- Rob Reiner is responsible for two of the very best Stephen King adaptations- 1990’s Misery and 1986’s Stand by Me. Both are part of Reiner’s phenomenal streak of good movies going from 1984’s This is Spinal Tap to 1992’s A Few Good Men
- As if Reiner and King weren’t enough already—they loaded up on the talent involved and tapped the shoulder of William Goldman to write the screenplay (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men) and they get a herculean effort from Kathy Bates (Academy winner for 1990). Bates had been around for a decade (she was in Altman’s Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean in 1982) but she transforms as the menacing Annie Wilkes here- superfan and psychopath. James Caan plays writer Paul Sheldon.
- Both a chilling and sometimes hilarious take on fandom, obsession and celebrity. I don’t know if it is King’s view of his readers (he’s pretty mainstream after all- I don’t think many critics and academics are reading King)- but I get a laugh out of Wilkes love of spam, Liberace, eating junk food while watching The Love Connection. She mispronounces Don Perignon and says “what the ceiling that Dago painted?” when asking about the Sistine Chapel from Michaelangelo. She’s religious, looks down on swearing (with her great “cock-a-doody” close-up) but has committed multiple murders. Bates handles her mood swings marvelously
- Reiner does summon his inner Hitchcock from time to time (when working on the film he reportedly studied the genre-master). There’s a great cross-cutting scene between Caan working on the lock and Bates doing the same at a different door– manipulation of space and time. Reiner is even smart enough to cut to a close-up of her feet as she walks up the stairs – the details matter in a thriller like this
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1990
@Malith- quite right on the errors- thank you
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