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Sep 17, 2010

30 dAyS oF cRaZy: Misery

Did you ever see the Family Guy homage to Misery? Good times. What's not good times is the ordeal that Paul Sheldon goes through, recounted here by Nick of Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob.

Stay tuned throughout September for nuttiness an
d zaniness of all varieties - click here for the full lineup, and click here for prior entries (which won't do you much good today, what with this being the first - madness!).

Misery tells us the story of famous author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). He takes some time at a cabin in the mountains to finish up his newest--and supposedly final--entry into his Misery series of novels. Unfortunately, Paul ends up having a wreck, breaking almost every bone in his body. Thankfully (or not), Paul is saved by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), Paul's number 1 fan. However, things start getting a little worrisome when Annie realizes Paul has written the final book in her favorite series, as well as reads of the fate of the main character. With Paul restricted to the bed, he is at the mercy of Annie and has to do whatever she likes if he's going to make it out alive.

The movie is based on a Stephen King book, so you know right away it's going to be hit or miss. Fortunately, it's very much a hit. But take a look at who worked on it. This is a Stephen King thriller adapted to the screen by William Goldman--the guy who wrote The Princess Bride--and directed by Rob Reiner--the guy who directed films such as The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally... Though Reiner he had previous work with Stephen King material in Stand By Me (and Goldman, of course, having written some other great, serious films).

Anyway, on to the film. You know almost straight away that something isn't quite right with Annie. She seems harmless at first, helping Paul get better. But you just can't trust those people with overly sunny dispositions who don't cuss. And you slowly begin to realize there's so much more wrong with her than we've seen. It all pretty much culminates in the now-famous hobbling scene.

As a fiction writer, I find this movie doubly crazy and scary. This is pretty much any writer's worst fear (besides rejection). Somebody becoming overly obsessed with your work that they'll go to such extremes to keep you injured so that you can write a story how they want it to be written? Um, just stick with fan fiction, please kthxbai.

Of course, the acting in this film is phenomenal, particularly Kathy Bates (who walked away with a Leading Lady Oscar for her performance). I mean, everything is just so chilling. Even her standing there staring at him in the middle of the night is super creepy.

The only real downside to the story is poor Buster, the old, small-town sheriff who decides to take up the case. (SEMI-SPOILERS FOLLOW) His character was good, but at the end when he goes to check on Annie's house, everything just happens so suddenly. He's set up throughout the movie as a hero and then... yeah. Poor Buster. (SEMI-SPOILERS END)

Anywho, Annie Wilkes is definitely one of my favorite crazies (I actually gave a character the last name Wilkes in honor of her... he wasn't a crazy character, but he's attacked by one). Kathy Bates' performance is probably the best of her career, and one of the greatest in psychological horror cinema. Great movie... and if you haven't seen it, you need to!

Tomorrow: Scott enters the personal hell of one Barton Fink.


2 people have chosen wisely: on "30 dAyS oF cRaZy: Misery"

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Fletch...
Once again, this is a well-written review short and if you don't mind me saying so..."sweet"...Why did I just use the word...sweet? I meant to say to
the...point!
After reading Nick's review this film seems like a really interesting psychological horror film.

Nick said, "Great movie...and if you haven't seen it, you need to!
I plan to and hopefully, it will be in my Christmas stocking on Christmas morning.

Fletch, Thanks, for sharing!

DeeDee ;-D

sundryandco said...

You've just dredged up memories of the fear I felt when I first watched this film in my youth! I must have been about 7 or 8 years old?
It was one of the first films to highly disturb me!
I must actually rewatch it and relive the fear once more :)

By the way, I love your 30 Days graphic. One my favourite comic books, in terms of artwork, and your adaptation of it is pretty cool!