It Shows Why America Needs Stephen King Now 

Warning: Creepy clown alert.

click to enlarge Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, perhaps the creepiest clown ever.
  • Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, perhaps the creepiest clown ever.

More than ever before, America needs Stephen King. More to the point, the movie industry needs the creator of Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, Stand by Me, and The Green Mile to squirt some high-octane rocket fuel into the nation's popcorn pits. Commentators and business analysts have been hyperventilating the past few weeks over miserable summer box office figures from the "shared entertainment" platform — this despite the fact that 2017 is shaping up, at least by some reckonings, to be a strong year for intelligent, thought-provoking films.

What's missing, the experts say, is a hit for the whole family. Something to make the 12-to-28 audience drop their hand-helds and whoop with joy. Something with loads of safe, acceptable, soft-R-rated fright effects, headless teenagers, and nightmare-inducing bogeymen, with a little sex. Something like Pet Sematary or Children of the Corn. In other words, Stephen King.

It is it. At least, it's the best we have to work with at this stage of the Fall release season. Blood by the gallon, overpowering waves of fear, and a sense of abject helplessness tinged with a tantalizing glimmer of hope. A no-brainer. You want butter with that?

There's trouble deep down in the soul of the town of Derry, as there is everyplace in America on which King's gaze falls — adapted in this case by writers Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman, for director Andy Muschietti. Derry has a nasty history of explosions, massacres, etc. Lately, children have been going missing in alarming numbers, including little Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), younger brother of a sensitive and courageous, if stuttering, adolescent named Bill (Jaeden Lieberher). It's now up to Bill, in league with his brand new female pal Beverly (well cast Sophia Lillis) and fellow members of the "Losers' Club," to right the wrongs.

Easier said than done. In its race to pile spectacle upon eye-popping spectacle, It lays on the terrors thicker than deer flies on a dropped hamburger. Chief among the opposition is Pennywise, a leading contender for Most Horrendous Cinematic Clown honors (brilliantly portrayed by Bill Skarsgård, of the Swedish acting family). The sewer-dwelling Pennywise's job is to be the final shock-cut ingredient of every one of the movie's most horrifying scenes, the poison cherry on top of the grisly sundae.

Needless to say, there are tons more grotesqueries: half-decomposed kids, a theme-park-ready haunted house, eerie paintings come to life, a bottomless well, a mobile made of deceased children, and bullies everywhere. Entire segments of the town's population refuse to stay down after they die. As if all that weren't enough, Beverly's icky, leering, touchy-feely father (Stephen Bogaert) adds an extra layer of loathsomeness to her predicament. Oh, and the movie's lone Black character, a picked-on teen named Mike (Chosen Jacobs) has his own challenges, as does Stanley, the rabbi's son (Wyatt Oleff). Pennywise is an equal-opportunity tormentor of the innocent.

Bill is the movie's moral compass. His rapprochement with Beverly, the town's misunderstood "bad girl," lends an all-important note of what can only be called sexual healing — the teenage variety, shy stolen kisses down at the gravel pit swimming hole — to what is essentially the most event-filled youth-market psychodrama of the year. For what that's worth. The twin morals of the story are: 1) Stand up and face your fears, kids; and 2) Choose carefully when it's time to hire a plumber. See It once and move on to other things.


It
Directed by Andy Muschietti. With Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis. Now playing.

It
Rated R · 135 minutes · 2017
Official Site: itthemovie.com
Director: Andy Muschietti
Producer: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti, Dave Neustadter, Walter Hamada, Richard Brener, Toby Emmerich, Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison, Jon Silk and Niija Kuykendall
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgård, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, Jackson Scott, Stephen Bogaert, Stuart Hughes, Geoffrey Pounsett, Pip Dwyer, Molly Atkinson, Steven Williams, Elizabeth Saunders, Megan Charpentier, Joe Bostick, Ari Cohen, Anthony Ulc, Javier Botet and Katie Lunman

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It Buy tickets...
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It Buy tickets...
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3200 Grand Ave., (at Lake Park Ave.)
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31200 Alvarado Niles Rd., (at Dyer St.)
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1010 Great Mall Drive, (1010 Great Mall Drive)
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1985 Willow Pass Rd., (at Galindo St.)
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555 Center Ave., (at Muir Rd.)
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It Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Century San Mateo 12
320 East 2nd Ave., (320 East 2nd Ave.)
It Buy tickets...
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3630 Balboa St., (Balboa Street and 38th Avenue)
It Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Rheem All-Stadium 4
350 Park St.
It Buy tickets...
7:00 PM Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Ave., (at Lake Park Ave.)
It Buy tickets...
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100 Washington St., (at Embarcadero West)
It Buy tickets...
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2853 Castro Valley Blvd.
It Buy tickets...
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3088 Olsen Drive
It Buy tickets...
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It Buy tickets...
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It Buy tickets...
7:15 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
It Buy tickets...
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It Buy tickets...
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3111 Mission College Blvd.
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8:00 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
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4175 Blackhawk Plaza Cir.
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8:40 PM Century 16 Bayfair
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1010 Great Mall Drive, (1010 Great Mall Drive)
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8:55 PM Century 16 Hilltop
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It Buy tickets...
9:00 PM Contra Costa Cinemas
555 Center Ave., (at Muir Rd.)
It Buy tickets...
9:00 PM Brenden Concord 14
1985 Willow Pass Rd., (at Galindo St.)
It Buy tickets...
9:00 PM Grand Lake Theater
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It Buy tickets...
9:00 PM Livermore Cinemas
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It Buy tickets...
9:10 PM Cinemark Tracy Movies 14
3300 North Naglee Road, (3300 North Naglee Road)
It Buy tickets...
9:15 PM AMC Bay Street 16
5614 Shellmound St., Ste. 220, (in the Bay Street Mall)
It Buy tickets...
9:15 PM Sundance Kabuki
1881 Post St.
It Buy tickets...
9:20 PM Century 25 Union City
31200 Alvarado Niles Rd., (at Dyer St.)
It Buy tickets...
9:30 PM Brenden Concord 14
1985 Willow Pass Rd., (at Galindo St.)
It Buy tickets...
9:30 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
It Buy tickets...
9:30 PM AMC Mercado 20
3111 Mission College Blvd.
It Buy tickets...
9:30 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
It Buy tickets...
9:40 PM Century 20 Great Mall
1010 Great Mall Drive, (1010 Great Mall Drive)
It Buy tickets...
9:40 PM Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Ave.
It Buy tickets...
9:45 PM Landmark Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Ave., (between Allston Way and Kittredge St.)
It
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It Buy tickets...
10:00 PM Contra Costa Cinemas
555 Center Ave., (at Muir Rd.)
It Buy tickets...
10:00 PM Alameda Theatre & Cineplex
2317 Central Ave.
It Buy tickets...
10:00 PM Century 25 Union City
31200 Alvarado Niles Rd., (at Dyer St.)
It Buy tickets...
10:10 PM Century San Mateo 12
320 East 2nd Ave., (320 East 2nd Ave.)
It Buy tickets...
10:10 PM Landmark Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Ave., (between Allston Way and Kittredge St.)
It
10:10 PM Regal Jack London Stadium 9
100 Washington St., (at Embarcadero West)
It Buy tickets...
10:15 PM CineArts @ Santana Row
3088 Olsen Drive
It Buy tickets...
10:15 PM Century 16 Downtown Pleasant Hill
125 Crescent Dr., (between Crescent Pl. and Boyd Rd.)
It Buy tickets...
10:15 PM Cinemark Tracy Movies 14
3300 North Naglee Road, (3300 North Naglee Road)
It Buy tickets...
10:25 PM Century at Hayward
1069 B St.
It Buy tickets...
10:30 PM Century 20 Great Mall
1010 Great Mall Drive, (1010 Great Mall Drive)
It Buy tickets...
10:35 PM Century 16 Bayfair
15555 East 14th Street, (at Bayfair Mall)
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11:00 PM Regal Hacienda Crossings Stadium
5000 Dublin Blvd.
It Buy tickets...

Film Details

  • It

    • Rated R - Horror, Thriller

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