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Novelist Paul Sheldon doesnt remember the blinding blizzard that sent his car spinning off the road. He doesnt remember being nursed back from unconsciousness. But he will never forget Annie Wilkes.
James Caan and Academy Award winner Kathy Bates star in the bone-shattering thriller Misery, adapted from the novel by Stephen King. As Paul (Caan) recuperates from his injuries in the secluded cabin of his benefactor Annie (Bates), he begins to discover that beneath the seemingly kind and naive exterior of his self-described "number one fan", lurks a mind that is cunning, unhinged, and bent on keeping her favorite writer as her personal prisoner for the rest of his "cock-a-doodie", life ... and Sheldon must engage his savior-turned-captor in a battle of wills that will push them both to the brink.
Adapted by two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner (Stand By Me, The Princess Bride), Misery is considered by critics and fans (number ones and others) to be among the greatest horror-thrillers of all-time. Revisit this classic tonight with your friends ... after all, Misery loves company.
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Kathy Bates is the star of this film and deserves her Oscar win as the at times lovable Annie Wilkes, the obsessed fan of author Paul Sheldon played by James Caan. Annie goes from saving Paul to keeping him hostage for her own agenda. The "shining" beacon of this film is without a doubt Kathy Bates who for me is one of the most memorable and witty villains of modern horror film up there with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. With that said Caan is there like a dance partner for Bates every step of the way, he is like John Stockton to her Karl Malone always ready to assist her in enhancing the dark comedy throughout with his reactions by facial expression or perfect delivery of his lines. Caan's non verbal reactions to Annie's tirades are priceless and only enhance her dialouge. Pay attention to Caan's facial expressions during the scene when Annie explains about "chapter plays" and don't call them cliffhangers.
So getting back to the king and queen of horror, I had an idea, what if Bate's character Annie Wilkes had rescued/kidnapped Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance and what would that dialouge be like. I think it would go something like this:
JACK: "Annie, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand?"
ANNIE: "Understand? UNDERSTAND? I will tell you "what I understand!" I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? "Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Annie, I can't write on this paper, Annie!" Well, I'll get your stupid paper but you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!"
JACK: "Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing
or whether you DON'T hear me typing, or whatever the F you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?"
ANNIE: "I thought you were good Jack... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy."
Just a thought, forgive me for prattling away and making everything all oogy, here's the dvd features.
COLLECTOR'S EDITION DVD FEATURES:
(A reviewer listed them above but in case they got lost in the review shuffle here they are again)
First if your like me and like a nice pristine transfer and good sound the dvd is a definite and worthwhile upgrade. The picture quality far surpassed the older version on dvd and I own both. Also on the sound there was no Dolby Digital 5.1 on the old version and on the Collector's edition there is.
Audio Commnt by Rob Reiner and screenwriter William Goldman
Misery loves company featurette, Marc Shaiman's musical Misery tour featurette
Diagnosing Annie Wilkes featurette, Advice for stalked feature, profile of a stalker feature, celebrity stalker feature and anti stalking laws feature.
This is a must for any horror fan to add to their collection. It is already a classic and is the type of horror that gives you that warm, glad to be inside, tucked into bed feeling if you can avoid getting hobbled.
A great watch for Halloween. Enjoy!
1) I didn't care about the character of Paul Sheldon. If you want the audience to be on the edge of their seat when a character is in peril, you have to get the audience to IDENTIFY with that character, as happens for the first half of Titanic. But Misery is like Titanic starting half-way in. It doesn't work that way. Even con-men know this. That's why they are called CONfidence Men. In this movie, my only reaction to Paul Sheldon was annoyance. He seems like a typically lousy writer with a slovenly personality. I didn't mind that he was getting tortured.
2) The plot was implausible and uninteresting. Sheldon is far too docile and unresourceful. He just sits there like he should have a sweatshirt that says VICTIM. Caring about a born victim is for suckers. Real victims usually try to save themselves a lot more desperately than he did. His token efforts to save himself were token at BEST. So I turned it off wondering what possessed me to ever want to watch it.
I'm an RN who could kiss Stephen King for bringing public attention to the very real problem of evil-sometimes killer- nurses, who are either sociopathic or narcotic addicted, and still working in healthcare.Still,the movie is soooo disappointing. There are several parts that don't add up but James Caan's Golden Razzie-worthy performance is what completely ruins it.
Bates nails it in one scene, as she depicts how someone with Anti-Social Personality Disorder thinks while they commit a pre-meditated, violent crime.(Anti Social Personality Disorder is better known as "sociopath" and "psychopath".) Yet, it annoys me that so many people who saw the movie are surprised and wide-eyed by the fact that a true sociopath would look just like you and I, and would act like everything was normal as s/he performed the most evil deeds imaginable.Repulsed by the things Annie did to her victim,yes.Definitely.But IMHO it shouldn't SURPRISE people. That's what ASPDs/sociopaths/psychopaths-whatever you call them-can really do. That's what people who abuse enough narcotics can do. Apparently a lot of people need to wake up and smell the coffee: "People" completely devoid of a conscience, who could sleep like a baby and expect the victim to be their friend after doing what Annie Wilkes did, are everywhere in society.They don't all attack people with axes or mallets but if they did they'd never feel a shred of guilt or concern for the victim.It wouldn't faze them to ruin your life for giving them a funny look. They've just learned to try to hide the way they're really wired. If you haven't seen them you should have because they've seen you.There's probably one on your block and one in your workplace. But I digress... :) Bates' portrayal of how a true sociopath can act was excellent, but she was disappointing in other scenes. If Annie Wilkes is a narcotics abuser, in many ways Bates looks and acts NOTHING like the real thing. When the man she's smitten and obsessed with asks her to have dinner with him, what woman answers in a monotone? LOL
I didn't expect all of the mind games and psychological warfare that goes on between the hero and villain in the book to be communicated in the movie but was disappointed that more of it wasn't. I thought that was the main point of the story. Silly me.
In the book we get to know Paul Sheldon, the hero, intimately. We also learn the complex ways Annie Wilkes(Bates), the villain, operates. Sheldon is a well-known writer. Wilkes is an extremely disturbed and evil fan who is obsessed with Sheldon and has been stalking him. When he's in a car crash she kidnaps him from the site and takes him to a deserted house. In the book we learn the way Sheldon handles crises, his past successes and failures, his admirable and annoying traits. In the book he's so real that it felt like really being there. And in the book King is brilliant as he takes Sheldon through the whole gamut of emotions we would expect from someone who's been in a serious car crash, kidnapped from the crash while critically injured, and held prisoner by someone who verbally, physically, and psychologically tortures them in isolation for six months. Where was ANY of that in the movie? Again, I thought the whole story was supposed to be about a villain who is an evil genius and her kidnapped victim who is SO intelligent and able to hold it together that he has a chance, even though the odds are greatly stacked against him.
Instead of portraying that, Caan acts like he thought he was supposed to be portraying Wile E. Coyote. In one scene where the villain horribly abuses and tortures him, Caan writhes and yells twice and then voila! Half a minute later he's good as new a la your favorite cartoon character. He didn't even break a sweat! In another Annie Wilkes forces him to destroy the manuscript that he had worked on for years and was his pride and joy, AND was not yet in writing anywhere else. Caan questions her once. When she insists he kind of sticks out his lip and looks a little bit miffed and pouty for a few seconds. That's it? I don't THINK so, James.
Near the end Caan needs a bath and some clean clothes but otherwise looks like he just got back from a spa! Miraculously his emotions are still rock solid.(Uh Huh. Riiight.)That's fortunate because he needs to make a nervy and dramatic escape attempt or be murdered by the villain. I think he creases his brow once during his escape attempt. If his hair moved at all it wasn't much. Between you and I, he didn't look like he'd missed many meals during his captivity. Whatever.
There's still another scene at the very end that's bogus as it can be and an insult to people who've really lived through a certain medical problem. I won't tell you the ending but my advice is to read the book and skip the movie.
To see a performance by Bates that's excellent through the whole movie, I recommend "Fried Green Tomatoes." To see a good one by Caan, I recommend "The Godfather." If you want to read about real-life versions of Annie Wilkes I recommend "Nurses Who Kill" by Clifford Linedecker and William A. Burt.