What is Nit-picking? pulling at the dangling plot-threads, poking our fingers in the plot holes, and generally pulling the movie to shreds. This post was inspired by the fact that the P.I.T.s and I each noticed two gaping plot holes in Maximum Overdrive. We watched the movie again, not for entertainment but to pull this movie apart.
Gaping Plot Hole #1 – Not all the machines come to life. For example the newlyweds are able to drive all the way to the Dixie Boy without their car coming to life.
Gaping Plot Hole #2 – What kind of gas mileage do these intelligent trucks get? They circle the truck stop for the better part of two days before they need gas? Wow when I drove truck I never got that kind of mileage.
Gaping Plot Hole #3 – There’s an armory below the truck stop? Why not blow the trucks up immediately?
These are in no logical order just as we’ve happened to catch them….
Small Annoying mistake #1 - When Curtis shoots the ice cream truck, the driver can be seen.
Small Annoying mistake #2 – When Duncan is run over by the Truck there is only a small amount of blood splashed on the front of the truck. Seconds later you see the Truck and there is a whole lot of blood. Later on there is no blood on the Truck. Did it take time out for a bath?
Small Annoying mistake #3 – When the steamroller bursts onto the field at the baseball game steering wheel falls off. Later, as the machine is running over one of the players, the steering wheel is back on.
Small Annoying mistake #4 – When the coach starts to fall over from the groin shot, a third soda can hits him in the face but there’s no wound or blood. When Deke crawls over to him, we see a perfect hole and blood everywhere.
Small Annoying mistake #5 – The bulldozer at the Dixie Boy is taken out with explosives. At the end of the movie, it’s back up and running, destroying everything gleefully.
Small Annoying mistake #6 – When the Truck backs up and knocks the Bible Salesman into a ditch there is no blood on the trailer. However when the Truck is pulling away suddenly there is blood all over the back of the trailer.
Small Annoying mistake #7 - When the killer pop machine starts attacking the kids and they start running away, a can hits #7 (right side of the screen). He has a delayed reaction before he grabs his head and dies. Not to mention but throughout the scene, if you look closely you can see the tube in the pop machine used to fire the cans.
Small Annoying mistake #8 – After the electric knife attacks Wanda, she leans her elbow on the grill that Bill has been cooking on, but yet miraculously, she doesn’t burn herself.
Small Annoying mistake #9 – The amount of blood all over Duncan’s face changes from the long shots to the close-ups.
Small Annoying mistake #10 - When the steamroller is running over the boy at the baseball diamond he covers his face before it runs over him, however as it’s running over him his arms are suddenly by his side.
Emilio Estevez … Bill Robinson
Pat Hingle … Hendershot
Laura Harrington … Brett
Yeardley Smith … Connie
John Short … Curtis
Ellen McElduff … Wanda June
J.C. Quinn … Duncan Keller
Christopher Murney … Camp Loman
Holter Graham … Deke Keller
Frankie Faison … Handy
Pat Miller … Joe
Jack Canon … Max
Barry Bell … Steve Gayton
John Brasington … Frank
J. Don Ferguson … Andy
97 mins * 1986 * De Laurentiis Entertainment Group * Rated R for violence a gratuitous use of the F*bomb and other language.
Synopsis from IMDb: When the tail of rogue comet Rhea-M passes through Earth’s atmosphere, humanity’s worst nightmares come to life as machines gradually develop minds of their own, turning on their creators in bloody rebellion. At the Dixie Boy truck stop just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, both workers and patrons alike are coming to grips with the horror as a series of increasingly bizarre accidents occur, some injurious, some near-fatal, and some fatal. The terror finally comes to a head when the parked trucks – led by one for a toy company which sports a demonically-smiling goblin face – each start-up on their own, circling the truck stop and preventing anyone from getting in or out. Trapped by the trucks and an emotionless manager (Pat Hingle), a young ex-con (Emilio Estevez) takes it upon himself to lead the rescue of anyone in the immediate vicinity whose life is in danger, and to ultimately escape the truck stop and head to safety. Unfortunately, things become more complicated when a machine-gun-mounted mobile platform orders each of the humans to pump gasoline for the trucks. Pitted against an army of machines demonized by an unknown phenomenon, the people trapped in the Dixie Boy truck stop must use stealth and a concealed arsenal to escape. In the meantime, they realize that there is more to the tail of Rhea-M than they initially thought.
VS: 1.4 pointed ears.
The short story “Trucks” written by Stephen King is the inspiration for this movie. According to numerous sources Stephen King was dissatisfied with other adaptations of his novels and short stories. He decided that he was going to this adaptation “right” and therefore do it himself. I’ve read the short story and I actually prefer the short story over the movie. This is not to say this is a bad adaptation. King faithfully adapts his short story (within budgetary allowances). That is the problem with this flick. King filmed every scene in the story, scenes the could’ve been shortened or eliminated entirely were left in. King seemed to be unaware of the differences in the two mediums. While this was a decent (aside from the language which was unnecessary) film, it could’ve been a great film in the hands of an experienced director.
My other problem with this flick was with both the story and film. How long do these trucks continue to circle the truck stop before the humans are forced to start pumping gas?
P.I.T. #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
This was a decent flick. However, what was the criteria for a machine to come to life? The newlywed’s car never came to life. There were plot holes in this movie were enough to distract me momentarily. However if you can overlook the plot holes you should find this an enjoyable enough movie.
P.I.T. #3 - 1.9 pointed ears
There was plenty of death and destruction. The machines come to life, what could be cooler? No kissing, and destruction make this a good movie (editor’s note I keep waiting for him to outgrow this aversion to kissing but at the same time, I’m glad he’s not girl-crazy). However, I can’t help but wonder why not all the machines came to life. I also want to know what kind of gas mileage the ‘intelligent’ trucks get.
4.8 pointed ears out of 6
Bloody but not gory. The biggest problem with this movie was the language. If repeated use of the F*bomb is offensive to you, leave this one on the shelf. The plot holes were picked up on by all thee of us without discussion during the movie, meaning I didn’t point it out during the film but the boys picked up on it any way (I’m so proud). In fact that all three of us picked up on the plot holes have inspired another post on this movie, Errors and goofs we found.