• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Christine

TITLE: Christine

YEAR: 1983

GENRE: Horror

There is a unique bond that many men experience between themselves and their automobile of choice. To many men a car is more than just a transportation device that moves them from point A to point B; rather, it is a statement about their manlihood and the lifestyle they provide. Whether they are a family man who drives the kids to soccer practice in an SUV, picks up young women at the local bar with their sports car, or attempts to turn back the clock with a convertible, the vehicle is a message to the world of the character and intentions of the man as well as a way to display social and economic status. Some men do take their love of cars to the extreme to the point where the vehicle is more than just a possession but rather an obsession. This is the angle played up in Christine, one of the better Stephen King adaptations that cleverly display the darkest side of a man and his main toy.

Arnie Cunningham (played by Keith Gordon) is a teenage nerd who is invisible to the girls at his high school and a target for abuse by the school bullies. While walking home from school one day with his jock friend Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell) Arnie sees a wrecked 1958 Plymouth Fury name Christine for sale in the yard of a strange old man named George LeBay (Roberts Blossom). Arnie decides to restore the automobile, and in the process becomes to change from his nerdy self to a much tougher, disgruntled individual. His wardrobe and style is also changing over to more of a tough guy image complete with slicked hair, jeans, and a 1950’s style jacket. When local thugs led by Buddy Repperton (William Ostrander) vandalize Christine to the point where the car is destroyed, Arnie starts to fix up the car until he discovers that Christine can fix herself quite well. When the local bullies end up dead one by one, Dennis and Arnie’s new girlfriend Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul) know that the only way to bring Arnie back from his obsession is to destroy the possessed car.

Christine is one of those rare horror films that has quality production and acting pretty much across the board. Director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing) does an utterly fantastic job in giving a story about an inanimate object without a voice a distinct personality through effective use of headlights, certain select 1950’s songs from the radio of the car, and the sexy yet menacing look of the front grill work. The 1958 Plymouth Fury becomes as much of a character as any human, and that is an impressive achievement in storyline and character development. Gordon is especially good in his role as the nerdy teen who changes personality throughout the film and has the viewer believing in the character just as much as the car. The special effects by Roy Arbogast (Star Wars; Episode VI—Return Of The Jedi, What Dreams May Come) of Christine putting herself back together after numerous crashes by reversing broken glass, dents, and interior rips is especially impressive and are some of the very best effects in a horror film of the 1980’s. The soundtrack, as expected, is mostly music from 50’s artist such as Little Richard, Johnny Ace, and Ritchie Valens although the main theme is the now classic rock staple “Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

Gordon left acting in 1988 and became a fairly well known director of television shows including episodes of “House”, “Dexter”, and “Homicide: Life On The Streets”. This film was at the highlight of King’s writing career and was the first film created from one of his works while it was still being written. Although not on the level of the epic 1976 film Carrie, Christine is one of the better adaptations of a King novel and one of the most memorable horror films of the Reagan era. You will never look at a classic car in the same light again after experiencing Christine, and that is as good of a compliment as one can give a scary movie.

* * * *

–Mark

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