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Stephen King thinks The Shining documentary Room 237 is "academic bullsh*t"

11.04.2014

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Most of you probably know author Stephen King isn't a fan of Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING adaptation, but he also didn't care for the recent documentary involving the horror movie. Rodney Ascher's ROOM 237 explores different theories about THE SHINING, and in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, King says he had to turn it off after watching half of the documentary.

I watched about half of it and got sort of impatient with it and turned it off...These guys were reaching. I've never had much patience for academic bullshit. It's like Dylan says, "You give people a lot of knives and forks, they've gotta cut something." And that was what was going on in that movie.

Stephen King also says he still doesn't understand why so many people love the Stanley Kubrick film.

I don't get it. But there are a lot of things that I don't get. But obviously people absolutely love it, and they don't understand why I don't. The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice. In the book, there's an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he's crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene. I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I'm thinking to myself the minute he's on the screen, "Oh, I know this guy. I've seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part." And it's so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that's just me, that's the way I am.

Stand By Me Rob Reiner Stephen King Wil Wheaton River Phoenix Corey Feldman Jerry O'Connell Image

King goes on to say he thinks STAND BY ME is the best movie based on one of his books.

Probably Stand by Me. I thought it was true to the book, and because it had the emotional gradient of the story. It was moving. I think I scared the shit out of Rob Reiner. He showed it to me in the screening room at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I was out there for something else, and he said, "Can I come over and show you this movie?" And you have to remember that the movie was made on a shoestring. It was supposed to be one of those things that opened in six theaters and then maybe disappeared. And instead it went viral. When the movie was over, I hugged him because I was moved to tears, because it was so autobiographical. But Stand by Me, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile are all really great ones. Misery is a great film. Delores Claiborne is a really, really good film. Cujo is terrific.

Personally, I think there's room for both the Stephen King book and Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING. As for ROOM 237, yeah, I agree the filmmakers were reaching a bit, however I still thought it was a interesting documentary. Do I believe half the stuff in ROOM 237? No, but that didn't make it any less fascinating. What are your thoughts on ROOM 237?

Extra Tidbit: Possibly my favorite Stephen King quote of all time: "The real difference [between Rowling and Meyer] is that Jo Rowling (Harry Potter) is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) can't write worth a darn. She's not very good"
Source: Rolling Stone

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9:33PM on 11/04/2014
The documentary is more interesting for revealing the obsession that fans can have with any given piece of art than for the validity of the theories themselves.
The documentary is more interesting for revealing the obsession that fans can have with any given piece of art than for the validity of the theories themselves.
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6:13PM on 11/04/2014

Room 237 is a turd sandwich

Turd Sandwich may be kind. I couldnt get through a half hour of it. a borefest and just full of itself. I love the book, one of the few books I read that actually scared me at times. The movie is brilliant in the Kubrick way though. King is right though. Jack Torrance slowly goes insane in the book and Wendy is a strong character . In the movie, Nicholson was typical Nicholson batshit from jump. And Shelley Duvall just seemed beaten down from the opening credits
Turd Sandwich may be kind. I couldnt get through a half hour of it. a borefest and just full of itself. I love the book, one of the few books I read that actually scared me at times. The movie is brilliant in the Kubrick way though. King is right though. Jack Torrance slowly goes insane in the book and Wendy is a strong character . In the movie, Nicholson was typical Nicholson batshit from jump. And Shelley Duvall just seemed beaten down from the opening credits
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4:13PM on 11/04/2014

Stephen Kings Face?!

I think that would be a scary story in its self!! What the Heck happened to him?
I think that would be a scary story in its self!! What the Heck happened to him?
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3:55PM on 11/04/2014
I dont think The Shinning is a bad movie, i actually think that its a terrific movie. But i do agree with King on the characters. Nicholson had no transition and Duvall was a one note character. Thats what stopped the movie from being one of my favorites
I dont think The Shinning is a bad movie, i actually think that its a terrific movie. But i do agree with King on the characters. Nicholson had no transition and Duvall was a one note character. Thats what stopped the movie from being one of my favorites
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+1
3:09PM on 11/04/2014

Completely agree with him.

The Shining is a terrible movie especially when compared to the book. But even on it's own, it's still a pretentious flick. Like ALL of Kubrick's movies.
The Shining is a terrible movie especially when compared to the book. But even on it's own, it's still a pretentious flick. Like ALL of Kubrick's movies.
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7:37PM on 11/04/2014
Ah, 'pretentious', the term stupid people use to describe things above their level of understanding... Put a Transformers DVD on and leave film criticism to the big boys...
Ah, 'pretentious', the term stupid people use to describe things above their level of understanding... Put a Transformers DVD on and leave film criticism to the big boys...
12:01AM on 11/05/2014
then you better stick to your Twilight films
then you better stick to your Twilight films
2:38PM on 11/04/2014
"A screaming dishrag." I love Stephen King.
"A screaming dishrag." I love Stephen King.
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12:50PM on 11/04/2014
I agree with King. Though the mini series was low budget and had some cringe worthy CGI, Steven Weber's descent to madness was brilliant and I agree that you saw crazy Jack from the second Jack Nicholson was onscreen. And Wendy in Kubrick's is just... Awful.
I agree with King. Though the mini series was low budget and had some cringe worthy CGI, Steven Weber's descent to madness was brilliant and I agree that you saw crazy Jack from the second Jack Nicholson was onscreen. And Wendy in Kubrick's is just... Awful.
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3:10PM on 11/04/2014
The mini series was better on every front.
The mini series was better on every front.
+1
11:20AM on 11/04/2014
That quote had me in stitches!
That quote had me in stitches!
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11:08AM on 11/04/2014
Room 237 - I must admit I was slapping my head in disbelief through much of it until I switched off. I will likely be in the minority but I think it was leaping like a frog with a match up it's arse.
Room 237 - I must admit I was slapping my head in disbelief through much of it until I switched off. I will likely be in the minority but I think it was leaping like a frog with a match up it's arse.
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1:26PM on 11/04/2014
Yeah, I agree. It's like the filmmakers were like "Hey, it'd be really cool to do a documentary about The Shining, but we don't have any actual material, so let's just make crap up! People will have to believe us, we have a camera crew!"
Yeah, I agree. It's like the filmmakers were like "Hey, it'd be really cool to do a documentary about The Shining, but we don't have any actual material, so let's just make crap up! People will have to believe us, we have a camera crew!"
-1
10:51AM on 11/04/2014
I agree with him about Room 237. It started out interesting, but it quickly turned into nonsense. I was hoping for some actual honest theories but despite a handful of interesting tidbits, it was a joke. It was just a few cocaine-fueled film students pointing at clouds, claiming the shapes are real and then over-analyzing the fuck out of them.

However King needs to let The Shining go. It's been, what, 34 years? Get over yourself.
I agree with him about Room 237. It started out interesting, but it quickly turned into nonsense. I was hoping for some actual honest theories but despite a handful of interesting tidbits, it was a joke. It was just a few cocaine-fueled film students pointing at clouds, claiming the shapes are real and then over-analyzing the fuck out of them.

However King needs to let The Shining go. It's been, what, 34 years? Get over yourself.
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12:29PM on 11/04/2014
He was talking about a doc to a movie he doesn't like based on his book. It's only natural that he would bring up his disdain for the film. Get over yourself.
He was talking about a doc to a movie he doesn't like based on his book. It's only natural that he would bring up his disdain for the film. Get over yourself.
10:42AM on 11/04/2014
I had seen the movie several times, and recently read the book and went back and watched the movie. The book is miles above the movie.
I had seen the movie several times, and recently read the book and went back and watched the movie. The book is miles above the movie.
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10:45AM on 11/04/2014
It's a great book but it doesn't work as a movie. King tried his hand at it with the mini-series and that sucked balls.
It's a great book but it doesn't work as a movie. King tried his hand at it with the mini-series and that sucked balls.
12:49PM on 11/04/2014
Mini series was actually quite excellent with just a few awkward bits of low budgetness... Steven Weber was brilliant
Mini series was actually quite excellent with just a few awkward bits of low budgetness... Steven Weber was brilliant
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