Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The King Long View...continued

I started this post in August last year, but failed miserably in finishing and posting it.  I’ve watched quite a few of the film adaptations recently and meant to write a bit about them at the time but, of course, indolence always wins out; that and the indomitable wariness of ever espousing a critical opinion.

29/03/11            The Shawshank Redemption

I’ll come straight out and say I love this film.  I know there’s some mixed opinion on it, and I summed up mine in a recent tweet – “If you don’t love The Shawshank Redemption, you are either a reactant douche, dead inside or a fucking liar.”
I don’t know about it being one of the best films of all time, but it’s one of my favourites.  Aside from the fact that there’s a yawning chasm between something being critically good and it’s potential to be enjoyed, I can’t help but feel that anyone’s dislike for the film is fuelled by a desire to buck the trend.

30/03/11            Stand by Me
This film gets better each time I watch it.  It’s one of the few films where comparisons between it and the book are largely meaningless and the realm of trolling donkeys.

04/04/11            Apt Pupil
McKellan’s always great, but the kid was just annoying.  I guess that was the point, so he did a good job, but it made it hard to get behind. 

02/05/11            Christine
Shit.  Can’t be bothered to explain, except to say that Arnie was a dick who was neither menacing enough nor capable of eliciting any sympathy.

11/05/11            Firestarter
I’ve read reviews of the film that hated it.  I didn’t hate it.  Like many adaptations of King’s work, they just stay faithful and let poor performances shit all over your imaginiations.

25/05/11            Cat's Eye

08/06/11            Creepshow


12/06/11            Pet Sematary

Apart from Herman Munster being in it (although I think he was miscast), there’s no justification for this film having been made.  It’s one of the few times where I’ll put my foot down and say “just read the book!”

20/06/11            Cujo

A bit pointless.  And they changed the ending.  Pussies.

17/08/11            Silver Bullet

Definitely one for the ‘so bad it’s good’ category.  Good, but not great.  Gary Busey was typically inappropriate and wonderful.

22/12/11            The Mist
I loved the novella.  Loved it.  I didn’t like the film nearly as much; mainly because it’s a straightforward retelling of the story that removes all of your imaginary detail and replaces it with someone else’s.  I’ve seen criticisms of the effects and acting which, to be fair, were TV-movie standard (Toby Jones was the standout and Marcia Gay Harden was effective in that I wished her eventual demise could have come within moments of her appearance on screen.  But it was still a solid film.
Much has been made of the ending.  I’d heard it was even bleaker than the book so was very interested into what Darabont had changed.  I know I’m dropping book spoilers all over the place, but I won’t spoil the film ending, save to say that my jaw dropped and I sat gaping at the screen with my mouth agape and thinking ‘fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.’  Awesome.


  1. I tend to stay away from Stephen King movies because 1) I can't deal with horror when there are actual visual things that can haunt me in the night, and 2) I hear most of them suck. Having said that, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Stand by Me are all fab. The miniseries of The Stand that I foolishly watched? Not so much.

  2. The terrible are definitely outweighing the good so far. In an earlier blog I tried to explain my compulsion to put myself through films I already know will be awful and hugely inferior with the idea that they allow me to relive the book, often only by comparison with what could and should have been done so much better. I'm not sure how successful it has been so far. In some cases it has made me want to read the books again, which can't be a bad thing. The funny thing is, the ones for which King writes the screenplays are amongst the worst.