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THE SHINING (1980) 
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I think "the Shining" might very well be one of the best flicks about loneliness I've ever seen. The look on Jack's face in the bedroom scene, when Danny is on his lap, is permanently in memory....he's going through the motions of fatherhood, but devoid of any compassion. That scene is as frightening as it gets in my book.

That's where the film is actually in some ways successful as an adaptation of the novel in my opinion. I think Kubrick nailed the the spirit of the novel in terms of the horrors of being a parent....and how it has led Jack to madness and rendered Wendy powerless.

By the way, my mom kinda looks like Shelley Duvall....I first saw this movie when I was about 10, to say I was just a little freaked being at home is an understatement.


Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:39 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I'm a big fan of The Shining. I watched it again recently and I think it holds up very well. I would rank it one of the better movies of the 1980s and it is my favorite Stanley Kubrick film.

By the way, the Stephen King book is also great (even though it is quite different). I would put The Shining the King's Top 3 books (with The Stand and Pet Sematary).


Last edited by PAG on Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:53 pm
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
moonwatcher68 wrote:
Let me pose a question: Do you consider The Shining an art film, by whatever definition and for whatever that's worth?


No. It's more artistic than what one normally expects from a major release, but I'd still consider it to be "mainstream."


Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:55 pm
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
Speaking of landmark horror from the 80's, will 'Henry' ever get a review? This would make quite the horror trifecta (if you wish to endure the nihilism. oh the nihilism :mrgreen: ) Just a thought.


Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:02 pm
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Speaking of landmark horror from the 80's, will 'Henry' ever get a review? This would make quite the horror trifecta (if you wish to endure the nihilism. oh the nihilism :mrgreen: ) Just a thought.


I assume you're referring to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Haven't thought about that in a long time. No plans to review it, either.


Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:29 pm
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
Haha, it was worth a try :)



I'm glad that you've opened up to 'The Shining' more. On repeat glances, I only like your review more. It is perhaps one of your most convincing.


Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:35 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
Hmm James,

I see in your review that you almost consider the film a ghost story, or as you state a haunted house story, where I take it more as a psychological thriller, or a look into a deranged mind. I would agree with your assessment of the directorial vs acting considerations that you mentioned, and I also think you are spot on with the caricature done by Nicholson. OVER the TOP! But we did get a funny stolen line out of it. I always thought of Danny and Jack being related and passing down that "bad gene" of mental illness......... with Danny coming to grips with his, vs his old man flying over the cuckoo's nest.

Cheers,

Wade


Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:37 am
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
Kubrick liked Nicholson's performance.

There is an interview on the Eyes Wide Shut DVD in which Spielberg talks about Kubrick considering Nicholson's performance a great one.

I agree with James in his review. The Shining is an incredible technical accomplishment yet it does not hold up in comparison to his great films.

Just curious how many of you have seen the version shown in the UK? I am English and have not had the chance to see the longer American version and was curious are they much different?

I don't know why but I am curious to read what James thinks of the equally ambigious 1980 film Cruising. The film has developed a cult following in recent years and I would find it interesting what JB would think.


Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:35 am
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
sclark78 wrote:
Kubrick liked Nicholson's performance.

There is an interview on the Eyes Wide Shut DVD in which Spielberg talks about Kubrick considering Nicholson's performance a great one.

I agree with James in his review. The Shining is an incredible technical accomplishment yet it does not hold up in comparison to his great films.

Just curious how many of you have seen the version shown in the UK? I am English and have not had the chance to see the longer American version and was curious are they much different?

I don't know why but I am curious to read what James thinks of the equally ambigious 1980 film Cruising. The film has developed a cult following in recent years and I would find it interesting what JB would think.


I saw Cruising when it first came out. I too would be very curious to hear his thoughts.
Rob


Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:07 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
It's hard to gauge exactly what the quality of the screenplay was since Kubrick had a reputation for "finding" his movies in the editing (much like David Lynch does now).

I want to be clear that I absolutely drink the Kool-Aid where hype about Kubrick's mastery is concerned. I just think that he tended to make eccentric decisions during the long, long hours he is known to have spent in the editing room. It must get awfully punchy during the most epic and exhausting editing sessions. It's the type of fatigue that leads Peter Jackson to think, "The last 20 minutes of RETURN OF THE KING are the best thing I ever directed. It's so good that I should completely cut the painstakingly established character of Saruman out of this film for time so that I don't have to touch a frame of my precious epilogue."

In other words, it does funny things to the judgement of smart, talented people.

I think the suggestion that Kubrick was doing something Lynchian with this film (regardless of whether or not he had ERASERHEAD on the brain for the whole time) is on the money. Of course, it's hard to tell since Lynch has clearly taken some later inspiration from THE SHINING. There are times when The Great Northern in TWIN PEAKS suggests what Kubrick's Overlook Hotel could have been with guests (and back room deals with Norwegians) during the busy season.

On a related note, I remember reading an interview with David Cronenberg (in Chris Rodley's "Cronenberg On Cronenberg") in which he said that he actually cut a version of VIDEODROME that only ran 75 minutes, effectively gutting it. True, the final version immortalized on the Criterion dvd (!!!) isn't the most coherent of films, but it just goes to show how relentlessly a filmmaker will tear chunks of footage, plot and sense from his or her own film if left to their own devices.


Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:23 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
The Shining is one of those movies I don't know quite what to feel about. First, I saw it as a very young child for the first time on television. At the time, it freaked me out a little. In fact, my older brothers who found this hysterical even went so far as to write REDRUM in lipstick on the wall across from a mirror(which was above the toilet) so that in would see the reverse in the mirror when i awoke for my usual nighttime trip to the bathroom(I screamed, they rushed in and cleaned it up to hide the evidence). They denied it ever being there and my parents were convinced I had a bad dream. I didn't sleep the rest of the week and didn't get them to own up to it for years. Anyway, that was my first impression of the movie. Next up was a neighbors house who had a cutout of Jack with the crazed look peeking through their back door. I had to walk past that door every night I returned home from being out and I have to admit walking really fast past that door(though I couldn't help but look every time). Later, after high school I watched it and no longer traumatized by it I
thought it was disturbing but not quite scary. I picked up the book which I found more enjoyable and look back at the movie as just something I was once scared of. Maybe it's time to re-watch it.


Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:26 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I honestly was never overly impressed with The Shining. I must admit, I had read the book before I saw the movie and in some ways you can't help but compare the two. It is definitely a good movie, but not a great movie. The thing about Kubrick for me is I either love his movies or I am bored by them. Dr Strangelove is easily my favourite, followed by Paths of Glory, but The Shining, Full Metal Jacket (the second half) and Barry Lyndon in particular just don't do it for me. I definitely did not find it scary!


Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:58 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I think the key word you used in your review is dread. This movie is excellent at creating the mood of dread and building it up to horrifying proportions. I have to say that I found several the scenes to be very disturbing, especially when those twin girls appear in broad daylight. They way it is filmed and presented just creeps me out.

All in all I agree with your grade of the movie. I enjoy it, but I don't think it's the best that Kubrick has done. I've also read the book and find the two very different. It doesn't bother me. The movie is the movie and the book is the book. Different media, different experience.


Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:34 am
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Post Standard Edition
I just got The Shining from Netflix and they sent me the standard edition which is a disappointment. I remember when DVDs first came out all Stanley Kubrick movies were released only in standard format. It was reported that this was his wish and intention as he felt the black boxes were a distraction. I see that the Blu-ray version issued in 2007 is offered in widescreen. I imagine this policy has been reversed with the popularity of HD.

Netflix is usually good about sending the widescreen version. I must have got an old DVD. That's a phrase I never thought I'd say. It was still a beautifully shot film and a joy to watch again. I hadn't seen it since 1992.


Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:58 pm
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I wonder how the shadow of Kubrick influences viewings of his films that you've not seen before?

I believe that it certainly does.

Even it just commands attention unlike others might receive.

Rob


Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:23 am
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Post Re: Standard Edition
Grant Wood wrote:
I just got The Shining from Netflix and they sent me the standard edition which is a disappointment. I remember when DVDs first came out all Stanley Kubrick movies were released only in standard format. It was reported that this was his wish and intention as he felt the black boxes were a distraction. I see that the Blu-ray version issued in 2007 is offered in widescreen. I imagine this policy has been reversed with the popularity of HD.

Netflix is usually good about sending the widescreen version. I must have got an old DVD. That's a phrase I never thought I'd say. It was still a beautifully shot film and a joy to watch again. I hadn't seen it since 1992.


Kubrick was against his movies being released in widescreen, but that was before the advent of widescreen TVs. Who knows how he would have felt about it today?

Incidentally, the full screen versions of his film actually contain more information than the widescreen ones. For the widescreen transfers, the full screen versions were matted to cut off the bottom and top information.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:26 am
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Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I mostly agree with James’ review except regarding performances. I think Duvall is rock solid in a thankless part and Lloyd *is* Danny. Nicholson’s performance is what derails the film. As portrayed, Jack is scary and intense before they even reach the Overlook and his descent into madness is a pretty short fall. It seriously undermines the film because it would be so much more disturbing to watch a sympathetic, reliable father, gradually grow distant and malevolent.

For years I blamed Nicholson for this, believing he phoned in the performance. The documentaries on the 2007 DVD release reveal, though, that Nicholson gave a broad spectrum of takes for the film and that Kubrick always chose the most intense ones in the editing room. I believe that another editor could have used the footage that Kubrick shot and shaped the performance into a more subtle and resonant one. It's all a matter of preference perhaps, but thats The Shining that I wanted to see.


Last edited by Quintaros on Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:40 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
I don't know.



When Jack goes crazy, I always get frightened by the other aspects of the story so much that it never bothers me. I think that Nicholson make the descent entertaining, and really, I think that helps the second half gain a delirious momentum when he begins to plan against his family. I think it's unsettling to almost want to 'root' for him to succeed, regardless of teh horrible acts he wishes to do. His scene with Shelley Duvall on the staircase is extremely intense.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:50 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
My point mostly applied to the first half of the film. I have no problem’s with Jack’s ultimate mania but it was so heavily forecast by his early behaviour that it compromises our sympathy for the adult characters. We don’t feel for Jack as a lost soul and we’re frustrated with Wendy for not reading the writing on the wall (until it literally is writing on the wall…er… door).


Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:27 pm
Post Re: THE SHINING (1980)
My opinion about the Shining has changed over the years. Stanley Kubrick was the first "auteur" I really got into back in high school and at the time I felt that everything Stanley Kubrick made was pure gold. As I watched a lot more about films and learned a lot more about the craft, Stanley Kubrick is still in my top five directors of all time, however my enthusiasm for some of his films waned.

The irony of the Shining was that although it's technically the best directed horror film ever made, the potential of the film was held back by Stanley Kubrick himself. I think he wasn't able to explore many of the thematic ideas of the novel fully since Stanley Kubrick never really understood spiritual belief. I think it would be very difficult for someone who finds all matters of spirituality nonsense to have the Shining live up to its full potential as a film and develop an adequate screenplay.

In Kubrick's pantheon of films, I would rank the Shining near the bottom. The horror genre itself is generally so pathetic, though, that I ironically rank it as one of the top 5 horror films of all time.


Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:01 pm
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