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the telethon runner

I watch TV and write about it. Sometimes I watch movies too.

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Stephen King

Binge Watching: Mr. Mercedes

Having just finished reading Stephen King’s Hodges trilogy last summer, I was a bit ambivalent about watching the first season of the new TV show based on the book. After all, King hasn’t exactly had huge success when it comes to adapting his novels on screen, even when he’s actively involved in the project.

Still, after the great job Netflix recently did with Gerald’s Game, and given that the best movie adaptations of his work so far have been those that are low on the supernatural element (or lack it altogether), I figured Mr. Mercedes was a ‘safe’ enough choice that would actually be hard to screw up. After all, it’s basically just a crime drama/detective story featuring a psychotic villain and a retired cop, both of whom practically leap off the page. It seemed like a no-brainer in theory.

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Gerald’s Game

It’s been a big summer for Mr Stephen King, hasn’t it? With It racking up rave reviews left and right, Mr Mercedes about to wrap up its first season, and now Gerald’s Game out on Netflix, it seems the King of Horror can do no wrong these days.

I’ve yet to see It (it was just released this week in these parts) and I’m holding off to binge-watch Mr Mercedes, but I did just see Gerald’s Game, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Book to screen: how much poetic licence do we allow?

Of course, we’re not the ones doing the allowing. It’s up to the screenplay writers to adapt the book to screen, however they see fit.

Sometimes the books themselves pose the problem: whatever universe is created in the author’s mind might be extremely hard – indeed, sometimes downright impossible – to translate to the screen in a believable way. In some cases it’s done masterfully, in others… well, the results can range from kitch to awful, with bad CGI and even worse acting and directing being the usual culprits.

But for the sake of this post, I have to assume that the writers’ and directors’ vision was originally to stay true to the raw material. To take this carefully crafted world they were handed in book form and bring it to life in front of our very eyes. So what is it that usually goes wrong?

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