Archives for posts with tag: Stephen King

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY THREE

A_Good_Marriage

Stephen King wrote this blackly comedic thriller about a woman (Joan Allen) who, after celebrating her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with her seemingly dull accountant husband (Anthony LaPaglia), becomes convinced that he is actually “Beadie”, a patriarchal shitlord serial killer and rapist who has been busily putting strong, liberated women back where they belong – in the grave! Meanwhile, some shabby-looking drifter character (Stephen Lang) seems to be stalking the couple. Who is Beadie and what will the heroine do when confronted with his identity? Finding out should be fun for man-haters and those who enjoy scenes of elderly people screwing.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Good Marriage is:

6. Anti-Christian. Allen responds irreverently to a priest’s platitude.

5. Drug-ambivalent. Allen takes a prescription pill to cope with her difficulties. The film, however, warns against alcohol, which impairs judgment.

4. Pro-miscegenation. A congoid can be seen dancing with a white woman at a party.

3. Class-conscious. Prompting the viewer to feel contempt for their social betters is a ridiculous scene in which the leads discuss whether or not to buy a rare coin for $9,000.00. An investigator’s only duty, he says, is to pay his taxes, while LaPaglia contrarily “covers his tracks” from the IRS. The implication would seem to be that the rich will only waste that money they manage to save from redistribution. Allen demonstrates her growth as a character by giving her husband’s belongings to a charity.

2. Misandrist. Sexually insensitive behavior and talk – such “sexist crap” as, for instance, quoting from From Here to Eternity or remarking that a woman’s attire is provocative – is indicative of a psychotic mind that harbors violent hostility toward women.

1. Anti-marriage. Those women who have the misfortune to enjoy “something very rare, a good marriage”, are better off preemptively murdering their spouses – just in case.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Maximum Overdrive (1986) ****  Maximum Overdrive is a unique movie in that it was not only written but actually directed by author Stephen King; and, while it may have met with a less than glowing reception from critics and is not the best of the many films of the 1980s to have been inspired by the author’s work, subsequent viewings of Maximum Overdrive can reveal much more to appreciate and consider than might at first be obvious in its tale of a hostile planetary takeover by cars, trucks, radios, and other previously harmless electronic wares.

Even on the first viewing, Maximum Overdrive is a fun, somewhat silly and random speculative adventure, and perhaps a broad satire of man’s fear of technology as a potential Frankenstein’s monster that might turn against him; but further reflection concedes that King is up to more than one might at first imagine. To wit, the whole film can be seen as a commentary on the military-industrial complex and how it and war are driven and validated by America’s consumerism and debilitating reliance on labor-saving devices.

In one scene, a shady-looking young black man (Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito) appears to be seduced and hypnotized by an arcade game that flashes a series of abstract symbols at him: a star, zig-zags (like the stripes on an officer’s sleeve), and a plus sign (cross), indicating how religion and the media dupe young men into mindless stupors to make them subservient to the state and recruit them for the respectable but deceptive video game violence of military service. Christianity receives abuse throughout Maximum Overdrive, particularly through the person of a tawdry, cartoonishly hypocritical Bible salesman (Christopher Murney).

A little military wagon with a mounted machine gun appears as the director of the trucks at one point and leads them in the siege of the filling station, Gas World, a sequence that may seem somewhat dull or inconsequential on the first viewing, but which takes on greater significance as it becomes apparent that this, the need for fuel to power the trucks that deliver our consumer goods, is too often what drives the lust for conquest on this planet.  A blurb at the end credits aliens for the events of the film; but substitute the Bilderberg Group for the aliens and the story of their plot to exterminate the population of Earth with their commandeered “broom” of man’s own technological creation is straight out of Alex Jones’s worst nightmare.

Maximum Overdrive does have its failings.  After a wildly entertaining first forty or forty-five minutes, full of distinctive action set pieces, disgusting humor, and sight gags, the film slumps into a decrescendo and slows as the ensemble cast, headed by young Emilio Estevez (between That Was Then . . . This Is Now and Wisdom) and his tough romantic interest Laura Harrington, take refuge in Gas World’s diner, the Dixie Boy, where they will stay for the remainder of the story.  Enlivening the proceedings throughout, however, are a soundtrack of appropriately electric AC/DC tunes and a colorful set of character actors in the supporting roles.  Apart from the aforementioned Murney, Pat Hingle is nicely slimy as crooked, self-satisfied Dixie Boy proprietor Bubba Hendershot; and Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson) and John Short provide even greater comic relief as hick newlyweds Connie and Curtis.

The climactic action sequences, when these finally come, fall short of fulfilling the stunt-packed promise of the zany exposition, a few huge explosions notwithstanding, so that Maximum Overdrive is ultimately a flawed near-classic but still recommendable for watching and occasional rewatching.  Stephen King is commended by Ideological Content Analysis with a respectable 4 out of 5 stars.

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