50 Before 50

The Shining


"Come and play with us, Danny.  Forever and ever."


Why is this movie on the list:

Kind of a no brainer, 1st ballot Hall of Famer, right?  I mean it's Kubrick + Horror + the influence on pop culture and movies since.  It had to be here.  That formula alone is why I chose to watch it first when I put together my original 40 Before 40 list.  I figured it was right up my alley.


"Heeeeeere's Johnny!"


Initial Impressions:

This is tough...I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped to be would be my best answer.

I'd heard a lot of hype and knew some of the iconic moments already.  I knew about Kubrick and had read how he is one of the greatest directors around and a perfectionist so I was a little stunned when within the first 5 minutes of the film this happened...


I keep waiting, thinking the helicopter was chasing the family as part of the plot.  When they get to the hotel and there is no mention of the chopper I realize it was a gaffe, and now I'm second guessing everything and looking for other flaws.  For a director that has been lauded as the best how does this happen?

And the problem is compounded because there is something about the rest of the movie that seems off only now I'm hyper aware and looking for it.  The layout of the hotel doesn't seem to add up during the shots.  I'm thinking maybe the movie and director are hyperbole.

The rest of the movie turns out pretty good.  The pace is slower and it isn't over the top gore like most modern day horrors.  The framing and shots are top notch.  It's a creepy flick which I dig.  The end...

Only it isn't.  Months and years have gone by since I saw it and I still can't stop thinking about it.  That usually means it was a great flick.  I start doing a little research including seeing Room 237, which is a documentary about fan theories of the film.  Turns out the helicopter wasn't in the theater cut.  It only shows up because of the conversion to home video, so Kubrick didn't intend for it to be there.  In addition, people have mapped out the set from studying the film and it seems to be screwy on purpose to add to the increasing insanity of the atmosphere the audience is dealing with.

To all the fan theories about what the movie represents, I don't know what is the most plausible and I'm not sure I care.  I'm still deciding if it matters to the movie's importance.  On face value, it's a twisted movie for sure.


"Redrum Redrum"


Underrated, Overrated, Properly Rated:

The slightest bit Overrated.  That might change with a second viewing after getting a little knowledge and having a better mindset about the accidental and intentional flaws.  There certainly is a lot to digest on first viewing plus the cinematography alone is worth another look.  Just keep expectations in check if it's your first time.

Would I watch again: