Tag Archives: The New York Times

A review of “Pet Sematary” (2019)

“Pet Sematary” (2019) is an unnecessary remake, but still a decent one.  I personally prefer the flamboyant 1989 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel; it was more garish and stylish, if a little campy.  (And its flashback sequences involving one character’s deceased sister are priceless horror fare.)  But this sleeker, more restrained update is nonetheless still made and sometimes pretty scary.  I’d rate it an 8 out of 10.

The writing and directing are generally good, even if certain jump scares were so heavy-handed that they were nearly laughable.  (The script wisely capitalizes on the universal, existential dread of mortality, as the first film did.)  There are few new bells and whistles here; the 2019 film instead tries to distinguish itself with a key variation in the plot of King’s eponymous 1983 book.  (I won’t describe it here, as I’m not certain whether it is a spoiler.  But this change isn’t “shocking,” as The New York Times’ headline proclaims; it’s simply a basic story alteration.)

The cast is roundly quite good.  A surprise standout for me was Amy Seimetz, who plays the mother of the story’s troubled Creed family with surprising power and nuance.  She’s a damned excellent actress.  And I was surprised to learn that I failed to recognize her as one of the doomed spacefarers  from 2017’s “Alien: Covenant” — another role that required her to portray apprehension and panic.

There were two possible nitpicks that occurred to me as I watched “Pet Sematary,” but these probably aren’t the fault of the filmmakers, as they likely stem from the literary source material.  (I read the book several times, but I was a young teenager when I did so.)  As an adult, I am only a fuzzy on two story elements:

  1. How is the character of Victor Pascow (played here by Obssa Ahmed) able to offer help to the troubled Creed family?  Can anyone in his circumstances do so?  Might others step forward as well?  Why should Pascow be uniquely motivated?  (I am again trying to keep this review spoiler free.)
  2. Why is the mother’s traumatic childhood a factor in the story’s present?  It’s … mostly tangential, right?  It is a compelling character element, and portrayed beautifully by Seimetz.  But I don’t fully understand how it seems to affect what transpires before us.

One final note — I’ve seen a few people on the Internet compare John Lithgow’s performance to that of Fred Gwynne in the 1989 film.  (They both play the character of Jud, the family’s elderly neighbor.)  Lithgow is predictably wonderful here — especially when Jud is showing kindness to the young daughter (played charmingly by Jete Laurence).  But Gwynne was better, because he was so perfectly cast.  It was a role that he was born to play.

 

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Two videos about the “Adventurer’s Inn” amusement park in Flushing, Queens

This is a place in Queens that my siblings remember, even if I don’t — the “Adventurer’s Inn” amusement park off the Whitestone Expressway on Linden Place (the College Point area).  The park had a bit of a turbulent history, and actually went by a number of names between its opening in the 1950’s and when it closed in 1978.  (Somewhat confusingly, it was once called “The Great Adventure Amusement Park,” but it had no connection with the Six Flags Great Adventure megapark that opened in 1974 in New Jersey.)

There are still plenty of people out there who remember “Adventurer’s Inn,” as evidenced by the websites you can find about it.  One that I really like is Todd Berkun’s “LI & NY Places that are no more.”

I myself had no clue.  I certainly passed the site occasionally when I lived in New York, but I had no idea it was a place my parents took us when we were kids.  Any remnants of the park have long since been razed; the College Point Multiplex now occupies the site (not far from The New York Times distribution center).

 

 

The FCC just voted to end net neutrality.

The New York Times: “F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has been well known for his opposition to net neutrality, is a Donald Trump appointee.

Just so you know who to thank if you have to begin paying more for various Internet sites, in the same manner as you pay for cable packages.  Or if your ISP starts deciding which Internet content you can access.

 

 

 

The New York Times’ “Trump Poetry Contest”

Nicholas Kristof at the The New York Times is conducting a contest for poems about Donald Trump.  (And he is explicitly encouraging Trump supporters to share any creative work they might want to submit in the president’s defense.)  This is a partnership with the Poetry Society of America.

For more information, see Kristof’s September 15th column here.