Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Misery (5 Stars)

Sometimes I have to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself if I'm a real film fan. How can I possibly have spent at least seven years without watching this brilliant film? I know for definite that I haven't watched it since September 2010, but it's possible that I haven't watched it since 2006. When I was married this was one of my wife's favourite films. I remember that we watched it a lot. In those days I owned very few DVD's, so I had more time for repetition. So my excuse, as feeble as it is, is that I binged on it for a few years, and then I stopped watching it after I split up from my wife.

Maybe I should binge again. I don't need a wife to watch good films. Or maybe I should make a compromise. I should set one day each week as a day on which I rewatch a five-star film. I could start at the end of October. For the next six weeks my film watching schedule will be disrupted. The Stuttgart Film Festival runs from September 7th to 17th, so I shan't be watching anything at home. I might need a few days after the end of the festival to catch up on my reviews. I'll be on holiday in England from October 3rd to 18th, my first holiday for 15 years. Honestly! I used to go on holiday twice a year when I was younger, but why does a film fan need to travel? I can see exotic locations in my films every day of the week.

I assume all my readers have seen the film already, so I'll keep my description of the plot brief. Paul Sheldon is the author of a series of books about a young woman called Misery who lived in England in the late 19th Century. He has the habit of staying in a hotel in Silver Creek, Colorado to finish each novel. After finishing his latest novel he gets caught in a snowstorm and crashes. Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who now runs a small farm finds him and takes him back to her farm to recover. Because she's a fan of his books she doesn't want to let him go and keeps him as a prisoner.

The film is based on a novel by Stephen King. He's best known for his supernatural horror stories, but this film is horrific because it's something that could really happen. Annie Wilkes is a stalker, and we can see how her love turns into a sick obsession. Annie is unlike normal stalkers who have to follow their victim, since Annie's victim comes to her, but she has the same mindset as all other stalkers.

Kathy Bates deservedly won an Oscar as Best Actress for her performance as Annie Wilkes. Until today it's the only film based on a Stephen King book that has won an Oscar. "The Green Mile" and "The Shawshank Redemption" both had multiple nominations but didn't win. That reminds me that I haven't watched "The Shawshank Redemption" for more than seven years either. Shame on me!

A few years ago there was an article in Empire Magazine claiming that Stephen King is the author whose books have been adapted as films more often than any other author. That's a difficult claim to refute. The article listed 52 films and mini-series based on his books. There are more now. "The Dark Tower", which I saw in the cinema last month, is the first in a new series of films, a so-called Stephen King Cinematic Universe. I'm looking forward to the other films, and I'm sure I'll watch them all as they appear, but will any of them be as good as "Misery"?

The film shows quite a lot of newspaper clippings that Annie has collected in her album entitled "Memory Lane". In addition to recent articles about Paul Sheldon's disappearance there are articles about the deaths of people in her past. You can click on all of the screenshots to enlarge them.

The first article about Paul Sheldon starts well, but in the fifth column it starts to repeat the paragraphs from the beginning of the article. That's sloppy.

The article about the accidental death of Annie's husband is made up of two paragraphs that are repeated alternately. Then it invites the reader to turn to page 15. I'd rather not. I expect the continuation of the article to be just as sloppy.

There's no death in the third article about Annie's university graduation, but don't expect it to be any less sloppy. It's just one paragraph that's repeated three times. Did the film director really think nobody would notice?

Part of the obituary of hockey coach Ernest Gonyar is hidden by the greetings card, but it's still apparent that the last paragraph is a repetition of the second paragraph. As if that's not sloppy enough, look at the third paragraph, which is in bolder text than the rest of the obituary. We can't read it all, but what we can read seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the text.

Ah ha! The next article, concerning Annie's promotion to head nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, repeats the bold text from the obituary without being obscured, so we can easily read it. It seems to be about some sort of political debate, which has nothing to do with a death or a promotion. Sloppy. Also look at the date on the article: Monday, March 23rd 1978. Yet another blunder. It was a Thursday.

Here's another sloppy article about a man who died while in intensive care. The same two paragraphs are repeated alternately.

This article about the death of a child begins normally, but the last two paragraphs begin to repeat the article again from the beginning. But that's not all. Look at the snippets of text from the previous article, above the headline. We can see enough to make out that the previous article is identical. That's oh so sloppy!

In this article the fourth columns repeats the text from the second column. That's sloppy, isn't it? But at least we see two pretty photos of Annie's pig. Technically it's a sow. She's called Misery. What else would you expect from Paul Sheldon's #1 fan?

In this article the first two paragraphs are repeated, starting in the third column. That's the last in a total of nine sloppy newspaper articles.

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