Friday, April 25, 2014

King, Splendor

The King of Marvin Gardens by Bob Rafelson
Jack Nicholson plays a very un-Jack Nicholson character in this film, very quiet and  unassuming, and good for him as an actor, but in the end he's actually more fun when he's being more Jack Nicholson-y, like in Five Easy Pieces or The Last Detail. Bruce Dern and Ellen Burstyn are good, but the film is very slow and it's hard to care about these people. Atlantic City looks very cinematic in the winter, though.

Splendor in the Grass by Elia Kazan
Warren Beatty's first film, doing his best James Dean. Him and Natalie Wood are horny teenagers, but since this is Kansas in the 20s they can't have sex before marriage, so Beatty finds some slutty girl and Wood loses her mind. I guess masturbation wasn't invented yet. Pat Hingle is the sort of clueless dad deciding the future for his son, that we often find in movies like this. The ending is surprisingly bittersweet.

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