Day 81: 'The Shining'

Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining'

Let's see if I can actually do this...I will now attempt to write my first full 100 Days blog post from my iPhone. I only have an hour and 20 minutes until midnight, I'm stuck six levels up in the parking lot of the Arclight theater in Hollywood, and I forgot my netbook at home 15 miles away. 35% power on my phone and counting...

I just saw The Shining, which, 30 years later, still managed to play fabulously to a full house (apologies here for anyone expecting a review of Oliver Stone's South of the Border...running around with my head cut off again).

Speaking of which, I had to drag my friend Robert along, too, because, truth be known, I can't watch The Shining on my own. I am that freaked out by Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece.

Jack Nicholson and his eyebrows and that killer axe and that evil gleam in his eyes as he tries to dispatch his horrified wife and comatose son...Shelley Duvall as the most terrified housewife in movies...The whole crazy "red rum" chant from their young son...

Then there's the supremely scary visuals that, once you've seen them, will terrify your nightmares for a lifetime. Those two liitle girls in the hallway, the bleeding elevators of the Overlook Hotel and the bartender who apparently has no eyebrows - ugh.

Thankfully, with a buddy present and plenty of appreciative fellow film buff fans around, I could be reminded how, apart from the scares, this is genius filmmaking to behold. Kubrick's tracking shots of young Danny on his big wheel and the ambient sounds as he crosses carpet to hard floor are mesmerizing. The composition of each shot of characters framed in this cavernous, magnificent, lonely environment is literally breathtaking. Kubrick's haunting use of Bartok on the score is endlessly chilling.

I could go on and on, but since I'm down to 30% power and still need to figure out how to code and post this note, I'll leave it at that. Hopefully, I haven't spoiled too much for those of you who haven't seen this brilliant film, and if you have, definitely revisit it again, especially if it plays at a revival theater near you.

So, yes, we can all agree that Kubrick is a mastermind. But which of his films strikes your fancy the most? While I love The Shining, I still get weak in the knees most for 2001 - a film I rank as one of the greatest pieces of cinema, sci-fi or otherwise, ever produced. But that's me. What's your favorite cup of Kubrick?

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Next Article by Erik Davis

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