Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT

Hello you vampiric beasts from between dimensions, Super Hubs here with a very quick review that I’m positively giddy to write! It’s been a crazy year for me, vis-a-vis Stephen King adaptations as two of my favorite books have gotten movies! And while The Dark Tower needed a few caveats and asterisks for my enjoyment, this movie is just simply phenomenal!

I’ve written before about how difficult it is for me to review things that I love. It’s for this reason that I’ve never reviewed IT. IT is my favorite book of all time by a wide margin. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before and I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I read the book at least once a year. I’m crazy about it ya’ll! And so when it was announced all the way back in 2009 that IT would be getting a new film treatment, one that would stick much closer to the tone of the book, I flipped my shit. I’ve been wanting this for so long guys. I love the old miniseries, but no one has ever accused it of actually being scary. Or good. Really the only reason anyone remembers it is because of Tim Curry who – despite some solid performances from both the child and adult actors – easily steals the show. But this movie guys…this movie might be the best book adaptation I’ve ever seen. As always, Spoiler Warning. 

IT takes place in Derry, Maine, a small town plagued by child disappearances and deaths at a rate much much higher than the national average. As we’ll find out, these incidents seem to take place in a 27 year cycle that is usually punctuated by a massive disaster. The story begins at the end of the summer of one of these cycles as Bill Denbrough makes his brother Georgie a paper boat. What happens next is possibly one of the most famous scenes Stephen King has ever written: Georgie sails the boat in some floodwaters, it gets swept into a storm drain, and Georgie comes face to face with Pennywise the Dancing Clown. This does not end well.

From this first scene alone we’re shown that Andy Muschietti isn’t fucking around. Georgie’s death is gruesome and heart wrenching. And they use it in a clever way to bring the Losers together. Both in the book and the movie the Losers start as just Bill, Eddie, Stan, and Richie. These four play in a place in town called the Barrens and they meet Ben when he is chased there by the bully Henry Bowers. In the book they just kind of hang out in the Barrens cus it was the 50s and what the hell else were they going to do all day, in the movie they go there because Bill refuses to believe that Georgie is dead and thinks he might have just washed up in the Barrens somewhere. The other kids play along with this idea because they feel sorry for him and it’s only been a month so they want to let him mourn.

So Ben gets chased into the Barrens by Henry Bowers and his lacky awkward teenager Kylo Ren, meets the Losers and they take him to a pharmacy to patch him up where they run into Beverly Marsh. Bev had met Ben earlier and signed his yearbook in an adorably awkward scene where Ben falls in love with her and she makes fun of him for listening to New Kids on the Block. Bev, in turn, convinces them to help Mike later when they see his bike crashed near Henry’s car. And so the Losers are brought together by several twists of fate and form their Ka-Tet (that’s a Dark Tower reference, in case you forgot).

The kids playing the Losers are all amazing. This is sure to be a star making turn for all of them, but Sophia Lillis in particular shines throughout. She steals the show in practically every scene that she’s in. Special mention should also be given to Finn Wolfhard and Jack Grazer as Richie and Eddie. Their banter is consistently hilarious. In fact the whole movie is a lot funnier then you would expect. It had the theater laughing out loud fairly often. Jaiden Lieberher perfectly encapsulates the fragility and hidden steel that Bill is supposed to have as both the leader of the group and the one most affected by Pennywise’s grip on Derry. My only complaint is that he doesn’t get to say his most bad ass line from the book. Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Taylor get the short end of the stick in terms of character development; Mike especially has only a few scenes but Chosen does great with what he has, and Jeremy Taylor is adorable and awkward as Ben. Seriously, all of these kids are great actors and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to picture the Losers in any other way again.  Especially Beverly. Seriously guys Sophia Lillis blew me away.

And then there’s Pennywise. Hooooooly crap was Pennywise terrifying. Bill Skarsgard knocked it out of the park. He capers and japes like a clown in sometimes genuinely funny ways before abruptly switching to terrifying sadism. He’s truly menacing.

So as I said I just wanted to make a very very quick review. I literally just got back from the theater about 30 minutes ago and my mind is still reeling. I might come back and make a more detailed and substantial review later – in fact I have something planned for October that would involve doing just that – so for now I’ll just say that if you’re a fan of horror or Stephen King at all then you should go see this movie. Immediately. IMMEDIATELY.

Now the fun part: I wanted to tell you guys how great the movie is, sure, but more than that I wanted an excuse to do some FAN CASTING! As you should all know by now a sequel is being made that follows the Losers as adults. So you better believe I’ve been thinking about who should play them!

Bill: Alright so stick with me here cus I have a bit of an odd choice. Bill needs to be a quiet, thoughtful personality. He’s sensitive and kind, and he speaks softly. And he’s very intelligent. So my pick is Martin Freeman. SHUT UP! I like it. Google Jaeden Lieberher and then google Martin Freeman. Tell me they don’t look alike! And Martin Freeman has already played an intelligent, quite personality as Dr. Watson. Nikkie says Michael Sheen would be better because she can’t buy Martin Freeman as playing someone who cheats on his wife (with Bev of course cus Bill is ridiculous), but I just think Michael Sheen looks like a dick.

Eddie: Okay so this one is almost entirely based on looks. But Fred Savage. Or Ben Savage. One of the Savages! I’m pretty sure Fred Savage and Jack Grazer are the same person. Look at pictures of Fred Savage when he was young, now look at pictures of Jack Grazer. What the hell universe! I think Ben Savage would do the personality better but Fred Savage is a more appropriate age.

Richie: In an interview, Finn Wolfhard said that Richie should be played by Bill Hader. This is quite possibly the most perfect casting in the history of film. In fact, Bill Hader may have been born quite literally to play Richie as an adult. I will not argue with the universe. The Turtle has chosen well.

Mike: So if the movie follows the book Mike will have much more to do as an adult. He’s the one who stays behind in Derry as the watchmen and the one who brings everyone back together. He’s a serious, kind man with a sense of humor and a certain weariness. And I know this is gonna seem like I’m jumping on the internet bandwagon but SCREW YOU YOU CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING! Anthony Mackie. I think Anthony Mackie would be perfect. And hopefully we see more of the child timeline and Chosen Jacobs gets more chances to show off his talent.

Stan: Stan is tough because he doesn’t have much to do. He dies right at the beginning before any of the Losers get back to Derry. But his death is pivotal. So who would be willing to play what is essentially a cameo part but could carry such an important scene?

Beverly: Amy Adams. I don’t have anything clever to say here, I just think Amy Adams is a good actress who deserves a good role. Based on how her character was treated in this movie it’s obvious that Beverly is going to be a major focus in the second movie as well.

Ben: Ben gets hot ya’ll. In the same interview that Finn said Bill Hader should play Richie, Jeremy Taylor said Chris Pratt should play Ben. I can’t come up with anything better. The problem is I actually really loved John Ritter in the miniseries and have trouble conceptualizing any other look.

Bonus Round!

Audra: Bill winds up marring an actress who looks suspiciously like Beverly (geez Bill, obsessed much?) so if we’re going as Amy Adams for Bev then clearly Isla Fisher should be Bill’s poor wife Audra. I frequently confuse Amy Adams with Isla Fisher and I’m not entirely convinced they aren’t clones of one another.

Tom: Meanwhile, Bev marries an abusive bastard named Tom Rogan who’s basically just her dad. It’s gross and terrible. So why not go with Ben Affleck? He played a pretty shitty guy really well in Gone Girl so it wouldn’t be too much of a step up to play an abusive husband. He has the Northeastern look about him and I think he could really pull of the intense, sadistic fury.

Henry(?): So Henry might have died in the movie. In the book he gets put in an asylum only to break out when the Losers return and act as Pennywise’s catspaw. He’s aged hard from the insanity. So my choice is Mads Mikkelsen. Because I want Mads Mikkelsen to be in everything. His accent would be an issue but I don’t care. But if you’re gonna be a dick about it, READERS, then I guess my second child would be Jackie Earle Haley.

That’s all everyone! I’m very happy with how this movie turned out. And you will be to. Now stop reading this and go see the movie you idiots! I’ll be back in October with a deeper analysis of the movie (probably) so look forward to that!

2 thoughts on “Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT

  1. Meg

    Not Kevin Bacon for Henry? We were all remarking how similar he looked. True, Bacon’s a bit too old, but Henry’s supposed to look far older than his age due to his brush with good ol’ Pennywise….

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