Category Archives: Films released in 1990
Directed by Rob Reiner
Screenplay by William Goldman
Based on the novel by Stephen King
“Misery” is a movie that I’ve watched only twice in the twenty-two years since its release. I don’t hate the movie; in fact I thought it was actually one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel at the time of its premiere and I still think that’s true. I believe that King played off of his own fears as a best-selling author in meeting his fans. There are people out there who are very much like Annie Wilkes; people who take everything that is written to heart and don’t take too well to drastic changes in their favorite characters. Some even go so far as to not understand the line between reality and fantasy.nuttymadam3575 and her “H0w could you do this, Kristen?” rant comes to mind. If you don’t believe me just check out her YouTube channel. Trust me, she’s not the only fan (atic) and “Twilight” is not the only movie with fans who have more crackers and less cheese.
But I digress a bit. Let’s get on with the story. Paul Sheldon (James Caan, “The Godfather”, and “Rollerball”) is a highly successful novelist of the Misery Chastain Victorian romance novels. You’ve seen the type of books; a heaving beauty of bodacious décolletage graces the cover and inside is a plot that is interchangeable with any of the other books in the series. Sheldon crashes his car, and himself, and is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, “Primary Colors”, “About Schmidt”), a former nurse who takes Paul in to her home because she’s his ‘number one fan’. Every time Annie says this you can see that there are lot of big honking bats in that belfry of hers. She’s not so much a fan of Paul Sheldon as she is of his creation, Misery Chastain. In fact, when she discovers that Paul has killed Misery off; she goes completely over the edge. She wants him to bring Misery back and will stop at nothing to see that he does just that. Do you remember I said I’ve only seen this movie once? There’s a reason for that; I happen to like my ankles and do not wish to cause them harm, imaginary or otherwise. If you’ve seen the movie you know exactly what I’m talking about.
“Misery” succeeds as an adaptation for two reasons: strong performances from the leads and a strong adaptation of the novel from screenwriter William Goldman (“Marathon Man”). James Caan is excellent as Paul Sheldon. I’ve liked the guy ever since he was Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather” and he has never disappointed me since.
But it is Kathy Bates who is the centerpiece of this film. A relative unknown when the film was released, Bates made Annie Wilkes her own character and gives one of the most terrifying performances in the history of cinema. No character she has portrayed since then has held a candle to Annie Wilkes. The Oscar for Best Actress wasn’t given to her, she earned it.
I also must give mention of Rob Reiner and the admirable job he does behind the camera. “Misery” is a movie that could have easily slipped into parody and Reiner never allows that to happen. Also, Richard Farnsworth is good as Buster, the near-solitary voice of reason and sanity in the film.
Revisiting “Misery” brings a smile to my face. That seems weird to say, but it’s true.
- Misery – Stephen King (bridgetsbooks.wordpress.com)
- Kathy Bates recovering from double mastectomy (metronews.ca)
- Writing with Emotion: Horror vs. Terror (melodiesoflife.net)
- Stephen King’s 10 Greatest Novels (horrornovelreviews.com)
- Watch 12 Of Cinema’s Most Memorable Criminals (businessinsider.com)
- “Misery”: A Good Lesson for Writers (selfpubauthors.com)
- Book of the Week: A little review… Misery (quenchmydesires.wordpress.com)
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King (eatsleepreadlove.wordpress.com)
- Stephen King ‘The Thing at the Bottom of the Well’ Review (horrornovelreviews.com)
- Serato Artist Series Control Vinyl – R.I.P. Misery (serato.com)
Directed by Ron Underwood
Screenplay by S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock
You know. I really cannot understand why “Tremors” did not at least win the Oscar for Best Actor upon its release in 1990. Okay, before you go raising your eyebrows and slowly make your way over to your phone to call the boys in the white coat to come get me, allow me to explain myself.
What is the general plot of “Tremors”? The general plot is that a shit-hole of a town with the truly ironic and not in an Alanis Morrisette who doesn’t the damn meaning of the word sort way name of Perfection is beset upon by a trio of subterranean gigantic worm-like creatures that see the dumber than dirt townsfolk as food. Kevin Bacon (“Footloose” and “X-Men: First Class”) and Fred Ward (“The Right Stuff” and “The Player”) are the slightly smarter than dirt good ole boys who come up with sort of a plan to get rid of the creatures. Well, they do have a little help from Finn Carter as a seismologist studying all the commotion these gargantuan fishing worms are causing. Do they manage to save the day and therefore the town? Well, think about it; there are three sequels and a TV series, so somebody must have survived.
So, I suppose you’re still trying to guess who should have won the Best Actor Academy Award. I bet you’re thinking it should be Kevin Bacon. Well, you would be so wrong. Is it Fred Ward, you wonder? That is not even close. I will give you a hint: the character overcomes two severe handicaps, one natural and one accidental, and is able to make a life for themselves despite their shortcomings. Now I’ll take a few seconds to let you think about it.
Do you give up?
It was the worm that Fred and Kevin’s characters referred to as ‘Stumpy’! Think about it; Stumpy was blind to begin with and then he got his tentacle amputated. Look at movies like “My Left Foot” and “Forrest Gump”. Hollywood loves to give the Oscar to the underdog. Jeremy Irons won for “Reversal of Fortune” in 1990; but I bet if Stumpy had been in the running he would have given Mr. Irons quite the run for his money. Either that or he would have just eaten him and taken his Oscar.
You now have permission to call the boys in the white coats. Oh, and by the way, did you really think I was going to take a movie like this seriously?
Michael Gross began filming one day after shooting the last episode of Family Ties.
Originally, the monsters were supposed to be completely dry, not slimy. This was changed when it was remarked that the gloss paint effect made them look like they were covered in nail varnish.
S.S. Wilson said that he got the idea for the film while he was working for the US Navy in the California desert. While resting on a rock, he imagined what it might be like if something underground kept him from getting off the rock.
First film as an actress of country music singer Reba McEntire.
- Tremors felt in north eastern states, no report of casualty (thehindu.com)
- ’2 Guns’ Recruits ‘Tremors’ Actor Fred Ward (splashpage.mtv.com)
- Kevin Bacon Endorses Kevin Bacon…and Logitech (bananascoop.com)
- Central Med tremor felt in Malta (timesofmalta.com)
- 41 gas emissions and low rumbling tremors: Popocatépetl simmers, bidding her time (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- Mild tremors felt in Thrissur district (thehindu.com)
- ‘The Following’ at Comic-Con: Kevin Bacon Talks About His New TV Role (buddytv.com)
- Kevin Bacon takes a synchronized dive with pet pit bull Lily (todayentertainment.today.msnbc.msn.com)
- Ultrasound, not scalpel, treats tremors (futurity.org)
- Drug Money From Mexico Makes Its Way to the Racetrack (nytimes.com)
- Happy Birthday, Kevin Bacon!!! (kidzrockinc.co)
- Summer at Kevin Bacon’s Pool Looks Awesome [Video] (jezebel.com)
- Toward a Better Understanding of Earthquakes (terradaily.com)
- 6.1 magnitude earthquake tremors felt in Islamabad, KPK and other Punjab areas (nation.com.pk)
- Deep tremors are possible earthquake clues (upi.com)
- Tremors felt in parts of Kerala (thehindu.com)
- 5.8 earthquake in Afghanistan, tremors felt in Punjab, Kashmir (ndtv.com)
- Understanding Tectonic Tremor Signals (wiredcosmos.com)
- Toward a better understanding of earthquakes (esciencenews.com)
- Roadside stop leads to drug bust (muskogeephoenix.com)
- Slowing moving quakes last 30 minutes (stuff.co.nz)
Directed by Frank Marshall
Story by Don Jakoby and Al Williams
Screenplay by Don Jakoby and Wesley Strick
This movie bored the crap out of me. It can’t decide whether it wants to be a horror film about super-venomous arachnids or a Spielbergian Disney film about life in a small town with spiders. Jeff Daniels sleepwalks through the entire film and the rest of the cast is completely cookie-cutter in the style of small town country bumpkins. The only saving grace that this film has is a hilarious and all too brief performance by John Goodman as the local exterminator. Hell, the subject matter alone is enough to divide audiences. Everyone knows that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who like spiders and those who do not. The former finds them to be fascinating and magnificent creatures; the latter carry not only a disdain, but a fear that causes them to shudder at the mere mention of the word ‘spider’ and total terror at the sight of one. Let’s not even mention the fact of what would happen if one were to actually crawl across their bare skin.
I think it’s because I fall into the former category that I found this movie to be so tedious. I love spiders. I found myself actually cheering for the spiders to put these cardboard characters out of their misery just a little bit quicker than the script called for. That may sound a bit on the cruel side, but I can dream, can’t I?
The small spiders used in the film were Avondale spiders (Delena Cancerides), a harmless species from New Zealand that were provided by Landcare Research in Auckland. Despite their fierce appearance, this spider is docile member of the crab-spider family and are, in fact, harmless to humans. They were not allowed back in New Zealand for quarantine reasons. The giant “spider” used in the film was a species of a bird-eating tarantula, which attains an 8″ legspan or more. Those types of tarantula are not easy to handle and can give a nasty bite. The spiders in the film were managed and handled by famed entomologist Steven R. Kutcher.
The first film released under Disney’s Hollywood Pictures label, which was also created so the studio could release more adult-oriented fare.
The sound of a spider being crushed by John Goodman was made by the foley artists crushing a couple of potato chips.
- Arachnophobia and Love Revisited (mthupp.wordpress.com)
- What Are You Scared Of? (hothits957.cbslocal.com)
- 2-Hour Therapy May Cure Arachnophobia (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Ophidiophobia vs. Arachnophobia, Can You Dare To Watch This? (4us2be.com)
- Video: Anthony Mackie Talks Arachnophobia, Ledges, and Who He Recently Punched (popsugar.com)
- arachnophobia sclient psy (elyreeder.typepad.com)
- Fear of spiders? You can escape that web (suntimes.com)
- For Actors With Six Legs or More, Call the Bug Wrangler (wired.com)
- Fear of Spiders (scardykat.wordpress.com)
- Spider sex (thehouseofvines.wordpress.com)
- Freaky or Fabulous? Giles’s Spring Spiders (fabsugar.com)
- Why Am I Afraid of Spiders? (scribblesaurus.com)
- Warning: Do Not Try to Film Spiders! Stay Away From Spiders! (videogum.com)
- Arachnophobia cured within three hours (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)
- Should You Be Afraid of These? (everydayhealth.com)
- Cure for Spider Phobia (neatorama.com)
This marks the third time that I’ve started writing this review. I begin, I trash it. I begin, I trash it. I just can’t think of what to say that would do this perfect film any justice. It is, in my humble opinion the greatest movie from the man who makes the world’s greatest movies. I tried to write down the basic synopsis of the film and I would just stop. What the hell was the point? This film was released in 1990 and if you haven’t seen it yet then you either don’t like movies or you’ve been living under a rock in Funk and Wagnall’s’ back yard. So, without a synopsis, there’s no review, right? Well, yes and no. If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you pretty much know that I don’t write the most descriptive of summaries or synopses. Why start with Goodfellas? So what could I do to make this review stand out? Then it dawned on me. I’m not going to write a review. I’m just going to say these simple words:
Thank you, Marty Scorsese, for making the world’s greatest movies. Without them I can honestly say that my life and the lives of millions of others just wouldn’t be the same.
The “You think I’m funny?” scene was based on a story that Joe Pesci acted out forMartin Scorsese. While working in a restaurant as a young man, Pesci once told a mobster that he was funny and the mobster became very angry. Scorsese allowed Pesci and Ray Liotta to improvise the scene. He did not tell the other actors in the scene what would happen because he wanted their genuine surprised reactions.
For the famous “Layla” montage, Martin Scorsese actually played the “piano coda” section of the song during the shooting of each scene so that certain bars of the piano piece would match up with certain shots.
According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy DeVito was 90% to 99% accurate, with one notable exception; the real Tommy DeVito was a massively built, strapping man.
After the premiere, Henry Hill went around and revealed his true identity. In response, the government kicked him out of the Federal Witness Protection Program.
- Will You Be Watching?? “GoodFellas” The TV Show Coming To AMC (bossip.com)
- AMC Is Developing a “Goodfellas” Series (thenewx1023.radio.com)
- AMC Developing GOODFELLAS TV Series (geektyrant.com)
- A Degenerate’s Work is Never Done: A New Film Examines Mob Informant Henry Hill, Whose Story Informed the Book ‘Wiseguy’ and the Film ‘Goodfellas’ (leoadambiga.wordpress.com)
HENRY:PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER-United States-1990
Directed by John McNaughton
Written by Richard Fire and John McNaughton
“There’s a killer on the road,
His brain is squirming like a toad…”-Jim Morrison
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as haunting and as chilling a film as you are ever likely to see. Loosely based on the life of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, it is a terrifying look through the eyes of a killer. It is obvious from the beginning of the film that Henry doesn’t just want to kill, he has to kill. He is a predator among the weak, picking them out when they are alone and striking with murderous precision. The only anchor that Henry has in his life to keep him centered is Becky. Like Henry, Becky is damaged goods. She falls in love with Henry because she feels that they are mirror images of each other. She was molested by her father; he was forced by his mother, a whore, to watch her fornicate with strangers. Yes, Henry and Becky are a lot alike; but Becky chose to live a good life despite the indiscretions against her. Henry, however, chose evil.
Oh, and let’s not forget Otis, Becky’s brother and Henry’s friend. The three of them share an apartment together. Otis soon becomes Henry’s willing, accomplice in his kills. However, he is also the line that Henry draws between right and wrong, albeit twisted as it is. Henry stops Otis when he makes advances toward Becky. To his twisted sense of morality, that’s something you just don’t do.
There are a few glaring errors in the film. In the opening scene we see a woman naked and dead lying on the side of the highway like garbage. As the camera pans away we see her eyes move ever so slightly. The same goes for a woman later in the film whom we see draw a breath, although she is clearly dead. But these things are trivial and should not be held against the film. The film works on the strength of its performances. Michael Rooker is brilliant as Henry. This is his first major role and he carries it with all the intensity of a seasoned professional. Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold are strong in their supporting roles as Otis and Becky. But from the beginning we are very aware that this is Rooker’s moment to shine.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is not for the weak-hearted. It is an unflinching, uncompromising portrayal of the evil that dwells within the human psyche. There are no ghosts, no vampires, no werewolves or demons. Only a man named Henry. We have met the killer and the killer is us.
After filming the family massacre scene, actor Tom Towles (Otis) insisted that actressLisa Temple (who plays the mother) go to the casualty department because he was convinced he had injured her neck for real when he snapped it. Temple herself was confidant that no damage had been done, but for Towles’ piece of mind, she did go to casualty, where she received a clean bill of health. Over time, this story has evolved into an urban myth that Temple had to go to hospital because she was so traumatized by shooting the scene, the content of which the filmmakers had concealed from her prior to shooting. As she herself tells it in Portrait: The Making of ‘Henry’, there is no truth in this story whatsoever. She went to the hospital purely as a precaution.
During its release limbo, tapes circulated around Hollywood which won many roles forMichael Rooker including one in Eight Men Out.
Michael Rooker said he was working as a janitor when he auditioned for the part of Henry and went to the audition in his janitor uniform. He got the part, and continued to wear his uniform throughout the film shoot. He only had one jacket, though, so he took it off before he “killed” anyone so he wouldn’t get blood on it.