Saturday, September 27, 2014

Zoned Out: Button, Button

A new Segment- I know that you've been waiting!

Awhile ago, I reviewed The Box (which will appear at some point on Maynard's site) and learned that the same Story (originally published in 1970) appeared on The Twilight Zone during its 1980 Revival.  I finally got around to seeing it and found more than I was looking for.
So I'll feature that Segment now and more in the future.  You'll get ghosts, ghouls and even a Leprechaun.  Push it...
Our young couple (Brad Davis and Mare Winningham) are living in a not-so-nice neighborhood and working way too hard for it.  They need a break!
Maybe this mysterious Box will be the answer...
A mysterious man (Basil Hoffman, who would appear in The Box) shows up and explains the rules.

If you push the button, someone you don't know will die.  As a result, you will get $200,000.
Can they do it?  Is it worth it to get the money?
Can they live with the guilt?  Can they do it?
Yes, yes they can.
The next day, the man arrives with the money and takes the Box.  It sure was easy!
However, he tells them that the Box will be re-programmed and that they will get the same deal.  The next people: someone they don't even know.  Dun dun dun!
Damn- this is so much better!  I should note that this version of the Story does change the ending (which is why Matheson's Teleplay is Credited under a Pseudonym) and isn't 'perfect.'  With that said, it has none of the alien crap, the weird water portals and the mysterious man having a giant hole in his cheek!  I don't hate The Box, but it is not nearly as good of a version of this story.  In fairness, this Segment is about 20 minutes, while the film is around 90 minutes.  Obviously you have to do some things differently.  You can't do 90 minutes of people getting the box/button, deciding what to do and just dealing with direct consequences of it, can you?  We just saw 90-odd minutes of Robert Redford stuck on a boat and not saying a word, so why not?  The strength of this Segment lies in the realistic interaction of the two Leads and how their situation might lead them to strongly-consider pushing it.  After all, people die every day!  They make you feel for them and how hard their struggle is.  This stands in contrast to The Box, where one of them works for NASA and the other has a messed-up foot.  That is far less anyone except Richard Kelly, who just took those from his real-life parents.  Seriously, Richard?!?  While I wish that the show was more remembered, it is available on DVD and one Disc alone is going to get me like 6 Updates.  Take us away, Credit for a man who didn't like the final product...
Next up, let's start hanging out, hanging out with our family.  However, it is less exciting with Grandma might be worshipping Cthulhu!  Stay tuned...

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