Friday, September 5, 2014

Stephen King's Movie Club

Most are familiar with Stephen King as an author of chilling stories, often adapted into movies. The correlation between his films and their easy adaptability to the big screen is no surprise considering King's own admission:
"My books are the movies I see in my head, that's all. I write them down, and some producer says, 'Hey! This'd make a pretty good movie!' because in a way it already is one." - Stephen King
Of his masses of books and short stories adapted for the big screen I want to discuss King's self proclaimed favorites.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Based on the short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" by King published in 1982, The Shawshank Redemption, tells the story of an innocent man, Andy Dufrense, imprisoned for the murder of his wife and her lover. Directed and written by Frank Darabont, it is true to King's original story, adapting an almost entirely internal monologue to a beautiful film.

Interestingly, the narrator of the story is not the main character, Andy, but a man he meets in Shawshank prison, Red. Although most screenwriters would cringe at using a narrator, it works in Shawshank because the source material is so heavy- and because Red is played by Morgan Freeman. Who doesn't want to listen to Morgan Freeman talk? Red calls himself "the only guilty man in Shawshank." This line is straight from King's writing as are many others. Like this one:

Stand By Me (1986)
Based on the short story "The Body" by King, published in 1982, Stand By Me is a tale of childhood and innocence lost. Directed by Rob Reiner, known at the time only for Spinal Tap (1982), who later directed another King flick, , this story isn't the kind of movie to give you nightmares but it does have the contemplative, almost philosophical tone that all Stephen King stories have in one way or another.
The boys - played by River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Cory Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell - embark on a quest to find a dead body. King has an affinity for writing about young people who've lost something while keeping their childlike view of people and the world in tact.
The two main boys, Gordie and Chris are dealing with very adult problems, and throughout the story they are written as complex people who are not only sad but can laugh. Gordie LaChance, played by Wil Wheaton, is dealing with the death of his older brother and being alienated by his parents. Chris, played by River Phoenix, has a bad reputation around town earned by his family, which he is struggling to either live up to or denounce. Despite all four boys personal problems they support each other and still manage to be preteen boys.

Bonus: From youtuber Zefrank's True Facts series, True Facts About Morgan Freeman

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