Shepard). When two Justices of the Supreme Court are assassinated, Darby puts together a wild theory so far out in left field that it's unbelievable. Unfortunately for Shaw, it also turns out to be true. Callahan gives the paper to his friend, and lawyer for the FBI, Gavin Verheek (John Heard), who passes it along up the chain. So intriguing is the paper, now called "The Pelican Brief," that it makes its way to the CIA and the White House. From there, Darby's life becomes a nightmare as she is hunted for being the author of the brief. Ultimately, she requests the assistance of famed Washington Times reporter Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington) in her quest to both reveal the truth of the assassinations and survive to read about it in his newspaper! Also starring Tony Goldwyn, James Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow, and Hume Cronyn. Plus, the trio unveil which scandals-made-movies make up their next pairing!

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