Sunday, January 3, 2010

Movie #137 - The Shining

"A masterpiece of modern horror."

As one of the biggest fans of this movie, you really cannot argue with this tagline. Not surprisingly, this movie is in my personal top three movies of all time, with the list being somewhat interchangeable with The Exorcist and Psycho included.

This movie is Jack Nicholson at his best - way before he just became a shell of the actor he was in the late 70's and early 80's. Nowadays, Nicholson is playing himself, as opposed to actually adopting roles and flexing his acting prowess.

The movie has some slow points and after watching it on average seven to nine times per year when it's on television, this movie is no longer scary for me. It probably didn't help because it is one of the first movies I remember ever watching when I was a kid, so I probably saw this movie back when I was about three or four years old. Great parenting eh? No big deal, not like it made me into an ax murderer or something, just made me pretty jaded and not afraid of most current horror movies.

Plus, not to sound too old (29 turning 30 in 2010), this movie is still quite good compared to some of the crap that is being churned out these days. Current horror movies are glorified slasher films, using gore tactics and loud music. Gone are the days of the classic musical score, elite level acting, and just a good story to tell and a great screenplay. Cinematography is no longer an art form, as CGI and horror costumes are taking over... sorry, but the Saw series and anything by Eli Roth for example cannot hold a candle to this movie.

The acting is superb, even with a small cast of characters. The movie is about cabin fever combined with what a haunted hotel will do to someone. Nicholson is complemented well with the frantic acting of Shelley Duvall, while Scatman Crothers makes another appearance with Jack in this film - seek out One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for the other collaboration between these two. However, for those who have seen this film, Crothers and Nicholson are only briefly on screen together.

Danny Torrance is the real treat of this movie. Not only is he creepy (portrayed by Danny Lloyd), but his character is what makes this movie work. He sees all of the echoes of the past and he sees all that is bad with The Overlook Hotel. The explanation of the "shining" power is better explained in the book by Stephen King, however, I like Stanley Kubrick's adaptation here, although there is much lost, despite the length of the movie.

There was a remake of this movie done about 12 years ago starring Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay, however, I will leave that poorly done adaptation out of this discussion. I personally saw that mini-series, and although it is closer to the work of King's novel, it was so poorly done and over-hyped, that is was quite the disappointment.

Overall, I will never get sick of this movie. I love the score and there are some great scenes to this film. That's all I do now - watch these classic films for my favourite scenes.

I've got a few, but I decided to go with this one instead - it was a tough decision, but I think I made the right one:

As for the trailer, here you go... not a bad way to entice audiences back then. If they re-released this movie in theatres now, I would present it in the same way. Maybe upon the 30th anniversary in May 2010... methinks this is a good idea.

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