i watched the new IT film at the duncan caprice movie theater last night. it was quite an experience so i wanted to write it down here to capture all my various thoughts on it.
first, the theater. i’ve only been there once that i can remember in the last, ooooh, 15 or 20 years, and it was positively dead in there that last time i went. i think there were a dozen people that night. but last night — tuesday, aka cheap night — the place was PACKED. the line was almost around the block, like i remember from going to movies as a little kid. it was almost nice to see such a classic sight except for the fact that 99% of the people in line were duncan’s lowest mutants. what a collection of underbites, acne-faced and horny teens, skull sweaters, and all other manners of unnerving sights.
the line moved notoriously slowly. when we arrived, we were just outside the door but it took a half hour for us to get in and get seated. there were only maybe 15 people ahead of us in line so they must have had their ‘B’ team on last night. among the staff was a skinny, 60-yr old, leather-faced, bandana-wearing biker/welder, and a baby-faced, early 20’s, 6’5″ overweight fella who wore surgical gloves with all of the fingertips cut off and was stressed to the tits, sweating like a pig. it seemed like this tubby gent was the one running the show. the young woman who served dana and i must have been brand new because she had no idea what she was doing, but she was very nice so i didn’t mind her at all.
the signs for the snacks were incredibly shitty. the stock popcorn and coke images were just slightly different on each sign, sometimes positioned poorly so one obscured the other. the generic candy bar on the sign had a wrapper that only said ‘chocolate.’ and these appeared to be professionally made signs, specially made for that particular sign holder. it was so lousy that we were incredulous.
the decor of the theater is amazing. nothing has changed since i was a kid. so many oranges and yellows and reds. painted bricks, gross carpeting. fantastic.
on to the movie: believe it or not, i liked it. it certainly wasn’t a great, substantial film like the exorcist or blade runner but i thought it was fun and entertaining. i was surprised by and liked all the gore, and finn wolfhard stole the show with his performance. i also liked how the local bad kid, henry, was made to appear more mentally unstable than in the original IT in 1990. that makes more sense with him being institutionalized in the ‘adult’ portion of the film. i liked some of the sound effects, and i liked how pennywise’s blood floated. that was a small detail but i thought it looked neat, kind of dream-like.
but what didn’t i like, you ask. well, let me tell you.
- the new pennywise the clown. that was pathetic. i’m so sick of this ‘face down/eyes up/”this is my creepy look” aesthetic, and pairing it with a clown is just even more typical. the thing that made tim curry so great as pennywise was that he managed to be creepy without acting creepy. he spent a lot of time in the original just being a legit clown but somehow made that scary, and that was special. the shit i saw last night tried way too hard and failed miserably.
- period incorrect lingo. the film is supposed to be set in 1988 but early on, we hear the boys say “best…feeling…ever” while dumping their school books into the trash. but no one started using that lame, overdone line until well into the 2000’s. it’s a millennial thing, obv. the rest of the film was pretty accurate with it’s 80’s details but that one really pissed me off. what bothers me even more is that the film makers may have been aware of all this but used it anyway since it would allow the film to connect with a younger market. god damn it, how artless. i remember the stranger things tv show suffered from this very same problem.
- mean parents. all the parents we were introduced to in the new IT were over-the-top mean, like so mean it was ridiculous. it was totally unbelievable and unnecessary. what was the point of that, to make all adults seem bad? why?
- CGI special effects. not much needs to be said about this beyond the fact that despite many years and technological advances, CGI still looks like shit. if this movie really wanted to be a throwback, retro affair, it should have gone with old-fashioned special effects. you know, the shit that actually looks cool.
- incidental music. i hate when films and tv shows insert popular songs to try to heighten a certain feeling in a scene. it’s a ham-fisted film technique. most notably in the new IT was the use of anthrax’s antisocial during the rock fight and the cure’s 6 different ways during the bathroom cleanup. in the former, it’s supposed to increase the raucous roughness to the scene. in the latter, it’s supposed to increase the awkward feelings of childhood friendship and crushes. both were totally unnecessary, those scenes would have been better without the songs. i’m not so stupid that i need really loud music to help me figure out what i should be feeling during a scene.
i think that’s most of my thoughts on the new IT. however, i want to point out that despite all the gore, murder, violence, incest and child abuse, the movie is only rated 14A. i thought that was crazy. dana said out that if there were any tits in the flick, it would suddenly be rated R. i think he’s right, and i think that’s so fucked up. our culture has such a twisted, backwards relationship with sex to think it’s worse than a father abusing his daughter, or a son stabbing his dad in the neck — both of which we saw in IT last night. god, humans are stupid and fucked up.
but like i said earlier, i actually liked the film. if it only tim curry had reprised his role as pennywise — if we could basically have the 1990 pennywise in the 2017 film — i think the new IT could have been something special. oh well. at least it’s not a complete write-off, i suppose.