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It (2017 Film)

In this era of Hollywood there is an abundance of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots and most of them suck. But every now and then a seemingly unnecessary reboot comes out and steals the thunder from the original. Mad Max: Fury Road comes to mind. It is one of those films as well. Most people grew up with the beloved 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It was scary, but lots of things are scary when you’re five years old. The miniseries was tame. They didn’t have the budget to do anything spectacular. It was made for TV so they had to censor things and leave stuff out. The movie has an R rating and they run with it.

Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise was iconic. Bill Skarsgård had some big shoes to fill. He filled them, and then had to get bigger shoes because his feet were too big to fit them. He Heath Ledgered it. Skarsgård’s portrayal is terrifying and mesmerizing. He’s unpredictable and makes you feel uneasy. The only way to keep your sanity is by reminding yourself that it’s only a movie.

The movie stars a bunch of kids. Movies that rely on child actors are hit or miss. It only takes one shitty actor to ruin the whole film. The entire cast is solid. Jaeden Lieberher does a great job as Bill Denbrough, the main character. If he sucked the movie would suck. All the kids in the Losers Club are good. Finn Wolfhard, aka the kid from Stranger Things, adds another classic child horror story to his resume. Jeremy Ray Taylor plays Ben, the fat new kid. He’s actually overweight, not the usual version of Hollywood’s stereotypical fat kid. He adds to the realism. Jackson Robert Scott plays Georgie, the film’s first depicted victim of Pennywise. He’s the youngest actor and has some of the creepiest lines. 

Director Andy Muschietti has created a blockbuster. It is already the highest grossing horror film of all time. It is also the highest grossing film to be released in September. That’s pretty impressive. It deserves all the hype it is getting. Right after I saw it, I went home and watched the opening scene from the miniseries and from the movie on YouTube to compare them. Watch it now, see for yourself. It’s night and day. It made me realize how cheesy the miniseries actually is. 

In conclusion, go see It.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

You’ll Float Too!

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The Tommyknockers (book)

Late last night and the night before,

Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.

I want to go out, don’t know if I can,

‘Cause I’m so afraid of the Tommyknocker man.

The Tommyknockers is a 1987 sci-fi novel written by Stephen King. It takes place in the same universe as most of his other books, but this one is about aliens as opposed to ghosts and monsters and the supernatural. It begins with Wild West novelist Bobbi Anderson discovering the tip of an enormous spaceship sticking out of the ground in the small town of Haven, Maine. She feels compelled to dig it out, but the ship starts releasing an odorless, invisible gas that starts to transform Bobbi and the citizens of Haven into something else, something not human.

There are a few characters who are immune to the “becoming”, one of them being Bobbi’s lifelong friend (and occasional lover) James Eric “Gard” Gardener. Gard is immune to the gas because of a steel plate in his head from a skiing accident a few years earlier. He helps Bobbi to dig out the ship over the course of a summer, watching helplessly as Bobbi and the townspeople start losing teeth and their sanity.

What’s cool about this story is that there is no real main character. You could argue that Gard is the protagonist, you could point to Bobbi being the one who drives the plot forward, but the main character is really the town of Haven. The story is about how the spaceship affects the townspeople. It seems like almost every citizen in Haven gets at least one chapter that explores how the “becoming” changes them. There are a lot of background characters and subplots, but the whole thing comes together nicely in the end.

This is a great book, one of my favorite Stephen King stories. It’s pretty lengthy but it’s never boring. Stephen King knows how to tell a good story, and he has a great writing style. It’s casual, yet detailed. He has fun with the narrative, jumping around on the timeline and exploring the minds of different characters. It’s also a metaphor for substance abuse, so there are a lot of things to pick up on if you read between the lines. Read it. You’ll like it.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Shawshank Redemption

Some movies transcend the big screen and will change your life. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies. The first time you see it you want to run around shouting about it and share it with the world. Frank Darabont directs this adaptation of a short Stephen King novella, and Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman headline the amazing cast. Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a hotshot banker who gets locked up for killing his wife and her lover.

Andy’s not cut out for prison. He doesn’t belong there, he kind of strolls around like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He maintains his innocence, but so do all the other prisoners except for Red (Morgan Freeman), the only guilty man in Shawshank. Andy and Red form a friendship, and he makes a few more friends as well. Tim Robbins does a great job, but Morgan Freeman steals every scene that he’s in, plus he narrates the movie (which is always awesome cause his voice is like sexual chocolate).

Prison life kinda sucks. Especially when you’re constantly getting man-raped by the Sisters. And when the corrupt warden relies on your prodigious banking skills to launder money. And when a sadistic guard will beat the shit out of anyone for any reason. And when you’re getting thrown into solitary confinement for months at a time.

Despite a few minor setbacks like those, Andy is able to maintain his sanity when a lesser man would break. He finds flashes of freedom by celebrating the little things in life. He makes a deal with the guard and gets a few bottles of beer and Morgan Freeman goes, “We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.” Another memorable part is when he broadcasts the opera music over the loudspeaker and all the prisoners drop what they are doing and listen in silence. Little victories like these make you all warm and fuzzy inside like an Irish coffee in the shower.

Some of the happier moments are really inspirational, and you kinda want to go to prison. Then you remember the man-rapes and realize you’re stupid.

The Shawshank Redemption

So here comes a little spoiler: Andy actually is innocent. He’s just a victim of circumstance. He also escapes at the end. Oh yeah, another spoiler. Not only does he escape, he escapes in spectacular fashion. It’s not super spectacular, there’s no ninjas or exploding hot air balloons, but it’s a memorable reveal that blows your mind the first time you see it.

Most chicks don’t like prison movies. But they like this movie. That’s because it’s not really a prison movie. It just takes place in a prison. It’s about a man who finds freedom, hope, and happiness within himself. So even though he’s trapped he’s free. Brooks (the decrepitly old inmate) got institutionalized, and when he finally got released he couldn’t handle the world. He had no friends, no family, no hope. He was trapped in his freedom, and took his own life. Red is going down the same path as Brooks, but Andy’s friendship saved him. You have two choices: get busy living or get busy dying.

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies of all time. Go to IMDB and see for yourself. It’s practically a perfect picture. If you don’t like this movie you have no soul.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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