Monday, July 31, 2017

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary [sic]
IFC viewing

I didn't really think Pet Sematary was gonna be that good a movie, but I had hoped it might be, solely on the basis of its awesome theme song. I was mistaken; it sucks, although it does have its unintentionally funny moments, including an epic Big No scene.

I'll have more to say about Stephen King next month when I write about The Dark Tower; for now, I'll say this: I respect him as a storyteller, someone who has been doing for decades what I'm still struggling to do once - write a novel - and making it look easy, but this just wasn't that scary. I doubt it was that scary in 1989, when it was released - and he wrote the screenplay.

Plus, it kinda rips off The Shining: family moves to someplace new because Dad's got a new job; child has precognitive visions of impending doom; older character acts as mentor figure to child, eventually gets killed; wife is useless; supernatural/imaginary being seen by only one character; crazy father stalks son/crazy son stalks father. I suppose when you've been writing for as long as King has, you're bound to repeat certain themes, but still.



Let's talk about Denise Crosby. As you know, she left Star Trek: The Next Generation after one season to pursue better roles. Her character was killed off. In a 2012 interview, she makes it clear she was "miserable" on the show:
...[Leaving] was not an overnight decision. I was grateful to have made that many episodes, but I didn't want to spend the next six years going "Aye aye, captain," and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years.
I believe Crosby would have had opportunities to do more on the show had she opted to stick it out, but that's with the benefit of hindsight. By many accounts, the first season of TNG was difficult on multiple levels. Few could have guessed where it would lead. Crosby came back to TNG, of course, in spectacular fashion: dying a second time and reappearing in a recurring role as her own, half-Romulan daughter! (You can do that sort of thing in sci-fi.)



I'm afraid I haven't seen her in much non-Trek material. I saw her in Deep Impact; she was good in that. She's mostly stuck to television over the years; perhaps you've seen her recently in Mad Men, Scandal, The Walking Dead and Ray Donovan, among others. To be honest, I wouldn't rank her among the greatest actresses I've ever seen, but credit where credit's due: she has sustained a career doing way more than genre work.



Crosby doesn't have much to do in Pet Sematary other than be the wife. She gets one big scene where her character talks about her childhood with her disabled sister. It sounded like two different takes were put together, one in which she's crying and another where she's somewhat calmer. The difference is just enough to be noticeable. It kinda threw me out of the scene. One wonders what the story behind that was. Perhaps it's explained in the new making-of documentary!

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