The Shining Miniseries: what's the deal with that kid's mouth?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob McLaughlin, Jun 20, 2001.

  1. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    The character of Danny, played by Courtland Meade, has the most distracting face! Nowhere in the book does it mention that Danny has "chipmunk cheeks". And the whole time I'm watching the show, I am wondering if that kid is ever going to actually close his mouth! His tongue must get so dry, you could probably strike a match on it. No wonder he sounds like he has a perpetual cold!
    Sorry, it just bugs me...
     
  2. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I can't believe I actually watched the whole thing (when it first aired - not ever again!).
    Very nearly the worst piece of King-derived dookie I've ever seen (though Maximum Overdrive was pretty frickin' terrible, too). The kid, bad as he is, may well be the least of its problems.
    Ugh, agh, excruciating.
     
  3. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Al,
    Do you like Kubrick's version better?
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Is that a serious question, Ike? [​IMG]
    Uh... well, yeah, but I'm judging the miniseries on its own (de)merits.
    Interesting that you bring it up, 'cause it really underscores the importance of a good director. Seems to me that the best King adaptations have all been helmed by directors who can boast at least a little cinematic artistry - Kubrick/Shining, Cronenberg/Dead Zone, Carrie/De Palma, Stand By Me/Reiner - whereas the worst cinematic adaptations tend to be those that King was most personally involved in (the Shining mini-series and Maximum Overdrive being most representative).
    But Kubrick, especially, was brilliant at adapting novels to the screen. And it made no difference if they were high art like Lolita or mainstream pulp like The Shining - he did 'em all well!
    And now you've got me thinking about Lolita, one of my favorite novels by my favorite author (along with his Ada or Ardor and Pale Fire). I remember reading how Lynne's version boasted an exceptional faithfulness to the source, far surpassing Kubrick's interpretation that was so unfortunately limited by the morality codes of the day... only to find that Lynne had transformed Nabokov's brilliant meta-satire into some lame and mawkish tragedy completely devoid of the humor and witty gamesmanship of the novel (albeit with more sex! sex! sex!). IMO, it's the ideal example of an extreme and self-conscious fidelity to the superficialities of a text which ultimately and utterly misses its point.
     
  5. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Though we are moving away from the topic (yeah, that kids mouth is....weird [​IMG] )
    Sadly, I've never read the book (and I've got two dense books at least before I get to Nabokov's book: The Castle by Kafka, and Freud's anaylsis on Woodrow Wilson), and only partly seen Lynne's version.
    From what I've read about the book, the characters represent their nations-Humbert Humbert Europe, Lolita young America. Is this accurate? If so, is any of this satire present in Kubrick's version? (I now remember Charlotte's phone number is 1776)
    I've also heard it said (steering it on topic) that The Shining (at least Kubrick's version) is a satire on everything from Indians treatment in America (from all the Indian imagery? and the Overlook being build on an Indian Burial Ground) to a comment on the modern (at least then) TV family. Is this at all in King's book?
     
  6. Dave Morton

    Dave Morton Supporting Actor

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    The mini-series is more of what the book is. The Kubrick version is very loosly based on the King novel. I personally like the mini-series better because it is more of what King's vision is. Although the kids is somewhat nasal on the mini-series, I just can't stand the horrible acting by Shelly Duvall in the Kubrick version.
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    ------ Dave ------
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    MY HT
     
  7. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Dave,
    I now get Al's "Is that a serious question?".
    I caught about the last hour of the miniseries on sci-fi last night. Jesus Christ is that thing terrible.
    Shelly Duvall's acting? What about the miniseries woman? First off they got a moderately attractive blonde woman to play her (though her early nineties Valley Girl hair cut scared me). But she was a terrible actress. Maybe it's just because she had to deal with lines like, "You're just a bunch of spooks!" .....No, she certainly couldn't act.
    If Steven King calls this his version, and Kubrick's version not understanding of his story, then King is a simple jackass.
    Take the scene in the mini-series where Jack (as played by Steven Webber, playing Jack Nicholson) carrying a polo mallet (they even got crappier weapons!) sits and yaps at Wendy (playing what I like to call USA girl. She's the kind of woman on every drama TV show on the USA network) for fifteen minutes. She sits there. He sits there. In Kubrick's it's like a game. They circle each other, both taking light swings, trying to fend the other one off.
    I've never read King's version, so I don't know what was changed from the movie to the book to the miniseries, so I'll just comment on what was presented.
    Apparently, Jack couldn't find an axe. The ghosts can have swing music, drinks, and move furniture, but they can't get him an axe? I guess that's good news for Dick Hallorann (played absolutely terribly by Melvin Van Peebles), since you can't kill an old man with a mallet. Sure a mallet can bust through a door, but it can't kill an old man with two licks on the head?!?
    King or the director (Mick Garris, so says the IMDB, who apparently is King's puppet) don't understand what's scary about the original. They take the moments that have become legendary (the scene where Jack busts through the door and announces "Heeere's Johnny!" is changed to "Boo!" I know this wasn't in the book-according to the IMDB, it was a Nicholson ad-lib.) and change them to an almost Freddy Kruger like angle.
    Having characters run down halls, and run into ghosts (with terrible make-up) and have the ghosts say something "scary" then (with terrible special effects) disappear is not scary. Having Jack go to the bathroom, as in Kubrick's version, and being told by the attendant (who we know is not there...or do we?) that he has always been the caretaker is much creepier.
    The miniseries (at least what I saw) is just plain terrible. The end scene (with the reunion of the Torrances) is schamtlz and just...ugh, this taints Kubrick's version. I think there ought to be a clause that people can't go near Kubrick's films. Remakes (The Shining) or sequels (2010) just show disrespect, and aren't as good as the original.
     
  8. Brett Jason

    Brett Jason Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The miniseries was not conceived as a re-make of Kubrick's film, it was an adaptation of the same Novel into a 4-1/2 hour (6 with commercials) miniseries. They were very self-consciously trying not to use Kubrick's film as the basis for the mini-series, but to do a straight adaptation of the book devoid of the various subtexts which Kubrick introduced and inclusive of most of the plot threads that he jettisoned. To say that Kubrick's version did not reflect King's story as he understood it is entirely accurate whether Stephen King or anyone else says it. Kubrick's film is a different story on the same basic premise. To prefer one to the other is another matter entirely.
    Kubrick's film is certainly scarier, more mysterious, and more unsettling. The miniseries makes more narrative sense. Whether that is a bug or a feature is also a matter of preference. [​IMG] The miniseries was made for $25 million dollars and was probably shot within a months time. Considering these limitations, it's a pretty entertaining yarn. The film adaptation is another animal entirely, and is obviously the work of superior craftsmen with lots of time to work things out. I much prefer the film, but have no problem with the miniseries. It is interesting to compare them to each other and the book, and their coexistence is no more troubling for me to grapple with than if the novel had also been adapted for a comic book, an interactive ride at Six Flags America, or any other medium.
    Regards,
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    Ken McAlinden
    Livonia, MI USA
     
  10. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Ike, you should read the book. It's IMO the best SK novel he wrote.
    Here's some spoilers from the book that might explain the dissapointments you got from the mini.
    Mr. Halloran survived, and rescued the mother and Danny. He was never attacked by the father. He heard Danny's "shining" all the way from Florida. The same as the Scatman Crothers character in the film. Halloran is integral to the family's escape.
    There was no baseball field at The Overlook. But there was plenty of Croquet plots, and a Polo field on the property. Hence, the mallet would've made more sense than a bat. Rich, elitest bastards don't play pedestrian sports like baseball. Jack terrorized his family with a mallet in the book, never an axe. A mallet is dull, it'll hurt more. [​IMG]
    The book was really about Danny...NOT the father. No child actor can upstage Jack Nicholson, but it's fairly easy for even a meally mouthed, chipmunk cheeked kid to do that to Steven Weber. [​IMG]
    This kid was on The Hung and the Breastless for a few years before he went to do Kool-Aid commercials. He's always talked like he has a mouth full of oatmeal. Ugh!
    The actress that plays the wife is Rebecca DeMornay. Quite a famous actress, just slumming it till The Hand that Rocks the Cradle 2 comes out. [​IMG]
     
  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    The miniseries did have it's share of problems however I thought the woman in the bathtub was very freaky!
    And the kid has what i'd like to call 'severe infant lips.'
    ------------------
    No Soup For You!
     
  12. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  13. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    quote: I can't believe I actually watched the whole thing (when it first aired - not ever again!).
    Very nearly the worst piece of King-derived dookie I've ever seen (though Maximum Overdrive was pretty frickin' terrible, too). The kid, bad as he is, may well be the least of its problems.
    Ugh, agh, excruciating.[/quote]
    Al- You the man!!! This is in my opinion the absolute worst film ever made, The worst without any exceptions in the 100+ years of movie history. I found every single aspect of the "film" to be a total and absolute failure. Bad acting, bad screenplay, poor cinematography even by television standards, horrid editing, cheesy production, slower than the molasses in January pacing, and a music score that is often a shameless rip-off of the vastly superior Kubrick film.
    Some people will try to say that this is a better film because it is closer to the book, Well that just does not hold an ounce of water with me. Books and movies are two totally different mediums and can not be approached in the same manner. Often times things that will work as the written word will not translate well at all to the motion picture and this sorrowful piece of garbage is definitive proof positive of that!
    While the Kubrick film may of veered off from the book in places as far as plot is concerned, It maintained the creepy feel of the novel. Kubricks film made a lot of changes but it just feels a lot more like the novel than the god-wretched mini-series
    Some people like to bash on Shelly Duvall's acting ability (or lack thereof) but at least she seemed scared shitless and panicky when Jack went bonkers. Rebecca DeMourney just seemed to be bored out of her wits(as was I), She sleep walked through the whole damn thing.
    Steven Webber? What in the hell where they thinking when they cast this buffoon from WINGS as Jack Torrance, What pray tell could they possibly have been thinking? Sure Nicholson may have been a little over the top at times but at least he was a menacing figure when he went axe crazy. Webber came across as a drunken geek bum who would get his ass kicked if he tried messing with my 102 year old grandma.
    Oh and the fucking kid! I really wanted to wring the little batard's neck the second he appeared on screen [​IMG]
    I could go on for hours and never run out of bad things to say about this abortion of a film but what would be the point?
     

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