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The King of Marvin Gardens, 1972 – ★★★

Criterion Challenge 2022
Progress: 23/52
Prompt: Watch a film from the “America Lost and Found: The BBS Story” collection

Less than the sum of its parts. I decided to watch this one next because I just rewatched The Last Picture Show and Ellen Burstyn was so good in it. She’s great in this too, in a role that echoes her Lois Farrow. Nicholson’s great, Bruce Dern is great, and the weird surrealist angle on Atlantic City is great.

But, I dunno, it just didn’t cohere for me. I see where it was going at the end, with the pathos, but it didn’t totally earn what it wanted me to feel. Possibly I didn’t buy Dern and Nicholson as brothers, completely? Maybe Nicholson was just a little too detached for the sake of playing against his normal type?

Enjoyed it fine, even if I didn’t love it.

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