0080 – Stephen King’s It Review


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Carrie (2013)


I Can STILL See Your Dirty Pillows

Carrie (2013)I love my Film Criticism class.  At first I was a little bit resentful that I showed up for class to find that we were watching the 1976 Carrie movie.  I had already seen and reviewed this movie!  And more than that, I didn’t really like it that much.  But after the movie, I found out some very exciting news: our midterm was to watch the new remake of the movie and compare the two.  I had already considered seeing this movie out of potential morbid curiosity.  But even better than that, I’d have to assume I’ll just be able to pull my midterm right out of this review.  But you guys will get the Director’s Cut of my midterm about the movie Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King, written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Kimberly Peirce, and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Alex Russell, and Barry Shabaka Henley.

Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a shy weirdo that gets abused by her schoolmates for not understanding what’s happening when she gets her first period in the shower.  To top that off, her mother (Julianne Moore) abuses her because she thinks Jesus gave her a period as punishments for her sins or some such nonsense.  But Carrie starts to realize that she’s not just an ordinary creepy girl.  She starts to realize that she can do things with her mind; a phenomenon she finds is called “telekinesis.”  But, more important than that (if you’re a high school girl), is that Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) asked her to the prom!  Sure, he asked her at the behest of his girlfriend, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), because they felt sorry for Carrie.  But Carrie still has a problem: Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday).  Chris is the head of the bully girls that pick on Carrie, and she resents Carrie because picking on her got her punished and banned from the prom.  And that’s just good logic right there.  Chris devises a plan with her boyfriend Billy (Alex Russell) to make Carrie pay for the punishment that she brought on herself.

I should do remakes more often!  I just got to copy and paste that whole thing from my other review!  Now, my midterm essay is supposed to be more about the differences between the two movies, so this won’t be my typical review.  But I’ll still get the review in there somewhere.  Let’s start with the story.  The story was almost exactly the same.  This movie claims that it stuck closer to the original novel than the original movie, and that just makes me think I wouldn’t like the novel.  I don’t particularly care about either story.  But the differences that I noticed actually made me like the story a little bit more.  The fact that Carrie’s mom had a job didn’t make that much sense to me.  It seems like it’d be hard to keep a job with that level of crazy going on.  I thought the ending of the original movie was much more effective, but this one was apparently more like the novel (at least according to Wikipedia).  The scene afterwards worked much better as well.  First of all, the sequence happened in a dream, so Carrie might not actually have decided to come back from the dead.  But if she did, it just makes much more sense that she could maybe have survived bringing the house down on her head instead of bringing the house down on her head, being dug out, prepared for burial, buried, and then coming back to life as it seemed the remake was implying by having Carrie’s gravestone start cracking.

The look of the movie would obviously have improved over time just because of advances in technology (not to mention the extra $28.2 million the remake had to work with).  Most everything in the movie just looked a lot better.  I like that they kept the fact that Carrie starts and ends the movie covered in blood, but they did it differently.  The original started with the shower scene which this movie still had, but this one started with Carrie being born.  I guess that makes it more symbolic that not only the movie but Carrie’s life started and ended covered in blood.  I thought the prom scene in this movie was much better too, even before it gets to the “bloody prom” part.  They still have the scene where Carrie and Tommy dance in this movie, but thankfully Peirce didn’t make the strange choice to film the two of them dancing in a centrifuge as De Palma did.  But I liked it much better when it got into the “bloody prom” part.  It was much more brutal as I imagine it should have been in the original.  The original movie had Carrie attacking people with a fire hose.  In the remake, Carrie crushes people with bleachers, throws heavy decorations at people, electrocutes them, and lights them on fire.  The ensuing car crash was also done much better.  It made more sense that they would have tried to run Carrie down because she kept them from leaving town.  In the original, they just kind of show up and the movie doesn’t really bother trying to tell us their motivation for running her down.  Then it was also graphically better when she slams the car to a stop.  I did think it didn’t make sense because the speedometer made it seem that they had gotten up to about 100 mph trying to run her down but they didn’t fly through the windshield until Carrie slammed the car into the gas pump.  I think going from 100 mph to 0 so instantly would have sent them both out of the car.

One thing that came up in class was the fact that De Palma filmed some of the scenes in a very perverted fashion that really didn’t seem to fit the movie.  Things like the shower scene and the detention exercises seemed more like they were out of Porky’s than out of a horror movie.  There was a little bit of that in this movie, but I only noticed it in the beginning when they were playing volleyball in the pool and they were filming all of the “high school students” underwater and below the belt.  I guess it helps that this movie was directed by a woman instead of a man.

There were a lot of differences in the performances in this movie.  Chloë Moretz did a decent enough job, but I didn’t feel she could really touch the quality of work Sissy Spacek put out in the original.  Spacek’s Carrie was afraid of her powers for most of the movie.  Moretz relished them almost immediately.  I thought it was a bit of a stretch for this movie to want me to believe that this girl would lose her mind when she got her first period but think it was cool that she has telekinesis.  She apparently has pyrokinesis as well because she can weld locks with her mind, and she also has some amazing baby gender-detecting ability.  I guess she did get a lot more practice with her powers in this movie than Spacek did, which I also thought was weird.  Seeing her practice with her powers made this feel more like I was watching a prequel to X-Men.  The strength of her powers also varied as needed by the movie.  At one point she’s lifting a car, but minutes later she can’t push her mom off of her?  On the other hand, I thought Julianne Moore did a much better job than Piper Laurie.  Moore played it a lot more real and Laurie played it almost cartoonishly over the top.  It makes sense since after I read that Laurie thought the movie was a satire of horror movies after she read the script, but the character works much better if she doesn’t cause the audience to laugh at some of the things she does.  It made me think that my dream team would’ve been Spacek as Carrie and Moore as the mom, if that would’ve been age appropriate.  Maybe with some clever editing…

I also thought they made some strange changes in the other girls of Carrie’s school.  I thought the role reversal was weird between Sue and Chris.  The Chris of the original (Nancy Allen) was a hot blond, and Sue (Amy Irving) was the cute brunette.  In the remake, Sue was the tall, hot blond (Gabriella Wilde) and Chris was the cute brunette (Portia Doubleday).  I guess anyone can be a bully, but typically the tall, gorgeous blond is the mean one, having been spoiled by being able to get her way her whole life with her looks.  I also thought that the bullies weren’t as cartoonishly mean to Carrie as they were in the original.  When Carrie sucks at volleyball, Chris makes a joke about it but is generally encouraging.  Carrie didn’t get hit in the face with a baseball cap because of it.  And when Carrie was freaking out in the showers, the girls thought it was strange that she didn’t know what a period was, but they seemed to be genuinely offering her tampons until she kept freaking out about it.  Chris did start to become much more unlikeable when she filmed it and put it on the internet, and even more unlikeable when she didn’t delete the video from her phone before going into the principal’s office.  No one likes a stupid person.   I also thought it was interesting that the roles were reversed between Chris and her boyfriend Billy, who I thought was The Situation for a good part of the movie.  Chris was the manipulator in the original movie, and Billy was in this one.

The Carrie remake was scarcely different from the original.  In some ways it was improved, such as in the look and in the greater majority of the performances.  The only performance I liked in the original movie was Sissy Spacek, and the only performance that was not improved on for the remake was the very same role.  The story was basically the same.  If you were forced to make a choice between the two of them, I guess I would recommend this one, while still saying that Spacek is worth checking out in the first movie.  But if you don’t need to choose, then I’d say you can get by skipping both of them.  Carrie gets “You know the devil never dies, keeps coming back.  But you gotta keep killing him” out of “There are other people out there like me who can do what I can do.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Children of the Corn (1984)


I Spy With My Little Eye Something That Starts With “C”

Children of the Corn (1984)The October Horrorthon has returned!  I actually purchased today’s movie a few months ago, but held onto it so that I could do it as part of the Horrorthon this year.  It’s a movie I’m sure we all know about, and even one I’m sure most people had seen already, but if I was one of those people I didn’t recall it at all.  I didn’t get to see a lot of horror movies when I was younger, so it’s nice to have an excuse to catch up.  This movie is Children of the Corn, based on a short story by Stephen King, directed by Fritz Kiersch, and starring Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, John Philbin, and R. G. Armstrong.

A group of kids decide to kill all the adults in town because the corn told them to.  Two such children are Job (Robby Kiger) and his sister Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy), and they join the other children lead by Isaac (John Franklin) who speaks for the corn and his muscle Malachai (Courtney Gains).  Years later, Burt (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) are driving down a country road when they totally mow down a little boy that was standing in the road.  Upon investigation, they find out that the boy had been stabbed while trying to escape the cult of children, so the couple feels like they’ve been let off the hook.  Showing the corpse all due respect, they toss him in the trunk and head off, but get lost and stranded in the town of Gatlin, where all the adults are now gone and the cult offers the children as sacrifice when they turn 19.  Makes you wonder how long this cult expected they would last without reproducing, doesn’t it?  Vicky gets abducted by the cult and Burt must try to reclaim her.

I thought this movie was supposed to be a classic!  Well, I guess it is by its age, but not by its quality.  It’s okay at its best; silly at its worst.  It’s strange to say that it seems a story about children killing their parents because corn told them to is unimaginative, but it felt that way to me.  It just felt standard.  Some killings, some supernatural stuff, overly simple solution, vaguely happy ending.  And what’s worse is that the only thing I found myself wanting out of this movie was never delivered: some hardcore kid punching!  I would’ve beaten the shit out of these little punks!  The closest that happens is Burt pushes some of them down and beats up on Malachai a little.  None of these kids would have escaped my wrath!  Even if they did nothing to me directly they’d have a punchin’ comin’ their way!

The simple story could’ve been overcome if the movie was scary, but it never really managed that either.  I had a bad feeling early on when the kid was running through the corn fields.  I don’t care how scary your music may seem or how jarring your camera movements are, if all you’re doing is showing me close ups of corn I’m not going to be scared.  Shortly after the kid gets stabbed, so I guess you could say that was scary.  You could also say it was just blood being flicked onto a suitcase.  Later on the movie tries to get supernatural when the corn starts getting involved, but that just looked goofy, as if corn stalks were falling over a man that was thrashing madly.

The performances didn’t do much for me.  They were fine I suppose, but they didn’t seem to be trying all that hard.  I think they wanted me to like Peter Horton’s character, but I stopped liking him when he ran that kid down.  Not because he ran that kid down, mind you.  I’ve nothing against that per se.  But he’s supposed to be a doctor and he tried to make the argument that the kid was already dead when he hit him even though the kid was standing in the center of the road holding his hands out as if to say, “Don’t hit me, I’m still alive!”  My uneducated opinion is that this kid had a little more fight in him.  And that wasn’t the only occasion that made me think he was stupid.  He also decided to trust the magical corn that opened up to let him walk into the fields.  Maybe I’m just untrusting of corn in general, but I would regard that as suspicious.  I didn’t like Linda Hamilton in this movie either, but mainly because I want her to be Sarah Connor levels of badass or nothing at all.  I think she had not yet been Sarah Connor by this point, but I would argue that she always has been and always will be Sarah Connor.  And then I would say stop arguing with me; this is my review!  John Franklin also weirded me out because he was supposed to be a little kid but looked more like a 30-year-old to me.  Then I looked it up and I guess he WAS more like a 30-year-old!  But I also couldn’t find out anything about why he looked like this.  That will haunt me much longer than this movie will, as demonstrated by the fact that it currently haunts me and the movie never did.  Also haunting was how much Courtney Gains looked like he should’ve been the third Pete brother.

Children of the Corn was a disappointment to me.  I thought that the fact that I had heard so much about this movie meant that it would be good.  That is a dangerous assumption to make, and one I hope to avoid in the future.  It wasn’t a bad movie, but it had a pretty simple story, no scares whatsoever, and lackluster performances that would keep the movie from being anything I will remember for very long.  Nor will I be recommending it.  You don’t really need to watch this.  Children of the Corn gets “Did you rewrite the whole thing, or just the parts that don’t suit your needs?” out of “Behold!  A dream did come to me, and the Lord did show all of this to me.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

The Shining (1980)


Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!

For the last movie of this year’s Horrorthon, I decided that I would review another classic and fill a void in my reviews.  This is a movie that I had seen before but, as with most things in my life, I seem to have mostly forgotten by now.  But I know a lot of people who love this movie.  My friend Jordan says this movie is his favorite movie, if I remember correctly.  And so, even though it was not requested, I decided I would get this review out of the way already, and end my Horrorthon with a bang.  This movie is The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King, co-written for the screen by Diane Johnson, co-written and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Joe Turkel, Philip Stone, Barry Nelson, Anne Jackson, and Lisa and Louise Burns.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes his family – wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) – up to the Overlook Hotel to act as its caretaker for the winter, hoping it will give him time to work on his book.  Undeterred by the isolation, talks of a murder/suicide of the last caretaker, and talks of the hotel being buried on an Indian burial ground, he and his family move in to get the hotel all to themselves.  As everyone else is leaving, the chef, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), talks to Danny about their shared telepathic abilities, that he calls the “shining”, and warns him to be careful in the hotel, especially around Room 237.  With everyone now gone, Jack gets to work.  But too much of that and not enough play has effects on a man, or so I’m told.

I really like this movie.  I wouldn’t call it my favorite movie, or even my favorite horror movie, but that’s mainly just because the pace is a little slow for my tastes.  It still remains very effective, but it’s a bit of source of contention about what makes the movie scary.  The movie portrays itself like a ghost story, but it’s been argued that it’s not a ghost story.  It’s actually a window into Jack’s descent into madness.  Personally, I say it’s both.  It’s clearly more about madness that comes along with the isolation, but I found that even more disturbing.  The reason I found it so disturbing was because I think I would LOVE that setting.  If I could get my Xbox working up there, and possibly get some internet access, I could do that for a few months and be really bummed out that they were making me leave when my time was up.  But I’m already insane, so I assume other people might not handle it that well.  But this movie is also a ghost story.  There’s no way Jack could’ve gotten out of the freezer if a ghost didn’t open it.  That stuff all works well enough too, but it is definitely more about the madness.  There was also not a whole lot to this movie that I took issue with as far as the writing is concerned.  If things in the story didn’t make sense, the quality of the movie usually distracted me from them.  The only one I had was the biggest one, but it would’ve stopped the whole movie from happening.  How did they not notice any of the gigantic stop signs for going to this hotel?  The loneliness makes people crazy, the last guy killed his wife and two kids, and this was on an Indian burial ground.  That’s a trifecta of haunting.  I guess it kind of makes sense because this movie happened before those things were cliché horror movie stuff.  Poltergeist was still two years away to make Indian burial grounds such a big haunting device.

I think Kubrick’s direction caught my attention the most in this viewing of the movie.  He really seemed to go all out with the interesting filming techniques.  He had a lot of really great aerial shots and frequently went to a side-scrolling pan for walking conversations.  He also used some nice jarring angles while Jack was losing his shit.  Early on it was a lot of still shots watching him do something monotonous that would inevitably drive him insane, and later he would go to the more jarring angles.  The first I really noticed was filming Jack from in front of him, looking up as he had his head against the freezer door as he was trying to trick Wendy into letting him out.  Later, of course, is the classic “Here’s Johnny” scene.  He also used sound a lot to drive the audience insane, like the first time when Hallorann communicates with Danny psychically and it’s built up to with what sounds like a tooth drill amping up.  Not a whole lot of noises that will drive someone insane better than that noise.  The only bad thing in the visuals of the movie was the naked old chick.  That was an awful sight to behold, because she was old and naked.  Also, she was supposed to be dead, so that’s bad too.

The performances in this movie are hard for me to talk about.  I respect the actors in the movie and their performances, but sometimes they felt a little over the top.  I guess they were going insane, so they should’ve been over the top, but it threw me off a few times.  Jack Nicholson acted like an insane douche nozzle from the very beginning of the movie, but he probably should’ve been a little more normal from the beginning and slowly turned insane douche.  There’s also a chance that Jack Nicholson cannot have his face and not look insane.  Am I the only person that finds Shelley Duvall really attractive?  I would wreck that!  She spends the first part of this movie being relentlessly kind and a little naïve, and then spends the latter half of the movie screaming a lot.  She perhaps went a little over the top, but I don’t know how I’d act if my husband was trying to kill me with an axe.  I might scream in exactly the same way.  Danny Lloyd I did not like from the very beginning of the movie.  Perhaps I’m spoiled by how many quality child actors are in the business today, but this kid was not very good.  He was rarely convincing, and always looked like a midget going to a Halloween party dressed as Davy Jones from the Monkees.

It’s good to end the Horrorthon with a bang.  The Shining is a classic horror movie that holds up as well today as when it came out.  It’s a great movie about isolation and madness, a pretty good ghost movie, and a fantastic outing for director Stanley Kubrick.  The greater majority of the performances are fantastic, even if they do tread into the bombastic at times.  I could see this movie not being for everyone because the slow pace in parts of the movie makes it a bit of an investment, but I think it’s worth it and everyone should see this movie at least once in their lives.  The Shining gets “Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t” out of “Don’t worry, mom.  I know all about cannibalism.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Christine (1983)


Okay … Show Me.

I feel sad as the October Horrorthon is coming to a close.  There are so many more movies I wish I had reviewed!  Well, I did what I could.  And we still have a couple more for you, or at least as many as I can within October.  Today’s movie is both a classic movie and a request from my friend Christie Mallomarchipotle.  It’s also a movie that I’ve never gotten around to seeing even though I’ve heard so much about it.  But, unlike other movies like that, I’ve never heard so much about this movie that it would ruin the ending.  It’s exciting, I know.  All I really know about this movie is that it’s about a car that kills people, and that Christie is an egomaniac for requesting a movie that shares her name.  That movie is Christine, based on a book by Stephen King, written for the screen by Bill Phillips, directed by John Carpenter, and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, William Ostrander, Robert Prosky, Christine Belford, Harry Dean Stanton, and Roberts Blossom.

Arnold “Arnie” Cunningham (Keith Gordon) is the nerdy friend of popular jock Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell).  His parents are douche nozzles and he is also bullied by another high schooler who is way too buff and old looking to be a high school student named Buddy Repperton (William Ostrander).  On their way home one day, Arnie and Dennis come across a beat up 1958 Plymouth Fury belonging to George LeBay (Roberts Blossom).  Arnie falls in love with the car despite Dennis’ disgust in its condition and he buys the car for $250.  Arnie starts to get obsessed with the car (that he finds is called “Christine”), and spends all his time fixing it.  It even starts to affect him as a person, making him quicker to anger with his friends and family and turning him into Peter Parker from Spiderman 3.  Dennis gets concerned for his friend so he goes to talk to George and he finds out that George’s brother, Roland, died in the car from carbon monoxide poisoning after his young daughter had died in the car.  Maybe there’s more to this car than there seems to be…

Finally!  A classic horror movie that lives up to the expectations I barely had for it!  I kind of dug Christine.  It’s not the most spellbinding story ever, but it’s imaginative.  I don’t think I’ve seen very many movies about a car that tries to kill people.  Just that one episode of Futurama.  The biggest qualm I had with the story of the movie is that it never really bothered to explain what made Christine supernatural.  Are we to believe that what made it evil is that it was the only red car in its production line?  Apparently, the book blames it on the death of Roland LeBay, but the movie makes the car evil before it has even left the assembly line, crushing a dude’s hand and killing a guy that sits in it with no explanation about how that happened.  After that, the only other thing that confused me was in the fight with the bully in the beginning of the movie.  During the fight, one of Buddy’s goons participates in the fight by grabbing a heaping handful of Dennis’ dick.  Was that considered a thing back in the day?  ‘Cause if I lost a fight like that, I would be calling that kid a queer.  “I wouldn’t say I lost a fight so much as I turned down your request for a date, bro.  That’s a little aggressive for me.”

I’d say what kept me going with the movie was mostly the direction.  John Carpenter makes some cool movies, and this is another one.  A lot of the things that the car did were pretty cool ways to kill people with a car.  They actually didn’t do much for the easy technique of running someone over, or if they did, they amped it up.  When they did run someone over, it was after Christine just pushed another car into one guy, got completely doused with gasoline, and chased the guy down while completely on fire.  Otherwise, they were all pretty interesting ways to do it.  The one that I took the most issue with was the lame look of killing the shopkeeper by pressing the chair too hard against the steering wheel.  That was more goofy than anything else.  I also liked how well they did the look of making a broken down Christine put herself back together, making the dents pop out like someone was blowing into her tailpipe.  …That sounds dirty.  I meant like a balloon.  The music was a bit of a problem for me, but it usually is in 80’s movies.  The basic score of the movie was just music that sounded like the same music Carpenter used in Escape from New York, so I didn’t really have a problem with that.  The music I did take issue with was the music that Christine would play.  It felt like they could’ve put a little more effort behind picking the songs that Christine would play on the radio to indicate what Christine was trying to say.  There were a couple of occasions where it made sense to me, like when Dennis was trying to break into Christine and she started playing “Keep A-Knockin’ (but You Can’t Come in)”, but I really don’t understand playing “Little Bitty Pretty One” while Christine was trying to run down the fat kid.

None of the performances really impressed in any significant way, but none of them really did poorly either.  Keith Gordon’s character in this movie was definitely what Tobey McGuire based that abortion that he portrayed while walking down the street in Spiderman 3.  He starts off nerdy and nice, but turns into an overly cocky swaggering prick pretty quickly when Christine gets involved.  And he was putting the stupid car over his hot girlfriend that was dying to give him the pussy, but felt neglected because he paid more attention to the car.  That is crazy to me.  Maybe she’d feel less intimidated by it if you would start referring to it just as “your car” and “it” rather than “Christine” and “she”.  And why did he never find it strange that his car got jealous and he had to sweet talk the thing to get it to start?  That would put a little question mark over my head, to be sure.

I was happy to find that Christine was a good movie.  I’ve been underwhelmed by so many classic horror movies lately that it was good to have one live up to my expectations.  The story was imaginative though not mind-blowing, but it was interesting throughout because John Carpenter brings it.  He made the movie visually interesting, and actually found mostly interesting ways to have a car kill people.  The performances bordered on over the top on occasion, but mostly were fine.  I recommend Christine for a watch, especially if you haven’t already seen it.  It holds up, and it’s a movie that’s talked about enough that everyone should know it.  Christine gets “That’s just about the finest smell in the world, ‘cept maybe for pussy” out of “Good!  Now, get the hell out of here.  We’re closed.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Carrie (1976)


I Can See Your Dirty Pillows.

The impetus for today’s movie was almost entirely based on Netflix.  I knew I was looking for another classic horror movie and I came across this movie while looking through the horror movies in the instant section.  I knew I needed to review this movie in my Horrorthon.  Then I reached a problem: I was not looking at the right movie.  I was apparently looking at the 2002 made for TV version of the movie I was thinking of.  And the movie I was thinking of was not one that could be streamed.  But I already had my mind set to review it.  It took some doing, but I finally found the movie Carrie, based on a novel by Stephen King, written for the screen by Lawrence D. Cohen, directed by Brian De Palma, and starring Sissy Spacek, Nancy Allen, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Betty Buckley, and PJ Soles.

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a shy weirdo that gets abused by her schoolmates for not understanding what’s happening when she gets her first period in the shower.  To top that off, her mother (Piper Laurie) abuses her as well because she thinks Jesus gave her a period as punishments for her sins or some such nonsense.  But Carrie starts to realize that she’s not just an ordinary creepy girl.  She starts to realize that she can do things with her mind, a phenomenon she finds is called “telekinesis.”  But, more important than that (if you’re a high school girl), is that Tommy Ross (William Katt) asked her to the prom!  Sure, he asked her at the behest of his girlfriend, Sue Snell (Amy Irving), because they felt sorry for Carrie.  But Carrie still has a problem: Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen).  Chris is the head of the bully girls that pick on Carrie, and she resents Carrie because picking on her got her punished and banned from the prom.  And that’s just good logic right there.  Chris devises a plan with her boyfriend Billy (John Travolta) to make Carrie pay for the punishment that she brought on herself.

I was pretty surprised to find that I didn’t care for this movie at all.  It’s so well-regarded, but I was not into it at all.  It was mainly the story that turned me off too.  This wasn’t a horror movie; it was whiny high school drama with a ham-fisted telekinesis subplot.  I was equal parts bored and irritated.  The high school type stuff I just found really boring because we’ve all seen that stuff before, and done much better.  And it didn’t seem realistic too, but it’s hard for me to tell.  I haven’t been a girl in high school in many years, but I don’t think girls would just mock a girl for getting her period.  You bitches all do it too!  And that’s why you’re gross.  I’m also sure there are girls in high school so devoid of logic that they would blame Carrie for their troubles like Chris did, even though she clearly brought it all on herself.  And then there’s the trouble at home that comes with her way over the top crazy mom who takes a natural (albeit icky) thing like menstruation and takes it as a sign from God that Carrie is a sinner.  Those people I just like to believe don’t exist.  And how the fuck do her religious beliefs work anyway?  Getting your period is evil, but trying to murder your child later in the movie is alright in God’s book?  And the way they introduced Carrie’s powers was ham-fisted and irritating.  Each time something happened because of them was displayed with a short, sharp noise that felt like I was being stabbed in the ear with the fact that Stephen King just found out what telekinesis was and decided to base a book on that.  And the way she used them was pretty shitty too.  Sure, the prom scene is super memorable and kind of nifty, but I was mainly struck by the fact that she didn’t seem to punish any of the people that deserved it.  People that had tried to help her died and the people that started everything escaped through the front door.  Granted, some of them got what was coming to them later, but it was just shitty.  I also thought a lot of the dialogue was pretty bad.  Someone actually says, “Get ‘er done,” in this movie!  It made me lose all the respect I had for Larry the Cable guy.  The worst dialogue in my opinion is any conversation between Nancy Allen and John Travolta.  That was abysmal.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this Brian De Palma fella, but I would still have to confess that I was unimpressed with the look of this movie.  I know I’m not a director or anything, but I got to thinking that some of the shots were just rudimentary and distracting.  I first started thinking this when they were in class and Carrie says Tommy’s poem was “beautiful.”  It was a close up on his face with her in the background.  Then there was also a scene where they seemed to try to do a split focus on it – the likes of which were talked about in great length in Citizen Kane for some reason – but this movie did it poorly.  You could see a giant, blurry seam down the center of the frame!  If I had to say one good thing about the direction of this movie it would have to be that the opening credits were chock full of titties.

I suppose I would be comfortable giving credit to some of the performances in this movie.  Sissy Spacek did a formidable job being mostly quiet and reserved, but occasionally manic and at least one occasion scary.  Also, she got her boobs out.  …I think I’d bang it out on Sissy Spacek in this movie.  I’m not gonna lie to you people.  I didn’t really find that many other people in this movie altogether noteworthy.  Some of them did fine jobs, some were underwhelming.  I did get annoyed at the principal in the movie though.  I understand not remembering someone’s name.  I do it all the time.  But if someone corrects me once, I would either remember or not attempt their name again.  This dude seems to go out of his way to get her name wrong, even when it was an awkward placement to even say her name.  I know what they were trying to do, but it was another location where it seemed a little ham-fisted, as if the movie was just trying too hard.

I may be alone in this, but I didn’t like Carrie.  The story took turns being either boring or annoying and it seemed to me to be poorly directed, even though it was Brian De Palma.  I’m too lazy to look it up, but I am under the impression that he’s a good director.  I didn’t see that here.  I’m disappointed in both Stephen King and Brian De Palma for this movie, but I am good with what Sissy Spacek brought to the table.  It may have been amazing when it came out somehow, but I’m not down with it today.  It’s probably a movie you should watch because it’s a classic, but it’s my opinion that you can skip it.  Carrie gets “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” out of “I hate Carrie White.”

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Stephen King’s It (1990)


There’s Something Terribly Wrong Here In Derry

It has been a long time since I watched It, and it’s been a long time since I started It. October Horror-thon continues with a movie that I had no idea was actually BOTH sides of the disc it came on. I went in thinking I would rewatch a movie that was only an hour and a half, but it turned out to be double that. But Stephen King movies can tend to be pretty long. I’m pretty sure I’ve sat through The Stand too. This isn’t nearly as long as that, but it is surely an investment. Today’s movie is the classic Stephen King movie (that is apparently a 2-part TV movie turned one long movie), It, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, written by Stephen King, and starring Tim Curry, John Ritter, Annette O’Toole, Richard Thomas, Harry Anderson, Tim Reid, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, and Michael Cole, and the 1960’s versions of the same characters being played by Tim Curry again, Brandon Crane, Emily Perkins, Jonathan Brandis, Seth Green, Marlon Taylor, Adam Faraizl, Ben Heller, and Jarred Blancard. Thems is some cast.

In the beginning, a young girl is riding a tricycle until her mother tells her to come inside. As she’s heading inside, she sees a clown in her mother’s hanging laundry. By the way, does anyone use laundry lines anymore? Probably just the deep south. Well anyways, when the mother comes back outside, the girl is apparently dead. We don’t see it, so we can hardly be sure. Mike Hanlon (1990 = Tim Reid, 1960 – Marlon Taylor) finds out about the murder and realizes that something he and his friends dealt with in their past has returned and is killing kids, so they have to deal with it because they promised each other 30 years earlier. These friends were a bunch of misfits that came together to form what they called “The Losers Club” (which is a much worse name than the Breakfast Club) and was comprised of Bill (1990 = Richard Thomas, 1960 = Jonathan Brandis), Beverly (1990 = Annette O’Toole, 1960 = Emily Perkins), Richie (1990 = Harry Anderson, 1960 = Seth Green), Eddie (1990 = Dennis Christopher, 1960 = Adam Faraizl), Ben (1990 = John Ritter, 1960 = Brandon Crane), Stan (1990 = Richard Masur, 1960 = Ben Heller), and Mike. And I am so happy that I got having to type all of those names out of the way. The remainder of the movie is told jumping back and forth between 1990 and 1960, so I will do my best to summarize.

As Mike calls each of his friend, we catch a piece of what brought them together and what brought them to the problem they must return for. The fat kid is bullied and has no friends until he comes across the stutterer and the asthmatic and they resolve to build a dam for some reason. (By the way, I’ve lost interest in trying to find what their names are, so this is how I will refer to them from now on). The fat kid gets a crush on the girl and introduces her to the group, then they are joined by the comedian (which I say because “the funny one” would indicate that his comedy was funny) and the boyscout. Later on the black one joins. Each one of the Losers encounter a monster that usually comes in the shape of a clown that introduces itself as Pennywise (Tim Curry), but they call It (I will call it Pennywise because It may get confusing). Pennywise kills the stutterer’s little brother and a couple other kids around town. After each of the Losers has encountered Pennywise on their own, they resolve they must destroy it. They manage to damage Pennywise before he escapes, and the group file that under “Good Enough”, but promise to return if it should ever return. They then forget all about the situation until the grown up black one calls them about Pennywise’s return. The group must reunite to take out Pennywise once and for all … except for the boyscout. He kills himself instead.

Oh my Odin! Has any one movie caused me to write so much description before I get to the review? Because it took me so long, I’ll just say “fuck this movie” and call that a review …

…You still here? Okay, I’ll review it. Disregard the “fuck this movie”. It was said out of frustration and I didn’t mean it. This movie is solid, but it has certainly lost something with the combination of time and the fact that I didn’t realize it was a made for tv movie so I expected more for the budget. Best I can tell, this movie is about fear and not letting it run your life. When they’re kids, their fear is in their imagination and no one can see the effects Pennywise has except the kids. That same fear haunts them still into adulthood and has left them not at their best. The fat kid is an alcoholic, the girl is in an abusive relationship, the asthmatic is still a virgin, the boyscout kills himself at the mere mention of Pennywise, the black one is still black, and the stutterer has basically turned into Stephen King. The comedian, however, is way more successful than the quality of his humor should justify. Once they conquer their fear, their lives take a turn for the better. I would say that the resolution could have been better, though. You would assume that conquering their fears would just involve them deciding they are no longer afraid and Pennywise no longer has any power over them, and then simply fades away. Instead, conquering their fears takes the form of beating the shit out of a giant, fake-y spider with their bare hands and feet. I guess the message still remains.

This movie had it’s fair share of cliche’s though. The fat kid who is new to school gets picked on by the most classic greaser gang I’ve ever seen since Indiana Jones 4 (and, just as cliched, the fat kid manages to find the ability to beat up his bully). And what’s that little greaser shit’s problem? When fatty first shows up, he openly mocks the kid in class. Fatty just sits down and does nothing to him, but the greaser gets all mad at fatty when the teacher punishes him. Fatty ain’t done nothing to you. You should’ve waited until there wasn’t a teacher directly in front of you to mock him if you didn’t want to get in trouble so bad. This greaser was also a racist, so of course they pick on the black kid as well. It made me laugh when they were chasing him, though. You honkeys can’t catch the black man. That’s just genetics. Man, I am going to convince the world that I’m a racist in this one review, aren’t I? They also have a building montage when the kids make their little dam, and not much is more cliched than a montage. Also, is every visiting businessman Japanese? How many times has a business person had to deal with a group of visiting businessmen in movies and almost every time they’re Japanese. I’m sure other places have businesses. They did do one thing that broke from norms when they all tested each other to see who was the best shot with the slingshot and the girl won, probably because all of the boys couldn’t see and/or count. When they were shooting at the bottles, they said she got 10 out of 10, but I’m pretty sure I counted 6. I understand the need to have a girl in the group so as not to seem sexist, but this chick is stringing along the fat one while having a crush on the stutterer, though she will openly kiss any of the other ones right on the mouth. These boys probably ran a train on this girl in the college years. Except for the asthmatic. VIRGIN!

There were a lot of things to this movie that didn’t work for me. For instance, should the person that stutters really be trying to finish people’s sentences so much? You can’t even finish your own! When the girl has had enough of her abusive boyfriend, she starts throwing things from her counter at him. She hits him with heavy glass items, metal items, but what takes him down? The plastic cream container. And when Pennywise is trying to lure fatty into the sewers by turning into fatty’s deceased father, why would he turn back to the creepy clown instead of staying in the form of his dad until he got into the sewers? Didn’t think that one out, did ya Pennywise? The giant creature that Pennywise has turned into at the end of the movie is really obviously superimposed, but when I found out this was a made for TV movie from 1990, I had to give it a pass. What I refuse to give a pass is the gigantic problems with these kid’s imaginary problems. I swear it took me until the second disc – one and a half hours in – to realize that only the kids could see the blood coming out of the sink, or the balloons that burst and sprayed blood, or the blood coming out of the photo album of the stutterer’s little brother. I assumed that it was a Freddy Krueger type thing where the parents acted like nothing was happening because it would go away if you ignored it. And, when I had finally figured out that only the kids could see it, they did the scene in the library where the blood-filled balloons burst in people’s faces but they all obviously flinched.

Then we come to the performances. The only thing I liked about most of the performances was getting to see Seth Green from way back when and getting to remember who Jonathan Brandis was. That guy was the biggest thing back in the day. Whatever happened to him. …Oh. Hanged himself? Pennywise must’ve come back… Um…Seth Green, everybody! I love Robot Chicken! Most of the performances of the kids were solid. I don’t expect much from child actors, generally. I don’t think all of them need to be a Fanning or something. I did have problems with the adults though. At least in the first disc, most of the adult characters were needlessly hamming it up. Except Ritter. Ritter was the fuckin’ BOSS! I miss that dude… Damnit, Robert! Stop with the deaths and sadness! Ritter was very good though. Harry Anderson’s comedian character got on my nerves. As a kid, I accepted it. That was either because I like Seth Green or because kids think they’re funny but they’re not. His humor didn’t really evolve much into adulthood and he just served to grate on my nerves. Tim Curry kind of hammed it up as well, but he was playing a clown, so I called it appropriate. And, of course, he was pretty damned unsettling as well, but when ISN’T Tim Curry unsettling. I figure Pennywise is the reason some people are afraid of clowns. On the negative side, the character occasionally reminded me of Freddy Krueger in that he was a killer that made lots of lame jokes while trying to be scary, and I don’t appreciate being forced to remember Freddy.

Damn. That review was almost as long as the movie. I feel like I should throw in right now that I would not consider myself a racist or a sexist, so if you could take those comments above with a grain of salt, it would be appreciated. I can’t really filter something I think is funny. As for the movie, it’s really long and just barely worth the time. The story is alright, the meaning is good, most of the performances are tedious, and a lot of things don’t make sense. It’s not horrible, but there are better ways to spend almost 3 hours. I’ll give this movie “They all float down here” out of “Want a balloon?”

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