Carrie

When I watched Match Game yesterday, I was impressed that Bonnie Franklin won $20000 for two contestants in two programs.  She died three years ago.  I worked my shift, but people seemed to be strangely unhappy, and I felt slightly alarmed.  I went home and watched the movie “Carrie” with Sissy Spacek.  It was kind of interesting that she was still able to play a teenager even three years after “Badlands.”  Stephen King had worked as a janitor and was cleaning the girls’ showers at a high school when he noticed the shower curtains and tampon dispensers, which sparked the idea for the beginning of the story that became “Carrie.”  The nudity at the beginning seemed unnecessary, and I don’t know why we see female nudity and no male nudity in the picture.  The whole thing felt like the origin of high school sex comedies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Porky’s.”  Piper Laurie thought the movie was a black comedy.  Margaret was scary and funny.  I would have laughed out loud at several points, except that the underlying cruelty kept me from doing that.  It’s funny how juvenile John Travolta’s character is.  He was awfully dumb, and his girlfriend was right about him.  It’s also funny how he, Nancy Allen, and Brian De Palma would get together again for “Blow Out.”  I saw echoes of “Psycho” in this movie with the domineering mother with the problem child.  She must have been really crazy not to talk to her daughter about what menstruation was.  Carrie was painfully weak in her mind if she was that frightened of her blood.  When Miss Collins was laying down the punishment, I thought it was frightening that Carrie would suffer even more.  She actually slapped a student, which wouldn’t happen today.  Miss Collins didn’t seem tactful in discussing the situation with the principal.  Something else that is really bizarre is seeing Amy Irving, the future Mrs. Steven Spielberg, in this movie playing a teenager.  Her last scene is really terrifying and even disturbed me last night, although the idea was taken from “Deliverance.”  Some of the shots have a real low-budget quality and felt ineffective and strained.  It did make me appreciate some of Brian De Palma’s later films.  I thought the fire hoses looked quite ridiculous.  It didn’t seem right that Tommy Ross was caught in the fire, or that Miss Collins met her fate.  I knew that I recognized Mr. Fromm from somewhere, and it was from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Almost as shocking as the violence in the movie was seeing Edie McClurg as one of the teenage girls.  I always think of her as the woman from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  A young girl shouldn’t be humiliated like that in front of classmates, but Carrie was rather stupid.  If she was going to lash out, she should have lashed out at Chris and Billy.  Those two were really stupid themselves for trying to run her over.  I would say that after all these ideas, this movie feels like it drags on quite a bit.  In between the shower scene and the prom scene, it feels like it’s taking a long time to get where it’s going.  Brian De Palma does extend the suspense very well in a Hitchcock manner with the prom sequence.  It was painful to watch, and I was holding my breath a bit, kind of like how I felt watching Al Pacino coming out of the restaurant bathroom in “The Godfather.”  I like how Sissy Spacek threw herself into this role, although I don’t know if she deserved an Academy Award nomination for it.  I don’t think it would have been right for the movie to have Carrie destroy the entire town.  It was only the other students who tormented her besides her mother.  Carrie wasn’t a bad looking girl if she would only take the hair away from her face.  I could not imagine someone like Melanie Griffith playing Carrie, too innocent to know what something like menstruation.  It might have been interesting, though, if Tippi Hedren played her mother.  Amy Irving’s real mother played her character’s mother.  On the soundtrack was the Motown song “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas.  I thought I detected a touch of “American Graffiti” in the part with Billy and Chris driving around.  In one scene, it looks like they’re showing “Duel at Diablo” on television.  You see James Garner’s name in the opening credits.  “Carrie” isn’t what I would call a flawless movie, but it was better than other Stephen King adaptations, like “Firestarter” and “Cujo.”  I would say that a good comparison would be “Firestarter” because of the young girl with unusual abilities.  It seemed like a miracle that Sissy Spacek would go on to a substantial career, winning that Oscar for “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”  John Travolta would appear in movies we liked, like “Saturday Night Fever” and “Pulp Fiction,” and movies we hated, like “Staying Alive” and “Perfect.”  I would say that I liked him best in “Pulp Fiction.”  Piper Laurie is still alive at 84.  The only other movie of hers that I remember is “The Hustler.”  I guess on the whole the world gained something when Stephen King’s wife saved his manuscript of “Carrie” from the garbage.  We got “The Shining” and “The Shawshank Redemption” out of it, even though we also suffered through some other horrific movies to get there.  Unfortunately, I will remember this day as the day I heard the shocking news that Prince has died at age 57.  I saw him at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena on April 3, 1983, and he played only 12 songs, but he was a great performer.  He was not much older than I am now, so I felt a bit of my mortality at hearing the news.  I will remember him for the songs “Controversy,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “When Doves Cry.”  I didn’t think he was a great actor, especially when he had to show himself eating Doritos in one scene, but he was a real star.  It was odd that I just saw Vanity on a rerun of the Tonight Show from 1985 this week.  Robert Hilburn compared him to David Bowie, who just died three months ago.  Some of people who died on April 21 include Mark Twain (1910), Gummo Marx (1977), Sandy Denny (1978), Jimmy the Greek (1996), and Nina Simone (2003).  Today is a birthday for Tony Danza (65), Iggy Pop (69), and Queen Elizabeth II (90).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 21, Elvis Presley had the Number One single “Good Luck Charm” in 1962.  In 1973, the Number One single was Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.”  In 1989, “Pet Sematary” was released.  In 1993, “Walker, Texas Ranger” made its debut on CBS.

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