Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

Atlantic City Movie Double-Feature! Movie #1

Synopsis: It’s like a long, fucked-up game of Monopoly where everyone’s crazy and nobody has any cash.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "Two years after his star-making success in Five Easy Pieces, Jack Nicholson reunited with director Bob Rafelson for this gritty story of small-time losers and big-time dreamers in Atlantic City"

What Did I Learn?: If a local hood is agreeing to your terms because you’re pointing a gun in his face, for the love of God, don’t hand it over to him!

Really?: I’m still not entirely sure why Jason asks David to join him in Atlantic City in the first place. It’s not as though he has any money, or connections, or street-smarts, or anything. 2) See What Did I Learn? 3) If a couple of gangsters showed up unannounced in my hotel room, my first thoughts would be: “I’m getting the fuck out of town”, not “I think I’ll take this revolver and attempt to speak to their boss.”

Rating: The King of Marvin Gardens is a strange, nearly-forgotten gem from the early 1970s. Jack Nicholson is the protagonist, yet his character is oddly introverted and depressive, and he plays second fiddle to his bullshit artist brother, Jason (Bruce Dern). Some of it works, and some of it doesn’t (I still don’t know what to make of a simulated Miss America pageant scene), and the plot meanders a bit too much for my taste. That said, Nicholson, Dern and Ellen Burstyn all deliver top-notch performances, and the film begins with one of the most compelling monologues I’ve ever heard. 8.5/10 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled upon this film late one night. Kind of odd, but it pulled me in. Bleak though. Very bleak.


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