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Ratings & Reviews

  1. Dada Kubin's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Rafelson’s movie is driven by complex characters played by talented actors. So forget the plot, instead you have Jack Nicholson as a depressed, aloof author, Bruce Dern as a hyperactive, audacious real estate player, Ellen Burstyn as a manic former beauty queen, Julia Anne Robinson as a young, sensual drifter, and the tension and dynamics resulting from such a group of characters, and loads of memorable scenes.

  2. Duncan Gray's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    It's a concept at the heart of America: Horatio Alger swan-diving into an empty pool. This tale has been told a lot better, and the narrative here feels undercooked. But the characters, performances, and ideas—the two halves of an artist—are strong enough that it makes you miss this grainy era of American cinema. And it's nice to see Nicholson and Scatman Crothers share a great scene without Jack killing him.

  3. Erik F.'s rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    3.5 stars. If you like slow-burning, tense, downbeat character studies, this is a good one. How pitiful it is that, no matter how old people become, they always seem willing to delude themselves in order not to deal with the pain or disappointment of reality. Plans and dreams aren't going to materialize just to assuage your anxiety, and the choices you make often lead to your own undoing. How else could it be?

  4. Balthaz21's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

  5. SpacePirate's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Great cast of Nicholson, Burstyn, etc really bring this Fellini-esque film to life. Rafelson did better in Five Easy Pieces, but not by much. Kovacs provides beautiful camerawork throughout, really capturing Atlantic City at its most desolate. A downer of a film, but the opening monologue and ending scenes are some of the best of 70s cinema. Nicholson's most un-Nicholson performance. 4.5 stars

  6. blkrchs's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

  7. Wee Hunk's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Nicholson restrained. The problem with doing 'The Shining' is that you can always see him as that crazy person, because he went so far over the top. That role of the crazy person was given to Burstyn in this movie. The dialogue reminded me of Albee. The constant hustling, optimistic point of view, and nonsense promises reminded me more of Hollywood than Atlantic City. It's very thoughtful, yet a bit predictable.

  8. Ashley Spendlove's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    An uncomfortable and affecting film, the off-season resort providing the perfect backdrop to the portrayal of human aspiration, failing and emotional instability. The performances are excellent but there is a ponderousness to the film's rhythms and its ingredients don't really cohere into a satisfying whole.

  9. El Biffo's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    The three films Bob Rafelson directed in the 70s are Essential New Hollywood. This one is an enigmatic sidewinder, a serpentine trainwreck. Great cast: Nicholson, Dern, Burstyn, Scatman Crothers - they put the lines in the picture but it is cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs who puts the paint on this masterpiece and in the final scene he gives us film on film, reminding us that it's the picture that tells the story.

  10. Z's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Has one of the most mesmerizing and hypnotic openings to any American film that I can recall as Nicholson faces the camera and relates a disturbing family anecdote. Rafelson follows "Five Easy Pieces" with this eccentric, sad exploration of artists, outcasts, dreamers and seekers trying on roles as they playact glamorous success that will never come to them in real life. Ellen Burstyn's performance is heartbreaking.

  11. Zanna Walsh's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    A little lacking in va va voom. Out of season resorts will always seem that way. Another film where you sense something awful is pending, but you don't know what. Good performances, and some poignant lines. I kept getting flashes of the other massive hotel Jack stayed at out of season. He really shouldn't. It never turns out well.

  12. sizelando's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Really wanted to like this more, but just couldn't muster much enthusiasm by the end. Nicholson is still pretty magnetic though.

  13. j's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    4.5 Stark and beautiful. A slow build to grim humour and depressing fantasy. A joy to watch!

  14. miles's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    jackson is great in this, nice cinematography too, thanks laszlo!

  15. SiIencio's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    A film more focused on delivering the right decadent mood than developing a meaningful story. Rafelson succeeds at the former with virtuous cinematography and Atlantic City serves as a perfect metaphore for a tale of dreams and illusions wasted by the sea. However the whole affair turns up being a monotonous pitch, a script that does not deliver a past dimenssion or tension throughout but plain gloom and dullness.

  16. Steve G.'s rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    A cautionary tale about fish consumption and long hair.

  17. Ramzi's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Feels more like a short story. Eerie setting of a hollowed-out Atlantic City. Brotherhood, ambition (and lack of it), being transposed to a strange place with strange people, going along with the ride. Well worth your time.

  18. Leigh Collins's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Self-indulgent, boring and inconsequential

  19. Tja's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Disturbing to see Jack N play such a low-key character without his usual sense of threat, but opening monologue draws us in. More crazy, deluded Americans (with firearms) fooling each other and trying to fool others out of their money. Great atmosphere from low season Atlantic City resort setting. Fucked-up doesn't even begin to describe their lives ...

  20. RhysB's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

  21. T.h. Marvelsteins's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    As close to perfect as a film could be. It is as though the film can read your reactions to it and then acts on them. It opens up and unravels like the Atlantic City boardwalk which never quite slides into the sea. A remarkable achievement.

  22. JCPJD's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    Incredible. Perhaps my favourite Rafelson/Nicholson film. I loved watching Jack reveal that deeper, more thoughtful side to his talents and no one does unhinged like Ellen Burstyn. The direction here is a difficult blend of loose and controlled; like Rafelson was somehow in a flow state when he made it. It's a small, quiet film that echoes down to the present day. Plans, family, sadness, decay - who couldn't relate?

  23. Christopher McQuain's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

  24. Stian Gledje Bekkvik's rating of the film The King of Marvin Gardens

    A film about nothing – the ideal...

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