Friday, June 20, 2008

King; Keene; Goldberg

From Bookgasm today, this amusing piece on King films.

BOOKS 2 FILM >> The 5 Best “Worst” Stephen King Movies
Author: Louis Fowler

books to film

Recently we saw the release of the latest Stephen King cinematic adaptation, THE MIST. It is trashy King done by a classy director and I loved every minute of it. It straddles the line between “good” Stephen King film and “bad” Stephen King film.

You know what a “good” Stephen King film is: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE SHINING, CARRIE, STAND BY ME, THE GREEN MILE. While that’s all well and good, I have to be honest with you: I’ll take lousy, shitty Stephen King flicks anyday over any of those classy ones. No need to church it up for me. Give me the low-budget junk, the spectacular misfires, the ridiculously plotted storylines, the overwrought amateurish acting and the AC/DC soundtrack. Why? For the simple reason that the worse a Stephen King film is, the more entertaining it is.

Can you honestly look me in the eyes and tell me that four kids on a summer search for self-discovery is more entertaining than a group of kids who stalk and kill all the adults in a small town because they follow the teachings of a demonic being known as He Who Walks Behind the Rows? No, you can’t. STAND BY ME may be the better film, but CHILDREN OF THE CORN is the fun film.

Here’s a list of my personal “bad” King faves that no matter what time of day, if it’s on television, I’ll be watching it …


I logged on to ABE last night looking for a cheap copy of a Day Keene novel and found that he wrote two Nancy Drews in the late 60s! Like a true pulpster who needs dough I understand...but Nancy Drew?


Last night I reviewed Lee Goldberg's new novel Monk novel Mr. Monk Goes To Germany. One of the funniest page-turners I've read in the past couple of years.

But whenever I review one of Lee's books I feel guilty if I don't mention his masterpiece, The Man With The Iron-On Badge.

This is a novel that pays tribute to the classic private eyes by introducing a funny, cranky, sly and very bright guy named Harvey Mapes who between honoring his twin obsessions junk food and crime fiction on page and tv screen manages to become more than just a security guard--he becomes a private eye kind of.

Two surprises. The lazy way would have been to treat the reader to all his crime fighter riffs and get off stage. But the mystery here is cleverly drawn and not without grit and real suspense. The other aspect is the tour of LA that Lee/Harvey takes us on. Too much of LA fiction plays the usual songs. But the cunning detail in Iron-On Badge makes everything from gated communities to eating at Denny's seem brand new. This is because we're seeing it through the eyes of a burned-out working class guy who takes us inside his dotty but endearing fantasy life.

This is one of those novels that will be around for a long, long time. It's that good.

Now if it was just available in trade pb or mass market.


mybillcrider said...

I didn't know about those Day Keene Nancy Drew novels, either. Noir Nancy?

I agree with you about Lee's THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE. I still can't figure out why some big-name publisher didn't take that one on.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about Day Keene and Nancy Drew? The original dates on those books was in the 40s. I think somebody got DAY Keene mixed up with CAROLYN Keene.