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Arizona Dream (1992)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  9 September 1994 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 31,525 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 35 critic

An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Millie
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Fabian
Candyce Mason ...
Blanche
Alexia Rane ...
Angie
...
Betty
Ann Schulman ...
Carla
James R. Wilson ...
Lawyer
Erik Polczwartek ...
Man with Door
Kim Keo ...
Mechanical Doll
Patricia O'Grady ...
MC / Announcer
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Storyline

An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's gofer. He's happy there, but a messenger arrives to bring him to Arizona for his uncle's wedding. It's a ruse to get Axel into the family business. In Arizona, Axel meets two odd women: vivacious, needy, and plagued by neuroses and familial discord. He gets romantically involved with one, while the other, rich but depressed, plays accordion tunes to a gaggle of pet turtles. Written by Greg Pribyl <gpribyl@isd.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A rebellious young man. With his own vision of the future. And his own fantasy of love.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Dreamers  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$106,658 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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Runtime:

| (DVD)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lili Taylor was the first actor cast. See more »

Quotes

Axel Blackmar: [last English lines] After the storm, I couldn't say life was beautiful. But all I kept hoping for was the Eskimo boy of my dream to run out of one of these doors and hug me. And even though I no longer felt like a fish and realized I knew nothing, I was happy to be alive.
See more »

Connections

References North by Northwest (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Besame Mucho
Written by Consuelo Velázquez
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User Reviews

 
What dreams are made of...
30 June 2005 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

Some movies only work if we let ourselves carry away by them. They present a surrealistic imagination world that comes from the mind of their creators. They are hard to watch, especially when they mix real characters that live their lives sometimes awaken, or inside one big dream or their own dreams.

Axel Blackmar (Johnny Depp) is a dreamer, and an unusual example of personal choices. His parents died and he went to New York, to work with fish. He could have sold cars with his uncle Leo (Jerry Lewis), but he's there, talking with that monotonous voice about what he does. Maybe it was a simple dream, where an Eskimo catches a fish with two eyes on the same side, and tells his kids to go out with their dog so he and his wife can…And the kid with the dog allow to see an orange balloon that seems to go from Alaska to New York, where Alex sleeps in a truck. "Wake up, Columbus", the words of his mother and Axel's hope to find something in the land already discovered by that man.

Alongside fish flying through the air, we join Axel to be the best man of his uncle's wedding. With his friend Paul Leger (Vincent Gallo), the untiring chats go from movies to philosophies about cakes, pies and bananas. Paul is an actor: "I'm having a great performance on Friday", he says. "It's an audition", Axel says to humiliate him. The truth is that it's not even an audition. This stuff lived by Axel is a story for us, but is a personal rediscovering and rethought of decisions in life for the character. When he sees Elaine (Faye Dunaway) he feels something strong, but doesn't know how to call it. Days later he becomes the lover of a woman decades older than him. Elaine's daughter, Grace (Lili Taylor) is also there, and it doesn't goes long until Axel finds himself in a crossroad between the heart of two women, that as he describes them, are "too similar and big to be in the same world".

David Atkin's story and screenplay comes plagued of phrases that could come out of a lunatic's mouth, but they fit in the film's context and twist your head at maximum. "I've got to climb…It's a long way to the moon"; "I'm gonna live forever until I become a turtle…They have infinite lives", besides scenes of well known movies in crucial moments. And what music (Goran Bregovic)! And what editing (Andrija Zafranovic)! And what cinematography (Vilko Filac)! And what director! Known for his originality, recognized director Emir Kusturica puts his own signature to his movie, collaborating in the story he must have dreamed a little to; giving life to the dream with his flying camera, full of unexpected turns and in love of its surroundings. What he achieves is greater words, although not everybody could understand it, and, for that matter, appreciate it.

And his actors…Jerry Lewis in a total comprehension of his character, and so involved in his work that you wouldn't believe it. So incredibly likable in one of those roles we never give much importance to. Faye Dunaway…Wow! She got to work with some of these actors later, but here, as an old woman in character and, with respect, in person, she maintains that virtue of creating uniqueness, with her laughs, smiles and way of saying things. Lili Taylor was the most interesting character here. The silent daughter that could be crazy but no one can really tell. With imagination and freedom, Taylor makes her character believable and not as overacted as it might be. Vincent Gallo, who I respect mostly as a director and as an actor that does what he wants, the ability he has had to choose his roles is visible here again; as he shines without lights to help him. A wonderful performance his fans shouldn't miss.

But Depp…How can I explain? I've said it a lot, surely, but I will repeat it. He's like a magician, but not with the cards and the hat and the tricks. He is with his face, his looks, his way of talking, his perfection of movement…But it's not really something technical: "in the acting world, Johnny Depp is a magician". I'm sure he still has plenty of that for us, but here is where he let us know first.

In one scene, Vincent Gallo's character Paul, an actor, requests that no one touches his face, because it's important. "Do you think they touch Brando's face? Do you think they touch Pacino's, De Niro's? Do you think they touch Johnny Depp's face? I don't know then, but not know; and if they did before, they shouldn't have.


52 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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