West Wing
The Dead Zone

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
Crutching Teacher, Hidden Psychic
The film opens with a shot of a beautiful, old, large, gabled, three-storey house with lots of gingerbread trim. So far, I like this film a lot. This is followed by other shots from an idyllic small town, probably in New England somewhere, since this is based on a Stephen King novel. (Somewhere I read that this is King's favourite film version of any of his books, although he may have said that long before the release of Misery, The Green Mile, etc. I would have thought at that point, Carrie would be his favourite.) The ominous music tells you that all is not well in this lovely little town. Imagine that. The first scene is in a high-school classroom, where Christopher Walken -- wearing a hairdo Bill Gates would probably reject (a quasi-bowl cut, all combed straight down) and big nerdy glasses -- is reciting "The Raven" to his students. Man, he looks bad. His clothes are dull and ultra-dweeby too. He finishes and smiles weirdly at the indifferent class, asking, "Pretty good, huh?" He dismisses the class, and the kids can't peel out of there fast enough. As they leave, he tells them cheerfully that they're going to like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because it's "about a schoolteacher who gets chased by a headless demon!" ["In light of Walken's role in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, hee." -- Wing Chun] Out in the hall, Chris catches up with another teacher, played by Brooke Adams. He puts his arm around her and they walk along making googly eyes at each other. Apparently things were quite different back in 1983; a guy who looks like this could get a cute chick like Adams. I was eighteen at the time and I don't recall anything of this sort, but whatever. She wonders whether teachers can be expelled for kissing in the hallway; he says they can be fired. She giggles, "Thank God it's Friday!" He tells her he has a surprise for them for that afternoon. I bet it doesn't involve a trip to Brooks Brothers and Vidal Sassoon. The next shot is the track of a roller coaster and the sound of the two of them screaming as the roller coaster races along. They're the only ones on it. As they fly along, Walken looks perfectly happy, but then all of sudden has a look of pain and horror on his face. He takes his glasses off and puts his hand to his head, compellingly foreshadowing of how I'm going to look around page nine of this recap. Girlfriend is oblivious. As the car slows to a stop, she looks at him and asks if he's okay. He says he doesn't know what's wrong: "It didn't used to bother me." The carny asks if they enjoyed the ride. Carny is ignored. They leave.

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West Wing




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