Movies Like Dream Scenario: Over four decades of his acting career, Nicolas Cage has blessed us with several eccentric performances. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, he has managed to carve a distinct place for himself through his work. In recent years, he has started to experiment a little through independent films that do not always receive a wider audience. Neverthless, his performances in “Pig” and “Mandy” were an absolute delight. So, it is fair to say that “Dream Scenario” wouldn’t have been possible without the unbearable weight of his massive talent!

Written & directed by Kristoffer Borgli, “Dream Scenario” is a mix of black comedy, fantasy, and a few horror genre elements. Borgli, who is mostly known for his Norwegian films, has come up with a bizarre tale that ticks all the boxes for a film produced by A24. It has a new, refreshing idea devoid of any IP interference. Even if it starts to derail during its second half, it still offers a hilarious look at the life of a hapless, middle-aged college professor. The film takes us through a wild ride exploring themes of fame, marketing, and mid-life crisis. In case you loved “Dream Scenario” and want to watch something in a similar zone, we have made a list for you.

Here are eight films that you can watch if you like Nicholas Cage’s “Dream Scenario”:

1. Synecdoche New York (2008)

Movies to Watch if You Like Dream Scenario - Synecdoche New York (2008)

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Kristoffer Borgli’s absurdist comedies often revolve around self-obsessed characters. His writing style reminds me of Charlie Kaufman, who always tries to make sense of absurdity. Be it “Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind” or “Adaptation” (another Nick Cage film), Kaufman’s tragicomedies are mostly about excessively self-involved people. “Synecdoche New York” is a postmodern psychological drama that comes close to “Dream Scenario” in that regard.

It follows a theatre director who hit rock bottom and grows increasingly alienated as time passes by. He constructs a play to mimic his life and find solutions for his problems in reality. The more he sinks his teeth into this project, the deeper he digs a hole for himself. Like Cage’s character in “Dream Scenario,” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character’s problems are borne largely because of their way of thinking. Although not a comedy, the film is an equally absurd portrayal of a middle-aged man who cannot bear his reality.

2. Being John Malkovich (1999)

Movies to Watch if You Like Dream Scenario - being john malkovich (1999)

“Being John Malkovich” follows a bizarre premise – something you would not believe the potential of by just reading on paper. It shows a forlorn, unhappily married puppeteer stumbling upon a magical portal. He enters it to find a world where everyone looks like actor John Malkovich and says only ‘Malkovich.’ It takes them directly inside Malkovich’s mind. So, someone suggests the puppeteer start making money out of this experience. Eventually, Malkovich himself discovers the portal. It opens every character up to a rabbit hole of complications.

The premise for “Dream Scenario” is also pretty strange. Who could have thought a film about a man appearing in everyone’s dreams to be that exciting? Well, Kristoffer Borgli did and turned it into a hilarious ride. Similarly, Charlie Kaufman took his strange idea and brought it to life with director Spike Jonze’s help. Both heavily depend on the acting strengths & public perception of the central actors (Malkovich & Cage). In short, “Dream Scenario” would not have been the same without Nicholas Cage, and the same applies to “Being John Malkovich.” That’s why it will certainly impress you if you like “Dream Scenario.”

3. Sick of Myself (2022)

Movies to Watch if You Like Dream Scenario - Sick of Myself (2022) - hof

Written & directed by Borgli, ‘”Sick of Myself” (‘Syk pike”) is a Norwegian black comedy film starring Kristine Kujath Thorp. She plays a self-centered, attention-hungry character who is ready to go to any lengths to be famous. The film shows the extremes she goes to for the same purpose. She buys things despite knowing how harmful it can be to her life. Be it admiration, adoration, or pity from others, she lives and breathes on the attention it brings to her. The script slowly builds up the tension and starts feeling like a horror flick.

Similar to “Dream Scenario,” “Sick of Myself” follows a character going through a bizarre set of circumstances. It also presents the hollow world of fame and the darkness it entails in the context of modern times. Both the protagonists portray themselves as innocent victims while largely being the reason for their downfall. Besides a dark comedy, “Sick of Myself” also becomes a biting satire of the social media frenzy around fame. So, if you liked “Dream Scenario,” “Sick of Myself” will be a fantastic follow-up.

4. The King of Comedy (1982)

Movies to Watch if You Like Dream Scenario - The King of Comedy (1982)

Martin Scorsese is largely known for gritty dramas like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” & ‘Goodfellas.” However, “The King of Comedy” is one of his criminally underseen films that deserves its status as a cult classic. This black comedy follows the failure of a comedian – Rupert Pupkin, who is hungry for fame. He idolizes a successful, veteran stand-up comedian & talk show host and hopes to reach that level of success. In his journey, Rupert takes some extreme steps that seem unbelievably reckless.

The script takes a satirical look at the lives of such dreamers, who are ready to do anything to get just a few moments to shine. It is an in-depth character study that criticizes the allure of stardom. Along the way, it becomes a bittersweet portrait of this man, succumbing to his darkness. Besides these striking thematic similarities to “Dream Scenario,” it also stars a brilliant actor (Robert DeNiro) in the central role. In both cases, we feel bad for the central character despite knowing their vices. That’s why “The King of Comedy” should be next on your list if you liked “Dream Scenario.”

5. A Serious Man (2009)

Movies to Watch if You Like Dream Scenario - A Serious Man (2009)

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

The Coen brothers are one of the masters of black-comedy dramas. From “Barton Fink” to “The Big Lebowski,” they have created a distinct body of work worthy of extreme praise. “A Serious Man” is another one of their masterworks that explores existential themes throughout its duration. It follows a middle-aged professor who is always bewildered or consumed with thoughts. These thoughts encompass everything from the scientific theories he is supposed to teach to the religious faith he is supposed to follow. It makes him question the certainty of anything and everything in his life.

The film is consistently hilarious and maintains its black comedic core till the very end. Like the “Dream Scenario,” we laugh at the protagonist’s misery. However, the script also makes us reflect upon our conflicting views on the man. So, just like the character, we also start to question his morality and his views. Although not a study of fame, it features a relatively similar professor’s character and offers a series of hilarious insights. So, “A Serious Man” would most likely interest you if you liked “Dream Scenario.”

6. Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Starring Aubrey Plaza in the lead role, “Ingrid Goes West’ explores fame from a different angle. The protagonist – Ingrid Thorburn, is a stalker whose unhealthy obsession with an online influencer leads her on a deeply troubling journey. She meets Taylor and gradually makes her way into the influencer’s life without realizing the depth of her actions. Like “King of Comedy,” she is driven by an unhealthy urge to reach that level of fame. While admiring Taylor, she secretly wants to be her.

While creepily assimilating herself into Taylor’s life, Ingrid keeps amping up the insanity of her actions. Like “Dream Scenario,” it also sheds light on today’s culture of fame driven by a personal brand of marketing. The hunger for recognition drives Ingrid as it drives Paul. The film takes a satirical look at this toxic culture. While “Dream Scenario” uses dark comedy, “Ingrid Goes West” uses elements of psychological thriller to heighten the tension and prove its point. Along the way, it becomes a remarkable critique of the social media frenzy to show how dark and ugly it can get.

7. Beau is Afraid (2023)

Beau is Afraid (2023)

Ari Aster is a horror film director who is known for his distinct outlook on the art of terror. His recent film starring Joaquin Phoenix might just be his most experimental film to date. “Beau is Afraid” is a shockingly absurd take on the oedipal syndrome. It follows a middle-aged man scared to step outside of his house due to a fair share of heightened anxieties. One of them revolves around his complicated relationship with his mother. While a director would have resorted to the usual jump scares, Aster keeps increasing the sheer absurdity in the protagonist’s life to offer a lived-in experience of his horror.

“Beau is Afraid” takes many surreal detours and becomes quite an ambitious project. For some, it feels too long, while others couldn’t be more fascinated by his world-building. In terms of the level of weirdness, the film shares its DNA with “Dream Scenario.” So, it comes as no surprise that Aster serves as one of the producers of the Nicolas Cage film. If you liked the inherent strangeness of “Dream Scenario,” you must try “Beau is Afraid.”

8. Drib (2017)

Drib (2017)

In 2017, Kristoffer Borgli came out with a ‘fictional documentary’ that follows an intriguing internet figure. Back when staged pranks were not everyday occurrences, Amir Asgharnejad made quite a name for himself with such stunts. Suddenly, he gets a chance to be the face of a viral ad campaign for a brand of energy drink. Born to Iranian parents, this Norwegian performance artist finds himself as the center of attention. Borgli’s film is a fascinating blend of documentary and fiction that follows Amir’s rise to stardom.

Constructed by Borgli, “Drib” explores the themes that he has consistently explored through his works – fame & excess. Like Abbas Kiarostami, it tries to blur the lines between documentary and fiction. It hires actors like Brett Gelman (Fleabag) & Adam Pearson (Under the Skin) to share a dramatized version of the actual events. Along the way, it ends up becoming evidently self-reflexive. So, “Drib” is worth checking out if you like Nicolas Cage’s “Dream Scenario.”

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