It’s still Monday on the West Coast, hence we updated on time.
Anyway, I got a wisdom tooth yanked yesterday and I’m grumpy today. Here’s a comic.
I’ve watched the new It movie twice, and am so enamored that I’ve gotten the book and have read quite a ways into it. I’m also re-reading Frankenstein and a bunch of short stories because of my responsibilities as a college instructor, and I’m enjoying being able to read without making notes and marginalia.
Naturally, I’ll be writing a comparison up as soon as I’m finished, and will be taking notes and marginalia to help with this.
This film is, I think, the best treatment that Stephen King’s horror has ever gotten on the silver screen. A bad mood tainted my first viewing, in which the sound track and certain CG moments annoyed me. Under normal circumstances, this’ll kill a movie for me. The aesthetics of the film also bothered me – camera tricks designed to make horror-movie viewers feel ungrounded stood out badly to me, the color scheme felt as if it were screaming messages in my face, and I grumped after every jump scare.
And left the theater thinking and revisiting scenes, which nagged at me until I’d gone out and bought the novel. As I read, I wondered if I had not made a critical mistake, and watched the film against its intended grain. I went again. Stephen King is close to my heart. I wanted to like It, and had been prepared to hate it from its earliest conception.
I had seen an early leak of a script that was absolutely abysmal.
I had a supposed edit of the script that didn’t seem much better.
The reveal of Pennywise’s costume didn’t impress me.
The first trailer made me worry about the film’s overall quality.
And despite having all of this and a bad mood on my shoulders, the movie had me in its grips. I was charmed by the cast, and my internal bitching was drowned out by the sort of post-film mental awe that makes watching films a worthwhile activity.
I saw It a second time and have been left entirely delighted. Horror tropes used throughout the film are not there to scare me, the viewer; they’re there to establish pathos for the Loser Club.
Bill Skarsgård nails the role. He is not the Pennywise we grew up, nor is he trying to be. He made the part his own. Tim Curry played a wonderful murder-clown. Bill Skarsgård played an eldritch horror disguised as a clown. Neither one detracts from the other’s performance in any way; they are doing different jobs for different treatments of a story.
In many ways, I see It as a modern mirror of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We follow young protagonists into a dark forest through a world wherein we understand they can die, and they’re surrounded by horrors that the adult world only cares about in a cursory way.
This is a coming-of-age story first and a horror film second, and because of that, it has significantly more depth than I expected. If you’ve got young teenagers, let them go see this. The R rating is elemental to the material, but I suspect very strongly that they will understand this film in a way that adults cannot.
And this speaks volumes about how fantastically the makers of It have mastered the material. I don’t think I can write more on this topic while keeping my “no spoilers” promise, so I’ll cut myself short, here.
I have criticisms, but they are surface-level, laden with spoilers, and not worth skipping the film over. The release of what is certain to become a national treasure is not the time for me to yuck into the yum. Go catch this on the big screen, and let me know what you think in the comments.
I worked as a CNA for a long time. We had an ex-marine as a patient for a few months. He was in bad shape from, IIRC, a car accident, and managed to break one of the nurse’s arms over the bed rail. I don’t think he ultimately survived his injuries, but it’s been so long that I can’t remember. I also really hated my job. 0/10, would not work as a CNA again. My point is that if someone like Frank rolled in and demanded his clothing back, the only real answer is, “yes, sir.”
If you are interested in why this comic took so long, or just want to see some sketch-work and alternate lines for the characters, check out the Making Of post over on our Ramen Empire Patreon.
Six or so months ago, I got into a nasty fight with some folk in the Democratic party about how Camp Hillary really, really could have worked on its rhetorical approach with college kids. My argument was that she didn’t do outreach with disaffected, younger Bernie voters who are staring down the barrel of paying their student loans off for the rest of their (our) lives, and their argument was that I was an entitled asshole who basically gave Trump the election.
At the height of this argument, it came out that I had no real job aside from the irregular creation of comics and other fiction. This was used to smear my character, mostly, but also someone asked to see my resume when I countered that looking for jobs is much, much easier than finding jobs – a concept that I still don’t think wealthier Democrats seem to understand. At least not in the Midwest.
I low-key thought the person might be hiring, so I showed this random internet stranger my resume…
…and he told me I had wasted my entire life and that my education was worthless. Internet strangers are like that; they’ve got no means of facing consequences for their words, and no investment in the people they’re talking to.
So here’s what all this wind-up was about:
I’m now an instructor at two community colleges.
The classes I’m instructing are all a bit surprising to me. I’ve got a master’s in communication, and at my alma mater, communication and English are different animals, meaning that I thought I’d end up teaching classes like public speaking or history of media if I ever got a gig as a college instructor.
I wanted to teach composition and literature, but I got accepted into a communication program before I got accepted into an English program, and I had already accepted one when the other came through.
Then, as a communication student, I ended up being a worker bee at the PSU Writing Center, helping students write better papers and familiarizing myself with Writing Center praxis.
…only the find, of course, upon graduating, that I was not a hirable person for the Center I had just finished working for as a student. I’m decent friends with the person who heads this Writing Center, so I know that it’s a matter of policy that I’m not really eligible for a big-person job there, or in the English department in general, and I had assumed this would be true of every campus. I had this feeling that the internet stranger was right, and that I’d mismanaged my education and was basically doomed to die in a gutter.
And now I’m working for two different community colleges, teaching as an adjunct. I’ve got two sections of research writing classes, one section of general literature, and one section of English composition I.
All my paranoia and neuroses about finding a job didn’t matter. All my assumptions didn’t matter. Internet stranger didn’t matter.
Two administrators at two different colleges looked at my resume, said, “he’s qualified, yep,” and then hired me.
Tides rise and fall. If you’re down and out on a job, I won’t end this post by promising you that life is destined to get better. I’m a white dude and that comes with a lot of power where finding a place in society is concerned. That absolutely worked in my favor here.
But I will say that, hey, random internet stranger who told me I was worthless? If you’re reading this?
You were wrong. =)