The Box (2009; Richard Kelly) – Dare Daniel Podcast Episode 38
“Great suspense there, asshole.”
On this week’s show, podcast hosts Daniel Barnes and Corky McDonnell crawl up the wormhole of Richard Kelly’s 2009 mind-scrambler The Box.
Based on a Richard Matheson story previously adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Box stars Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a highly successful yet inexplicably destitute married couple in 1970s Virginia.
One day, a creepy burn victim played by Frank Langella presents the couple with a Philosophy 101 thought experiment: press a button on a box, and you get a million dollars. However, someone you don’t know will die.
Speaking of pressing buttons, Kelly’s inability to cobble together a single cohesive sequence indeed pressed our buttons. At one point, Langella’s box gets described as “a device of unknown purpose,” but that could easily describe this overstuffed and inert torrent of vaguely sciencey gobbledygook.
Elsewhere, Daniel and Corky discuss CGI goo squares, What’s Happening nostalgia, creepy nosebleeds and the significance of zombie Santa Claus.
U.S. theatrical release date: November 6, 2009
Domestic box office: $15 million (production budget: $30 million)
Critic scores: 44 on Rotten Tomatoes; 47 on Metacritic
This week’s craft beer: Three Weavers Brewing Company‘s Knotty Double IPA (8.6% ABV)
This week’s Darer: Heather Williams
Why did Heather dare Daniel and Corky to watch The Box? “Have you ever watched a movie and said wtf throughout the whole thing, while simultaneously thinking it can’t get weirder, but it does? Then this is the cinematic classic for you. Bonus: Santa appears!”
IMDB synopsis: “A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don’t know.”
This week’s referenced movies: Donnie Darko; Southland Tales; The English Patient; Darkman; Die Hard; The Shining; Gremlins; Sleepaway Camp; Stargate; Home Alone; The Lord of the Rings trilogy; The Terminator franchise
Ratings for The Box: Daniel – Dare; Corky – Double Dare