“I’m your number one fan.”

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Misery (1990) 

Book by Stephen King Screenplay by William Goldman Directed by Rob Reiner

Words I’m sure many readers can relate to. Losing ourselves at the thought of being able to mutter such a phrase to our favorite person of interest. But what would it take to even be considered such, declarations otherwise coming so effortlessly? Believing this account to be an undoubtedly tough subject for any Author to truly envelop themselves around, Stephen King felt just as strongly about choosing the Director for this particular project. Having favored Rob Reiner’s adaptation of his novella “The Body,” (Stand By Me) best amongst his many others. Unwilling to give up rights if unable to obtain. Yet needing to merge a mixture of comedy into the tale, done so in a way that wouldn’t overshadow the heavy context, yet remain light enough for the occasional break of tension between the characters as their relationship developed. Something versatile Director Reiner could easily handle, earning Kathy Bates an Oscar for Best Actress; a first for the genre.

In a story about how acclaimed Author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) had finally completed a novel not having to do with the archetypal character having gained his fame and popularity for. Finalizing the occasion with a tradition, of which would favor most profitable in the end, finding himself at the mercy of the weather upon leaving the Silver Creek Lodge. Not knowing the injuries obtained from the accident would be the least of his worries for the foreseeing future. Saved by an unlikely hero in which is no coincidence at all, it’s as though it would take more than luck before Paul would start making his own decisions for the remainder of the time spent with his biggest fan.

His rescuer Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a neurotic mess whose inability to differentiate between reality and fiction, had caused her to live a life of solitude in her later years. Having been a nurse, it wasn’t until after her husband left her that she began to dive into her work; working mostly night shifts at the Hospital. Finding solace in Paul’s books concerning Misery, saved by his words alone it would seem. All the while mind you, this is being told in a heartfelt manner as he *unloads* his fluids; the hint of comedic value being truly depreciated in comparison to the suspense created overall.
Visited later that night by an altogether different Annie, the second occasion in which her neurosis would be most prominent. Where one must appreciate the carefully chosen close-ups to indicate the madness full on. For after finishing Paul’s latest novel and finding that it didn’t end in a way she saw fit, all Hell broke loose. It was one thing for his new novel to lack the nobility she knew him capable of. But killing off the character of Misery became more than she could handle.

It’s from here on out that their relationship develops into some sad display of petty behavior; Paul knowing what had to be done in order to stay alive. Playing into Annie’s sick game of being the devout writer, aimed at pleasing his fans. All the while wrapping his mind around the situation at hand, working on a means of escape. Discovering a way to escape his room, though for brief periods of time. Its in his second time that he discovers the scrapbook with the finer details behind her indiscretions. Churning out page after another once receiving a “50 pound clunker” where he was expected to write out would what be his masterpiece. Discovering a way to bring Misery back into her life, expecting nothing less from his genius. Eventually taking further precautions after the newly founded information on his nurse, who had as well, began to sniff out his intentions after noticing something misplaced throughout the house.
Paul’s agent Marcia (Lauren Bacall) having put in a call to the local Sheriff’s office expressing her concern. Buster (Richard Farnsworth) immediately taking interest and poking around the town. His keen sense of danger, or perhaps lack of anything else ever gong on around town, leads him to Ms. Wilkes place. Inquiring what knowledge was had on the Author as a tour of the house ensues. Fed some story of how after she had heard of the accident, she took it upon herself to emulate him in the only way configuring; taking on his work so he could live on forever. Almost getting away with it to if not for the noise heard once stepping out her house. Rushing back in to receive a blow from a shotgun, Paul next as far as she was concerned. Though admittedly came forward, pleading they wait, finally knowing how it all should end; soliciting his trio for the concluding ceremony.

The character of Annie being one of the true greats for women in Horror. The way her voice carries into the scene for the first time, the slow haze as her face appears. A new audience wouldn’t even be able to dream up what was in store for dear Paul. And the innocence otherwise maintained. That is, until hearing of any nonsense going on with her Misery. Her outwardly distraught facial expressions, hilarious choice of curse words and dead pan stare combined for a truly chilling person to find yourself ever in the presence of. An uncertainty combining with great talent made for quite the deadly execution. Everything truly memorable about this film going back to Kathy Bates. When it wasn’t even a  matter of anything else being sub-par. Because the cameos from Lauren Bacall and Richard Farnsworth were both fulfilling in their own nature. James Caan equally deserves notation for his for being able to simulate, in copious amounts, excruciating pain while hardly ever moving in a regular fashion. When thinking back in Horror, its mostly males that come to mind with the helpless victims being some girl everyone forgets in the long run. Yet the same could not be said for Misery and that of its leading lady.

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