Parents always ask me whether certain movies are appropriate for certain kids. I know where they're coming from. Who wants to have to sit up all night because someone saw The Wizard of Oz before she was ready? Who wants to have that argument with a spouse who told you 60 times The Birds was a bad idea? But there's often no good answer for that question. You might as well pick up a shirt off the rack at Gymboree and ask me if that will fit your daughter. With all due respect: How would I know? You'll just have to take it home and hope for the best.
In my experience, different films and television shows freak out different children differently. Most standards of appropriateness are a joke: I found Jim Henson movies scary. Ask concerned parents what they watched when they were kids and when did they watch it. That's a more useful bar. The experience of fear is an important cultural rite. The dread that knots your stomach is an amazing feeling that, as an adult, you neither forget nor top.
Mommie Dearest was the first movie that completely scared me. Brian De Palma's Carrie was the second. I was too young for both, which means I was the perfect age. Parental betrayal fuels the great horror tales — even the camp ones. The horrors of Mommie Dearest lasted long enough to find them laughable. They could be conquered through performance and quoted at recess. Carrie was less theatrical. It used cinema to cast its pall.
One night, I found it on television and watched the whole thing.
Drake was going to bring auto-tuned messiah Future on the "Would You Like a Tour?" tour, everything was looking great, and then Drake found out that Future — like lots of us — wasn't crazy about Nothing Was the Same, Drizzy's third straight LP of rap-singing about social media. (The moneyquotes, from Billboard writer Erika Ramirez, who spent time with Future: "Drake made an album that is full of hits but it doesn't grab you. They're not possessive; they don't make you feel the way I do ... I've been on the songs of all these rappers that put out an album, and my music is still better.") Now Future is suing Drake for $1.5 million in lost wages. This is regrettably distracting Drake from recording the next verse for the Great Kendrick Beef of 2013.
On the screen, Stephen King is the guy who writes guilty-pleasure pulp that spawns lifeless, seven-installment, direct-to-video franchises. On the shelf, King's creative output glitters with originality and a constant sense of momentum. Prior to the new novel Doctor Sleep, King had a part in precisely one sequel — Black House, coauthored with Peter Straub, with whom King wrote The Talisman — and a career-spanning eight-book series, The Dark Tower. (The latter was a decades-long feat of world-building, not really a sequence of true follow-ups.)
So now is our first chance to see a second part through the eyes of Stephen King. The short verdict: Doctor Sleep will do the trick for a King fan more satisfyingly than it will for a Shining devotee. It’s less about answering questions, more about furthering a story within an extant fictional world. One aspect of Danny Torrance’s new adventure that clearly kept King interested enough to keep going — to risk regurgitating old characters and themes and flirting with genre-hack territory in the process — is that “Doctor Sleep is a sequel that stands on its own, almost to a fault.” That’s from Alex Pappademas, who goes on to call the 500-pager “a just-OK vampire novel and a surprisingly moving book about the adult child of an alcoholic” and “as tender as anything [King’s] ever written.” I agree with both accounts, which has me thinking: In the off chance that we’re seeing a late-career willingness to check off some outlying “what if” projects, here are 10 he could consider, and where he could go with them.
A new TV spot advertising the Carrie remake revealed that it's earned an R rating for "bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and some sexual content," which is a relief to anyone who lived through the snoozy made-for-TV movie adaptation in 2002.
Carrie should be rated R because adolescence is rated R. But because its titular star, Chloë Moretz, is a full decade younger than Sissy Spacek was when she starred in the 1976 Brian De Palma film, the first Stephen King novel to be turned into a feature, it certainly seemed possible that the newest version would be stamped with the certificate of unscariness, a PG-13 rating. The studio campaigned hard for that R, knowing the story's already skeptical fan base all but demanded it.
This week, CBS's Under the Dome premiered to more than 13 million viewers, proving there's still juice in the seemingly indefatigable Stephen King adaptation economy. The Grantland staff decided to take a moment to appreciate the filmic works of the prolific author: the most memorable adaptations of his work, his questionable foray into directing, and his small — but powerful! — acting résumé.
Here is a crowd-sourced Dunder Mifflin ad that will air during the Super Bowl in Scranton, and only in Scranton.
• Oh, and hey guys, got any hot sexy plans this weekend? Maybe gonna eat some poached veal with Larry King? Wear something trampy on your date with a pickup artist skeeve in a rape van? No? You could always try this online dating service that uses humans instead of algorithms if you’re interested in capturing the sensation of being set up by your “fabulous, drunk aunt.” Or you could save the $99 and just ask your own fabulous, drunk aunt for the hookup. Fabulous, drunk aunts have been making it happen since two-thousand-never.
Editor's note: David Mitchell's "unadaptable" novel Cloud Atlas comes to the big screen this week courtesy of the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, and while the early word is mostly positive, the potential for a big-budget train wreck remains considerable. Regardless of what audiences make of it on Friday, it's one of the most ambitious projects in the last few years, and joins the pantheon of movies that everyone said couldn't be done — some of which proved them all wrong, and some of which, well ...
Stephen King has had so many of his books and series turned into movies and TV shows that the "media based on Stephen King works" Wikipedia page is actually as long if not longer than the "Muggsy Bogues" Wikipedia page. (That's not just a random comparison, by the way. I use the "Muggsy Bogues" Wikipedia page as the barometer for most things in my life). But now, for what is probably like the third or fourth time ever in his life, a book Stephen King wrote — in this case, The Dark Tower series — is not getting adapted. Sorry, bro.
MGM has purchased the rights to Where's Waldo, and will helm an adaptation as a live-action family adventure. The series, launched in 1987, has sold 55 million copies in over 38 countries. That means if the entire movie consisted of a rotation of still images, and un-soundtracked group point-outs in the theaters, it’d probably still make a ton of money. Grade: A- [Showblitz]
Grace of Monaco, a spec script by Arash Amel, has been purchased by the Stone Angel production firm. The movie won't be a biopic, focusing instead on a six-month period 1962 when Grace Kelly - the Hollywood star turned princess - helped negotiate behind the scenes when Monaco got in a tax-haven scrap with France. That mixture of a personal story with a political one is being compared to The King's Speech by its backers, which is understandable, but perhaps a bit bold considering that movie won Best Picture just last year. While you're at it, why not throw in The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, and, oh, No Country For Old Men? Grade: A- [HR]
Today brings news that two of the world’s three most powerful Stev(ph)ens, Spielberg and King, have joined forces with Showtime on a deal to transform King’s one-million-page book, Under the Dome, into a series. The novel more or less follows the plot of The Simpsons Movie, only with less yellow nudity, and should provide a number of seasons worth of angst, suspense and, hopefully, a heavy dose of Klassic King profanity (we’re always been partial to his use of "Whoremonger!") But what’s notable about the release is how it’s changed from when the project was initially being pitched around Hollywood: Under the Dome was originally conceived as a miniseries (or, in contemporary nonsense parlance, an “event series”). Now it’s set-up as an ongoing. What changed?
Jonathan Demme has optioned Stephen King's upcoming 11/22/63, about a high school teacher who travels back in time to prevent JFK's assassination (and the only good Oliver Stone movie since the '80s). Grade: B [Variety]
In a shameless bid to woo 18-24 demographic, Robert Redford has added Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, and Richard Jenkins to the cast of his The Company You Keep, about a former militant hippie (Redford) pursued by the FBI after his identity is exposed by an ambitious young reporter (Shia LaBeouf). Sarandon and Christie will play former Weather Underground members, and Jenkins, a college professor who aids other former radicals. Grade: B [Deadline]