A Good Marriage is based on a short story of the same name from Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars (book review). Like 1922 (another Stephen King short story) it follows the book plot fairly closely. Some of the details are different, such as the box under the tool bench, Darcy’s fears for herself and her family (which are depicted as hallucinations rather than her thoughts, which makes sense in a movie format), and some of the clues that confirms her worst fears.
It does start a bit slow, but so does the short story, establishing Darcy and Bob’s ‘good marriage’. The average couple, still in love, and two grown kids doing well on their own. Its very difficult to talk about this movie without giving away the pertinent point that the plot revolves around. But I’m going to try to continue.
Skipping to the ending, as the middle of the movie is mostly Darcy coming to terms with the truth, and deciding what, if anything, she wants to do about it. So what does she decide? Darcy’s family is her world, if she tells the truth, her children will suffer, so there’s only one solution left. That solution is to eliminate the problem.
*Note: As of this writing A Good Marriage is no longer on Netflix, but can be found on the Roku Channel.
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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Stephen King is firmly lodged in the section marked “Sarah’s All Time Favorite Authors”, but what lured me to this short story collection was the fact that two of the short stories have been made into Netflix Originals; 1922 and Good Marriage.
I will also admit to watching 1922 before reading 1922. And…the movie follows the book closely. Like, really closely. I can’t think of anything that wasn’t in the book that isn’t in the movie (did that make sense?).
The other short stories are easily just as good even if they weren’t made into Netflix Originals (thought they probably could be). I related to “Big Driver”, as I try my hand at writing every now and again and have cats myself. Fair Extension is an interesting read, and I’m slapping myself for missing Good Marriage while it was on Netflix. I think I would have enjoyed it too.
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I’ve made no secret of my love of Stephen King’s books, his movies have been hit or miss at the box offices but I still watch them and like them for what they are. As of writing this I have not read 1922 a short story in Full Dark, No Stars, a short story collection. With that out of the way, here’s what I thought of the Netflix adaptation.
The tagline reads “A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to assist. But their actions have unintended consequences.” And with Stephen King, the consequences can mean ANYTHING.
But life goes on, even after murder, sons encounter growing pains, and fathers become desperate to salvage their lives. In true Stephen King fashion, the horrors of real life become something more, as everything spins out of control only to end, as most horror stories do, in sadness and tragedy.
I thought that this movie started out a bit slow, and it’s not one of those movies that continually builds to an exciting climax, but it does have a slow build to the end. I am more convinced that I need to get my hands on the book this film is based on though.
More library fun! I continue reading through Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mysteries and picked up a short story collection from my favorite author (Stephen King)!
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton:
Although business has been slow lately for P.I. Kinsey Millhone, she’s reluctant to take on the case of locating Beverly Danziger’s sister Elaine Boldt. It’s a small matter that Beverly should be able to handle herself. So why is she enlisting Kinsey’s services? Beverly claims she needs Elaine’s signature on some documents so that she can collect a small inheritance. But the whole affair doesn’t sit well with Kinsey. And if there’s something she’s learned in her line of work, it’s to always follow your instincts…
Kinsey’s hunch proves true when she begins her inquiries into Elaine’s whereabouts and discovers that the attractive widow was last seen in a flashy lynx coat boarding a plane for Boca Raton. But the more Kinsey searches for Elaine the more questions she encounters. Is Elaine’s disappearance tied in to the brutal murder several months ago of one of her bridge partners? And what happened to Elaine’s Persian cat who seems to have also vanished?
Things take a turn for the worse when a stranger vandalizes the home of one of Elaine’s neighbors and another neighbor turns up murdered. With her reputation and career on the line, Kinsey risks all to find a missing woman and a killer who’s waiting in the shadows to strike again…
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King:
“I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger…” writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up “1922.” the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.
In “Big Driver,” a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.
“Fair Extension,” the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.
When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitely ends a good marriage.
Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.
What have you been reading lately?
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stephen King is one of my most favorite authors and I love that he still writes short stories (and publishes them!). I’ve read another short story anthology by him and loved that one too. I can’t say that I’ve read anything from Mr. King that I didn’t like or love.
He explores several topics in this anthology, life after death, dreams, other dimensions, loss, and perilous situations. No two stories are completely alike and that gives this collection a nice flow. I’m glad the themes change from story to story.
He also includes a brief explanation of how the stories came to be, how he came to start writing short stories again, and the art of writing short stories. I love that too about Stephen King, he gives us a glimpse into the mind of a brilliant writer.
Horror stories aren’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the genre, you should be reading Stephen King.
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From a Buick 8 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It has been ages since I’ve read a Stephen King book, and I don’t know why that is because I count Stephen King as one of my favorite authors. I rectified that by reading this book. I’m not much of a car person, though I do know a few bits and pieces, but this book doesn’t really get into the mechanics of a car.
If you couldn’t tell, the title gives the plot away. It’s all about a car, a Buick 8-cylinder Roadmaster, though it’s not an ordinary car, not with Stephen King. It’s a guys book, because it’s a car, and it’s the ’70s. But, it’s still a very good read, and there are a couple of females that comment on it. But the main narrator is a guy.
They story of the Buick is told in flashbacks, how the policemen of Troop D found it, what happened over the years, and then what happened just now, and then a bit later. This book has a long timeline, almost a good 4o years worth.
It’s not scary like Cujo, where there is an actual “monster” to contend with, this is much more subtle. Even so, with most Stephen King books there is an element of “this could happen to you” and that is present here, but it takes a little more believing. If you like Stephen King, if you like cars, if you like a good horror story, see if you can find this one.
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Another duo from my local library, 2 very different books – one by Agatha Christie, a classic mystery, another by Stephen King someone I’m surprised I haven’t read more of on this blog as he’s one of my favorite authors.
In the bestselling tradition of Black Coffee and The Unexpected Guest, a classic Christy mystery is finally available in novel form. Clarissa discovers a body in the drawing room and must hide it from her husband and the police while attempting to uncover the identity of the murderer.
At first glance, Stephen King’s latest bears a familial resemblance to Christine , his 1983 saga of a haunted, homicidal Plymouth Fury. But From a Buick 8 is a marked departure from this earlier tale of adolescent angst and teenage tribal rituals. It is the work of an older, more reflective writer, one who knows that the most pressing questions often have no answers.
The story begins in western Pennsylvania in 1979, when a mysterious figure parks a vintage Buick Roadmaster at a local gas station, then disappears forever. The police discover that the Buick isn’t a car at all but rather a Buick-shaped enigma: self-healing; impregnable to dents, dirt, and scratches; composed of unidentifiable materials; and containing a completely nonfunctional engine. Confronted with a mystery of unprecedented proportions, the troopers of Barracks D claim the Buick for themselves and spend 20 years attempting to understand its nature, purpose, and provenance.
Over the years, the Buick is the site of a number of inexplicable occurrences, from occasional blinding “lightquakes” to more sinister happenings that suggest this alien object is a doorway to another dimension. King recounts the most dramatic of these with an intensity and attention to detail that evoke a primordial sense of terror, awe, and revulsion. Through it all, and despite the obsessive fascination of those around it, the Buick remains an impregnable mystery. And that, of course, is very much the point. The world, King tells us, rarely stops to explain itself. From a Buick 8 is one of King’s best, mostly tightly focused novels since The Green Mile . With great narrative economy, it encompasses 25 years in the interconnected lives of a diverse group of characters, and its unmistakable, deeply familiar voice is as haunting and engaging as ever. On the evidence at hand, it’s clear that King continues to command the hypnotic power that has made him one of the dominant figures in modern popular culture. Bill Sheehan