what i’ve been reading & watching lately: nope, still haven’t bought a new television edition

the_gunslingerThe Gunslinger by Stephen King

I vowed years ago never to start reading this until it was all published. King wrote the books so far apart, I was afraid he’d never finish it. Apparently I’m not alone in that; in the forward he describes getting a lot of DUDE WE THOUGHT YOU’D CROAK AND NEVER FINISH THE DARK TOWER!!! letters after getting hit by that van. I believe he even said at one point that he wasn’t sure how or if he would end it, and I didn’t want to invest time in something that petered out halfway through. It’s been wrapped up for a few years now, but I just got around to it.

King started writing this — or at least thinking about — while still in college. It contains a lot of the awful phrases and scenarios that pollute early King writing: People shitting their pants for no particular reason; fear described as making the skin on (male) character’s testicles crawl. (Seriously, what was his obsession with that terrible phrase? He used it at least once in every book from Salem’s Lot to The Tommyknockers.) But other than that, the prose is actually a lot cleaner than most of his early work, reminiscent of some of the best writing he did in the ’90s. Which does make me wonder how much it was re-worked for the revised edition.

I liked it enough to keep reading the series. I always like the work he set in alternate realities (and which, if you read carefully, all seem to be either the same place — The Talisman’s “Territories” — or at least parallel universes of each other). I like seeing yet another (I’m assuming) incarnation of Randall Flagg. And I’ve always been in interested in the fusion of the western with a seemingly disparate genre like fantasy.

This arrived from Netflix just a couple of weeks after I finished reading the book. Although Krakauer certainly isn’t shy about saying that he, personally, admires Chris McCandless, he still manages to be more or less neutral and leave the reader to make their own mind up about it. Screenwriter/director Sean Penn doesn’t do the same here, and he strains a little hard to turn McCandless into some kind of Christ-like figure. But the movie overall is saved from heavyhandedness by some incredible perfomances — Emile Hirsch, of course; but also Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook were uh-mazing. The voiceovers get a little ponderous, but showing how Chris came to live the kind of life he did probably would have doubled the running time, so I can forgive it.


This isn’t from Netflix, I bought this, because I know I’ll want to watch it over and over again. I’ll be buying the 2nd season as soon as it’s available. I hope it includes the episodes that were filmed but that ABC never aired. I love this show, but watching the DVDs makes me want to go out in the street and punch the first person I see while yelling IT’S YOUR FAULT THIS WAS CANCELLED! YOU WERE TOO BUSY WATCHING DANCING WITH THE STARS TO WATCH THIS!!! Seriously, America: Your taste in television sucks.

Also, holy shit, how did I never notice how totally smoking hott Lee Pace was? I mean, I thought he was cute in a sort of mopey way, but umm:



So, Wonderfalls, Y/N? I thought the premise sounded stoopit when I heard about it back in the day. But really, is it any stupider than guy can bring dead things back to life with a touch, for no particular reason, except only for a minute or something else will die in its place, and he can never touch them again or they die forever, so he uses this to solve crimes, and he brings his childhood sweetheart back from the dead, and oh yeah also he bakes pies from dead fruit. Which he he brings back to life.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christy
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 12:31:48

    Wonderfalls was cute. I think I’d borrow it again before I bought it, though. Netflix!

  2. pinstripebindi
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 12:36:31

    Yes, I was planning on Netflixing it, not buying it. I only buy series I’ve seen enough of to know I’ll want to watch it more than once.

  3. Mar 19, 2009 @ 05:26:05

    Oh man, don’t get me started on The Dark Tower. I started it when I was in high school — I think only the first two had been published at that point — and became OBSESSED. I read them over and over, got into online discussion boards and engaged in truly endless blather about all these theories…basically Harry Potter times 100. You’re lucky, in a way, to start the books now, because if you do get hooked on them, you can have full gratification! The third book ended in mid-action, and then it was SIX FRAKKING YEARS before the fourth book! And then another six years until the fifth book!

    One of the most heartbreaking stories I heard was that an old woman wrote to King (either before book 4 or before book 5) begging him to tell her what happens at the end, because she was dying and wanted to know before she went. I guess King himself didn’t know at that point, and also a lot of stuff about how it’s the journey, not the destination, yadda yadda.

    Anyway, I think with the first book, he went back to it knowing how the story would end, and revised it to reflect that and bring it more in line with the rest of the series. It’s kind of interesting since the series changes over the 20 years he took to write it — he gets way into the mythology and language — and the later books sound nothing like the first couple, which then makes the first book all that much more the odd duck.

    If I had to pick one, I’d say the second book is my favorite. I think it’s right up there with the best of his earlier 1980’s stuff. He’s said that he might revisit the series one day and give the whole thing a polish — frankly, I think he should just rewrite the whole thing now that he’s not in fear of imminent death!

  4. pinstripebindi
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 09:01:02

    He mentioned that lady in the forward. He said even if he’d wanted to tell her, he wasn’t sure himself at that time how it was going to end!

  5. Beth
    Aug 15, 2009 @ 15:53:35

    How can you not notice how mega hot Lee Pace is! He’s fucking unreal! I larvvv him bigtime. Anna Friel is real pretty too, man am I jealous of her! X

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