Monday, February 1, 2016

Stephen King's IT (1990) - Part 2

Welcome back to the review of Stephen King's IT, the 1990 TV movie adaptation that made every fan of the original King novel want to throw their TV into an active volcano. I covered the first part of this a few days ago, and now I'm back for the second part. Make sure to read the first part first!

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: John Ritter, Tim Curry, Richard Thomas

Co-written with Tony.

It does have to be said that the child actors in this movie are pretty damn good, especially considering it was a 1990s TV movie made from a horror novel. That doesn't usually lend itself to good child actors, but we did get some very decent scenes with those kids in the first part of this whole thing, especially when they had to interact with Tim Curry. Curry is also fantastic and looks like he was having a lot of fun. Or at least like he was on some good drugs before shooting this, which is how I would have gotten through it all, too.

Why am I going so easy on the movie now? Well, because this is the last of anything good I'll have to say about this piece of shit. After the first part, the director probably said, yeah, I've done enough of anything resembling quality from 20 yards away by a half blind guy. It's easy for me to believe that's what happens – that movie directors consciously decide to make bad movies. That sure does make reviewing easier than actually considering peoples' motivations and what they were trying to do with a piece of art!

So, basically, all the main “heroes” gather under one roof in their old hot spot Derry, Maine. Bill meets up with Mike Hanlon, and the two embark on what I can only describe as a rejected Full House opening credits scene when they find Bill's old bike. For some reason, Mike has kept that bike all these years – for 30 fucking years he kept a 12-year-old boy's bike.

Nothing weird about that!

But you have to admit. These scenes of them fixing Bill's bike and riding around on it set to puke-worthy pop rock garbage – they're pretty unbearable to watch. I feel like this is the kind of scene that a guy writes at the very end of his rope, after his bosses have shoved him down to the bottom of the barrel in terms of projects to work on. I can't imagine how many people you'd have had to piss off.

I'm trying to think of a nice way to say 'I want to stab this scene with a pair of rusty scissors and then bury it in the Mojave desert' but...nah, that works.

Meanwhile, Richie here hangs out at a library, fretting all the time about how he should just run for the hills and go home. This character in the book was quite well rounded and could be strong when he needed to be. So I guess that's why he's a total pussy bitch coward in this movie who can't go a scene without whining about everything.

Stop whining, your ancestors had WAY more blood on their faces than this and they were fine!

He's accosted for a looooong stretch of time by Tim Curry, who makes a bunch of balloons explode blood all over him and then Curry sits on a banister and screams nonsense for a while. It's extremely entertaining, at least until Richie starts screaming over HIM in a more annoying voice at the library attendant. It's less a scary scene and more of one that makes me feel bad for the poor girl playing the librarian. I hope someone gave her a shot of Jack Daniels after that idiot screamed in her face all day.

Just another day at the library...

Then they all meet up at a dinky looking Chinese restaurant and they all have the happiest reunion a shitty ass script like this one can produce. I love when one of them, Eddie I think, sees Mike and goes “is that you, Mike?” Yeah, Mike, at this reunion of all our childhood friends that I knew everyone who would be there, is that you, my one black friend? How many other black friends did I used to have, anyway? I just can't keep track.

The ensuing dinner table conversation that happens after this is frankly psychedelic in how bizarrely awful it is. First you get a long one-shot camera take where the camera just spins around them in circles as they talk. It's absolutely baffling as to how anyone thought that was a good idea. What, did you lose a bet? Did you make a dare that you could definitely work your patented “drunk on a merry go round” camerawork style into a movie somehow, and us, the viewers of Stephen King's IT, lost out big time on that?

Then if you can get past THAT and listen to what they're saying in this scene, it's even more batshit crazy. First they're all friendly and happy, just chatting about old times. Okay, fine. Then everyone starts panicking and shouting for no reason about how they're going to die, with seemingly no transition. Then, a beat later, they're all just hanging around drunk, talking about old times again. What the hell is wrong with you people? I can see why no one else wants to hang around these idiots – no one can keep up with their conversations. It's like a roller coaster when you're high.

Oh, but they do get some fortune cookies with bugs and a human eye in them! Man, I love Chinese restaurants.

I do love different cultures!

Oh, and Bev also kisses like, half of the group on the mouths, just as a friendly introduction. But don't worry, they all really hang out with her for her personality and brains. Yeah. That's it...

Most of the rest of this is a seemingly endless slog, much of it taken up by the characters all competing for the dubious honor of most annoying in the entire film. Who do YOU think is more annoying? Richie, who constantly has a look on his face like he wants to take a shit, and who is always blathering on about how scared he is?

Or Eddie, whose voice gets higher and higher pitched as the film goes on, as if he is trying to turn into a human dog whistle?

There is a scene where the bully Henry Bowers breaks out from the mental asylum he was in all these years. He's helped out by IT, which takes the form of the security guard's worst fear...a bull dog in a clown outfit eating him alive. Hey now, don't make fun of him. That's an extremely common fear to have.

Seven of my friends are deathly afraid of this.

Then he goes and stabs Mike in the library. In the book this was a pretty suspenseful scene, but in the movie it's over in a few seconds and barely has any weight to it. I dunno, maybe the director was just running out of time and money by this point, but I've had more impactful moments in my life at the bank depositing a check.

So Mike's out, which leaves the others like retarded babes in the woods, all of them completely unsure of what to do. This leaves us much more time to develop the remaining characters, like Ben and Bev, who have an extremely contrived and cliche romance scene together. Their dialogue is so bad that even people who eat up airport romance novels would roll their eyes. This is just the worst kind of dated cheesy garbage. It's as painful a scene as any I've ever sat through on this blog. Just so fucking lame and trite.

Lifetime movies are like David Lynch compared to this.

After approximately seven more hours of bitching and whining about how they want to go home – and no, I'm definitely not exaggerating there about that length of time! – they finally decide to go back in the sewers and face IT once and for all! As they get to the place they need to go, Eddie stops them all to confess that he's been a virgin his whole life because he never loved anyone but them!

Awesome. So...he's three-fourths gay, then? Since, you know, three of the others he's in love with here are guys. Not that there's anything wrong with that, though.

But seriously, why the hell is he talking about this now? My guess is, probably because his therapist refused to see him anymore because he was that annoying. I guess IT agreed with me, because it kills him in the very next scene!

Actually, the acting is better than I gave it credit for, because no one would be able to easily pretend to be scared of that.

Oh yeah, and it's also a giant awful-looking spider thing now, which is apparently its final form in the movie. After a three hour movie, I too enjoy seeing that the big payoff is something I can kill in my kitchen by stepping on it. So this is satisfying to me.

Something really pisses everyone off, either Eddie dying or the fact that the spider looks so shitty. Either way, it was enough for them to now go gallivanting into the sewer, tip it over like a dumb old cow, and beat it to death with their bare hands, ripping its heart out. You know, they do say to handle things in the most mature way possible, so I'm cool with this.

Cool, they're like kids bored in a small town and wanting to go tip cows. Awesome.

Then we find out that Bill's wife, who had been kidnapped by IT, is now catatonic with fear. Then there's a scene where he puts her on a bike with him and rides her down a crowded street with no regard for traffic. It could have gotten them both killed and could have injured God knows how many other people, but somehow in the magically idiotic world of IT, this just wakes her up.

I know a lot of people talk about how scary this movie was when they were kids. I've had multiple friends tell me how scared they are of clowns because they watched this at age 7 or some other ridiculous age. But honestly, just try and watch this shit now, when you're older. It really is just so toothless, idiotic and silly, on every single front. While the kids are good actors and Tim Curry is a lot of fun as the clown, mostly everything else is just total shit. It's really, really not scary at all, with all the scares coming off as funny when they're not just sad.

The drama is so bad it makes me want to turn the movie off. The characters, who in the book were so great, have all been turned into awful, shitty whiners and cowards. Like they didn't just not capture the spirits of the novel's characters - they actively ruined them all. The story from the book isn't done justice here, mostly because it was so large and expansive in the book that condensing it down for a movie is very hard to do.

Maybe a remake would do it more justice. Maybe if made by someone who was genuinely interested in changing up the story to adapt it better to screen, rather than just trying to stick so faithfully to the book, IT would be a better film. Maybe this is just a sad relic from a time gone by, and we can ignore it now and focus on the great source material.

But frankly, it's more fun to just straight up bash a movie and not put any thought into a review. Fuck Stephen King's IT!

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