Because it’s 2019 and monetizing on 1980s nostalgia is very in right now, “The Shining” came back to theaters paired with a special sneak peek of its sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” which sounds like the name of a third-tier Marvel hero and will probably be dreadful.
In case you are somehow unfamiliar with “The Shining,” it was released in 1980, it stars the guy who hangs out on the sidelines at Lakers games and it heavily features exterior shots of Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.
The plot is that a man named Jack, along with his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, journeys to a remote Colorado hotel to be its winter caretaker and to work on his writing. His son turns out to be somewhat telekinetic, he turns out to be some sort of time traveler maybe, the hotel is haunted or something and he goes insane and tries to murder his family with an axe.
It is directed by Stanley Kubrick, so obviously it’s very good because Frank Ocean likes Stanley Kubrick and Frank Ocean has impeccable taste.
Apparently, though, Stanley Kubrick has never heard of a little something called 4K, so the movie is all kinds of grainy. He’s also clearly not a fan of the one-shot scene, so the end product is scattered all over the place.
But it works, because despite the fact that nothing much seems to happen for the first two hours or so, each scene is so individually interesting that it’s never boring. The music, which was selected by Kubrick but was placed over scenes by music director Gordon Stainforth, plays a big part in this, what with the spooky pianos and such.
This ability of the film to overcome its handicaps is seen throughout, from the terrible child acting to the dreadful outfits. And even though it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen at the end, due to the film’s major impact on pop culture and also due to everything Jack says and does, “The Shining” is able to show a slow descent into madness in a fascinating and engaging manner.
And now, because we are in danger of this becoming a sincere movie review, here are some notes I took while watching, in no particular order:
- The graphic designers really phoned it in and probably should have chilled with the brightly colored Sans-serif fonts.
- You can always tell a character’s wealth and social status in 80s movies by the size of their tie knots — Jack, poor writer, small tie; hotel concierge, underling, small tie; hotel manager, rich man, real hefty knot.
- Wendy looks so frazzled the whole movie because her husband and child are literal nightmares.
- It got a little racist for seemingly no reason, but then again what movie didn’t back then.
Apparently Jim Carey based his entire acting career on the scene that comes right after Wendy finds the results of Jack’s writing — which is just countless pages filled with “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” — where Jack is stumbling around chatting nonsense while Wendy screams a lot before bopping him on the head with a baseball bat. The weird faces, the nonsensical raising and lowering of volume, the extremely precise annunciation, the clear loss of sanity, even the comical fall down the stairs — all could have been done by Carey in any movie he’s ever been in (except maybe “The Number 23,” but nobody actually watched that so it doesn’t count). This, of course, raises some troubling implications, as we really shouldn’t be trusting anyone who’s whole schtick is based on one of the most famously unbalanced characters in cinematic history. So watch out for that Jim Carey if you ever cross paths.
- If Jack didn’t freeze to death and got arrested he’s probably do very little actual jail time, as he really only successfully did one axe murder and he was clearly not in his right mind when he did it.
Watch “The Shining” if you haven’t already, it’s very good. And if you have seen it, watch it again, because it’s very good.
Rating: 10/10, would recommend, is one of maybe two films I’ve seen this year that gave me a crumb of serotonin.