A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.A daydreamer convinces his radio personality brother to help fund one of his get-rich-quick schemes.
- watching tv
- cutting one's own hair
- gambling license
- false promise of the american dream
- 226 more
We have here Bob Rafelson, Jack Nicholson and the early seventies, so I suppose we don't get anything we shouldn't really expect. Rafelson's career and reputation had not yet descended to the point where he was directing with increasing infrequency 'artistic' soft porn and he still had a reputation as someone to watch; Nicholson was enjoying his new-found standing with a tendency to appear in 'serious' and 'intelligent' work instead of playing himself in every film as he has done for the past ten to fifteen years, and the early Seventies were the last great period of Hollywood movie-making in which films were green-lighted on consideration of criteria other than the their ability to appeal to the lowest common denominator. They were good times for movie-making in America, but there was a downside over-indulgent and pretentious tosh like this.
David Staebler is a dull and repressed character who does nothing other than occasionally twitch his nose like a rabbit. He observes things and he talks into his tape recorder but he plays little part in the events that take place on the screen. Even when he does eventually do something it changes nothing. His brother, played by an energised Dern, is the exact opposite: where David's feet are planted firmly on the ground, Jason's are floating up there in the clouds, and he is forever hustling. Jacob Brackman's flat and unconvincing screenplay spends the film's entire running time emphasising this disparity between the brothers to little effect. The character of Sally, played with real tact and sympathy by Burstyn, and her odd relationship with Jason is more interesting for the viewer, and the metaphor between her ageing beauty and the fading grandeur of the Atlantic City location is impossible to miss. As pointed out by other reviewers, however, that ending is a real cheat it's cheap and unimaginative and is only a notch or two above the 'he woke up to discover it was all a dream' cliché and it's no small wonder that Brackman's film-writing career failed to go anywhere.
This isn't an overlooked classic, it isn't under-rated and it doesn't deserve to be rediscovered. It's pompous, pretentious, self-important and largely meaningless. Only the good work by the first-rate cast gives it any merit to speak of.
- Oct 22, 2005