5. Don’t Let Stephen King Adapt Your Stephen King AdaptationKing wrote the scripts for two of the very worst adaptations of his work: Pet Semetary, which is one of his best novels, and the TV remake of The Shining, which is so bad it discredited his famous and somewhat understandable dissatisfaction with the Stanley Kubrick version. As a screenwriter, King often artlessly cobbles together awkwardly undigested chunks of his novels with seemingly little thought as to how they might look and sound on the screen, and so we logically get stagey books-on-tape that fail to capture the lively essence of his work. And King tends to favor directors, such as Mick Garris and Frank Darabont, who value fealty to his material but have rarely made films that are actually good. Kubrick changed The Shining, and his film is problematic, but it’s also a troubling pop-cultural totem that continues to resonate with tension and mystery, while I doubt many audiences even remember that the Garris … [Read more...] about Five Tips on How to Make a Good Stephen King Movie Adaptation
Animation of how the heart works
In an era when all TV shows have age-suitability ratings and content guides, the vigor with which adult cop shows of the 1970s were marketed to children seems shocking. But in fact, immense energy was invested in embedding those series in the collective consciousness of children. Dell published 15-cent Mod Squad comic books, and Topps sold Mod Squad chewing gum. You could get a wheel of Hawaii Five-0 Viewmaster slides and click through color pictures of unsmiling, black-suited Steve McGarrett arresting Honolulu’s miscreants, or buy Milton Bradley board games based on Columbo, Starsky & Hutch, or Kojak (“Be a part of thrilling police action on the city streets”), which allowed young players to use informants to track down a suspect hiding in a building. I coveted the Adam-12 lunchbox, which had an illustration of Malloy and Reed helping a little boy on one side and on the other the two of them crouching with their pistols drawn, ready to fire on an unseen suspect. … [Read more...] about Real-Life Cops, and Me
Comedy does not exist in a vacuum. When you go see stand-up, the jokes don’t just travel from a black void straight into your brain. This is both stupidly obvious and a little bit controversial, as there is a sort of comedian who likes to contest that their jokes are like undeniable, perfectly crafted comedy bombs. But watching comedy is an act of constructive perception — you construct an understanding of the joke by combining the stimuli of the sound of the joke itself with your existing knowledge of jokes, the comedian, comedians generally, the topic, etc. Context isn’t more important than the joke itself, but it’s essential to what it means to be a comedian. The clearest example of this is a comic’s opening joke, designed to address the audience’s predetermined perception based on her or his appearance. (For example, Nick Kroll used to say, “I know what you’re thinking — I look like the love child of Harry Potter and Jeff … [Read more...] about What Is the Ideal Age for a Comedian’s Persona?