Movie fantasies?
October 17, 2008 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Looking for movie scenes that represent idealized places or dreams or fantasies...

...for example, Happy Gilmore's Happy Place or the weird town in Big Fish. Anything that serves as a representation of someone's fantasy or of perfection or of unreal awesomeness would fit the bill. Extra points if it involves a bit of soft focus or something like that.
posted by missjenny to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Song of the Sirens scene in O' Brother.
posted by nitsuj at 8:05 AM on October 17, 2008

Sam Lowry's dreams in Brazil.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2008

Dancer In The Dark is a musical where all of the musical numbers happen inside the main character's head. A major theme of the film is that she uses fantasy as an espace from all of the bad things that happen to her over the course of the film.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:10 AM on October 17, 2008

I would say most of The Fall is an idealized fantasy of adventure and drama.

Also there is the t-rex scene in orgazmo where the main character mentally withdraws into a field of flowers and his fiance in order to escape the monstrous behemoth he is being dry humped by (WITH SOFT FOCUS).
posted by Large Marge at 8:22 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Deckard's unicorn dream sequence in Blade Runner and the recurring wheat field dream in Gladiator would seem to fit the bill. YouTube doesn't seem to be woring for me right now, but I'm sure clips will be easy to find.
posted by Jakey at 8:33 AM on October 17, 2008

In Fight Club, there's a scene featuring a penguin in an ice cave, which is something the narrator is encouraged to visualise to distract him from the pain of "brain parasites" (parasites he doesn't actually have but he's attending the support group for fun.)

I guess in most films these scenes occur as a kind of heaven or afterlife. For instance, the final minutes of Titanic where the old lady is back on the not-sunk Titanic, or the Elysian Fields in Gladiator... but I'm guessing these probably aren't quite surreal enough for what you're looking for.
posted by so_necessary at 8:34 AM on October 17, 2008

Parts of "What Dreams May Come" apply.
posted by grateful at 8:48 AM on October 17, 2008

The whole of Pleasantville is set in an idealised 1950's American small town which the protagonist is sucked into, and spends the film figuring out (and realising idealised places are seldom as ideal as we believe or want them to be).
posted by Happy Dave at 8:50 AM on October 17, 2008

There is an extended dream sequence in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle in which Kumar fantasies about being married to a giant bag of weed. I think it even has classic wibbly wobbly fade in and out.
posted by ninebelow at 8:55 AM on October 17, 2008

To reiterate Brazil, the while film is about him escaping into his dreams, with his escape finally becoming permanent with the escape into madness, so you get two idealized scapes for the price of one.
posted by biffa at 9:00 AM on October 17, 2008

It's a central plot conceit of What Dreams May Come, but the scene where Robin Williams runs through a field that behaves like a painting is particularly relevant.
posted by mkultra at 9:04 AM on October 17, 2008

The latter half of Vanilla Sky, before it all falls apart.
posted by smitt at 9:18 AM on October 17, 2008

Sol's final scene in Soylent Green.
posted by brandman at 9:31 AM on October 17, 2008

Rod's quiet place in "Hot Rod."
Jeremy Blake's color field sequences in "Punch Drunk Love."
Maybe Superman's Fortress of Solitude?
posted by rhizome at 9:46 AM on October 17, 2008

There are several in A Clockwork Orange, in particular when Alex is listening to Beethoven in his room (sorry for the script quotes, I don't have the video on hand at the moment):

Then, brothers, it came. O bliss, bliss and heaven, oh it was gorgeousness and georgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise, silver-flamed and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again, crunched like candy thunder. It was like a bird of rarest spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a space ship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures. There were veeks and ptitsas laying on the ground screaming for mercy and I was smecking all over my rot and grinding my boot into their tortured litsos and there were naked devotchkas ripped and creeching against walls and I plunging like a shlaga into them.

If I remember correctly there was also a similar 'dream' scene at the close of the film.
posted by nfg at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2008

Must it be a movie? If TV is OK, how about Homer's Land of Chocolate from The Simpsons?
posted by peep at 9:54 AM on October 17, 2008

The scene in "Adaptation" in which Charlie fantasizes about the waitress.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:56 AM on October 17, 2008

My first thought was The Dude's dream in The Big Lebowski, where he flies through the air and then down a bowling lane, in between all these girl's legs. The smile on his face seems to indicate he is in a "happy place"

This is not a movie, but in the TV show "Scrubs" the main character J.D. disappears into his own mind multiple times an episode.
posted by boulder20something at 10:05 AM on October 17, 2008

Response by poster: These are awesome! And, yeah, tv shows are fine too.
posted by missjenny at 10:22 AM on October 17, 2008

Oz, of course - it's in color while reality in Kansas is black-and-white.
posted by nicwolff at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2008

The entire film Identity takes place in a motel in the imagination of a serial killer.
posted by fire&wings at 11:14 AM on October 17, 2008

Along the same Simpsons line as above - there's Homer falling asleep at the wheel and dreaming of angels carrying him to the moon in "Lisa's Pony."

Also, the Rob Zombie-animated bit in Beavis and Butthead Do America, where Beavis is tripping. It's nowhere near a traditional "this is heavenly" soft-focus thing, but considering the characters, I can see them thinking it's the height of awesome.
posted by anthom at 11:14 AM on October 17, 2008

Most of 'Vanilla Sky', maybe the hokey scene in 'Contact' where Jodie Foster meets up with her Dad in space.. (boy, talk about spoiler alerts..)
posted by edman at 11:30 AM on October 17, 2008

Kiss of the Spider Woman
posted by cazoo at 11:38 AM on October 17, 2008

I'm not sure if Brigadoon counts. Maybe A Matter of Life and Death or Wizard of Oz?
posted by mandal at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2008

Lost Highway
Waking Life
posted by mkultra at 12:10 PM on October 17, 2008

Does The Hudsucker Proxy or Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow count? Cause they're not so much movies as places I want to live in.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on October 17, 2008

Kiki's Delivery Service is set in an idealized coastal European city. Airships share the sky with witches on brooms. Three-masted clippers anchor side-by-side with modern liners. Old-fashioned ovens and new-fangled TVs. Blue skies. Generally nice people. I'd move there in a heartbeat.
posted by SPrintF at 1:24 PM on October 17, 2008

In Wonder Boys James Leer refers to a greenhouse being "like heaven". Which always makes me think of Defending Your Life for some reason (perhaps the set design?).
posted by lilnemo at 3:27 PM on October 17, 2008

posted by lilnemo at 3:28 PM on October 17, 2008

Kurosawa's Dream's first sequence with the foxes seems pretty idealized/dreamlike. It's beautiful and serene and frightening.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 3:44 PM on October 17, 2008

The Informer. There's a brief scene where the main character is alone in his hotel room, feeling defeated and drinking, and a wall-sized painting dissolves into a view of his children in beautiful garden.
posted by severiina at 6:15 AM on October 18, 2008

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