Movies That Suck is a feature where I watch a bad movie and share my reactions to it in real time. Sort of like live tweeting without the tweeting. I watch it so you don't have to! This will be spoilery I guess by definition, but since you probably won't want to watch these anyway it probably won't matter? But heads up anyways. So get comfortable, grab a favorite beverage, and let me tell you about a movie that sucks.
This week is Maximum Overdrive, a film written and directed by Stephen King. Apparently King was doped up on coke for most of the production, and maybe that's why it's so good? Seriously though this is a guilty pleasure all the way, with really wonderful dialogue and excellent performances. Really. The premise is... machines come to life, and lots of killing ensues. I guess that's it? Anyway, let's get started.
So right at the outset we're told that Earth has passed through the tail of a rogue comet. What does that even mean? But I guess we have our "cause" for machines, um, coming alive. We then segue right into my favorite part- where Stephen King himself goes to an ATM. This happens
From there we go right to a bridge going up by itself. The only problem is there are cars and trucks on the bridge, so when it goes up- they go down. Mayhem and deaths ensue.
Here comes the Green Goblin rig, pulling into the Dixie Boy truck stop for a gas-up.
Ack Emilio Estevez is in this. Okay this movie is gonna suck. He's a short order cook at the truck stop, and his boss is Bubba. Clearly they don't get along. Meanwhile in the game room the pinball games are going apeshit, and the coffee dispenser is spitting out cups of coffee onto the floor. It's on, y'all.
Note to gas attendants: don't peer into the gas pump when it stops working.
Bubba wants Bill to work 9 hours and only clock 8. Bill says no but turns out he's on parole, so Bubba essentially owns his ass. Meanwhile poor waitress Wanda is making some eggs and an electric knife gets her on the arm. Billy kills it with a hammer, thank goodness.
Hey Giancarlo Esposito is in this! Um, not for long...
Cue to a baseball game and oh no- the pop machine isn't working. Oh now it is- it came out a little too fast though, right to the coach's groin. Oh dear... more cans come out. Coach is toast. Deke runs, horrified after a steamroller (where did that come from?) runs over his teammate Bobby. You know, the body count in this is already skyrocketing and I'm only fifteen minutes in?
Brett shows up now, played by Laura Harrington. She's a drifter apparently, hitching a ride with some perv salesman, and she makes him pull into Dixie Boy after they hear on the radio to stay off the highways. And then Curtis and Connie appear- they're newlyweds- and after a truck nearly kills Curtis, she helpfully calls out "are you dead?"
Brett tells Billy he's cute. She doesn't waste any time.
Deke's back in his neighborhood and everyone's dead. Some woman is hanging out of a second floor window- death by hairdryer! And here comes the ice cream truck! Deke wisely hides, but a lawnmower almost gets him. Back at the Dixie Boy the killings continue- there goes the perv salesman. And now all the semis are starting up- that's not good.
Curtis and Connie meanwhile are driving for their lives from a crazy truck. Luckily they make it to the Dixie Boy, but Connie needs to STFU with all the screaming. They almost get squashed on their way in but Billy and Brett come to the rescue. And Bubba's got a rocket launcher?? *sputter* Where the %^&* did he get THAT?
So the semis are blockading Dixie Boy. Billy and Brett are getting friendly, but man the dialogue. "You sure make love like a hero," Brett tells him after they... tryst. Wow. I guess you have to find love where you can in the semi apocalypse. Oh and the sky is green... because, you know, the comet. Billy has an idea to go sailing to an island where no vehicles are allowed. Brett's up for it. Meanwhile Wanda Jane flips out, saying "We made them" and she goes out to scream at the trucks.
Deke's across from the truck stop- he made it!- and is trying to find a way in. And the perv salesman is alive! And calling for help. Billy and Curtis make a play to help him, while more semis arrive- apparently they need to gas up. You know, as bad as this is, there's something kinda fun about watching this bullshit while For Those About To Rock plays. Billy and Curtis get to the salesman, who has since died, but they meet up with Deke and make it back to the truck stop.
Okay the trucks want gas. And they wants it now. They communicate by Morse code, instructing the humans to pump gas. Wanda flips out again and gets killed... and the highway is cloogged with trucks, all waiting to fill 'er up. Billy and the rest are soon exhausted... but they have a plan. They trick the trucks and make their escape, and the semis go berserk, bringing the place down.
Billy and the rest make it to the marina, but Green Goblin is on to 'em. It runs over another person before Billy blows it away with the rocket launcher. And they're off! Out to sea, for a new beginning... or whatever. And we get a little postscript telling us that the Earth passed through the comet's tail, so apparently we're all good. Billy and Brett actually make kind of a cute couple, Deke survives, and even Curtis and Connie make it.