The King of Marvin Gardens
The King of Marvin Gardens
'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer who asks his brother, David, a radio personality from Philadelphia to help him build a paradise on a Pacific Island - asking him to believe in yet another of his dreams, yet another of his get-rich-quick schemes. But luck is against them both and the game ends badly - real life reduced to radio drama.
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June 19, 2018 at 08:59 PM
A great and unusual film
A truly great film and sadly overlooked and under rated, following up Five Easy Pieces and showing Nicholson at his most awesome. A far better take on Atlantic City than the Louis Malle's film of that name. Incredible acting from Nicholson, Dern, Burstyn... great direction and cinamatography. The movie is set in a pre-casino Atlantic City, sort of Coney Island perfected. A real actors film that we rarely see anymore. Perhaps difficult to watch because of that yet immensely rewarding. A film that perfectly captures the time and place. Dern plays an over the top hustler while Nicholson, of all things, plays an intellectual radio dweeb. Go on... see it... "no one reads anymore..."
Excellent character study.
This is a brilliant little character study from the fabulous team that brought us the classic "Five Easy Pieces". If this last reviewer didn't get it (and obvious he didn't), than that's his problem. The detail, the beautiful photography, and the incredible use of Atlantic City locations make this film all the more worth while. Shot when Atlantic City was a dying resort town, it is used as a metaphor for this strange symbiotic relationship between two very different brothers. Nicholson as the intelligent David, and Bruce Dern (never better) as the scam artist Jason, out to make a quick buck. Do yourselves a favor, and check out this little gem.
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Under-rated Rafelson flick!
I thought this superior to CARNAL KNOWLEDGE and am a bit surprised by the reaction to it at time of release. After FIVE EASY PIECES and before STAY HUNGRY this '72 film was thrown aside and dismissed. I guess Nicholson wasn't using his eyebrows enough for public taste. Bruce Dern gives a superb performance as his shyster-dreamer brother with big plans. Ellen Burstyn is paranoid justifiably and gives a lovely performance. The young girl Julie Ann Robinson is terrible.
A 7 out of 10. Best performance = Bruce Dern. Throw in Scatman and John Ryan and you have a fascinating mood piece. What happened to Bob Rafelson?