Tag Archives: Stephen King

Stephen King’s A Good Marriage (2014)

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What can I say about “Stephen’s King’s A Good Marriage?” Bad, bad, and more bad. Care to elaborate you say? “A Good Marriage” is exactly as cheesy and generic as you might expect. Sporting paper-thin characterizations and ludicrous plot developments, it tries to keep from going to complete shit by incorporating a good performance by Joan Allen as the  loving spouse turned terrified housewife.

I haven’t read the novella on which it’s based, but for Stephen King’s sake I hope this doesn’t do it justice. The plot is simple- middle-aged Darcy (Allen, whose character is either very stupid or very naïve but regardless not remotely likable) finds out that her husband Bob (Anthony LaPaglia, impossible to take seriously) is a sadistic rapist and serial killer.

Here’s where the plot goes seriously awry. Darcy doesn’t want her three grown-up kids to know Daddy’s a deranged murderer, so she comes up with a master plan and makes hubby promise not to do any more killing while she bides her time. Yes, you read that right.

Rather than calling the police, Darcy trusts her homicidal spouse not to kill any women for an expanse of time while she formulates a scheme. This seems more ridiculous the more you think about it, especially when you consider that Bob is out all day doing whatever (going to work, but do you really know for sure?) while Darcy stays at home, trusting on a sexual psychopath not to do any more killing or raping.

What Darcy doesn’t realize is, if Bob kills another young girl, it’s on her. She’s the one who didn’t call the police, although she had myriad opportunities to do so. She’s the one who took the evil bastard’s word for it. All for the sake of the children. Jesus Christ, will someone send us a heroine with a brain!

“A Good Marriage” slogs it’s way to a ludicrous confrontation and a bewilderingly obtuse ending, punctuated by spurts of terrible dialogue. The dialogue is awful, cheesy, dumbed-down gobbledegook, but even that isn’t bad enough to be truly funny, just painful.

Despite it’s pedigree of being based on a novella by ‘Master of Horror’ Stephen King, this disaster of a TV movie is a cut-and-paste, unspectacular, artless piece of rubbish. I would not recommend it to anyone.

Mrs. Joan Allen gives a halfway decent performance that is wasted on a terrible script, but nothing about the characters or plot development rang true, and this movie doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence along with King adaptations such as Kubrick’s “The Shining” or “Stand by Me.”

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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A rule of thumb- after your daughter’s newly resurrected cat comes back ‘stunted,’ 99.9% experts would advise you against burying your kid in the same Godforsaken place and in hopes that he will return from the dead as well. But that doesn’t stop Louis Creed, does it?

Believe it or not, this is my first Stephen King, though frankly I was a tiny bit disappointed at what I found to be solid yet somewhat overhyped prose. Don’t get me wrong, King has a great story to tell and some interesting commentary on grief and the dangers of meddling with the unspeakable, but I found the writing in general to be a bit underwhelming.

First, let’s dig into the premise itself- family man Louis has a loving wife, Rachel, and two great kids, Ellie and Gage. Together they move to a small town in Maine and Louis strikes up a friendship with grizzled local Jud Crandall. The damper on their otherwise happy life- the creepy burial ground built by the Micmacs years before unnervingly close to Louis’ property.

This is not the eponymous ‘Pet Sematary’, but a site relatively close behind it. Once the haunted locale gets hold of Louis, all bets are off (a string of disasters follow soon thereafter.) Despite Jud triying to convince Louis that ‘sometimes dead is better’ in the wake of tragedy, Louis in compelled to meddle with things that are not to be meddled with- with predictably horrific results.

In the dark, dank world of “Pet Sematary,” the beautiful, the natural, the wholesome can all be taken away with a domino effect of chaos. Stephen King does a pretty good job of playing on our basest fears, and on the inside the very old hardcover copy I read it said that this book was the one that Stephen King himself had trouble finishing.

I don’t know if this was legit or a marketing ploy- I didn’t think the book was that shocking, but I guess it’s different if you’re a parent of a small child (considering the gruesome death and reanimation of a very lovable child character.) However, I had some problems with the writing.

I hate repetition in prose when there isn’t a good reason for it, and there was lots of unnecessary repeating of words and phrases here- the nonsensical utterance of “Hey ho, let’s go” (I know it’s a line from a song, but what the hell does it have to do with anything in context, anyway?) Every so often Louis would think something ‘randomly’ or ‘stupidly,’ or refrain from bursting into hysterical, horrified laughter at the drop of a hat.

How often does one burst into maniacal laughter, I wonder? I was also driven to  interpret moments in the story in a totally inappropriate way. For instance, I found myself feeling sorry for Church (Ellie’s cat, who returns from buying the farm only to be kicked around by the repulsed Louis) and disturbed by the portrayal of Rachel’s disabled sister Zelda as a deformed, evil freak.

I found this book a little overlong at almost 400 pages, even though it’s one of the shortest books Stephen King wrote (!) To be fair, I was having a lot of mental health problems at the time, including repetitive re-reading, one of the staples of my OCD diagnosis. Now I’m wondering if I’m ever going to read that “Under the Dome” book I bought cover to cover.

Now, for a question for readers- is the “Pet Sematary”  worth watching? Also, what Stephen King books would you recommend to a newbie?