Creating Rem Lezar (1989) — It’s like no movie you’ve ever seen

“When I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming of a dream…”

Al’s rating: This was made by psychologists. An entire association of them.

Al’s review: Have you ever seen a film that, no matter how hard you tryto explain it, you wind up speaking in ellipses?

“Well, it’s got this superhero, sort of…”

“And there are these two kids…”

“And a giant digitized face that hates them because it doesn’t have any friends…”

You stumble through half-sentences and say things that have you stopping and scratching your head because just hearing them aloud makes you certain that you couldn’t have possibly gotten that right. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t complete your thoughts because the logic circuits in your brain have blown their fuses and are slowly trickling out of your ears.

Creating Rem Lezar is one of those movies.

I actually think lumping it in as “one of those movies” is unfair, because Creating Rem Lezar is like no movie you have ever seen. It’s the tale of a frighteningly happy man in his early thirties with a poofy blue mullet and ill-fitting spandex who sneaks into the bedrooms of small children at night when their parents are asleep and sings to them. No, really. He also sleeps with them in his arms in abandoned barns and walks with them alone in the forest. The whole thing is seriously like two steps away from becoming Rem Lezar and the Magical Windowless Van.

Our protagonists are Zack and Ashlee, two adorable moppets who have no friends but big imaginations. They find each other after both making versions of Rem in an art class and, after a brief argument, become instantly inseparable pals. Their first act — drumroll please — is to create Rem Lezar in a vacant building, armed only with their boundless creativity and whatever they could apparently swipe off-camera. They mourn the fact that their creation isn’t the real Rem Lezar, but before you can say “Kim Cattrall,” fake Rem comes alive and whisks them away on a magical adventure full of singing, dancing, and random violin sequences.

As best I can tell, there is a message mixed in somewhere — something about the power of imagination and being nice to everyone, I think. But rather than dwell for too long on stuff like messages, character, or any overall coherence, the movie is instead concerned with questing for Rem’s missing Quixotic Medallion. What it does or why it’s important is never exactly explained, as the characters are far too busy arguing whether buildings are taller than mountains and breaking into choreographed dances with gangs of Central Park street toughs, but it’s obviously important enough to burst into song over every five minutes, so you know it’s a big deal.

After this, I sort of start to drift back into those ellipses again. The hair, the unitard, the hilariously out-of-place baritone. It just all defies conventional description. We’re talking ridiculousness on an unprecedented scale — one of those movies that you fear and yet secretly hope will wind up as a cultural artifact for archaeologists in a thousand years and be seen the world over as representative of our society. Finding a VHS copy is tough nowadays, but Creating Rem Lezar something you’re going to want to track down, watch, fall in love with, and treasure forevermore. Rem Lezar is contagious, and I hope you catch it.

Didja Notice?

  • Mark Mule is apparently very proud of this movie? His name is all over those opening credits.
  • Ashley has a sweet Madonna poster on her wall?
  • Even Rem’s eyebrows are blue? Creepy.
  • The spiffy Video Toaster computer graphics?
  • They found the Empire State Building but couldn’t find the Twin Towers? It’s called looking up, people.
  • The violinist just happens to have a child-sized spare instrument? And he’s perfectly okay with this strange little girl picking it up and jamming with him?
  • Rem playing Air Violin?
  • They can’t quite get the full group ‘snake arm’ effect? Every time it reaches one of the kids, it cuts away.
  • The water level of the river changes drastically in the drowning sequence?
  • They defeat the villain by pretending to be friends with him? What kind of message is that?
  • All the PhDs associated with this movie? Man, that’s depressing.
  • Zack and Ashley really obviously have the exact same bedroom.
  • The highest point of imagination is love? I don’t think that makes sense…
  • Ashlee has a singing double? So she can’t dance or sing, and acting clearly is not her forte. Why is she in this movie again?
  • According to Webster’s Dictionary, ‘quixotic’ means ‘extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.’ In other words, they completely made up the phrase ‘quixotic medallion’ and hoped no one would care enough to think too hard about it.

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