Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Sh-It


I read Stephen King's book, It, many years ago. And I remember watching the mini-series based on the book back in 1990 with Tim Curry (of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame) playing the demonic clown Pennywise.  At the time he seemed pretty scary.

A few weeks ago I watched the 2017 remake of It. It was creepy as hell. And It was nothing I wanted my kids to watch. But this weekend my son wanted to watch the 1990 version of It so he could tell his friends at school (who all seemed to have watched the movie) that he had watched It, too.

So I went to Amazon Prime and rented It, the mini-series. It was three-hours long. And those were three hours I'll never get back again. It was shit.

I didn't remember the mini-series being so bad at the time. Maybe because I saw it in the 1990s and wasn't seeing it through 28 years of life. The mini-series had all of the television stars of the 1990s: John Ritter from Three's Company, Richard Thomas from the Waltons, Harry Anderson from Night Court, Tim Reid from WKRP in Cinncinati, and Annette O'Toole, who seemed to be in lots of movies, but never quite became a star.

It was a poor choice for all of them.  Thomas, sporting a ridiculous pony tail,  played a horror writer who was married to an actress (played by Olivia Hussey who had played Juliet in a movie version of Romeo and Juliet in 1968 when she was 15). One of the horror novels written by Thomas' character was The Glowing (obviously alluding to Stephen King's The Shining).

Neither Ritter nor Anderson should have ever been cast in their roles.The dialogue was terrible at best which led to terrible acting. The special effects were laughable. The story line was nearly impossible to follow (and I read the book).

Ironically, with all it's flaws, my 10-year old son liked It.

But then again he didn't have to live through the 1990s. I'm so glad I cut off my pony tail.


Tuesday, September 04, 2018

You can't judge a book


When I was a kid, I was an avid reader. My parents introduced me to the local library early and they took me there often. I would bring home stacks of books and read every one of them. I loved reading.

My first job while I was in high school was as a page in the library. While other kids my age were working in fast food joints, I was shelving books. I worked at the library for five years and eventually became a circulation clerk, checking out books.

When I moved to Seattle to finish college, I got a work study job at the college library. I worked in periodicals.

So you could say, I have a long history with books. But I can't tell you the last time I read one (at least by myself...I read to my daughter almost every night).

I was one of the first people to buy a Kindle (though I bought it for my wife for Christmas). She didn't like the idea of reading an electronic book, so I adopted it and read that way for awhile. But after awhile I lost interest in reading.

Maybe it was having children and not having much spare time. I only have a 30 minute commute each way and spend that either sleeping or playing games on my phone or iPad.

Most of what I used to read was fiction. It was what prompted me to want to be a writer. I won't rehash my failed dream of publishing a novel. Suffice it to say that the digital world snuffed that dream long ago.

Maybe I stopped reading because nothing is new to me anymore. When I was young, the plots spoke of promise, or mystery or hope. Now I just shake my head and say to myself, "not again," or "been there, done that."