Christine

Geeky student Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) falls for Christine, a rusty 1958 Plymouth Fury, and becomes obsessed with restoring the classic automobile to her former glory. As the car changes, so does Arnie, whose newfound confidence turns to arrogance behind the wheel of his exotic beauty. Arnie’s girlfriend Leigh and best friend Dennis reach out to him, only to be met by a Fury like no other. Based on Stephen King’s chilling novel.

Victor
Rating: 8 out of 10

How can you make a film about a killer car scary? Well, you adapt a novel by Stephen King, change it around a bit and give the project to John Carpenter. Carpenter to this day proclaims that this film was just a routine paycheck. He sells himself short which is a classic pattern of true cinematic genius. Keith Gordon stars as Arnie Cunningham, a picked on, nerdy high school kid who befriends a popular jock named Dennis, played very believably by future film director John Stockwell. Rounding out the cast are Harry Dean Stanton in a very slick performance as a police detective and Alexandra Paul as Arnie’s soon to be love interest. But how does Arnie get cool enough to date the hottest girl in the school? Well, after a day of getting his ass handed to him he drives home with Dennis and sees her. Who? A piece of crap, rusted out ’58 Plymouth Fury. He immediately falls in love with the real star of the film — Christine. At first she’s ugly, worn out and dilapidated, much like Arnie, and he sees her as a project. So he decides to fix her up at Robert Prosky’s garage. Prosky steals every scene as Darnell, who has the best line in the film-“You can’t polish a turd.” But Arnie does polish this turd.

Christine plays well with with the angle of the loner becoming a force to be reckoned with. And this is what Carpenter excels at. His take is pronounced, accurate and even emotional. Arnie is obsessed with the car which magically fixes itself. And has an odometer that goes backwards. Cracks in the windshield reduce in size. Stockwell and Paul’s characters see the change in Arnie and they attribute it to Christine. How can one be jealous of a car? Well, Carpenter is all over this film. The cinematography by Donald Morgan is exceptional, especially when Christine is barreling after teenagers. All the stars give very real performances and the car itself is basically what makes the film work, and Carpenter shows her off like the very best kind of car porn.

Arnie does become an asshole a bit too fast for my liking, though, and we want to really relate to this kid but by the end you kinda want Christine to run him over. Arnie is lucky to have friends that care about him but he is too obsessed to notice. It ends in a very cool Christine versus tractor showdown. Please observe the nuances of Christine. Many Carpenter fans are polarized by this film. It isn’t scary enough. The ending sucked. Blah blah blah. Take my word — Christine is smooth, fast and terrible. Hell hath no fury like a Plymouth scorned.

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8 responses to “Christine

  1. This film is far better than it really deserves to be and works best when it’s focusing on Arnie’s obsession of the car and the alienating of the people closest to Him. The high school bully stuff was very effective. It’s a very underrated film in John Carpenter’s body of work.

  2. Vic and I have very different taste in movies. I hated this. However, I always enjoy his reviews because he has a way of looking at them I never did. I gone back and watched some movies he’s liked that I didn’t but watched them again.

    Also, I love it when he pulls a really old movie I’ve never seen.

  3. Thanks, Brian. Thanks Matt. You guys totally get me.

  4. I saw this movie two years ago when they were having a huge Stephen King movie marathon and it is one of my favorite movies based on his book, seconded only to the first Pet Semitary movie.

  5. I think it is one of the better adaptations hands down. Thanks for reading!

  6. It really is and you’re welcome… I randomly came across this and it looked pretty interesting…

  7. Well, I’m glad you did and please keep reading! I review older films and classics. Thanks!

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