Hi all! Starting on Monday, I’ve decided to do a Stephen King Week on my blog. King turns 70 next week so I’m going to post something King-related Monday through Friday. One book review, two movie reviews (including the new It film), and two Top Ten lists. Unlike certain political leaders, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King. I hope to chat with some fellow fans next week. 🙂
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who has been chasing after his adversary, “the man in black”, for many years. The novel fuses Western fiction with fantasy, science fiction and horror, following Roland’s trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.
Another quickie book review! I figured I better “review” The Gunslinger since The Dark Tower movie is out now in the US (and out August 18th in the UK). Not many positive reviews so far, though! Damn.
Stephen King is easily my favorite author. I’ve read almost all of his books other than The Dark Tower series, which never really appealed to me for some reason. I got into King in my early teens (maaaaaaany years ago now) and I did read The Gunslinger early on but didn’t remember a thing about it other than that I didn’t really enjoy it at the time. Therefore, I guess that’s why I never continued. I hate re-reading books. Don’t know why. But I obviously had to re-read this one before I could continue with the series & the movie coming out has finally forced me to read it again.
I lie – I do remember one thing from reading it many years ago. Desert! Lots of desert. I remember the book dragging in the first half (in the desert). Reading the book again now, I wonder if I didn’t actually finish it as I remembered nothing at all from the second half of the book, which I found much more enjoyable. The story really picked up once Roland met up with Jake (toward the end of the long desert journey). I mean, I love King but a guy walking alone through a desert gets a bit boring after a while. Maybe I just don’t like stories set in the desert? Nah, that can’t be – I love post-apocalyptic desert landscapes (like in Mad Max: Fury Road or the book Wool). And I don’t mind long journeys (like in The End Of The World Running Club or King’s own The Long Walk or, you know, The Lord Of The F*^king Rings…). So. I dunno. Wow, I suck at reviews lately.
I think the main problem may have been that I didn’t really buy into the character of Roland Deschain. I didn’t like him (not that you’re meant to). He’s so stoic. Having to walk through the desert with that guy would be a total drag. I made him super hot in my head, though, so that helped. Oh! I did like the flashbacks to when he was young & being trained to one day fight to declare his manhood. The flashbacks & the time spent with Jake were the best bits (for me) and made up for the bits that dragged on a bit too long (like the time spent in Tull, although I liked his relationship with the woman while there). The “man in black” was a disappointment but I’m assuming we get a lot more of that story in the remaining books…
Well, I did like this book more than it probably sounds from this so-called review. I’m probably rating it half a point more than I otherwise would since a) it’s Stephen King & b) I can see a lot of potential for the remaining books. I’m assuming this first book barely even scratches the surface of this story. You really learn nothing whatsoever about Roland & the “man in black” and I found it entertaining enough to want to continue & learn more, especially about Roland’s past. I’ll read the rest. Eventually…
My Rating: 3.5/5
Books I’ve Read So Far In 2017 (ranked from least favorite to favorite…)
– Tape by Steven Camden
– The Sisters by Claire Douglas
– We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
– If I Stay by Gayle Forman
– The Circle by Dave Eggers
– The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
– The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
– Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
– Finders Keepers by Stephen King
– The Dinner by Herman Koch
– The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
– The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
– Blaze by Stephen King
– A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
– Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
– Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
– Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
– Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
– All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
– The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Currently Reading: End Of Watch by Stephen King (book 3 of the Mr. Mercedes trilogy)
Oh, and it looks like the Mr. Mercedes TV series is starting today on the Audience (?!) network in the US. So I don’t know how I’ll see that in the UK but I’d like to as I enjoyed the book (more than The Gunslinger). Here’s the trailer for the show, starring Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Mary-Louise Parker, Kelly Lynch & Ann Cusack:
Happy Birthday to William Sadler, who turns 67 today.
Sadler is a great “Hey, it’s that guy!“. I doubt many people other than hardcore movie fans could name him but most people will know his face. He’s been in 165 things according to IMDb. I’m a fan thanks mainly to his Frank Darabont/Stephen King connections. I wish Darabont, King, and Darabont’s usual favorite actors would work together all the time! Come on, Darabont – would you hurry up & adapt King’s fantastic The Long Walk?! And please once again give Sadler at least a small role. And Jeffrey DeMunn! Okay – I’m getting off topic. I just love Darabont’s King adaptations & he’s had the rights to The Long Walk, a favorite of mine, for ages. I. WANT. TO. SEE. IT. NOW. 😉
Sadler’s Darabont/King movies may be my favorites but my favorite role has to be his Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. He stole the show in that one – I wonder if he’s fond of that role? He should be! I think he got to play quite a different character in that film & he really stood out. It would be cool to see him in more unusual roles like that one. But not necessarily lead roles – sometimes it’s cool to be a “Hey, it’s that guy!” guy.
As always, I’ll count down to my favorite films as opposed to performance. What a great, mixed bag to choose from. Here are My Top Ten William Sadler Movies:
The Other Two I’ve Seen:
12. Hard To Kill
11. Disturbing Behavior
10. Man On A Ledge
7. Iron Man 3
Sadler has also been in lots of TV shows, some of which I’ve seen him in, but the one movie of his that I’ve not yet seen but really want to is Rush starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jason Patric & Sam Elliott (stud).
Here’s Sadler as Death with Bill & Ted. Best two out of three!
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
Finders Keepers is the second volume in a trilogy focusing on Detective Bill Hodges, following Mr. Mercedes. The book is about the murder of reclusive writer John Rothstein (an amalgamation of John Updike, Philip Roth, and J. D. Salinger), his missing notebooks and the release of his killer from prison after 35 years.
I found the first book in this trilogy, Mr Mercedes, very enjoyable (I reviewed it HERE). Stephen King managed to create some of his most likable characters in that book so I can see why it became a trilogy as I was, and I’m sure a lot of people were, happy to continue reading about retired detective Bill Hodges and his odd assortment of friends & now colleagues. I’ve heard good things about the final book and someone hinted that it goes a bit more supernatural, which is much more my kind of thing than a straightforward crime novel, so I’m really looking forward to reading it this year. However, I found this second book quite weak compared to the first one and slightly disappointing overall for a King novel.
I’m not going to do an in-depth review since one of my blog goals this year is to keep my book reviews short. King is easily my favorite author so, when I find a book of his slightly disappointing, it’s still likely that I enjoyed it more than a lot of books that I’ve read from other authors. That’s the case this time – I enjoyed the book but it’s certainly not as good as Mr Mercedes and is one of the more forgettable King novels compared to his other work.
I found I didn’t care about the characters in this one (a young boy, who finds the notebooks & money stolen from a murdered author, and that boy’s family). The boy’s family is struggling with money thanks to the dad being hurt by the Mercedes Killer in the first book. The Finders Keepers murderer himself is uninteresting and it takes quite a long time for Bill Hodges & his friends from the first book to even make an appearance. I kept reading & thinking “When do we get to see the Mr Mercedes characters?!”. I did like the idea of a famous author having so much material hidden away from the world and it may have been nice to actually learn a little more about this author before he was murdered at the very beginning of this novel. He seemed more interesting than the other new characters in this book.
Oh well – it’s a decent story, we get to see Bill Hodges & his friends again, and we get to now move on to the final book (which I’m hoping will be as good as the first one and doesn’t make the mistake of straying from our favorite characters too much).
My Rating: 3/5
Welcome to Day Two of my annoying End-Of-Year Lists! Today I’m ranking the thirteen books that I read in 2016 (but it’s still a Top Ten as I didn’t really like the bottom three very much). As always, I rank things according to my own personal taste. For example, number 13 is a far better & more well-written book than 12 or 11 – I just enjoyed 12 & 11 slightly more. I’m also quite proud that I somehow managed to review them all (poorly, though – I suck at book reviews even more than movie reviews) so I’ve included the links to what I said about each.
So now, counting down to my very favorite, these are all the books that I read in 2016:
Top Ten Much-Better-Ones:
Can I just say that, while I highly recommend at least my top seven, I want to give a special mention to Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts. I’ve now read several of his books after wanting to find out if he was as good as his father (Stephen King). I’ve really enjoyed all his books so far but, finally, 20th Century Ghosts is one that I really loved. As with all short story collections, some stories are much stronger than others. But the best ones are fantastic!
**See you for two more end-of-year lists over the next two days. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a list of My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2016 then will end on Friday with My Top Ten Movies Released In 2016 (going by UK release dates). 🙂
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
What It’s About: (via Amazon)
The stolen Mercedes emerges from the pre-dawn fog and plows through a crowd of men and women on line for a job fair in a distressed American city. Then the lone driver backs up, charges again, and speeds off, leaving eight dead and more wounded. The case goes unsolved and ex-cop Bill Hodges is out of hope when he gets a letter from a man who loved the feel of death under the Mercedes’s wheels…
Mr Mercedes was a very enjoyable read but I have to say that, for some reason, it didn’t exactly feel like a Stephen King book to me. I do always prefer when King’s books stick more to the strange & supernatural stuff as “crime” fiction really isn’t my thing. However, this was a quick and thoroughly entertaining read with some of the most likable characters he’s ever written so I definitely plan to read the remaining two very soon.
This was just, in a way, a far less intense novel than most of his other weighty tomes. King is and always will be my favorite author so I don’t mean this in a bad way but I have to be in the right mood to start his novels as they’re such a huge commitment & tend to leave you emotionally exhausted by the end of them. Actually, that’s a good thing – it shows what a talented writer he is! But Mr Mercedes almost felt more like a light read along the lines of authors such as Dean Koontz. Don’t get me wrong – I have a weird & frustrating love of Koontz books but you always know what you’ll get from them: likable characters, predictable but fun stories (usually with a supernatural twist), and more often than not a “happily ever after” ending.
Mr Mercedes is still much darker & less predictable than a Koontz book but King has certainly written these characters in a different fashion than usual. I really liked that – the characters are memorable & easily some of my King favorites. They’ll work fantastically in a TV/film adaptation (is one still going ahead after the tragic death of Anton Yelchin? He’d have been great as Mr Mercedes). Okay – I guess I can just Google that myself! Looks like this will be a 2018 mini-series & Yelchin has been replaced by Honeymoon’s Harry Treadaway.
The central character (and star of this series of books, so he clearly survives the first two at least) is retired cop Bill Hodges. The Mercedes Killer case was never solved & still haunts him after his retirement and blah blah blah – your usual retired cop story setup. Very mainstream for King! When he receives a letter from the killer, he decides to do his own investigation without getting the police involved. The one & only thing that bothered me in this story is that he secretly works on the case with a friend of his – a teenage neighbor boy who helps him with his computer & mowing his lawn. I thought that was putting the boy in too much danger, though Hodges was always mindful of trying to keep him safe. I won’t get into spoilers too much but there are two female characters that worked really well, including one that really grows on you by the end. As for the baddie, he’s a psycho but not totally over-the-top, which often annoys me (like Negan in The Walking Dead at the moment. Okay – you’re a bad guy. We get it!). Damn – Yelchin would’ve been fantastic playing this character.
Well, I won’t say much more about the plot for those who haven’t read this yet. This is a King novel I’d recommend to those who aren’t necessarily fans of his as well as those who are. It’s a pretty straightforward crime thriller that should make for a very good mini-series. People love the retired cop crime story thing so I would think it’ll be more successful than Under The Dome, which even I got bored with & didn’t finish. I watch all King-related stuff! But Under The Dome was one of very few King books that I really didn’t like very much, due to there being so many disgustingly hateful characters. I want to like a book’s characters, so it was great to get that from Mr Mercedes. They may (so far) be a little less complex than some of King’s other characters but I’ll happily read more stories involving this unconventional group of friends & crime investigators.
My Rating: 4/5
*I’m taking it easier on blogging so am re-posting some mini book reviews I did in one long post HERE at the start of this year. Here’s my mini-review of Revival by Stephen King…
Revival by Stephen King
What It’s About: (from StephenKing.com)
In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that “revival” has many meanings.
Stephen King is and always will be my favorite author so I’m going to put a book of his fairly high on any list (I ranked it 5th on my list HERE of the 14 books I read in 2015). I’ll say that this isn’t one of his best (it probably ranks somewhere in the lower middle for me if I were to do a list of all the King books I’ve read).
I find that I’m quite often a little disappointed with how King’s books end and this one has the same problem of starting out great but then kind of fizzling out at the end.
However, King once again draws a very detailed picture of small town American life which I can always relate to in his books and what makes me love his work so much. I was very much drawn into this small town where a young boy and tragic preacher reside. I just wish these two main characters had remained as interesting in the second half of the book as they grew older (the book spans many years).
Well, I enjoyed it anyway – read it if you love King. I enjoyed it more than his son Joe Hill’s book NOS4A2, which I read at the same sort of time, but will admit that Hill’s book was probably actually a little better than this one. *Note to add: I’ve read even more Hill books now and he’s great! But I still love his father’s books more and likely always will…
My Rating: 3.5/5
Note to add: I’ve also done a new review of King’s Mr Mercedes, which I read recently. I’ll be posting that tomorrow.
I appear to have watched one too many horror films in the past year so I’m doing a special 2 for 1 deal for my dear readers. Today only! Get it while supplies last! I figured I’d put these two together as I don’t have a whole lot to say about either. I don’t mean that in a bad way – I really liked them both but, well, sometimes there’s just not a lot to say. This is why I’m not a writer… 😉 Let’s have two quickies, shall we?
Audrey Rose (1977)
Directed by Robert Wise
Based on Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta
Starring: Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins, John Beck, Susan Swift
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A stranger attempts to convince a happily married couple that their daughter is actually his daughter reincarnated.
This is the kind of supernatural story that’s right up my alley PLUS it’s set in one of my two absolute favorite decades (the groovy Seventies, when everyone looked like an ugly porn star) so I jumped at the chance to finally see this when it popped up on Netflix a while back. I love the pulp novel feel to the film’s story and I found out after watching it that it is indeed adapted from a book (with a great pulpy cover, which appears to have been partially used on that cool orange poster up above).
I find reincarnation a fascinating topic & thought this film had a pretty strong story. I’d probably enjoy the book (has anyone here read it?). The movie is helped by some very good performances, especially from Marsha Mason as the young girl’s mother & Anthony Hopkins as the heartbroken stranger who is convinced that Mason’s daughter is the reincarnation of his own daughter, who died in a car crash at the same time this girl was born. Hopkins was very convincing as a man, understandably, slightly crazed with grief while the girl’s parents were very believable as a loving, close-knit family who would do everything possible to protect their daughter.
Unfortunately, and I feel super bad saying this, the girl (Susan Swift) is the film’s weakest link. Which isn’t good as she’s the character who links everyone together… I can handle this as I grew up on 70s & 80s movies but younger people who watch these older films nowadays have to remind themselves that the quality of acting from children wasn’t in the same league back then. It still almost freaks me out how amazing Jacob Tremblay was in Room! Or Sennia Nanua in The Girl With All The Gifts (a fantastic “zombie film with a brain” that I highly recommend, by the way). “Bad” child acting was common in older movies, though, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the kids – I think maybe they just didn’t know how to direct them back then. But other than the girl’s distracting acting… Ha! That could be a song. Like Conjunction Junction! What’s your function? Distracting Acting! What are you, um, lacking? That doesn’t quite rhyme. What rhymes with acting?? I’m off topic! Now back to your regularly scheduled review:
I think Audrey Rose is a decent psychological thriller (despite distracting acting!) that’s been forgotten about as it’s definitely not at the same level as others from the same decade such as The Exorcist, Don’t Look Now, The Omen, etc. With so many greats being released at the time, it’s easy to see why this gets overlooked. Audrey Rose is more psychological than a full-on “horror” like those, though, and I’d compare it more to something like The Changeling (1980), which had a similar feel. I really did enjoy it and want to give it a higher rating but I have to admit it’s not perfect & I was sadly disappointed with the ending. It’s worth your time if you’re a fan of this decade & genre, though. I’m happy that I finally saw it.
My Rating: 6/10
A Good Marriage (2014)
Directed by Peter Askin
Based on A Good Marriage in the short story collection Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Starring: Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Kristen Connolly, Stephen Lang
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After 25 years of a good marriage, what will Darcy do once she discovers her husband’s sinister secret?
I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I’ve read almost every single one of his books (other than The Dark Tower series & Carrie for some strange reason – I love that movie). I think his short stories are just as fantastic & I recently reviewed one collection, The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams, in great detail HERE. That took me ages! And two people read that post. Thanks, you two! 😉 Anyway, you would think it would occur to me that I’d read the short story this film was based on but, nope, I totally didn’t remember reading it. Then, as I watched, I was like “Why does this seem familiar?”. What an idiot. I worry about my memory lately. I think it’s partly why I keep this blog going! Someday I’ll look back at that Bazaar Of Bad Dreams post to refresh my memory on what I read.
A Good Marriage is from King’s Full Dark, No Stars collection & it’s odd I didn’t really remember it as it’s a good, basic story of discovering that the person you married isn’t who you thought they were. This is one of those very “straightforward” King stories. I don’t want to give too much away but this isn’t in any way weird or supernatural, which may be why I didn’t remember it as I usually love his weirdest stuff the most.
Joan Allen gives a great performance as the wife who must decide what to do when she finds out the truth about her husband (Anthony LaPaglia, who perfectly plays a creepy horndog). Allen is the true star of this film and helps elevate it from something that otherwise had the potential to feel like a made-for-TV Lifetime movie. I’ve always thought she deserves more recognition than she seems to get. I also found her quite attractive in this… She has that “sexy older lady” vibe. She plays this character well, going from vulnerable & insecure to a woman determined to take charge of the situation in which she finds herself. And… I like the ending! I’m so rarely satisfied with the conclusions to films of this nature that I feel the need to point it out when I do like an ending. So, once again, good job on writing an enjoyable story Mr. King! Sorry I didn’t remember it. I think it’s just because I’m getting old. Old but with a sexy vibe, hopefully!
My Rating: 6/10
Okay, this is totally stuck in my head now…
**Starting Sunday, join me for Creepy Dolls Week! I’ll be reviewing some “creepy doll” movies, including a Blind Spot review for yet another Anthony Hopkins film released a year after Audrey Rose… 🙂
Happy September, everyone! I know I say this same sort of thing every month but I’m serious this time: When the hell did it suddenly become September?! Ahh… Back to school, after school clubs, no holidays & having no life. Not that I have a life any other month of the year anyway. Oh, and then it’ll be winter & I’ll moan even more. God I hate winter. Oh wow – I’m sounding so positive! Here’s a recap of what I posted in August…
My Most Popular Post: Stranger Things Poster Art By Kyle Lambert. Holy shitballs – people love Stranger Things! I had a lot of comments on this post. I didn’t say much other than that I was watching it & that I liked the above artwork by artist Kyle Lambert. I did really enjoy the show & I want to see more. The hype was a bit much, though, and the “1980s” thing felt too forced sometimes. But, hell, I adore that decade so I’m not going to complain about that too much.
My Favorite Post: The Legend Of Billie Jean, Less Than Zero & Private School “80’s Quickie Movie Reviews” Post. Speaking of the 1980s, my favorite post was probably the one with my three short reviews of movies from my favorite decade. I’ll always love discussing & reminiscing about movies from this time period, even though I’m pretty much on my own when I do. This post got 5 comments & hardly any views. Ha! Don’t care – I’ll never stop posting about movies that no one under 35 has seen. (Btw – there were boobs in that post. Maybe it’ll get some views now…) 😉
My Most Popular Movie Review: Finding Dory
At Home (ranked best to worst):
The Good Dinosaur
Fright Night (2011)
TOP TEN LISTS
My Top Search Term: “Jennifer Connelly white top”. The pervy Googlers strike again! Okay, there’s the photo of said white top above. Various versions of this search term come up a lot – the photo is from the rather bad film Career Opportunities, which I reviewed HERE for my John Hughes Blogathon. The post also contains a pervy gif of Connelly suggestively riding a toy horse while wearing said white top. I apologize – I clearly encouraged the pervy Googlers with that post…
My Favorite Search Term: “film mit killer penis”. It’s my favorite this month because WTF is that? I can usually figure out why a search term brought someone to my blog but, nope, not this time. Were they trying to type “film WITH killer penis“? If so, I’m still pretty sure I haven’t written about a movie with a killer penis. Were they searching for the Tromeo & Juliet penis monster from my Class Of Nuke ‘Em High review? Eh. Maybe.
Here are my top search terms for the month:
I kept it in the King family with my selection of books in August!
Book I Reviewed: The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
Book I Finished Reading: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Book I Started Reading: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
August was the first month where I didn’t manage to watch or review anything from my 2016 Blind Spot list. Too busy. Oh well – I promise I’ll still do 12 by the end of the year. I realized that I put three horror movies on my list so I plan to post reviews of all three in October (including Phenomena, starring Jennifer Connelly once again in a white top!). I’ll probably post the missing Blind Spot review in November. You all told me last month that it should be Zodiac so I’ll try to make that my November post & then Akira in December.
For September, I’m again going to take it easy on posts due to lack of time for blogging. I have more of my “lazy but fun” actor top tens already written & scheduled for the entire month (yay me!). Oh, and Music Video Friday is ready to go for the entire month as well. No one looks at those posts. Don’t care – I like ’em! 😉 I’ll post reviews of movies I see in the cinema but I mainly want to spend September writing my horror movie reviews for my usual October Month Of Horror.
I missed out on lots of movies I wanted to go to in August (again, too busy). Not sure what I’ll manage of this month’s cinema releases but I’ll probably see Sausage Party this week. I think Kubo And The Two Strings looks good so we’re very likely to go to that one as a family. Not sure how I feel about Blair Witch – I’ll probably watch that at home if it gets halfway decent reviews since (shock horror!) I liked the original film. Does this ruin my movie blogger cred? I’d rather have a root canal than watch Bridget Jones’s Baby! The Girl With All The Gifts looks like my type of thing so I’ll attempt to make it to that one. Swiss Army Man sounds SO completely WTF that I HAVE to watch it eventually but I’m not sure if it’s worth a trip to the cinema.
Finally, I’m very much looking forward to Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I read the book (which I reviewed HERE) and said while reading it that Tim Burton should make the film if they decided to adapt it. Such a perfect choice – I can’t wait to see what he does with it even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book overall.
Okay – I always end these with a music clip related to something I posted or watched in the past month. So I’m just going to go ahead & once again post the theme song from The Legend Of Billie Jean: Pat Benatar’s Invincible. Because it’s awesome. Enjoy the glory of 1985! 🙂
The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
I absolutely love Stephen King’s short story collections. The very first thing I ever read of King’s was Night Shift when I was in Junior High and it blew me away. I went from reading YA Christopher Pike books straight to Stephen King thanks to Night Shift turning me into a huge fan. My first proper “grown-up” book! It’s funny how memory works – I remember every single story in Night Shift as if I only read it yesterday (I only read the book that one time well over 20 years ago) whereas I struggle to remember the short stories in his collections from recent years.
I do think Night Shift happened to be a fantastic book and maybe it was a little better than collections from recent years but I can’t say for sure – I do just have a scarily weird memory for things from my youth but can’t even remember what I had for supper last night. Ah, old age sucks! (Oh yeah – it was a burger…)
I did really enjoy The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams (as I do all of his short story collections). I read it a while ago so I better write a little something about the stories now as my memory is already getting hazy. I do think it had some stronger stories than his previous few collections.
My Quick Thoughts On Each Story:
Not my favorite in the book but a fun read and SO very “King”. What is it with him & murderous vehicles? Some of this collection consists of previously published material so I didn’t have to re-read this one as it’s the first thing I read on my brand new Kindle years ago when I still knew how to use that thing. Old age, again! I should see if I can figure out how to even turn it on again. Speaking of Kindles, Ur was one of my favorite stories in this book. I’ll talk about that later (I’ll do these in the order they appear in the book).
This story wasn’t a favorite but it’s one of those that has that special way of sticking in my mind that I only really get with King’s writing style & it’s why I’m such a big fan. It’s not a horror story & he’s written it after reading a lot of books from another author (Raymond Carver, an author I don’t know) and King says it has a Carver feel to it. Oh – there’s a King intro to each story, by the way. I really like when he does those.
Batman And Robin Have An Altercation:
I found this to be a pretty heartbreaking story about a son & his elderly father (with Alzheimer’s?). As always, King writes such rich characters, even in his short stories.
One of my favorites in the collection, this very short story deals with a tiny island where prophetic messages appear in the sand. King writes excellent stories even when he steps outside the horror genre but my favorites will always be the ones that contain anything supernatural.
Bad Little Kid:
That little kid was creepy as hell. This was a fun story – I think it would make a good adaptation to screen somehow. I really wish they’d do more of his short stories as TV adaptations, like they did with Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
I couldn’t remember this one & had to refresh my memory by skimming it just now. I didn’t like this one, but I suppose I liked the ending which has somewhat of a twist.
The Bone Church:
I wasn’t a fan of this either, which was written in the style of a poem. I think. I’ve never been into poetry at all. I suppose that means I have no class. Can anyone tell me how “There once was a man from Nantucket” ends, though?? I’ve always wanted to know that.
A weird story with people who are pretty hard to like. But I suppose that’s the entire point. Again, not a favorite & I found it a bit too long.
I had to refresh my memory on this one as well, although it was a good story. One with a great idea behind it but, for whatever reason, it didn’t fully connect with me.
I liked this horror story about a Kindle a lot – it’s one of my favorites in this book. Only Stephen King could write a scary story about a Kindle, for crying out loud. And it works really well. That damn Kindle gave me the creeps! Maybe I don’t want to get mine working again after all.
Herman Wouk Is Still Alive:
Another pretty heartbreaking story that feels too “real” for my liking. King is so good at capturing human nature & the sort of every day tragedies that we all read about in the news but I read for escapism and, like I said, I’m happier when he sticks to the strange & supernatural. I get enough “real life” in real life.
Under The Weather:
Another absolutely heartbreaking “real life” sort of story. But it’s so good & such a well-written story that I did like it (and, again, it would make a good TV adaptation). The end is extremely obvious from early on if you’ve read enough stories but it was still heartbreaking & kept me wanting to read to see how he’d handle the ending.
I wasn’t really a fan of this one. The story is about a baseball player & it’s an okay story but still has too much baseball talk for my liking.
An okay story but not the best. King explores mortality so often & this is yet another one with this theme. He’s done far better stories dealing with this topic – this one is fairly forgettable.
This was an interesting story of a hippie who died in 1969. King doesn’t give much detail in his intro but alludes to the fact that it’s somewhat based on someone he knew? It’s a well-written piece & evokes a 60’s mood that I really liked.
The Little Green God Of Agony:
Yet another so very “King” tale. It’s a bit bizarre & something that only his mind could come up with. He says in the intro that he wrote it several years after being hit by that van, once the worst of his pain was gone. I knew that accident was pretty bad but didn’t realize quite how badly he was hurt. Anyway, I enjoyed this story & its typical King weirdness.
That Bus Is Another World:
A pretty simple story that, once again, explores human nature & morality. A good story but probably not one I’ll remember years from now. Was hoping for more of a supernatural twist with that title.
A good story with a great concept. Not the best in the book but one of the strongest ideas. Another one that would make a great adaptation for the small screen.
I really liked this story. The thing that King always does best is capture small town American life (usually in Maine – I’m too lazy to see if that’s where this was set too but I assume so). The characters are great & feel like people I grew up with in my own small American town. Probably not the best story in the book but, if it’s the type you can relate to, it’s probably a favorite for some readers. Would probably just squeak into my top five in this collection (I’m not gonna be sad enough to rank these. Well, maybe…).
The final story in the book & definitely one of my favorites. It was the perfect story to end the book as it’s a post-apocalyptic tale. I don’t know why I have such an obsession with this genre – I think it’s because any sort of apocalypse is a genuine fear I’ve had since a young age. Anyway, I thought this was a strong story for its very short length.
My Overall Rating For The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams: 4/5
Okay, I’m gonna choose my five favorites. Hmm… Here are My Top Five Stories (in book appearance order):
– The Dune
– Under The Weather
– Drunken Fireworks
– Summer Thunder
Honorable Mention: The Little Green God Of Agony
George R.R. Martin interviewed Stephen King at an event last Thursday night?! Wow! How did I miss the news of these two legends being in the same room together? And I love Martin’s question to King: “How the f*%k do you write so fast?” HA! You can read more about this event & some of their conversation here: thisisinsider.com. Wish I’d been there!
FYI – I’m aware that last night was the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones, meaning someone big most likely died a horrible death. I’m in the UK and didn’t feel like staying up until 3am to watch it so SHUT YOUR YAP until I’ve watched it tonight!!! 😉
Any regulars here probably know by now that I’m a HUGE fan of Stephen King but, as for Martin’s books, I shamefully have yet to read them even though I got A Game Of Thrones for Christmas 2014. I know, I know… Hey, he’s apparently such a slow writer that I should easily catch up before he finishes the next book, right?? At least I’ve finally read ONE of his books (Tuf Voyaging – I loved it! Review HERE).
And to keep with a Game Of Thrones theme for this post, I thought I’d share a link where you can watch Scott Ian of Anthrax get a White Walker makeover. Scott Ian of Anthrax!!!! Don’t you dare say “Who?” my young bloggers – Scott Ian rules. I was such a huge Anthrax fan in my teen years and I absolutely loved that they so often included pop culture references in their songs (such as Judge Dredd, Blue Velvet, and my beloved Stephen King’s books). Geeky metalheads! Is there anything cooler?
Anyway – it’s a great video to check out whether you’re a Scott Ian fan or just a Game Of Thrones fan. Ian has a video series called Bloodworks where he goes behind the scenes to talk to make-up and effects artists & he talks to Barrie Gower, prosthetic makeup designer for Game Of Thrones, for this episode. Check out the article & video here: io9.
Last Christmas (2014) I got a lot of books as gifts, which I worked my way through in 2015 (the only one of those that I haven’t read is A Game Of Thrones – I don’t have the energy to start that yet!). I did a Top Ten (okay, 14) of everything I read last year including reviews of each of those books HEREif you’re curious.
I have to say that I really lucked out last year – I absolutely loved several of the books that I read (especially Ready Player One and The Martian plus I read my first George R.R. Martin and Joe Hill books, which have me definitely wanting to read more by those authors). This last Christmas, though, I got no books. However, I got a load of vouchers! So what did I buy? Books! They’re in the above photo, including some I’ve had for years but still not read.
I mainly stick to reading Stephen King most of the time. And, okay, I admit it – I read way too much Dean Koontz. I’ve just always loved horror and the supernatural when it comes to books but for some reason have barely explored the genre I love above all others: sci-fi. I like fantasy as well but have read very little of it (I do adore The Hobbit & The Lord Of The Rings).
I think, with sci-fi, I’m scared of it. I don’t have a science-y mind. Those books are for smart people! The technical gobbledygook in Star Trek: The Next Generation confused me enough as it was (god I loved that show). Maybe it’s why I like sci-fi comedy when it comes to reading (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is my favorite book ever). So I thought it was time I try some new authors. The first two books I picked up were a Neil Gaiman & a Terry Pratchett. Look at me! Expanding my horizons and shit!
I’m in the middle of reading Stephen King’s The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams at the moment but I thought it might be fun to do a poll asking everyone which book I should read next. It’ll give me an idea of what’s the most popular. I would also love it if people would like to recommend any other authors, especially in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Or horror & supernatural… The one thing I never really like is “crime” novels, though – the Patricia Cornwell was given to me and I don’t know if I should read it or not. Any fans of hers here?
Enough of my blathering – here’s the poll. You can choose up to three. And feel free to discuss any in the comments – I love a good book chat. 🙂
Happy New Year, everyone! Wow – I’ve read a record 14 books in 2015! (That’s a lot for me. Hey, I’m a movie blogger – not a book blogger). 🙂
I’m really bad about getting around to doing book reviews so I’ve only reviewed a few of these (I’ve included links to the full reviews I have done). For the remainder, I figured I’d just do some very short mini-reviews right here right now. And, as my regulars know, my Top Ten lists rarely contain ten things so it seemed stupid to ignore four books when I’ve only read 14.
So here are My Top Ten (14…) Books Read In 2015, counting down to my favorite:
I believe this is what they call “chick lit”? Which isn’t very “me” but my hubby picked this up for me based on the title since he knows I’m a fan of Drew Barrymore. I thought that was very sweet & thoughful of him! 🙂 Anyway, I really liked the concept. Through flashbacks, we watch the relationship develop between two (40ish?) best friends. They’re very different from one another but we see how they bonded over Drew Barrymore movies at various points in their lives (such as E.T. & Poison Ivy). Unfortunately, the book just isn’t very good. I didn’t like one of the women and the Drew Barrymore gimmick really did feel like nothing more than a gimmick – the references to her felt awkward & forced. It was a good idea but without that gimmick, you’re left with two characters I really didn’t give a crap about. My Rating: 2/5
I grabbed this from the library as I’d been wanting to read it for a while based on The Times quote on the front cover: “Imagine The Turn Of The Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe”. It sounded like it would be all gothic & atmospheric but it was pretty disappointing. A young girl in the late 1800s must protect her younger brother from a sinister & otherworldly new governess after the mysterious death of the previous woman who cared for them. The girl (and narrator if I remember correctly??) isn’t allowed to read but teaches herself & reads loads of books in secret. It’s caused her to develop a strange sort of language of her own and having to read the book with all her odd words took some getting used to (and was slightly annoying). The girl also isn’t that easy to like and the book is extremely slow until finally picking up in the final half. It was a good story but not a very fun read. I actually think it could make for a great film if the right people were involved. My Rating: 2.5/5
My favorite books to read are always horror, sci-fi or fantasy (which will be obvious when we get to the top of my list) but I do try to sometimes read bestsellers or ones that have awards slapped on their covers (like this one) which are probably bullshit half the time anyway. This is an example of a book that was pretty good and plenty of people probably liked it but, like the previous book, it just didn’t really work for me. Oh! I also judge books by their covers and this has a good one. And I was intrigued by the back cover (which I’ve grabbed here from Goodreads): “I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.” See? Sounds interesting. This is a book where you’ll easily find out what it’s about if you read anything whatsoever about it but if you like knowing nothing other than what’s on the back cover, skip over this next part. SPOILER: This book is about mental illness (schizophrenia) and told from the viewpoint of the young adult (Matt) who is suffering from it. It’s a fairly unique book & I’d recommend it if it sounds to you like one you’d like. I have to say it’s actually a better book than my next two choices but, as always, I rank mainly by my level of enjoyment & I found myself not really wanting to pick this one up much so it took me quite a long time to finish. My Rating: 3/5
I admit to enjoying Young Adult books, especially as the current trend seems to be YA books that are dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic. I love dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic! I don’t normally do it this way around but I saw The Maze Runner movie first and I liked it so decided to read the books. Well, I’ve read the first two so far and will continue in order to see how they end but I’ve certainly read far better YA books. I also get the feeling that the story is going nowhere plus the author has a strange writing style that many people don’t seem to like. I’ve reviewed this & The Scorch Trials in full if you want to click on the links. My Rating: 2.5/5
This & The Maze Runner are pretty interchangeable but I suppose I’ve put this higher as reading it was a bit more enjoyable since I didn’t see the movie first so didn’t know what would happen. Meh. Yeah. Again, not the greatest book… I just like the overall concept, which is why I’m continuing with the series. My Rating: 2.5/5
Not to be all snobby as I certainly don’t read many “worthy” classics or anything but this looked like one of those supermarket books you see old ladies reading on the bus. Well, I suppose it kind of is but, screw it, I AM an old lady on a bus! The basic story is simple: Retired Harold Fry decides to make a pilgrimage by foot across most of England to visit an old work colleague & friend named Queenie, who has written him to say that she is dying. It was a slow read to start but I was fairly hooked as Harold got closer & closer to reaching his destination. As you may expect, Harold goes on a “journey of self-discovery” during his long walk and this was the best thing about the book and was handled quite well. Something becomes obvious pretty early on but it made me want to keep reading to find out exactly what happened & how. My Rating: 3/5
I’ve just finished this book and I can see why some people have told me that they really loved it. I wanted to like it a little more than I did. I’ll say that Zusak did a great job developing some rich characters that I very much cared about. Liesel, a young girl in WWII Germany, is the central character and I liked her strong will. Even better, though, were the characters Liesel loved most (her foster parents and best friend plus two other important characters I won’t mention to avoid any spoilers). Unfortunately, despite some great characters, I felt something that I can’t quite put my finger on was “missing” from this book. I think the problem was that it was narrated by Death (as in, The Grim Reaper). It’s a better “gimmick” than the Drew Barrymore thing above and I didn’t mind it at first but, in the end, I think it actually got in the way of what was a good enough story without any gimmicks. Also, the ending felt rather abrupt & rushed after this long journey that we’ve just gone on with all these characters (it’s a pretty thick book). It was a good book & I’m interested in seeing the movie now but I wish it was higher on this list. My Rating: 3.5/5
This is the second (of two!) graphic novels that I’ve read (the other being Watchmen). Wait – is this a graphic novel? It’s more of a collection of several comics… I think?? Is there a difference? This sort of thing is something I have NO knowledge in but I have to say that I did enjoy Tank Girl. She’s a cool character and I really appreciated the (inappropriate) humor (it took me a while to read it all as I had to keep putting it away someplace where my young daughter wouldn’t grab it). I mean, Tank Girl has sex with a kangaroo. Whaaaat? It’s pretty damn bizarre but it’s fun and I was entertained. I suppose I should watch the horrible-looking movie that doesn’t appear to resemble the comic much now? Or… Should I not?? My Rating: 3.5/5
I read my first two Joe Hill books this year & I have to say that, so far, I may end up almost liking his work as much as his dad’s. This one seems to be a favorite but I enjoyed the other book more and found that I didn’t really care that much about the characters in this. But it’s a good & very original story. You can read my full review at the above link. My Rating: 4/5
Stephen King is and always will be my favorite author so I’m going to put a book of his fairly high on any list. I’ve not yet reviewed this one but I will try to do a full review soon as it’s a King book so I’ll keep this short. For now I’ll say that this isn’t one of his best (it probably ranks somewhere in the lower middle for me if I were to do a list of all the King books I’ve read). I find that I’m quite often a little disappointed with how King’s books end and this one has the same problem of starting out great but then kind of fizzling out at the end. I’ll say that King once again draws a very detailed picture of small town American life which I can always relate to in his books and what makes me love his work so much. I was very much drawn into this small town where a young boy and tragic preacher reside. I just wish these two main characters had remained as interesting in the second half of the book as they grew older (the book spans many years). Well, I enjoyed it anyway – read it if you love King. I enjoyed it more than his son’s NOS4A2 but will admit that Hill’s book was probably a little better than this one. My Rating: 3.5/5
I suppose Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 is a slightly better book than Revival and also Horns but I read this one first & actually enjoyed it the most of this father/son trio that I read this year. It’s weird, especially as it gets to the end, and not everyone would like it but it was quite refreshing to read something so totally unique & unpredictable. You can read my full double review of this and NOS4A2 at the above link. My Rating: 4/5
This is the first and only George R.R. Martin book I’ve ever read and I loved it! I got the Game Of Thrones book last Christmas but haven’t yet had the energy to embark on that massive journey so when a woman I work with brought in a bunch of books that she was getting rid of, I was excited to see this standalone Martin book so I could see what his work was like. I can only compare this to the Game Of Thrones TV show but I’d have to say it’s quite different from that. This is sci-fi comedy! I’ve read very few books in this genre but one happens to be my all-time favorite book (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) so this one was perfect for me and I enjoyed it immensely. I suppose I also owe this one a full-length review at some point… I’ll just say that, although Martin’s books are clearly popular, I had no idea of what a great writer this guy really is and it has me definitely wanting to read more of his stuff. I’ll also admit this: I’m a casual reader & clearly like light & easy entertainment. My vocabulary is limited (as evidenced by my so-called “reviews” 😉 ) and I’ve never had to look up so many words for their definitions while reading a book as I did while reading this. (Not tons, maybe six or seven words). But that’s awesome – I don’t have to do that with my YA books! This guy truly has a great way with words and his characters (especially Tuf) felt so alive. And it was actually funny! After watching Game Of Thrones, full of so much tragic death, I wasn’t sure what to expect of a sci-fi comedy from the same author. Plus the story itself had me hooked. Loved it. Can anyone recommend any of his other work? My Rating: 4.5/5
I can’t believe I never had a chance to watch this film considering how much I loved the book! Oh well – I’ll catch it at some point. I did at least review this book in full so I can keep this short. I guess I really do love my sci-fi comedies (although this is more sci-fi than comedy but I loved the central character’s amazing sense of humor). I find very few books to be perfect (I’m almost always disappointed with the endings) but I really can’t fault this one in any way other than it ending too abruptly. But I suppose that’s because I was enjoying it so much. The Martian is easily now an all-time favorite of mine and I highly recommend it. My Rating: 5/5
I’m so disappointed in myself for not getting around to reviewing this yet even though it’s the very first book I read after receiving it for Christmas last year. Thanks to anyone who has actually read this (really long & rambling) post! I’m sorry to do this to you now at my number one but I’m not going to say much about this one. Yet. It deserves a full-length review from me as it’s my favorite book in a very long time & nothing could be more “ME“! This was written for Eighties-loving geeks like me by an Eighties-loving geek and I absolutely adored it. I had so much fun reading this one. I hope the movie does it justice! My Rating: 5/5
Happy October everyone! Let’s kick off this month of horror with a top ten list of my favorite horror movie quotes. 🙂
I fully expect to have missed some with this list (I don’t re-watch horror movies to the degree that I watch favorites from other genres) but I’ve tried to pick the first quotes that popped into my head from my favorites. Oh, and I’ve never considered the Alien films or Jaws to be horror, FYI, so you won’t find “Get away from her, you bitch!” or “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” on this list. Those would top the list.
So here are my mainstream & super obvious Top Ten Horror Movie Quotes:
I loved The Babadook – it was one of the very few horror films after 1989 that didn’t totally suck. Anyway, nothing is more freaky than that damn book and this is a cool rhyme (even though it doesn’t actually rhyme if you have an American accent…).
This is probably my only choice on this list that’s not totally predictable. I don’t know why but I had a slight obsession with this movie when it came out – it probably helped going & seeing it with a group of friends (I assume it was rated R? I actually wasn’t old enough. Hmm). Plus, one girl would shout out “PASCOW!” at school for months after seeing this. Anyway, “Sometimes dead is better” is probably the more famous line but the above quote, said by two characters, is more important to the story & the one I always liked.
I also love “I can see your dirty pillows.” Ha! Dirty pillows! Carrie’s mom is such a nutjob. Yeah, I like my Stephen King movies…
Oh man, there are SO many A Nightmare On Elm Street quotes to choose from! Funny I’ve chosen one from my least favorite & least watched of the series. In fact, I was like “does he say that in number 2??”. It’s just such a well known Freddy line. I was also always fond of “Welcome to prime time, bitch!” and Nancy’s “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep“. Well, I have another one higher on the list.
Dammit, there are also so many quotes in The Lost Boys! I’m also fond of saying “Maggots, Michael. You’re eating maggots.” anytime we have Chinese food. Goddamn I must be shit-sucking annoying to live with.
Well, duh. So obvious. But you all immediately knew what it was from!
4. “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again…”
As Heard In: A Nightmare On Elm Street
I’m a sucker for rhymes or creepy lyrics to the tune of some kids’ song. “One, two, buckle my shoe” will only bring the above lyrics to mind for a generation of Freddy fans now. Or, maybe more than one generation – you young kids seem to like this one too!
Again, like the Poltergeist quote, this one is super obvious. But The Shining is my favorite horror movie (along with The Omen, the Nightmare On Elm Streets & the series that my top two are a part of) so it’s naturally going to be high on my list. Guess that’s three Stephen King movies on my list (even though he hates this movie).
I love Romero’s zombie movies (yes, even Day, Land and Diary. but especially Day!). The Barbara (it’s spelled “Barbra” on IMDB but that just looks weird) line has to be the most famous Romero line & the one I quote the most by far, unlike my number one choice. But number one is just so damn cool…
Love it. I don’t find this to be a very “quotable” quote like most of those on the list but it’s just such a great line. And I also love it being said by once again by Ken Foree in the (also totally excellent) 2004 remake. I suppose it’s somewhat quotable – you could say things like “When there’s no more room in hell, the Kardashians will walk the Earth“. Or something. Nah, that doesn’t really work – someone come up with something better! Well, I love these movies & keep saying every year that I’ll review the whole lot in October but never do. Maybe next year! 😉
I finally read my first two Joe Hill books this year. His father, Stephen King, has been my favorite author for years and I can be a little stuck in my ways so I wasn’t overly excited at checking his stuff out as I already had a favorite horror author & didn’t need another one. I figured there was no way he could top his dad’s stuff anyway.
It must suck being compared to your famous parents all the time but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Stephen King is his father, especially when he’s gone into the exact same field as his dad with these two books. Well, neither of these books topped his dad’s work for me but they were still really good. Okay, I’ll admit that they top some of his dad’s not-so-good books but they’re not as good as King’s very best. Those here who have read & recommended these two books to me may be surprised at which one I liked more, though, and I’ll try to explain why. Let’s talk about them! 🙂
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (aka U.K. title NOS4R2)
What It’s About: (from the back cover)
Young Victoria McQueen has a gift for finding things. All she has to do is ride her bike through the Shorter Way Bridge and she’ll come out wherever she needs to be… it’s an ability she keeps secret because no one would understand it. Until she discovers she’s not the only one with a special gift.
Charlie Manx takes children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with its NOS4R2 vanity plate, driving them away from their families, their homes, even their own humanity. When they reach their destination they’ve changed, utterly. They’ve become Charlie’s children: as unstoppable and insane as Manx himself.
Only one kid ever escaped Charlie Manx: Vic McQueen. But the end of that nightmare was just the beginning of their life-and-death battle of wills… a battle that explodes a quarter century later. Because now Manx has taken Vic’s son. And Vic McQueen is going to get him back. Or die trying.
**I first want to say it’s weird that this book is called NOS4R2 in the U.K. but I’ll use A2 for the review. I just wanted to share this story: I got this book from my husband & my daughter was curious about it. Obviously, it’s a nasty horror book not for kids so he told her it was about “C-3PO & R2-D2 on a quest to find a nose for R2, everyone’s favorite little droid“. Too cute.** 🙂
This book is definitely the better of these two, which I’m sure most everyone would agree with. I never read any book reviews online other than from a few bloggers I follow but I’m pretty sure I remember them saying this one was better… Although it contains one of the two topics I normally avoid in books & movies, children being harmed (rape being the other thing, which is in Horns), I did enjoy the book and found it to be an interesting & original story. I mean, it’s supernatural – I can handle “horror” and murder & all that stuff in the supernatural realm but I’m not the type you’ll ever find reading a “true crime” type of story. I don’t know – I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m weird. Or I suppose I can only handle evil when it’s not something that could happen in real life. But I do love the supernatural and this book has plenty of that. My favorite bits involved the main character, Vic McQueen, riding her bike through a covered bridge that only she can see in order to find things that people have lost.
The bridge and Vic as a child are in the first half of the book, which I found to be much stronger than the second half. I suppose it depends on what you prefer but I thought Hill did a better job setting things up in the first half of the book. Vic was a sympathetic child with a difficult life and it reminded me of the way in which Stephen King develops such rich characters and an overall setting that’s so real that it feels like you’re going to set down his book & then open your front door to find you’re in Castle Rock. I could so easily picture Vic’s “Shorter Way Bridge” and thought this book was on its way to being pretty damn fantastic at first. Unfortunately, as I often find with a lot of King’s work as well, it loses its way a bit halfway through as the action picks up and we see much more of the character of Charlie Manx. Like I say, though, it depends on what you want from a book and I’m sure many people prefer the second half – I just found myself losing interest in Manx’s story and found the book a little longer than was necessary.
I know I keep bringing up Stephen King in this review but that’s because NOS4A2 feels so much like a King book. Indeed, if you love King like I do, this is the Joe Hill book I’d recommend to you of these two. I think my main complaint is that it’s too similar to his dad’s work. We already have a Stephen King and he’s great so I don’t really want another one of him. I think that’s a big part of the reason why, although NOS4A2 is more well-written and has, I suppose, the more “accessible” storyline (as far as strange & supernatural stories go), I enjoyed Horns more. Horns is utterly bizarre and I can see why it would maybe be the less popular of these two but I felt like I was reading a book by a whole new author I’d never read before. I liked that!
NOS4A2 is a good book, though, so don’t let my somewhat negative-sounding review keep you from reading it if you think you’d like it. I just happened to read a King book (Revival) as well as this & Horns all within a few months of each other so I’m going to be comparing them all in my mind. I’ll be honest, though, and admit that this was better than Revival was overall, although I preferred a storyline that didn’t involve a child “murderer” (of sorts…). I can see why this is the Joe Hill book I’ve seen recommended the most.
My Rating: 4/5
Horns by Joe Hill
What It’s About: (from the back cover)
Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, he had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more – he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone – raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances – and Ig was the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, he was and always would be guilty.
But now Ig can hear people’s deepest, darkest secrets and means to use this ability to find whoever killed Merrin.
It’s time for a little revenge. It’s time the devil had his due.
I won’t talk about Stephen King in this review. Promise! Because this book doesn’t feel like a Stephen King book. Horns is, well, pretty damn bonkers. It’s a bit all over the place as well & seems to lack focus. Plus it gets pretty seriously “What the fuuuuuuck?” at the end.
Geez, I’m making it sound so good! Well, it’s not one that everyone will like but I enjoyed it quite a bit despite its obvious flaws. And there’s no being evil to children in this one! There’s a rape, however. I think Hill handles that bit alright (it’s not gratuitous from what I remember) but he makes the character of murdered Merrin far too “perfect” and the “ideal girlfriend”, which didn’t feel real. I didn’t exactly find any of the characters very well developed in this one beyond Ig and maybe his brother somewhat. I think I just really liked the story and the fact that I’ve never really read another one quite like it. I also have to say that I really liked the love story. That’s pretty typical of me – screw shit like The Notebook & give me a fucked-up love story instead!
I think I’ll keep this one short as I’ll probably be discussing it a little more when I review the movie next week. I can tell you now that the film adaptation started out so good then ended up so bad. What a disappointment! I suppose it was a difficult one to adapt, especially near the end when it gets so weird but they changed too much with certain characters.
As for the book, the characters are a little too one-dimensional but, hey, when you’re dealing with a guy sprouting Satanic horns out of his head, the purely good vs purely evil thing works out okay. I gotta say that Hill & his father must have a pretty low opinion of humanity – when Ig sprouts his horns & starts hearing people’s deepest & darkest thoughts, it seems that everyone is a complete asshole deep down if not a complete psycho. Normally this would annoy me (it’s why I actually hated King’s Under The Dome – those people were awful) but it somehow works in Horns. The main focus anyway is the love story between Ig and Merrin and then Ig’s desire to find her killer. It’s sort of a “revenge” story and I often like those. Especially a revenge love story.
Yeah… I’ve only just now realized why I liked this – it reminded me of The Crow (the movie), which I adore. I want a supernatural devil-man or a dead crow-man to avenge my death! That’s totally romantic. (The Crow is much better, though).
Oh shit – I mentioned Stephen King in this review after I promised I that wouldn’t. Oops.
My Rating: 4/5
Hey, everyone – it’s October tomorrow so I’ll be starting my October Horrorfest! I figure I can’t skip out on reviewing any big new non-horror releases for a whole month but, besides a couple of things like The Martian, it’ll be ALL HORROR, baby! And it’ll be truly horrific as I’ve unfortunately ended up watching a load of shit in preparation, which wasn’t my intention.
I’m going to stick with my little routine and have Tuesdays be my own IMDB Top 250 reviews (horror movies only) and Thursdays be Top Ten Lists (all horror-related of course). But I’ll be skipping Music Video Friday as there isn’t much I could do beyond Michael Jackson’s Thriller but, hey, my music video posts get no love anyway. Well, I love ’em! 😉 So, see you all tomorrow for my first Horror Top Ten of the month. 🙂
Yesterday I reviewed Drew: The Man Behind The Poster, which is a documentary about legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan. Struzan has created some of the most well-known & iconic film posters and I love his work. I decided to do a separate post highlighting some of my favorite Struzan pieces of movie art.
At first I was going to focus just on his art that officially got used (whether originally or for anniversary editions). But in looking at his official website (HERE), I discovered a lot of art I like that I’d never seen before. So I figured I’d include all movie-related work (so, I’m excluding things like his super cool Black Sabbath album cover). I already KNOW I’ll be missing something & I’ll later kick myself for it. He’s done so much that it’s hard to narrow it down and, while there’s a long list on his site, I have no idea if it’s complete plus not all the images are shown.
So, after spending probably an hour looking up Struzan’s art, I’ve decided that these are my favorite. Probably. For now. I’m so indecisive! 😉 I’ll fully admit that I have a very hard time not letting how much I like the movie influence my opinion and, indeed, I like all of these movies. Remember I’m not an art expert in the slightest – I just really like the look of these. Especially number one.
Now here are My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces:
Indiana Jones Quadrilogy, Squirm (I don’t know this movie but the poster makes it look awesome despite the 4.4 IMDB rating!), Star Wars Original Trilogy, Back To The Future
10. TIE: The Goonies & Adventures In Babysitting
9. Big Trouble In Little China
7. The Dark Tower as seen in The Mist
6. The Muppet Movie
5. Revenge Of The Jedi
4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Back To The Future Trilogy
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
1. The Thing
Happy New Year everyone!!! 🙂
I’ve been doing my end-of-the-year top ten lists (My Top Ten Movies Of 2014 & My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2014). I can’t do a top ten here as I only managed seven so here are My Top (Seven) Books Read In 2014. I’ve never been great at writing book reviews and, of these, I only managed to review The Giver. As I probably won’t ever get around to doing full reviews of most of these, I’ll do a brief mini-review of each of them now.
7. The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend
I mainly read things like Stephen King, a tiny bit of sci-fi, and Young Adult fiction. This book isn’t very “me” but I thought it would be good to read the type of book that women my age are MEANT to read. Well, this is why I don’t fit in amongst women of my age, I guess… 😉 I’m sure most middle-aged women absolutely adored this book and I do think Townsend wrote some truly funny & witty bits. However, the characters are SO hateful, including the “heroine” at times. You’re meant to feel for her & you do at first but, by the end, you just think “Get out of bed & the HELL away from your horrible family full of assholes!” It’s well-written and I assume Townsend probably has better books with better characters? As always, it’s hard to enjoy a book if you don’t like at least ONE person in it but it does have its funny moments (although it’s a very British sense of humor).
My Rating: 2.5/5
6. Paper Towns by John Green
I know John Green is a very big YA author and I did really like The Fault In Our Stars book (which I reviewed HERE). I’m also kind of a sucker for a decent-looking book cover and Green’s books always look so good sitting on the shelves in book stores (shallow, I know). Unfortunately, I found Paper Towns quite disappointing. Like The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year, this was full of characters I didn’t really like. The main boy was fine, at least, but the object of his affection (and obsession) is extremely selfish and it’s very hard to understand why he would feel so strongly about her. I also didn’t like how it ended – it just sort of fizzled out. However, I’ll still give more Green books a shot as I know Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger is a fan but she also didn’t like this one so much. She’s done a good full review of the book, which you can read HERE. Yep, we agree on this one, Zoe!
My Rating: 2.5/5
5. The Night Rainbow by Claire King
This is another one that’s not exactly “me” but I thought it was fairly good. However, it’s totally heartbreaking. I don’t really want a book that’s going to make me cry and leave me horribly depressed by the end of it. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting this to be as sad as it was after reading the description on the back and, when something quite obvious finally hit me toward the end of the book, I felt stupid for not realizing sooner and also incredibly sad about the situation as I think it’s probably a somewhat common thing. I know that was incredibly vague but I always try to stay spoiler-free. It’s very much another “middle-aged woman” book but, if you’re of that age and especially if you’re a mother and you like bittersweet dramas that may make you weep (a lot of women seem to like that sort of thing – I’m not sure why!), this book may be worth a read for you.
My Rating: 3/5
4. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Yeah… 2014 really was a year of me reading books that aren’t very “me”. This is another one. 😉 I just can’t get into these “older lady books”! I was also once again taken by the cover of the book plus I liked the sound of the “fairytale” aspect of the story. It’s inspired by a Russian fairytale of an old childless couple who build a daughter made of snow who comes to life. It’s no Stephen King so was never going to be my favorite book in the world but I thought it was actually very good and I can see a lot of people (okay, women) loving it. It would make a great movie. It’s also a little heartbreaking, although it didn’t leave me nearly as sad as The Night Rainbow did. If it sounds at all like the type of story you’d like, I do recommend this one.
My Rating: 3.5/5
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
I won’t go into this one much as I’ve already done a full review HERE. “Young Adult dystopian future” book! Much more my type of thing. Plus this is one that came along years before the current trend of copycats. It’s aimed at a younger age than things like The Hunger Games (probably about age 11) and is a book I’d happily give to a kid of that age to read before they read the more current books in the genre. Anyway – I really liked The Giver and highly recommend it over the movie, which changes quite a lot of the story.
My Rating: 4/5
2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I’m actually not sure what to say about this one other than: Can you believe I’d never read it until now?! I know it’s such a HUGE teen classic for people of my age and the generation before mine. I’m not sure if it’s as popular with teens these days as well but it does deserve its status as a classic. I LOVE that Hinton was only 16 when she wrote this and I wish that teenagers still had this same sort of ambition and creativity these days. I don’t know… Maybe some of them do? Anyway, I’m not sure why I never explored Hinton’s stuff plus I’ve also never seen Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of this. This is shocking as, even though it’s not had the best reviews, it’s from 1983 and full of so many famous actors from my generation. Okay, I’ve actually managed to not say a thing about this book. I plan to watch the movie sometime this year so I’ll try to do a full review of the book at the same time too.
My Rating: 4/5
1. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Of course this was going to be my favorite… No, it’s not as good as The Shining but I think it’s a decent enough sequel. I liked re-visiting characters from The Shining and liked the main girl, Abra, and her relationship with Danny plus I thought the “villains” (The True Knot) were very effective, especially their leader Rose the Hat. This was the first book I read in 2014 so I finished it quite a while ago. I of course thoroughly enjoyed it while reading it but it’s already fading from my memory a bit as it just didn’t grab me in the way other King books have. I’m not sure why… It’s good but I think King has written better books in recent years. I think 11/22/63 is a better book overall plus I possibly enjoyed Duma Key and even Cell slightly more than Doctor Sleep, although I’m sure I’m very much in the minority there. (I also had a lot of fun with Joyland, the only King book I’ve ever reviewed so I suppose I should mention it). Doctor Sleep is certainly one of King’s better books overall but it’s probably not QUITE up there with my very favorites although I was hoping it would be. By the way, Brian, I’ve given it some thought and The Dead Zone is possibly my favorite King book although I also love Salem’s Lot, The Long Walk, The Shining, The Green Mile, and I love his short story collections almost more than his full novels sometimes. It would be possibly be a big favorite except for ONE bit I really don’t like in it. Night Shift was the first thing of his that I read and that’s what got me hooked. I’m sure you all wanted to know my Stephen King history, right?? 🙂
My Rating: 4/5
I got a load of books for Christmas & they’re much more “me” than most the stuff I read in 2014. I can’t wait to read them and, so far, I have to say that I’m LOVING Ready Player One. Has anyone read any of these?
Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is loving this IMDB project – she’s already reviewed The Departed (which you can read HERE) and she’s planning on doing more! (And may have done another one already…) 😉 Thanks so much for the reviews, Zoe!
Now let’s see what she has to say about The Green Mile, IMDB rank 65 out of 250…
Here’s another entry for Table 9 Mutant’s IMDB Top 250 challenge. I have been having so much fun with this, revisiting some movies, checking them all for her, some of them I have been meaning to look into again for so long, and now I finally have the driving factor. This is a movie that I hold most dear, who lived up to every inch of the book, proving that you can, in fact, adapt a book successfully if you just know what you are doing.
“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?”
– Paul Edgecomb
The Green Mile is an absolutely stunning tale of the supernatural, faith, the strange things, horror, hope, miracles and all sorts of things. Naturally, when it begins, you don’t really know what is coming. I mean Stephen King is renowned for horrors, but what some people forget is that he is an exceptionally talented author who has more skills than just to terrify the pants off of you. From his strange mind he brought us an account, one that makes you smile, one that makes you sad, one that evokes anger and pity all at once. John Coffey is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan (R.I.P.), and I think he was superbly cast to play the giant that was accused of the disgusting slayings of two young girls. He is a monster of a man, not the most intelligent person in the world, but shy, wholesome and well-mannered, very incongruent to the hulking monstrosity his physical exterior represents.
“People hurt the ones they love. That’s how it is all around the world.” – John Coffey
Coffey’s character can only grow on you, and if it does not, then there is something fundamentally flawed in you. He was pure innocence in a world of cruelty, anger and hatred, and even though he was wronged, he did not take it out on anyone once. I loved the relationship he developed with the guards Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks), Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn). It was great to see how they interacted with this man on death row. Then there was Tom Hanks, again pulling together a great drama role right here as Paul, the man who had to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, who was drawn in and fascinated by Coffey, a peaceful and pure human being. Naturally not everyone was going to be so nice, and Dough Hutchison did a fine job as Percy Wetmore… in other words, I really did just want to climb over somewhere and kill him. He was inhumane, he was cruel and he deserved so much more than a big, fat slap. He was revolting and evil to the core, and was intent on throwing his weight around and bullying everyone no end. People like that sicken me, and he was incredibly convincing, always selfish, putting himself ahead and being resentful at every available opportunity.
“Try it! You’ll be on the bread lines before the week is out!” – Percy Whetmore
Sam Rockwell was simply brilliant as “Wild Bill” Wharton, and impressed me with his portrayal of the malicious and wicked man. He was undeniably cracked and never once let you forget about it. He was the very embodiment of what I expected from King’s character. I also enjoyed David Morse, whom I find to be an underappreciated actor. He lent dignity and morals to Brutus and gave him real flesh and character. The movie’s pacing was gradual though never boring, but you must not expect something gushing action in every scene, never relenting or letting you breathe. This is a film designed to make you chew over it, think about it and make decisions based on that.
“All I wanted me was a little cornbread, motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little cornbread!” – William “Wild Bill” Wharton
I enjoyed how the film was set in the thirties, and the appearance of the prison, the uniforms, the way of life… things was done so much differently. Coffey’s gift being discovered was a thing of beauty. Paul had been suffering for a while with a severe bladder infection, and in a moment of fear and pain, Coffey had healed him, fixed the problems. Such is the nature that shows that Coffey is special, that he is amazing and that he should not be where he is, though he is there now and will have to make the best of it. The guards all become rather protective of Coffey and develop a respect and friendship with him, though not everything is destined to go that way. Paul’s relentless need to get to the bottom of what really happened is touching, and it shows you how one person can change your perception in life as well as how you go about it.
I honestly believe The Green Mile is a classic, and most definitely something that everyone should see at least once in their lives. Frank Darabont again gave another striking vision of a King novel, something I am starting to feel only he fully grasps.
I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child. – Paul Edgecomb
Paul Simon – Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard (featured in Maid In Manhattan, 2002)
**I had to add a link to some awesome Stephen King artwork from an art show opening today at Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles. Love these! Had a hard time choosing just one to post (the Pennywise one gives me the CREEPS!). See more Stephen King artwork & information on the show here: Laughing Squid
***And I don’t know what this is all about but it looks like a fun site…: The Enigma Machine 🙂
Salem’s Lot by Zombie Yeti
Directed by Frank Darabont
Based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Music by Thomas Newman
Running time: 142 minutes
Andy Dufresne is a banker sent to Shawshank State Prison after being convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. While there, be becomes friends with fellow inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. Through years of hardship, Andy maintains his innocence and never gives up hope.
First off, I’ll point out that this is in the IMDB Top 250 so I figured it would be a good one to do today to help kick off all the guest IMDB Top 250 reviews that I’ll start posting next week (More about that after the review). And what a place to start! The Shawshank Redemption takes the number one spot, having been voted as the best movie of all-time by IMDB users. So why is that….?
I’m a Shawshank lover. Yep – I’m one of those mainstream masses who is perfectly happy to see Shawshank at number one above the likes of The Godfather and Citizen Kane. Yep – it’s a “feel good” movie. Yep – it may sometimes try a little too hard to be a “feel good” movie. You know what? I don’t care. Because this movie DOES make me feel good! And there’s nothing wrong with that. And most importantly, to me, it has these amazing feel good moments yet it doesn’t feel contrived. Most of us film lovers can see right through that. If Shawshank was guilty of that, it wouldn’t have stayed in the number one spot for all these years. It tells a pretty straight forward story in a straight forward way. I suppose thanks can go to Stephen King for that, my very favorite author and whose adapted works will be featuring more than just this once in my CPD Classics series.
But clearly the combination of Stephen King & Frank Darabont just WORKS. The Green Mile is also absolutely fantastic and I think The Mist is a great underrated film. Oh, and I have to mention a third very important element: Thomas Newman. I ADORE so many Thomas Newman scores. He’s amazing & doesn’t quite seem to get the credit he deserves. Now isn’t the time to go into him, though, as I think I should devote an entire post to him someday.
I don’t know if I need to go into any detail with this review. I would assume that most everyone has seen this movie by now and, if not, I think it’s extremely well known what happens in it anyway. I love this film and I’m clearly not alone in feeling this way, although I rarely see it mentioned amongst bloggers here so I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts on this one in the comments below. Is it too mainstream for the blogging crowd? Too obvious & “feel good”? Am I now going to be considered uncool and you’ll all run me out of (WordPress) town?
I think there are a lot of things that make The Shawshank Redemption such a widely loved film and the movie just gets so many things “right” that they all combine to give us something spectacular: Feel good moments like the beer & opera scenes (which never fail to move me no matter how many times I watch this movie). Andy & Red’s friendship. The lesser characters such as Brooks & Heywood (and the heartbreakingly beautiful “Brooks Was Here” theme from Thomas Newman). Seeing the posters on the wall change, showing the passage of time. Alexandre Dumbass. The pet bird. Rita Hayworth. And, of course, the overall message of hope.
More than anything, though, I think it’s Stephen King’s story and Darabont’s ability to give us scenes of pure beauty in a movie based someplace as awful as a prison, along with Thomas Newman’s amazing score plus superb narration from the always lovely-to-listen-to voice of Morgan Freeman which may all be most to thank for making The Shawshank Redemption as near to perfection as I think any film could ever really get. That’s why The Shawshank Redemption is a CPD Classic.
My Rating: 10/10
IMDB Top 250 Guest Reviews: Thanks once again to all who signed up to help me finish my IMDB Top 250 Challenge by doing guest reviews. I’m still amazed by the huge response and can’t believe I’ve already received some reviews! So I’ll be starting to post them next week (I’ll e-mail you to let you know when yours will be posted). There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone else would like to join in! You can find a list with the remaining movies HERE.
JOHN HUGHES BLOGATHON: Also, a quick reminder that March is when I’ll be having the John Hughes blogathon (so the Top 250 thing will go on hold for a month). I’ve had several reviews so far – thank you everyone! I’d like to receive the rest by the end of this month at the latest so that I can get them all scheduled & let you know when yours will be posted. Reviews can be e-mailed to tableninemutant at hotmail dot com. AND – I’d be happy for anyone to still join!!! You can do any film you want. See more details HERE. 🙂
Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Based on Carrie by Stephen King
Chloë Grace Moretz
Running time: 99 minutes
Girl gets period, people piss her off, she becomes psychotic. I have days like that too.
First of all, I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Second of all, I have this confession to make: Carrie is one of the only books of his that I’ve not read. Thirdly, I love the original movie – it just makes it into the list of my Top Ten Horror Movies. Fourthly (Thirdly & fourthly are words, right?), REMAKES PISS ME OFF. So what did I think of yet another completely unnecessary remake?
There may be a few SPOILERS here if you’ve actually not seen the original Carrie. If you have, you can probably read this whole review as this remake is pretty much EXACTLY the same movie but with added mobile phones (cell phones to you Americans). I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything for those who’ve seen the original.
I’ve really liked Chloë Grace Moretz in everything I’ve seen her in so far and she does fine as Carrie. Her Carrie does NOT have the same sort of naive innocence yet underlying crazy THING going on behind the eyes that Sissy Spacek had, though. To be fair, I don’t think Moretz had much to work with here as this is just the 1976 movie with YouTube. It’s very hard to not picture Spacek in this role. I suppose it’s also hard to believe that a teenage girl would be as naive & sheltered in 2013 as one may have been in 1976. They show Carrie looking things up on the Internet on school computers in this one – surely she’d be Googling periods & sex & all that stuff her crazy mother tells her is a sin. Moretz is exactly who I’d have also chosen to play Carrie if I’d made this, though – it’s just hard to fully buy into her character if you know the original so well. Same goes for Julianne Moore – SUCH an obvious casting choice (or a lazy choice if you ask Mista Mutant). Yes, she’s good and does exactly what you expect her to do. But, you know… We’ve already seen this role played perfectly by Piper Laurie. Both the 2013 lead actresses are fine & exactly who I’d have chosen. All the other actresses are also fine (especially Gabriella Wilde as Sue Snell & Judy Greer as the gym teacher). But… What’s the point, really?
Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed this movie (I know it hasn’t sounded like it so far). Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a completely pointless remake and will never top the original for me. But I’ve always liked the story. “Girl gets picked on by bitchy high school girls then gets sweet revenge!”. Who doesn’t like that? Especially if they’re a girl who lived through the dreadful high school experience. Is it just me? Maybe I have issues. I mean, one of my all-time favorite movies is Heathers. Okay, yeah – I may have issues.
So even though I’ve seen this movie before and knew what would happen, I enjoyed seeing the events unfold once again. And I suppose I should mention Portia Doubleday as that bitch Chris Hargensen. I guess she did a good job as I soooo couldn’t wait for her death scene in this one! I’m not a big fan of horror movies, especially in my old age, and have to admit that I have yet to actually watch the more violent scenes in some of my favorite films. Seriously, I’m a wuss about gore and don’t like violence and think we live in a sad world where people freak out over movies that show a tiny bit of sex but don’t bat an eyelid at their kids playing video games & watching movies with excessive violence and blah blah blah. But, oh man, I wanted to watch the bitch get it in Carrie! And it’s a pretty satisfying end. It’s the only thing I’ll say maybe tops the original. (I have issues with bitchy high school girls. Can you tell?) 😉
For the boys, I should point out that Gabriella Wilde is REALLY cute. I did like her as Sue Snell.
This remake is completely pointless. But… it’s fun and I did enjoy it. If you go into it knowing that you’re going to be watching a not-as-good version of the 1976 movie all over again and if you like the story and even if you LOVE the original movie (as long as you don’t totally worship it), I think you’ll have fun with the remake. The casting choices are spot on but it all feels very hollow. All the actresses do a good job but certainly don’t top the performances in the original. All the scenes are done well enough but, again, don’t exactly top anything in the original. The prom scene especially doesn’t manage to have the intensity of the original and was probably the most disappointing re-made scene.
I understand why things get remade. I’ll fully admit that the original Carrie has NOT aged well and is precious to only those my age but teenagers nowadays are “all gonna laugh” at the 1976 film. They may like this remake, though, and I’d recommend the remake to a teenager instead of the original because I know I’d be wasting my time trying to get a current teen to love the oh-so-70s Carrie. So, yeah – I do understand why things keep getting remade. To make money. To bring a whole new audience to something as they’d never watch the original. Remakes still piss me off, though. And I still think this remake is as pointless as all the rest.
But at least we get to see Carrie get her revenge on those high school bitches once again! That made me happy.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Directed by Josh Boone
Lily Collins & her eyebrows
A family of mostly writers (author Greg Kinnear, ex-wife Jennifer Connelly, and their children Lily Collins & Nat Wolff) are affected by the highs & lows of life and love in various ways.
I’d never heard of this film when I went to it early one day recently (Didn’t know it was a senior citizen showing. That was awesome. It was so quiet and I haven’t felt so young in a long time!). Apparently it came out in Canada in 2012 under the title Writers? Then the US in July and finally the UK now on what appeared to be a very limited release.
Anyway – I quite liked this film. Not sure why it got no attention. I always find “authors” interesting as I’d love to be one (but would have to actually have any sort of writing ability in the first place).
Greg Kinnear is the father and the author of a well respected book. His marriage to Jennifer Connelly fell apart a few years ago but he wants her back & still sets a place for her at the Thanksgiving table every year despite the fact that she has re-married. He pushes his children (maybe a little too hard) to be writers as well. The daughter (Lily Collins) is just about to have her first book published. She’s very bitter & has no interest in anything other than casual relationships after watching her parents’ marriage fall apart (which she blames entirely on her mother & is punishing her by no longer talking to her). The son (Nat Wolff) is a sensitive teenager obsessed with Stephen King and desperate for a girlfriend. I loved the Stephen King thing here as I love his stuff – it’s an added little treat for King fans.
To be honest, this story is pretty predictable every step of the way. There’s nothing exactly new or original here. But it works. Sometimes films like these work as long as you buy into the characters and care about what happens to them. I’d definitely recommend it as a nice weekend afternoon film. Logan Lerman is in this as a boy trying to win the affection of icy Lily Collins. I’ve loved him ever since The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and he’s totally loveable here too. Lily Collins is fine and the movie is good enough that I wasn’t at all distracted by her eyebrows. I loved the sad story of Kinnear’s & Connelly’s marriage, where all isn’t as it seems. And the son’s story is very predictable but he’s so likeable that you really want the best for him. The only annoying character in the film is Kristen Bell (but I always find her annoying). Her character does have a purpose, though.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Whaaaaat?! Imagine seeing this standing outside your door!!! The following & more from this link: GeekTyrant
Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King’s IT is one of the most terrifying clowns ever. Now there’s a real life version of him stalking the streets of Northampton, England!
The identity of said clown has become something of an obsession on Twitter, with the hashtag #northamptonclown used to speculate on the reasons for his weird existence. The Northampton Herald initially reported that he knocked on someone’s door and offered to paint their window sills despite having no painting equipment with him, a story the clown later refuted on his Facebook page. Which he apparently runs himself.
What It’s About:
It’s 1973 and heartbroken college student Devin Jones takes a summer job at an amusement park called Joyland. What should just be a simple summer job brings Devin lifelong friends, heartache, and some of his best & also most horrific life experiences. These experiences make him an adult but will also forever haunt him as much as the ghost of the girl named Linda Gray, who four years previously was mysteriously murdered in and now haunts Joyland’s Horror House ride.
I adore Stephen King. I don’t read as much as I’d like but I always make time for King’s books. Love him or hate him (does anyone hate him?), I think he’s an amazing writer and I find myself “lost” in the world of his books as I read them far more than I do with other authors. I suppose he doesn’t get the credit he deserves because of the whole horror thing but I’ve always preferred the supernatural and horror genres when it comes to books so he writes the sort of stories I love. And what a great storyteller! I’d love to see inside that crazy-ass brain of his.
Joyland is quite a simple and pretty straightforward sort of pulp murder mystery. This appears to be King’s second book published by “Hard Case Crime”. The Colorado Kid was the first, which I’ve not read but should as I love the Haven TV show that’s (loosely?) based on it.
I won’t go into the story much as it would ruin it for anyone who reads it. Yes, the Linda Gray ghost & murder mystery is a fairly big part of the story but there’s much more to the book than just that. I’ve also always been fascinated by books with a funfair type setting & the whole carny thing so we get a great big dose of that in this book.
It takes a while for the story to really get going and the best part of the story & a couple of the most important characters (other than Devin) don’t make much of an appearance until over halfway through the book. But King spends a lot of time developing the character of Devin and I really enjoyed that. My favorite King books are the ones in which he focuses more on character development and giving us characters that we really like & care about. He doesn’t always do this and those in which he doesn’t give us characters that are very memorable or gives us ones that are pretty much all downright hateful (Under The Dome) are the books that end up being my least favorite.
Speaking of Under The Dome, that book definitely had a better overall concept than Joyland but then was filled with main characters I didn’t really care about (and can barely even remember as I type this) and such over the top “baddies” that it was one of the more difficult King books to work through despite the great story idea and really wanting to know how it would end. I loved the characters in Joyland, especially Devin & the two important characters he meets later in the book (I won’t go into that as they’re only hinted at on the back cover) but also the other college friends he makes at Joyland and all the regular Joyland employees. For a short book, I felt like I knew more about even the most minor characters in Joyland than I did about anyone in Under The Dome.
The story in Joyland isn’t going to change the world – it’s simple and pretty predictable but I had fun with it & thoroughly enjoyed the book thanks to the setting & especially the great cast of characters. They’re still quite black & white but that works in this “Hard Case Crime” style of book. When you buy a book as thick as Under The Dome, you expect a bit more.
Note: Sorry to compare it to Under The Dome so much but it’s on my mind as the series is finally starting in the UK (this coming Monday night on Channel Five). Yay! As disappointing as the book was, I still enjoy watching ALL things Stephen King-related and never miss them even though I know some adaptations have been truly horrible.
Joyland was a great read. It’s pretty “light” for a King novel but that doesn’t make it any less worthy than his more lengthy books. It’s quite a straightforward crime thriller but with just enough of the weird & supernatural to keep King fans happy. But the thing that works best is a great set of well-developed characters, even down to the minor ones. We care about the people in Joyland and the last half of the book, a big part of which has nothing to do with Linda Gray’s murder, is surprisingly moving and reminds us how great King’s books can be when he focuses on making us understand and truly like the people in his fictional worlds.
My Rating: 4/5
This is my favorite book I’ve read this year, closely followed by The Perks Of Being A Wallflower then the rest below. I haven’t managed to read a lot so far but they’ve all been pretty good:
Wool by Hugh Howey Review
Wonder by RJ Palacio Review
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green Review
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Review
I love Stephen King – I cannot WAIT to read Doctor Sleep, his sequel to The Shining. The book is out September 24th. Click the link to view a short trailer for the book: GeekTyrant
The link also contains this long plot synopsis:
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.