Tag Archives: It

Review of Stephen King’s “It”

It’s too damn long. Part of the problem is seeing the movie before reading the book. I knew there was going to be a spider, so I wanted to get to that part. That probably diminished some of my enjoyment of the story. Not entirely, however. I like King’s horror and gruesomeness, but I didn’t like many of his similes and metaphors in this book. They made me cringe throughout.

You can tell Stephen King grew up in the ’60s. “Far out, man”, and whatnot. Didn’t really have a problem with it, per se. Just chuckled. It was fine. It always stood out to me like when I witnessed it.

There’s a lot of themes in the book. Friendship. The romantic situation was very interesting. Not clear-cut at all. Everyone thinks Bev is pretty but Ritchie never really makes any moves on her and Ben loves her but she’s more into Bill but Bill is more consumed by getting revenge for Georgie even though he likes Bev as well. At first, I didn’t like it. But, thinking it over, childhood (hell, even adulthood) is confusing like that, isn’t it? The complicated love triangle was a nice touch. Very funny to contrast that with all of the gruesomeness throughout.

Interesting how they all leave each other after the horror of their childhood and Bill ends up with a woman that looks like Bev. Then he cheats on her with Bev? Ok. Then, at the end, he ends back up with her, and they live happily ever after? Is he ever gonna tell Audra or not? Ok.

Why is Mike the one that stayed in Derry? Why didn’t “It” ever get him? What’s the significance of the fact that Mike stayed in Derry? Does it have to do with the fact that he’s black? Serious question. He’s used to seeing horror so he can stay? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out.

The tragedy in the book is terrific. I’m thinking of Bev’s father and Henry’s father in particular. So tragic. Children being raised horribly. I really enjoyed those parts of the book. Particularly Bev’s. Incredibly powerful.

I had a problem with the way King talked about their friendship, to paraphrase, “coming together”, “they felt the final cog click into place”. Please. You’re being way too obvious. Stop beating me over the head with it. Why did they need those “cogs” if one of them killed himself before the final confrontation? Was Stan really necessary? And what did I miss about the birds? What relevance did the birds have besides making an appearance? Stan’s character existed simply for one of them to commit suicide. I guess that’s fine. But that has to be the stated reason for his existence. Stop telling me that all seven of them are needed when they clearly aren’t. I did not feel as if he existed for any other reason than to create drama about their “unit” being weakened, and to really drive home the point that what they witnessed as children was so horrible that one of them killed himself because of it. I think I enjoyed the way I just explained it more than the way King explained it in the book. It was just annoying, because Stan just tagged along (he’s an introvert, I get it). But Stan really annoyed me. I guess his suicide was the best part.

I liked Ritchie as a character. Mike as a character. Ben, and Bev. Eddie was annoying. “He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler.” I FUCKING GET IT. GIVE SOMEONE ELSE MORE PAGE TIME. Swap Stan and Eddie, or something. Sure, it’s great when you learn the inhaler was a placebo. But for fuck’s sake, I got tired of reading about Eddie’s goddamned asthma. Bill’s character was interesting. He grew on me. At first, I thought he was stale. But he grew on me. He kind of made me wonder why some of the other kids were really necessary. I know groups have “leaders”, but a lot of time was given to Bill. And I couldn’t figure him out as a character. Obviously, he was motivated by justice. But how much of his character would’ve been “serious” if Georgie hadn’t died? How much of it was his natural personality and how much of it was revenge for Georgie? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out. Not really a problem with King, I guess. Just something personal.

I get that Henry was the antagonist that needed the most page time. It makes sense. He’s a loudmouth. I didn’t have any problem with Henry Bowers. I liked his storylines. But man, was I disappointed when Patrick Hottstetter’s story was over as quickly as it was. That was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Patrick’s killing animals and has them in a refrigerator? Holy fuck! That’s great! Slugs that jab into your eyes? Awesome! I’m not saying that Patrick should’ve been the main villain over “It”, nor did I have a problem with how much time Henry was given. But I was disappointed that his beautiful depravity was over with so soon. Henry being the leader of this fucked up kid, who was probably entirely capable of killing Henry. What an interesting character, Patrick Hottstetter was. Shame I didn’t get to see more of him. I’m glad he died, though. In the sewers. Apropos.

And everyone ends up fucking Bev in the sewer? Really? I mean, ALL of them? Stan, Mike, Ritchie, everyone? That part was hilarious. I loved it. I guess, looking back, it’s really tragic. What was Bev thinking? Did she become a whore because of an abusive father? Or was there truly something deeper that she did, in fact, share with all of them? I’m leaning more towards whore because of her father, personally. Women don’t just go around fucking all of their friends. That’s the only way she really knew how to show her love, because that’s how her father showed her love. Sweet, because she loves them. Heartbreaking, because she’s fucking them because of her own sexual abuse (I’m sure), and hilarious and disgusting because they are all down in a sewer when they fuck. King can’t be preaching about ANYTHING “in real life”, political, because of that. Well, it depends. King virtue-signalling about Trump is pathetic. But I’m not going to get into that here.

But the main themes of the book, about childhood and growing up, were terrific. The final couple of pages made me tear up. I loved it. Fascinating how the kids fought “It” by accepting that “It” was an illusion. Kids conquering their fear of the dark. That was very nice. But why did any kid ever die then? How can kids die from giving in to an “illusion”? At what point does the illusion become real? I really like all of the parts were King drives home that horrible things in one’s childhood fucks one up for life. All of them repressing what happened to them in the sewer as kids. Stan killing himself, Henry and Bev that I already mentioned, etc. What happened with the Hottstetter kid that made him how he was? Who knows. Enjoyable. The town ignoring the problems of the kids? Also nice. But I’m confused: why did only some kids die, and not all of the kids? Why was anyone allowed to grow up to become an adult? Why did “It” choose who it chose? That also bothered me. Maybe I’m a bad reader and all of this just flew over my head.

And what’s the deal with Pennywise? There’s something old. It manifests itself to what children fear. It’s an illusion. What is its “final” form? I guess I missed that, too. I wish that Pennywise wasn’t just some prop or tool, the “bait” form of It, I guess. I’m fine with a clown turning into a spider. But I was disappointed that the clown just goes around talking in people’s heads. I guess he doesn’t have to kill anyone. But it’s kind of a let down to me when Pennywise is around for the whole story but he’s (or that form of “It” is) kind of meaningless in the end.

And why Derry? Why nowhere else? What was it about Derry which made “It” reside in the sewers for so long? No big city at all? I thought “It” was going to be a metaphor for evil as a whole. But it only resides in Derry? News crews from major cities come to Derry afterwards? Why did “It” choose Derry? I get it. That’s the “mystery”, I guess. But it annoys me. I liked the parts that talked about Derry. The small town life, the people around. It was funny to read about people going down to fix the sewers when they overflowed. Interesting. But why does “It” live in a sewer in a small town? Sewer, fine. But why Derry? “That’s the whole point, that’s the mystery”, blah blah blah. It annoys me, personally. I like shit to make sense. I get that entertainment doesn’t have to make sense, but in times like these, it is going to bother me, and I am going to say so, because that is how I am. Lol (And I’m not just saying that it has to be in “bigger” towns and not “smaller” towns, but why only one small town? Why no other “small town” but Derry, Maine?)

And I’m fucking glad I’m probably never going to see the word “Kenduskeag” ever-a-fucking-gain.

I’d definitely recommend “It”. But, in my opinion, it is overrated. People love it for the gruesomeness. Which I agree with. But I have a lot of problems with this story. There’s way too many problems and not enough good gruesomeness in this one for my taste.

And I think I would enjoy it more if it was cut in about half.

Review of 2017’s “It”.

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Review of 2017’s “It”

Saw the movie “It” yesterday. I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as the first miniseries, so I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed. It was a CGI shitfest. Hollywood keeps churning them out because people keep buying the tickets. I guess most people enjoy the ugly patchwork of CGI “action” (or, at the very least, are willing enough to put up with it to buy a ticket for a story that they want to see). But the way CGI is used today produces within me a mental fatigue.

CGI can be a good compliment, but it was heavily overdone. I’ve heard this a lot from people who are more avid movie watchers than I. I’ve heard, for several years, the complaint that “There’s too much CGI in movies nowadays.” I understand their complaints. If you can’t make it look right practically, then use CGI. But at least make an effort. Yeah, I know it’s cheaper to use CGI. And that’s the problem. It’s cheaper and easier, so we get shittier products (as far as I’m concerned). Once again, I don’t watch a lot of movies. But I’m disappointed that CGI has become a crutch that is broken itself. One reason that I don’t watch a lot of movies is I find the CGI in the movies that I do watch too mentally fatiguing. My suspension of disbelief disappears so often when I see obvious CGI mixed in with “real life”. It can be done right, such as with creating aliens. (Whatever CGI in “The Dark Knight” is perfect). But so much CGI in movies that I’ve seen is just ugly. I’d have to give some examples of what I’m talking about at another time.

The “action” sequences in “It” involving CGI were very bad. Maybe it was just bad CGI. Maybe it could’ve been replaced with CGI that was actually GOOD. But I hated it. I’ve become numb to CGI, and I don’t enjoy movies that heavily rely on it. For the most part.

I was also disappointed with Pennywise. His look was fine. It’s hard not to compare him to Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Nothing can top that masterful performance. But my main problem with the clown was how he was used. There were way too many shitty jumpscares, in my opinion. He just rushes at the camera, from side-to-side. Such shit. Jumpscares are like CGI: I’m not completely against them, but don’t make the whole movie jumpscares. The original “It” was so creepy. It was very slow. There was a fantastic build-up. And Tim Curry could scare the shit out of you when he snapped: talking normally, and then the last word of a sentence, he sharply YELLS. Amazing. This movie did not have that creepy mood to it to me. It was a little too over-the-top. Too obvious. Georgie’s “You’ll float too, you’ll float too, YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!” pained me to watch. Some people in the audience seemed to enjoy it, but I hated it. It wasn’t creepy. It was just annoying. Like a shitty horror video game. That’s what it felt like: that they tried too hard, and made it too obvious. Not enough suspense to warrant the excessive loud noises and jumps at the camera. They basically substituted Pennywise’s personality for jumpscares. That really hurts. The personality Pennywise did have wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t feel enough of why we should be scared of him. Obvious CGI isn’t a reason.

I did enjoy some of the non-Pennywise CGI, however. The zombie or mummy, whatever it was, without a nose was nice and creepy. The painting that came to life was very creepy (it should’ve had more screen time somehow).

I didn’t like the teeth of Pennywise, for some reason. Yeah, there were rows and rows of sharp teeth, like there should’ve been. But I didn’t like the look of it. That’s the time you should use a jumpscare: when he BITES. But they instead decided to keep everything well-lit, and then, his mouthful of teeth come out so you can see them all. It wasn’t scary enough. It was more like “Oh, look at those teeth.”

One of the very first scenes, Georgie running into that caution barricade, completely took me out of the mood (when I saw that in the trailer, I was hoping to God that it was only in the trailer). It was nice and eerie up to that point. And that one moment of slapstick took me out of the mood. “Is it going to be a slapstick comedy? Or creepy?” I was very disappointed with that decision. It occurred too early in the movie. They didn’t take enough time to develop the mood (the audience’s expectation, considering how popular the story is, isn’t enough of a “mood” setter). The mood of “It” shouldn’t be slapstick. It should be fucking CREEPY.

I thought most of the characters were well done. Bill as a kid is always a hard character to do. It’s hard for a kid to stutter right. I wasn’t a fan of Bill in the original, and I wasn’t a fan of him, here. Mike’s character was great. Bev’s was fantastic. Ben’s was very good. Stan was forgettable. And Eddie and Richie were both very good. Aside from that initial stupid barricade moment, Richie and Eddie were the “funny”. Richie, as a character, is supposed to be “comic relief”. And he was good at it. The other characters had a seriousness to them that didn’t try to overpower Richie’s humor with humor of their own, so his one-liners actually worked very well: especially for a kid his age. Eddie’s “unintentional” humor was also very good. The parents of the children were fantastic. You could really see why Eddie was as nervous as he was. Bev’s dad was very creepy, and the moment she cut off her hair after her father touched it was very powerful. I found Bill’s father to be forgettable. I didn’t really like his character. Mike’s grandfather was a good character: very no-nonsense, straightforward. Actually giving wisdom, and killing the animal in front of Mike because they needed to sell the meat. The bullies were great. Especially Henry Bowers. His performance was very good. Very believable. Much like with Bev and Eddie, you could really feel how Henry was raised. Not much time needed to be spent with Henry’s backstory at all, but you just knew how his home life was (I think that’s mainly due to King’s storytelling ability, but the movie portrayed that well). That one moment where Henry’s father, a cop, shoots three shots from his pistol into the ground right in front of his son to scare him told you all that you needed to know. Fantastic scene.

The scenes where the kids are around the clown are weird. I realize the actors are children, but they weren’t scared enough of the clown for my taste. Even when you’re fighting the clown, you need to be able to show some fear. How could you not? Fighting a clown in a sewer? Felt like just basic fight choreography.

The blood looked fake as hell when they were cleaning it from Bev’s bathroom.

The decision for them to be kids in the 80s was a good one. Keep it more relevant for the audience. A nice update. I personally wish they would’ve been a little more obvious with it. You could tell when the music played that it was supposed to take place in the 80s, but there wasn’t much else that I noticed that made it feel like the 80s. Granted, the mood shouldn’t be something like “Saved By the Bell” (it’s “It”, afterall), but just a little more would have satisfied me. Maybe one perm, or something. There was an ’80s car, and Henry had a mullet. But I wanted just a little more. Maybe some pink and teal somewhere.

The nicer horror scenes (the ones that weren’t shitty CGI) were funny, as good horror scenes should be.

The movie definitely felt like they were just trying to hurry up and release it “27 years” after the original. Like they didn’t even start planning the damn thing until 2 years ago: “Holy shit. We have to make a new ‘It’ movie for 2017! Fuck! What do we do?!” I found it very bland. Not the way a movie like “It” should be. A below-average-to-average horror film. Not worthy of being associated with Stephen King.

The most entertaining thing about the whole experience was my best friend’s navigational skills on the way to the movie theatre. His sense of direction doesn’t involve looking at road signs. VERY funny.

(Disclaimer: currently a little over halfway through with the book. Slow reader, so I can’t compare the movies to the book. I was heartbroken when I saw the tower of kids in the sewer, as I haven’t reached that part in the book yet.

Also, every time I start watching the original “It”, I get tired of it because the thing is so damned long. Pennywise is entertaining, and I remember seeing the spider CGI when I was a kid (because my dad called me in cause he knows I’m afraid of spiders. Honestly, I think I’d prefer that shit CGI over what was done here). But I’ll try to remember to review the book when I’m done with it in a few years, and I’ll eventually go back and try to watch the original “It” miniseries and write a review of it (haha) as well).

Review of the book.

Literature and Me

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

When I was a child, I read only a small number of books. The occasional children’s tale and scholastic bestseller, such as R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, those attempts (successful I suppose) at introducing the horror genre to kids, or Dav Pilkey’s hilarious The Adventures of Captain Underpants, those mixes of funny narrative with even funnier pictures. In the fifth and sixth grades, I managed to read the seven Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, though the hidden religious meanings didn’t cross my mind. I just wasn’t smart. But for the most part, books didn’t reach me too often. I was immersed in the video game world of Mario, Sonic, and the first person shooter. Because my eyes were glued to the screen, I didn’t have time to glue them to the page. One of my first deep regrets as a human being.

When I was in elementary school, J.K. Rowling’s first…

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“But Yet, He Writes”

He’s no King
Or Rowling
But he writes

He isn’t heralded by the New York Times
Read by millions
Or making them

His writing isn’t very good,
They say
When they find him

But yet, he writes

He doesn’t follow proper form
Spits out when others carefully craft
Is juvenile, while others, refined

But yet, he writes

He has no money
No book deal
No idea how he’s going to get his work done

The only thing he has is a desire to write

And so, he does

He writes his insecurities
His perceived shortcomings
All out of compulsion

What does he gain?

A sense of catharsis

And a voluntary sacrifice of privacy

What of the insane man who writes?
What shall we make of him
And his elementary words?

When will he ever get a grip of the language,
And of his life?

Will the grips that bind him
Let go,
Leaving him to complete freedom?

When will his words fulfill their ultimate purpose?

When will it all make sense?

Richard Bachman quote

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”