THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS (1972)

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Elizabeth

Chris rented The King of Marvin Gardens for a few reasons, one of them being that neither of us had ever heard of it. That can be a toss-up, but it worked out well here.

For me, being my age, the most striking thing about The King of Marvin Gardens was seeing Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, and Ellen Burstyn so young. Which is sort of weird, because it’s not like I haven’t seen them as younger people before, especially Jack Nicholson. But something about this movie, having all these actors that I mostly know as older people, all together here as young people, was sort of surreal. And it’s not like they’re teenagers or anything, I think they’re mostly in their late 30’s. But still! For the first time I felt like I understood why Jack Nicholson has a reputation of being a playboy.

But anyway, The King of Marvin Gardens is pretty strange. I felt like I didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time, but that didn’t bother me. There’s a difference between not knowing what’s going on because a movie is bad, and just not knowing what’s going on. If that makes sense. I certainly followed the movie enough to understand the plot and all, but for some scenes I just didn’t know what the hell was happening.

For me, what makes The King of Marvin Gardens so great are the opening and closing scenes. They’re not directly related, but they’re so well-performed and quite beautifully shot. It sort of makes some of the murkiness between the scenes seem completely justified.

Also . . . can I just mention Bruce Dern’s Illinois accent is amazing? Maybe it’s just from living in Illinois, but I just loved hearing him speak here.

Christopher

I really wanted to see this because I had never heard about it. And it was something I happened to come across at the library. Its the follow up movie Jack Nicholson did with Bob Rafelson after Five Easy Pieces, a movie I saw in high school I think and remember enjoying.

What I was scared most about this movie was that it would be slow and boring but I found that to be the exact opposite. I think the movie was an hour and forty minutes but I felt like we were only watching for thirty minutes. The story is basically two brothers reconnecting and trying to invest in a tropical island casino. Jack Nicholson plays a radio DJ loser and Bruce Dern plays his brother who lives in Atlantic City, has mob type connections, and spends more money than he probably really has.

What I love about this movie is how sad it is. Bruce Dern has it in his head that he’s going to start this lucrative casino and live out the rest of his years being bathed with women and money, and it is instantly apparent that this in no way could ever happen; he just doesn’t have a realistic grasp on his life. Jack Nicholson is basically there to reconnect with his older brother, someone he hasn’t seen in years, and in doing so has agreed to help him figure out the business side of starting this company.

The movie is very good and I really enjoyed it, not sure about Elizabeth really, but I would totally recommend it and it was so crazy seeing such a young Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern.

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HOUSE OF THE DEAD (2003)

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Christopher

This was the second time I watched this movie? I saw it first with my dad whenever it came out on DVD. I remember then that it was bad so I was more than happy to revisit it since I really didn’t remember it.

The worst part about this movie is that the end finale is a fight between two main characters and some zombie scientist. I can see this being okay except for this scene the director decided to film it in broad daylight? The effects are bad enough but for some reason daylight horror scenes just aren’t as scary.

The best part about this movie is that there are a ton of boobs in the beginning. But that quickly goes away when everyone dies.

Probably don’t waste your time with this movie.

Elizabeth

Well, I know I’m not the target audience for House of the Dead. First of all, I didn’t even realize this was based on a video game. Second of all . . . well, I’m not a 12 year old boy? That’s who this movie seems to be geared toward, although I think even 12 year old boys deserve a little more credit than that.

House of the Dead is bizarre, but not in the way it wants to be. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s also a movie that made me pretty sad, because Jürgen Prochnow of Das Boot is in it (and his character’s name is Captain Kirk, which doesn’t help anything). Also, one of the main characters is in an American flag jumpsuit the entire time and I was pretty convinced I had seen her in a few pornos before, but I guess I was mistaken. Still, I think House of the Dead is too boring to really make it worthwhile to watch in any sense.

ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (1997)

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Elizabeth

I was shocked when I found out Chris had somehow not seen Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and it was something that I knew needed to be fixed right away. This movie is so great because it’s legitimately funny, sweet, super 90’s, and makes you feel good when it’s over. And that’s not even covering the fact that it has perhaps one of the greatest dance sequences in THE HISTORY OF FILM.

One of the subtler things I like about Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is its ability to show women being funny and looking goofy, and they aren’t traits that only come with being unattractive or overweight, something I think a lot of funny female characters are reduced to. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion isn’t just a funny chick flick, it’s a straight up comedy, no matter what gender we’re talking about.

And just because it needs to be seen as many times as possible:

Christopher

I had never heard of this movie. Apparently that was weird to Elizabeth so we decided to watch it. And I have to say it’s not as awful as I had imagined! It’s pretty funny. Our friend Ben made the comment that it’s like Night at the Roxbury but better.

I liked watching it but I never have to see it again.