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A book as a gift?  RSS feed

 
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https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2018
 
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I do love me a good Stephen King book, and I've heard both of the titles on that list "Outsider" and "Elevation" are very good.
 
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Tim Cooke wrote:I do love me a good Stephen King book



You and me both!

Two of my many favourites from years past:

The Stand...literally could not put it down once I started reading it.
Needful Things...same with this one

Phenomenal writer, in my opinion.
 
Tim Cooke
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I really enjoyed "Dr Sleep" but I had recently re-read "The Shining" which probably had a lot to do with it.
 
Randy Maddocks
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They couldn't have picked a better actor than Jack Nicholson to play Jack Torrance in The Shining...about as insane as they come!
 
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Randy Maddocks wrote:They couldn't have picked a better actor than Jack Nicholson to play Jack Torrance in The Shining...about as insane as they come!



Actually, I thought that was the problem. The character was supposed to start off sane and go increasingly insane as the story went on. Nicholson's character was clearly insane from the outset -- Nicholson can't play anything other than insane. So I actually thought he was a poor choice for the role.
 
Randy Maddocks
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Actually, pretty well any role Jack played in one could say he came across as insane - or creepy, or ignorant, for that matter (think One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Anger Management, A Few Good Men...). So, point well taken Bear.

Trying to bring justice to Stephen King's books in the form of a movie must be difficult for moviemakers. When you read the book you have in your head an idea of what each character looks like. Being true to the book is a tough act to follow on the big screen.

However, given that that's the way Jack Nicholson comes across, I still believe he played the role of Jack Torrance well.
 
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Randy Maddocks wrote:. . . One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Anger Management, A Few Good Men . . . .

Even in the film version of Little Shop of Horrors (no, he didn't play the plant).
 
Randy Maddocks
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Even in the film version of Little Shop of Horrors...



Very true - even in Jack's early days he was a little "off the beaten path"...

Little Shop of Horrors (Dentist visit clip)
 
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I can't argue with King's popularity, but for the most part to me he's somewhat of an overrated hack. Too much of what I've read has resembled stuff that I had read previously by older authors. Obviously if you're more into popular fiction and less of a specialist, you're not going to know its rerun material, so it probably won't annoy you as much, and that's fine. Not everyone has to be a connoisseur or a critic. And you certainly can't argue that he's made his mark on the popular psyche, from Cujo to Pennywise and beyond.

Kubrick's rendition of The Shining didn't help. Some of the scenes in there were virtually straight plundering from films like House of Wax. Instead of being shocked or frightened, I groaned, having seen them coming. How much of that I should lay on King, I can't say, not having read the original, which apparently lost a few things in translation.

The one case where I've read him in-depth was his magnum opus - The Dark Tower, and I weep for him. It has moments of sheer brilliance, but too often then falls into the mud. In some cases it lacks subtlety, it definitely doesn't stay "on the beam" (ahem), and it was a really bad idea, in my opinion for him to throw both himself and his other works more or less gratuitously into the final volume. When it's good, it's really, really, good, but when it's bad, it's awful. And of course, the "neverending story" device is pretty well-worn itself. Not that a popular device is necessarily bad, but it requires a considerable amount of skill to re-use such things.

Still, I wish him well and I hope to eventually read his newer Dark Tower works in the hopes that he's got some better polish in them. Writing is hard work for me. It's why I took the easy way out and chose a career in technology.
 
Randy Maddocks
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Very interesting perspective Tim. Any chance you had a career as a book/movie critic in your past life?

Tim Holloway wrote:Some of the scenes in there were virtually straight plundering from films like House of Wax

- italics mine for emphasis

Now that was a good movie, in my opinion. My one critique would probably be something akin to how you described Stephen King's works, in that the movie had the rerun effect of that stereo-typical group of "youngsters" in a horror flick; too stupid to realize when danger was lurking and too full of themselves in their self-perceived sense of invincibility to get away from it. Anyone who has seen the movie will know what I mean.
 
Tim Holloway
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Well, actually, I'm thinking more of the Dancing Corpses (If I'm thinking of the right movie, the windmill catches fire and dead figures are twirling amid the flames), the Corpse in the Bathtub, even "Red Rum".

Kubric overplayed the blood-flood from the elevator, too, as far as I'm concerned, but YMMV. And from what I've heard, there was a lot more actual "shining" in the book.



I was really impressed with Nicholson as The Joker, though. I formed my Batman Villain images from the old TV show, and Caesar Romero had the long comic-book clown face. Nicholson's head is much rounder. Except that he did an absolutely sterling job of appearing to be long-faced when he went Full Joker. Shame he only played the role once. Ledger-style Joker faces are all very well and good, but the comic-book Joker is too much of a dandy to look that sloppy, disfigurements or no.
 
Randy Maddocks
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Tim Holloway wrote:I was really impressed with Nicholson as The Joker



Indeed. Next to Heath (and yes, his makeup was too "flat", not much imagination put into it), probably the darkest Joker of all the actors that played that role.

One of my favorite scenes with him as Joker:


 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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