King’s Halloween Update: Miles to go and Promises to Keep

Hey, Stephen King quotes all kinds of poetry in his works, let me use a little Frost.

So watching a movie and writing a full review of it in one night is difficult to do. When I was keeping my streak going, I would be up until just before midnight trying to get my review up in time, several times writing the end of my review shortly after the end of the movie.

Last October it was difficult doing a movie and a review a night. Some of them got put off til the next day. My Christmas reviews didn’t get finished until January.

To double down on the difficulty, I am now working two jobs again. So I am working my regular job, then working a couple hours at my second job, then trying to watch a movie and writing a review AND THEN trying to get to bed at a decent hour to start the whole thing over again.

The center cannot hold. So right now I am two reviews, about to be three, behind. I’ve still been watching the movies, but I’ve been putting the reviews on the back burner for now. I hope to try and catch them back up on my day off, but bear with me. The reviews will continue.

God I hope this isn’t like all those dead webcomics that their final post was “comics will resume shortly.”

King’s Halloween: Misery (1990)

Tonight: Misery (1990)
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So, when I plan out these marathons, I generally try to find movies on streaming to watch. So far it has worked out fairly well with me only having to purchase a few movies here and there.

Unfortunately there are VERY few Stephen King movies available for streaming. On the other hand, due to Stephen King movies being popular, they are available at my local library.

The reason Pet Semetary remake was on the top of the list was because it was the first one I checked out. I figured it would be in high demand come October, so I got it out mid September. I also started pulling a bunch of movies out shortly after. If no one places a hold on the movie, it auto-renews.

Well, somebody else apparently wants to watch Misery. Sick bastard.

So I haven’t read the book. But like most of King’s more famous works, it has been referenced in MANY tv shows and movies.

My only dream is that one day one of my readers finds me half dead on the side of the road and threatens to kill me if I don’t change one of my reviews that she, or much more likely he, doesn’t agree with.

The hobbling scene keeps popping up on various lists as one of the more horrifying scenes in cinema. In fact, it gets shown on so many watchmojo lists and the like that I am sure they cut away before the REALLY gruesome scene happens. Well, I am somewhat disappointed. I steeled myself to witness a truly cringeworthy scene.

It was okay. In fact, you only see one ankle go sideways. The next one you just hear the crunchy audio. I was expecting bone to pop out. However, I’ve seen the scene so many times that I was largely desensitized to it when I actually saw it in context.

I was hoping for something like the Red Wedding. When everyone was shocked and talking about the Red Wedding, I went and watched it out of context. My thought was, “Meh, I’ve seen redder weddings.” Then I finally decided to watch Game of Thrones and with the context it was just gut wrenching.

But then again, I didn’t know the characters. With Misery, you kind of pick up on the context fairly quickly.

The ending was interesting. Paul writes the ending that Annie Wilkes wants, but burns it before she can read it. Then Paul smashes her over the head with a typewriter. Doesn’t take. Then he smashes her head on the typewriter. Seems to take, then doesn’t. Finally he smashes her head in with a pig statue. Seems to take this time.

Then we skip over how he escapes the middle of nowhere and he’s written a new book, but sees Annie Wilkes everywhere he looks.

Honestly, it is a great movie. Kathy Bates is a national treasure. You know, the one you lock away and dare not touch lest your family be cursed for 19 generations. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in a Kathy Bates role (but I’m sure if you give me some time I could find one).

Well, all the other movies have quite a while before they need to be returned, so nothing URGENTLY needs to be chosen, so what should I do tomorrow. .

Tomorrow: So we go from an author nearly dying because he tried to kill of his fictional character, what happens when an author nearly dies while trying to kill off his fictional author?

King’s Halloween: The Shining (1997)

Tonight: The Shining (1997)
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This mini-series came out when I was a kid.  For some reason, I didn’t watch it, though in school, my teacher at the time used the popularity of this mini-series to discuss foreshadowing.  I was confused when my teacher kept talking about a hose when I was familiar with blood coming out of an elevator (thanks to the Simpson’s parody of the movie).

This is the one remake this week that I have actually seen the original version.  I watched the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining a couple years ago when I first started getting into King.  I was really interested in seeing Jack Nicholson’s performance and I hadn’t put a hold on watching all Stephen King movies yet.

I also haven’t had a chance to read the book yet.  I’m only about 3 short chapters in.

So in comparing the two films, this version generally makes more sense and builds over time.  Unlike the Kubrick film which had to fit everything into an feature length run time, this series has four and half hours to build up the crippling psyche of Jack Torrence.  In this movie, it makes sense that the Torrences are a family.  In the original, Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall didn’t seem to have any business being a couple, let alone having a child.

Jack Nicholson going crazy and trying to kill his family seemed like the thing for him to do.  Steven Webber on the other hand goes back and forth from being angry and frustrated to being a caring father.  Hell, in the middle of yelling for Danny to come downstairs so he can beat him with a croquet mallet, as soon as he sees a bruised and traumatized Danny, he immediately breaks and becomes concerned.

I did a little research and so far as I can tell, this follows a lot closer to the book. I’m honestly surprised that Kubrick even bothered keeping the names of everything the same. Cause he seems to change everything else.

In Kubrick’s movie the Overlook has a hedge maze instead of a Rocque court. The haunted room is 237 instead of 217. Jack tries killing people with an Ax instead of a Rocque mallet. Jack dies from freezing to death instead of making the self sacrifice play by allowing the boiler to explode and taking all the ghosts with him.

Honestly, the biggest thing about this that makes me enjoy it over the original is the ending. I loved that Jack decided to take the hotel down with him. Then we see Jack’s ghost at Danny’s High School Graduation. It is a really touching scene.

Yes, the original movie is a classic and you can’t top Jack Nicholson’s manic ax wielding glee, but this movie feels closer to what the story should be.

The movie is the abridged version that was made by someone who didn’t quite understand the original story and just wanted to make things “scarier.” This version is unabridged made by someone trying to get the real story across.

I will concede that I would have liked to see this version except not made for TV. You can tell they had to dig in on “suspense” because they couldn’t go for gore.

Tomorrow: Speaking of TV remakes that can’t go for gore, we will end Remake Week with probably the worst offender. . .

King’s Halloween

I am not a fan of horror.  I generally go for comedies, action movies, and when possible, action comedies.  I generally avoid horror movies because I don’t see the joy in getting scared and being bombarded by jump scares.  Also they tend to have bleak endings that don’t necessarily end with good triumphing over evil.  Usually the last survivor starts to ride into the sunset, only for the sunset to eat them.

As a result, I generally avoided the “Master of Horror” Stephen King.  He already had scared the crap out me and most other children of the 90’s with Tim Curry’s IT, so I wasn’t willing to subject myself to much more.

By the time I turned 30, I had only read a few Stephen King Books, and seen a few Stephen King movies.  I had read Carrie, the Green Mile, and The Regulators, and seen Stand By Me and Green Mile.  At the time, I didn’t even realize either of the movies were Stephen King.

For the most part, I considered Stephen King the “default” answer that people gave when asked who is their favorite author.  Kind of like the Beatles are with music.  Just the mainstream common denominator.

However, 2 years ago we started getting trailers and information for the movie, “The Dark Tower.”  I had previously heard of the Dark Tower series before, but knowing it was “Stephen King” I knew it would be scary and depressing and I wouldn’t like it.  In fact, I was fairly convinced that the “Gunslinger” mentioned in the title of the first book would die in the first book and we would be following around the kid he encounters in the first book.

But the more I looked into The Dark Tower, the more I became enthralled with everything.  I love interconnected universes.  The idea that EVERYTHING in Stephen King’s novels is connected really intrigued me.  In that first year I read more Stephen King Novels and watched more Stephen King movies than I had in the 30 years prior.

Last year I was in a bind to figure out what to do for a October marathon.  On October 1st, I was brainstorming and I came up with 2 ideas.  1. Watch as many Bad Horror/Halloween movies as I could find, 2. Watch as many Stephen King movies as I can.  Due to the release of The Legend of HallowHawaiian, I went with the bad movies.  And for that I was damned.

But I figured this would give me time to read a bunch of the books so I could compare them to the movies and write better reviews.

I have not managed to read all that many books, and in fact the books I HAVE read, I’ve already seen the movies, so no help there.

So like the years before, I have some rules.  These are all going to be movies I have NOT seen before.  So unfortunately none of these movies make the list:
The Dark Tower
The Dead Zone
The Green Mile
ANY of the IT movies
The Running Man
The Shining (1980)
Stand By Me
The Stand

What pisses me off most is that IT: Chapter 2 came out last month and Doctor Sleep comes out next month.  They would have been AWESOME to put on the list.

So tomorrow night we begin KING’S HALLOWEEN with Pet Semetary(2019)

Road to Endgame: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

So considering I just tore into my entire family for not watching Spider-man: Homecoming in theaters and everyone seeing them months or years after it came out, it must mean that it is one of my FAVORITE MCU movies, right? Eh, not really.

Honestly, I wanted more Spider-man action.  Spider-man was kind of underwhelming.  He spent most of the movie trying to work his suit, without even the fun of his suit wanting to eat people.  I do like the Instant Kill version of the suit looking similar to the Assassin Spider-man.

We also don’t get the same level of competence Spider-man showed in Civil War.  Save for the beginning of the Ferry fight and at the final battle, we don’t see much of his fighting ability.  In Civil War he clowned The Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Hell, he somewhat held his own against Cap.  . . .okay, he got a few shots in, but experiance won out on that one.  In this he spends most of the fighting getting dragged around, getting shown up, or overall just not doing a great job.

However, it does a great job showing Peter taking his role of Spider-man seriously.  He doesn’t use his powers to showboat.  He doesn’t use his identity as Spider-man to gain favor.  When his friend tries to convince him to show up at a party, Peter decides it is the wrong thing to do.  Good on you Spider-man avoiding an awkward situation.

Michael Keaton was brilliant, everyone says so.

Honestly, I wish the comedy came more from Spider-man’s wit than just what is happening to Spider-man.

The main problem is that they took Spider-man away from the buildings and the sky scrapers, and kept him on the ground and out of the areas where he can swing webs like crazy.  Tobey McGuire’s and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider-man were both amazingly quick and agile.  Tom Holland spends a LONG time climbing the Washington Monument and when he reaches the top he is winded.

The story is well done, and fortunately no evil Spider-man as the villain, but I wanted a little bit more from my Spider-man.  But I think we have some good foundations to build on.  Really excited for Far From Home.

Well, now we go to a funnier movie than Spider-man, Thor Ragnarok!

Road to Endgame: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

When I found out the title of the next Captain America movie, I freaked out.  When I heard rumor of Spider-man possibly making it into the movie, I lost it.  When the trailer dropped that included Spider-man, I had to change my pants three times!

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Okay, lets just say I was excited.  So I was dead set to see this AS SOON as it came out.

Which made me really frustrated when I was trapped on a cruise around the Carribean and was unable to make a theater on the night it came out.  (angrily sips rum punch from a pineapple)

So I ended up seeing it about 2 or 3 days after it released.  Most of the time, the MCU movies do pretty well to meet or exceed my expectations.

This was sadly not one of those times.  Mainly due to Spider-man.

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I wanted it to be “Spider-man makes the Avengers get along!”  Unfortunately due to the rights not being a sure thing, Spider-man’s role had to be expendable.  Ultimately he could have been taken out of the movie completely and not changed a thing.

Not going to say I didn’t enjoy him in it.  The fight at the airport where he takes on the Winter Soldier AND the Falcon was just fantastic.

Oh wait, I mean Amazing, Spectacular, or Superior.  Those are the adjectives I’m allowed to use.

My ideal Spider-man would have been the bridge between the two sides.  He is the nerdy scientist like Tony Stark, but also the idealist boy scout like Steve Rogers.  But due to Sony and Marvel dragging things out so long, that role got relegated to Black Panther.  Which made my sister happy at least (Black Panther is her favorite).

So with my expectations sky high, the movie that everyone was raving about kind of dissappointed me.

However, I have since gotten over it.  Kinda.

It is an amazing movie.  I really liked the change up of Baron Zemo.  I really like his characterization and motivation.  I hope we see him in more movies.  I am glad he isn’t just the next Hydra villain to keep the ball rolling.  As far as I’m concerned, Hydra is done.  Until the Russo brothers bring them back for something else later.

One thing I have to say is that I keep thinking back to the first Captain America movie and how it ends with triumphant victory music.  We haven’t really had that since.  Captain America movies always end with Cap winning the day, but there is a sadness there.

Every victory now is coming with a loss.  In this, there isn’t even a real victory.  They just managed to survive.  This time.

So we move past the science and technology, and move into the realm of the master of mysticism, Doctor Strange.

Road to Endgame: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

This movie more than any other on this list is going to require me to actually pay attention.  I think I’ve seen this movie about three times.  Once when it originally came out, once during the marathon for Age of Ultron, and probably one other time somewhere in there.

Like a good Marvel fanboy, I said I liked the movie, but had my problems with it.  The Villain was bland and boring, Odin was drastically different, and the plot was confusing.  But because it was Marvel it was good enough, right?

As time goes on, I think if I truly enjoyed it, I would have watched it more than just the few times I need to build my list.  But I guess that is what this marathon is for, isn’t it?

So going off what I remember not liking about it, the BIGGEST complaints I had were about Malekith and Odin.

Malekith is just boring.  He is just a grim dark villain seeking to destroy everything.  What’s worse is that Malekith in the comics was INSANE!  He was an entertaining villain in the realm of Loki and Green Goblin.  Sadly he was stripped bare for the movie.

Of course, drastically altering your character from the source material is one thing.  Drastically altering a character from one movie to the next is another.

Odin in Thor was a wise and good king.  He acted in the realms and Thor’s best interest.  He was the kind and wise father figure.  Yes he acted harshly towards Thor but it was because Thor was a bully.  It was to teach Thor a lesson about being TRULY worthy.

In this, Odin is unworthy.  He treats Jane Foster like a lesser being.  He is haughty, cruel, and dismissive.  Instead of trying to spare his people from war, he tries to draw war TO Asgard.  Odin also fully embraces Genocide of the Dark Elves where he sought peace with the Frost Giants.  Different threats maybe, but still, this Odin seems to be struck with madness.

I’m coming up on the third act and my opinion so far hasn’t changed on either of these characters.

One character that annoyed me the first time I watched The Dark World was Kat Dennings.  Every time she talked it just annoyed me.  This time around I actually enjoy her comedy a bit more.

Other than that, everything sort of stays the same.  Despite not liking the villain, I thought the jumping in between worlds gimmick in the climactic battle at the end was kind of fun.  Sure the Aether VS Lightning Hammer part was boring, but when it gets going falling through wormholes, it is just entertaining as hell.

So no, my mind hasn’t been changed.  I would say it is my least favorite Marvel movie, but it is not terrible.  I still enjoy it enough to recommend and force my Fiancé to watch it, but it probably won’t be getting any non-marathon play.

Next on the list is probably my favorite MCU movie of them all, Captain America: Winter Soldier.