The Dead Zone

I stayed at the office for a while to do some work. I shopped for groceries and went to the record store to buy the remastered edition of Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” album. I watched “The Dead Zone” on television. It had Christopher Walken as a man who recovers from an auto accident to discover that he has psychic powers. Seeing him in many supporting roles, I had to wonder if he could carry an entire movie. I found it difficult to watch him for two hours because of his weird persona. The movie seemed like Stephen King’s take on “The Manchurian Candidate,” at least at the end. There could have been more tension. From David Cronenberg, I expected strange things, and some of it was in the casting. I’m thinking about Herbert Lom as Walken’s doctor. I couldn’t get The Pink Panther and Clouseau out of my mind as I watched him. Tom Skerritt was not that far removed from “M*A*S*H,” at least in my mind, and it was a few years before “Top Gun.” I was left wondering what happened to this sheriff. Brooke Adams was Walken’s girlfriend who ended up marrying another man while Walken was spending five years in a coma. She gets involved with a politician’s campaign, and the candidate turns out to be a monster. I thought I detected some hostility towards women because Brooke is dumb enough to get involved with this bad person. It was reminiscent of Cybill Shepard in “Taxi Driver.” Brooke brings a bit of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers aura to this film, which is a little creepy. This story was a little bit in common with something like “Cujo,” which is the confined setting. Everything happens in New England. Martin Sheen was the candidate. He was rather over the top in the scene showing the launching of missiles. Looking at him in the light of the current presidential election campaign, it seems impossible that he could be elected to any office. His appearance made me think of the Kennedy family. Walken doesn’t exactly make us feel his emotions because he shows cold distance in his behavior. He didn’t hide himself too well with his rifle. We saw forgettable Stephen King adaptations in the 1980s, like “Cujo” and “Firestarter.” I thought this one was quite a bit better than those two. It had to have a David Cronenberg moment, which involved scissors. Walken had headaches, but fortunately his head didn’t explode. In 1983, the stars still looked young except for Lom, and I kept thinking it was a pretty good cast. I liked Anthony Zerbe. I thought it was comical when Walken asked him, “Do you know who I am?” I really couldn’t picture Bill Murray for the Walken role. The Stephen King films that I liked were “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and “Misery.” We’ve seen such a blizzard of books from King, so I long ago lost track of what movies were based on his books. Some of the people who died on September 10 include Dalton Trumbo (1976), Joanne Dru (1996), Jane Wyman (2007), and Cliff Robertson (2011). Today is a birthday for Colin Firth (55), Joe Perry (65), Jose Feliciano (70), and Arnold Palmer (86).

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