Movie Review – Electric Dreams (1984)

Electric Dreams (1984)

I haven’t reviewed a movie since July 2021, but I had to share my thoughts on one I watched over the extra-sized Memorial Day Weekend. Tubi has a treasure trove of TV shows and films ranging from beloved movies to cult classics and hidden gems. I saw someone on Twitter talking about Electric Dreams and I was lucky to find it available to stream.

What happens when a man and computer fight for the affections of a woman? You get a blend of comedy, fantasy, and romance. Miles, a harried architect, is looking for a day planner to ensure he’s never late for another important meeting again. He ends up bringing home a desktop computer instead. When he connects his computer to his bosses’ device, it starts to smoke and catch fire. Dousing the flames with champagne, the computer should be beyond repair. What Miles doesn’t know is that the computer starts to learn from its surroundings starting with his new neighbor, Madeline, as she practices her cello. As the computer starts to develop a personality and emotions, its only a matter of time before it and Miles face off for the love and affection of Madeline.

Starring Lenny Von Dohlen, Virginia Madsen, and Bud Cort as the voice of Edgar, Electric Dreams is funny and poignant with a finale that will make you grab a tissue or two to dry some happy tears. The soundtrack is full of 80s songs that I have never heard before from P.P. Arnold, Culture Club, and Philip Oakey. The finale features the song Together in Electric Dreams by Oakey and I gave it a full listen the next day after watching the movie and I have to tell you, the song definitely affected me in ways I didn’t expect. I love the song, but I need to give it a rest or I’ll be eternally sad.

I enjoyed Steve Barron’s cinematography and film style of the movie. Many people had seen his work before in music videos but this was his first foray into feature films. I had to pause the movie to check IMdB because Lenny Von Dohlen looked so familiar. Looking at his filmography, I don’t understand why he wasn’t in more films. He has a leading man quality that is indescribable and his acting career should have taken off after this film. Virginia Madsen is a tour-de-force as Madeline and you can understand why Miles will do whatever he can to win her heart, even if it means tricking “Edgar” into writing a song or two for her. When Edgar realizes he’s been played, it starts a war between the computer and its owner. Who will be the last one standing?

We have seen the dangers of artificial intelligence in sci-fi movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Terminator, but it’s funny to see Edgar starting to get smarter day by day and the ways he tries to thwart Miles at every turn. Fear of technology is nothing new, especially in 2022, but this movie was ahead of its time by showing what happens when your smart home turns on you.

This movie is definitely underrated and seemed like it flew under the radar, even when it was released in the early 1980s. It would pair nicely with other classic movies of the era like WarGAMES, Real Genius, and Weird Science. Normally I include a movie trailer of the film I review but for this one, I’m going to share a scene from the movie. If it doesn’t get you interested in checking out the movie, I don’t know what else will.